Monthly Archives: March 2009

Heart but no Brain

I started this one about a year-and-a-half ago, then it sat for awhile, and I came back to it about a month ago, and feel like it’s at a first draft stage where I can put it out there for feedback. I’m still trying to figure out how to sing it; it’s a little challenging for me. I think that’s because I’m still trying to figure out what the melody should be in some places. (You can here it at And the lyrics may need some tweaking also. The structure is unusual, but that seemed to be what the song wanted musically.

Heart but no Brain
by Rob Roper 3rd draft March 22, 2009

You got a heart but no brain
a voice out in the rain
spoken, never heard
and so much to say

An apprentice with no master
Apollo’s little bastard
left on your own
and time moves ever faster

I can see you’re just a flower
that needs a little water
the neglected middle son
the farmer’s ugly daughter

You just need a little help
but you’re too shy to ask
you don’t want to be a burden
and you’re afraid they will laugh

You’ve got so much inside you
that wants to come out
but no one believes in you
and you’ve got your doubts

You know where you’re going
but you don’t have a map
So you stare at the road
and you feel that you’re trapped

If you quit and gave up
no one would care
nobody knows
what you have to share

And now your forehead
is all black and blue
’cause the brick wall is stubborn
but so are you

(instr over B part)

(repeat V1 and V2)

President McCain’s 1st Month in Office

On the foreign policy front…

One of President’s McCain’s first acts was to announce the closing of the Guantanamo Bay prison, where Prisoners of War were being held and tortured, contrary to the protections required by the Geneva Convention. Most of the prisoners had been quietly freed by President Bush over the past several years. President McCain is not freeing the remaining ones, but simply transferring them to other prisons in the U.S.

President McCain also announced with great fanfare that he had ordered US military and intelligence personnel to stop torturing prisoners. However, he stated that he would continue the nefarious practice of “rendition”, where prisoners are sent by US intelligence agencies to other countries where they can be tortured and the US can feign ignorance.

President McCain announced that he would continue the American occupation of Iraq, leaving as many as 50,000 US troops, and an unnamed number of mercenaries, to maintain US domination of the country. He did say, however, that he would reduce the number of direct US troops over the next 16 months in order to transfer them to Afghanistan in an attempt to shore up the US occupation of that country.

Regarding US support for Israel’s ongoing war against its indigenous population–the Palestinians–President McCain has sent his new Secretary of State to Palestine to meet with officials there. However, based on statements made during his campaign, there is reason to believe that that he will press Israel to end its violence and land grabs against the indigenous population, and comply with UN resolutions to resolve the conflict.

Prior to taking office, the new President announced that President Bush’s Secretary of Defense would continue in that post, and reached across the aisle to name Hilary Clinton–a strong supporter of President Bush’s Middle East policy while in the US Senate–as his Secretary of State. Thus President McCain’s continuance of Bush’s Mideast policies, with a few minor variations, should come as no surprise.

Moving onto the domestic front…

President McCain announced a new budget with a record deficit, following in the footsteps of President Bush. Although he said this is the worst economy since the Great Depression, there are no Roosevelt-style WPA jobs programs. Instead there are tax cuts a la Bush, and subsidies to companies in the tradition of trickle-down Reaganomics.

Of course the new President is continuing and even escalating the massive bank bailout program, which is no surprise, since he voted for it as a Senator just before the election. There is no talk of punishing those responsible for the meltdown, unless you consider limiting the bailout companies CEO’s salary to “only” $500,000 a form of punishment.

So far it appears that, as his opponent charged during the campaign, President McCain is just going to be “more of the same”.

The most noticable change, of course–and the one that has everybody talking–is that, after taking office, McCain appears much younger, and with a more tan complexion. Reporters have also noticed that his public speaking is noticably more elegant and refined, in the style of a Harvard graduate.

Rob Roper
March 1, 2009

My Winter Songwriting Hibernation

Over the last few years I’ve been trying to get more disciplined about making time for songwriting, because I want to write more songs, and I now know that, if I put the time in, songs will get written. But for reasons I don’t understand, I frequently procrastinate. I can understand procrastinating over something that’s not enjoyable, like cleaning the bathroom, but I don’t understand why I procrastinate doing something I enjoy. I suppose I could pay a shrink a couple thousand dollars and find out, but I’d rather spend that money on a nice new Gibson J-45 acoustic guitar.

In October I decided that I would focus on songwriting during the 4 winter months, November-February. I’ve learned that I’m an outdoor person, so it’s hard for me to go into my music basement and compose music when the weather is beautiful outside, like it almost always is during the Spring, Summer and Fall in Denver. But if it’s cold and dark outside, there’s no temptation to go out, and I can work on music. My plan was to put in 2 hours a night on 3 weeknights, and one 3-4 hour session on either Saturday or Sunday.

I wrote this in my songwriting journal on October 26, 2008: “The goal is *not* to say I’ll write x number of songs in the next four months. The goal is to put in the time, with no pressure, have fun and learn.”

Today is March 1, so the 4-month hibernation is over. How did I do?

I found it hard to work on music on weeknights. I just couldn’t get going most nights. Maybe my brain was tired from my day job and I just didn’t want to have to use it anymore. I’m not sure why. I did some songwriting on weeknights, but not even close to meeting the goal.

I did much better on weekends. I did songwriting on a Saturday or Sunday–and sometimes both–most weekends. And I took advantage of holidays during Thanksgiving and Christmas, and even took a couple days off work just for songwriting. It was on these days, where I could dedicate a whole day to songwriting, that I was most productive.

I did a lot of composing in the DADGAD guitar tuning. I wrote 3 songs in this tuning, “Let’s Go to the Mountains”, “The Man in the Movies”, and “The Other Side of Nowhere”. I also wrote “Mama Had a Mohawk” and “Misfit” in standard tuning. I started about a half dozen others, but not quite getting them to a first draft stage.

I was also taking piano lessons during this time. I composed one instrumental on the piano, and came up with a few other ideas to be developed later. And I came up with several musical ideas on the guitar which I saved.

Compared to other songwriters, this doesn’t seem very productive for a 4-month period. But for me it was more productive than any other time in my songwriting history. If I can just figure out how to be more disciplined to write on worknights, I could really be productive.

Now I plan to get back out and perform, so more of my music time will be devoted to getting gigs, practicing songs–both myself and with bandmates. But I don’t plan to stop songwriting until next winter. I’d like to have about a 50-50 balance between work for performing and songwriting. I’d still like to write some songs before the next winter hibernation.

I’m not sure why I’m posting this blog. Do I just want people to write and say congrats, good job? Do I want people to write and offer suggestions how to get motivated to be creative on worknights when you’re tired? Do I want free therapy to explain why I procrastinate doing things I love? I don’t know. But for some reason I felt the need to write and post this. Maybe it’s just another form of procrastination; afterall, I could have been working on a song instead of composing this.