Goomba Town

Men’s men all around
The sweetest women can be found
It’s like livin’ on Italian ground
There, in Goomba Town

It’s the place to be
if you’re from beloved Sicily
They’ll treat you like family
There, in Goomba Town

They’re far from bein’ gangsters
you see in those movies and on TV
But the actors who are in them
have likely lived in that city

It’s a place you’ll love so much
Your heart, it will gently touch
You’ll feel more up than down
There, in Goomba Town

The pasta is delicious
You better eat if they offer to you
Or them Paisanos’ll get suspicious
and beat you ’til you’re blue

They all have good hygiene
They love Frank, Louis, Tony & Dean
They keep everything tidy & clean
There, in Goomba Town
There, in Goomba Town
There, in Goomba Town.

2017

Lyric Notes: So, I’ve been kickin’ around this idea of a musical called Goomba Town. It would be about a town within a bigger metropolitan area – kind of like a Chicago, you know. An Italian-American town with Goombas and Italian women. I was inspired by Steven Schirripa‘s series of books on Goombas. They are great and they really break down the difference between a Goomba and a Gangster. Hilarious! Anyway, this is definitely one of those things where I would love to flesh this idea more, and this by far is a draft of just one of the songs I would include in the story. It would help to work with him on it specifically because it was inspired by his books. Here’s looking at you, Steven!

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Dash Between The Years

In a church filled with family and friends
My father’s best friend got up to speak
He was older so his walk to the altar was long
and he was tired – his voice was a little weak
He said some profound things that morning
about their friendship & what they liked to do
Then he repeated a small piece of advice
I wish to share with all of you

It’s not how many years you live
It’s what you do with your life
Whether you’re a college graduate
or a busy corporate man or wife
It’s the time it takes in-between
the day you’re born and when you die
You’ll want to do it right but you won’t
You’ll make mistakes & regret them – but don’t
You’ll go through it all, the laughter & the tears
during that dash between the years
During that dash between the years

That made me reassess my life carefully
Was I living to just get by, or through
by trying to avoid all those hoops
By avoiding doing anything new
Was I truly living & giving my all
or just doing everything half-assed
Was I too anxious for the future
and also resting on my laurels from my past

Then I hugged my Mom and family
Talked with them for a little while
Many of those memories we shared
made us laugh, cry, and smile
And I realized right then & there
Dad’s friend was right in his speech
Dad used his life to be an example
others could learn from, or teach

That it’s not how many years you live
or the fancy car & SUV that you drive
The whole point of being on this journey
Is truly living while you’re alive
So do that dream you’ve been dreaming
Have faith in what seems to be a mystery
Whether you focus on your family or careers
May it be a life well lived – That dash between the years
May it be a life well lived – Your dash between the years.

2017

Lyric Notes: I know this theme has been written about, but I felt the frame could be improved. A little from here, a little from there, this is a story I frame with my Dad’s memorial, but that’s just because I feel like a Father is a perfect example of how to convey a message such as this. My Dad was a Controller turned Life Coach who at the end of his life, was just as optimistic towards the people he loved as he was when he didn’t have cancer. There’s a lot of stuff there, but I wanted to write a serious message about that passage between when you’re born and when you die – as advice to live “a life well lived,” as David Wilcox (one of my favorite singer-songwriters) has put it in a couple of his songs. Maybe this one will hit you differently, but it’s a good lesson to just go for your dreams while you’re still alive. Something I probably need to hear regularly as well.

A Songwriter’s Wage

When I was a teen I studied many, many songwriters
I wanted to know why I was drawn to that art like they were
Why I felt the need to craft stories with paper & a pen
Why I knew it would be my saving grace and cure

I kept researching the greats like Berlin, Gershwin & Porter
Their histories are and were fascinating to me back then
I used to pour through my Grandfather’s sheet music
of “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” and “Where or When”

And as I studied them, I found we had things in common
Mr. Berlin started out drawing cartoons and so did I
I began to figure out what drove them to create
and also could finally understand the reasons why

I’d stay up all night working on my early songs
and each one I wrote brought me closer to my muse
Why I now feel compelled to enter writing contests
Why it doesn’t matter to me if I win or lose

