Friday, April 29, 2011

The "Soundtrack" for The Boy from Reseda

Originally Posted in June, 2005

As some of you know, music has always influenced everything I've done. When I was writing the poems that are a part of The Boy from Reseda, there were certain songs that popped in my mind when these poems were written out.

If there was a soundtrack available as an accompaniment to the book, it would include these following songs:

"Free Fallin'" – Tom Petty: The lyric "it's a long day living in Reseda" came to mind when the title was agreed upon. It is a song about the changing face of suburbia and the longing for the good ol' days. Sometimes, it is how I feel about Reseda and every 'burb I lived in afterwards.

"L.A. Song" – Beth Hart: Scott Schumacher said this song came to mind when he was reading the manuscripts for the book. It does encompass many of themes and the moods of the book. It makes a good mellow and bitter accompaniment to your reading enjoyment.

"You Oughta Know" – Alanis Morissette: The ultimate song for anyone who is angry over being jilted. This song is a good compliment for all of the poems dealing with being jilted. You can see how Alanis and I do share the same angry feelings about this topic.

"Express Yourself" – N.W.A.: Dre, Cube, Eazy, Ren and Yella: The ultimate L.A./Compton sound. It’s not entirely a hardcore gangsta track, but it has the beat and an invitation: To say what you have to say and never apologize for it.

"So Nice (Summer Samba)" – Bebel Gilberto: In "A Scene from Wilde Roast Cafe," one of the characters mentions how much he loves the Brazilian star. To get in the mood of for the poem, play this track of hers. You may agree with the protagonists.

"Turn Your Lights Down Low" – Bob Marley w/Lauryn Hill: To follow the mood of some of the poems that deal with sex and sensuality, I had this pop in my head. This came from a tribute album where they took an old Wailers tune and mixed with new vocals and lyrics by the Miseducated One. It is smooth and sensual.

"Miss Sarajevo" – U2: The inspiration for "A Poem for Peace" came from the images Bono conjured up in this song. Bono was inspired by the devastation of war in the Balkans over religion, ethnicity and self-determination. Once a lush countryside became ravaged and ripped up by the tools of hatred. Other U2 songs also provided other inspirations for my poems.

"Small Town Boy" – The Bronski Beat: To conjure the idea of gay youth in flux, the perfect song came from Jimmy Sommerville's autobiographical tale of fighting against acceptance of his peers and community.

"God Bless The U.S.A." - Lee Greenwood: Perhaps just a snippet, then abrputly stopped by a's in one of my poems! Might as well put it

"California Uber Alles" – Dead Kennedys: A counterpoint to "God Bless The U.S.A.," Jello Biaffra created a masterpiece for those of us angry at the government's imposition of a form of righteousness despite our false and selfish motivations. Also, check out the version by Michael Franti and the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy.

"Fight The Power" – Public Enemy: The classic track from Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing," it is a call to action to do what is necessary to make the status quo account for their actions. It basically wraps up my feelings about everything I've done in my life and my motivations to continue being a change agent in everything I do.

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