Stephanie

I woke up next to you for the very first time  
In a mid summer morning dream  
With not enough AC  
and as I kissed goodbye to my teens  
I took a breath in a new life that offered a little more  
Than I could have hoped for  
I just knew it felt right  

Do you know what you’re getting into?  
Oh baby, I’ll be good to you  

Strike up the band  
You make me wanna move  
Step up and dance  
Cuz when I see you  
Staring at me  
I believe  
Stephanie  

Sunday funday, and my glass half empty  
But the way you look tonight, the whole world feels half full  
I wanna dance with you till the earth is bone dry  
And you know I can’t resist to sing a little Prince  
"Baby, your extra time and your kiss"  

Do you know what you’re getting into?  
Oh baby, I’ll be good to you  

Strike up the band  
You make me wanna move  
Step up and dance  
Cuz when I see you  
Staring at me  
I believe  
Stephanie

 

   I've been hearing "st-st-st-st-stephanie" in my head since we started dating (Stephanie is my girlfriend, in case you can't tell).  I'd been trying to find a home for that little phrase for a few months, and had imagined it in a much more echoey indie context.   

   Steph and I had been dating for over a year when I wrote this.  We'd started dating almost out of nowhere early the summer before, and had survived another year of school together.  She's known me since the first week of college, when I had short hair and thought I'd get my masters after undergrad, and she hadn't picked a major.  She was with me when I began playing every weekend with cover bands, and when she went to her first music therapy site.  And she's still with me now that I'm doing the Sidemen full time and she's just finished her music therapy internship.  There's something heavy in the little line "I believe," which I'm sure wrote without much thought.  I believe she'll be with me through anything that comes our way, whether this whole band works or not, whether everything goes right in her life.  I can believe she'll be with me when I play the first show where everyone knows the words, and that helps me believe so much more.  And that's why I'm so pumped to be onstage playing music, and that's why I wrote this song for myself to play.  

   I sat down to write this song one hot night in July or August.  I wrote all the lyrics first, which I think is easier than writing music first.  Music is easy to change later on, lyrics not so much.  I knew I wanted some sort of call and response in the chorus; I didn't get it to the degree I wanted, but I think the back and forth between "Strike up the band" and "You make me wanna move" is a step in the direction I wanted.  Then I started to pull random things together, like the little images from our lives that ended up being the second verse.  I wrote a whole section I didn't use, then wrote the first verse in it's entirety.  Sometimes songwriting is about getting into character, and just letting things flow out of you; that's definitely what happened here.  From there, the random things I pulled together before started to make more sense, and I rewrote the little glimmers of lyrics I initially wrote down into the second verse.  

   I finished these lyrics around 2am, and tried to go to bed.  It was one of those slow 4 hour realizations that I wasn't going to fall asleep, and I gave up around 6am.  I wrote the music as the sun was coming up, singing in barely a whisper.  I credit a lot of the weird forms in Stephanie to that sleep deprivation.  The verses aren't the same at all, the chorus chorus has that descending lick that barely makes sense to me, and it has a really dangerous 2 octave vocal range.  Since a lot of these things are really quick, the song still clocks in at barely 3 minutes, which I think keeps it from getting confusing and boring.  It was one of my first song to really embody the more aggressive aspects of "rock band with horn section" that I didn't feel most on "Live! From The Citgo Sign" didn't really accomplish.  When you get down to it, though, my favorite part of this song is now everyone calls her "st-st-st-st-stephanie."  The power of music, ladies and gentlemen.