Leather To Spend

Posted 4 January 2010, 00:40

When my late friend Jon Gams and I met, he was looking for someone with whom he could collaborate on music. We started with songs that he had already written, but soon started writing new things together. In those days (1975-1978) before we moved to NYC and started a band, we did everything on acoustic guitars, sometimes with piano.

We were always particularly happy with this piece, especially because of the way it came about. As far as I can remember, it was late fall/early winter in 1976. Jon and I had each come up with a sequence of simple arpeggiated chords. His was in E, mine was in A; his was in 2/4 with triplets, mine was in 6/8. As an experiment, we put the two together and were amazed to find that they went together perfectly — not a single note needed to be changed. We went on to add another section based on an ostinato that I wrote with a melody that he wrote, and also found other ways to combine some of the different elements. The end result was typical of a style we developed based on combining parts with different phrase lengths and meters. Like a number of other musicians at the time, we were incorporating the influence of minimalism. (Some aspects of what we were doing are similar to what was later referred to as totalism.)

This arrangement for two pianos is almost identical to the original version for two guitars, with a bit added from a later version that included piano. The piano in the right channel corresponds to Jon’s guitar part; the left channel corresponds to mine. I will eventually make a score available, once I can find a reasonable way to present it.

The melody in the middle section has a lyric (written by Jon, who always wrote the words) that goes as follows:

Love me oh love me my friend
Stripped down with feelings to spare
I’ve got some leather to spend
Love me oh love me my friend

(There are additional lines that go along with these in a call-and-response manner, but I don’t remember them. If someone else has those words, please let me know!)

Technical notes: I used Noteworthy Composer to notate the piece and export it as MIDI; used Reaper to render it to a sound file using Soeren Bovbjerg’s Steinway Grand Piano v1.2 soundfont; converted from 96/24 to 44.1/16 using r8brain, then finally exported to MP3 using Audacity.

Leather To Spend (click the down arrow to download)

Copyright 1976, 2010 by Jon Gams & Dave Seidel, some rights reserved.

Creative Commons License
Leather To Spend by Jon Gams & Dave Seidel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.


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