Why there’s nothing that comes close to the feeling
of inventing a tune that I can be proud to sing
Why I’d rather be writing than doing other things
like working on my serve or my really bad golf swing

And when Pete Seeger’s words stood out in one of my books
I felt so at ease about what I was looking to do
He said, “All songwriters are linked in a chain”
and that’s the reason why I’m sharing my songs with you

Perhaps you’re going through a really bad breakup
or you just want to be entertained or escape
Maybe you need to hear some encouraging words
to whip you to a better place or get into shape

Well all those hours of learning songwriting history
All those times I chose to write instead of play
turned me into someone who knows it’s essential
that I sit down to write something every day

Some people have a gift of knowing how to fix a truck
or have a passion to build houses or teach History
Maybe they are meant to farm or coach a baseball team
or go to school to learn a trade or earn a degree

But ever since I was a child growing up in Santa Cruz
I was drawn to songs and performing them on the stage
Now my only goal beyond being a good husband and Dad
is to make a life by earning a songwriter’s wage

I’m looking forward to earning a songwriter’s wage.

2017

On Friday She Wears Red

On Sunday, she wears her best
bright Spring floral dress
On Monday she wears sweats
Tuesday, it’s anyone’s guess
Wednesday – T-Shirt, and jeans,
Meets her girlfriends for drinks
Thursday she’s in white cotton
Sometimes she’ll mix in yellows & pinks

But on Friday she wears red
It’s her favorite to wear on a date
It’s the night she lets loose
And doesn’t watch her weight
She has a light salad for dinner
It’s a tradition she does every week
On Friday she wears red
That’s what makes her unique

Nursing school wasn’t easy
She pushed herself to get all A’s
Her wardrobe is so predictable
Wore uniforms in her school days
All the patients in ER love her
She’s all that and a bag of chips
All the men she meets at the clubs
Want to kiss those crimson lips

All week she wears whatever
And she always looks great
She saves her best for every Friday
In case she meets her future mate

On Friday she wears red
It’s her favorite to wear on a date
It’s the one night she lets loose
And doesn’t watch her weight
Whether at a nightclub or a honky-tonk
The men like her seductive look
On Friday she wears red
And acting out fantasies from a book

That’s when she’s acting out her fantasies
from the pages of her favorite erotic book.

2017

Cute Klutzy Girl

There she is
Walkin’ down the hall
She’s kinda shy
Also skinny & tall
She doesn’t know
I’ve liked her from afar
She’s the funniest girl I’ve ever known
And she writes songs on her guitar

Cute klutzy girl
She’s so awkward like me
I wonder if she walks home alone
And if she’s boyfriend-free
Cute klutzy girl
I’ve been plannin’ what I’ll do
One day I’ll text her iPhone
And see if she likes me too
Cute klutzy girl
Oooooooooooo
Cute klutzy girl
Oooooooooooo
Cute klutzy girl
Oooooooooooo
One day I’ll text her iPhone
And see if she likes me too

We’re just kids
In the Seventh Grade
I don’t know why
I love her long braid
And her laugh
The way she trips all the time
I’ll carry all her books for her
Just so she would be mine

She likes to read and so do I
She has a cool bike and her socks are knee high
And those eyes, they’re brighter than the sun
When she replies, I hope she says I’m the one

Cute klutzy girl
She’s so awkward like me
I wonder if she walks home alone
And if she’s boyfriend-free
Cute klutzy girl
I’ve been plannin’ what I’ll do
One day I’ll text her iPhone
And see if she likes me too
Cute klutzy girl
Oooooooooooo
Cute klutzy girl
Oooooooooooo
Cute klutzy girl
Oooooooooooo
One day I’ll text her iPhone
And see if she likes me too

2017

Lyric Inspiration: In the movie called “They Came Together” with Amy Poehler & Paul Rudd, they say that Amy’s character is called a “Cute, Klutzy Girl,” and I loved that. I knew girls like that, and they are everywhere. So where better to set this than the year my daughter Grace is in school?  I think it’s about 7th Grade and this boy has a crush- which, hmmmmm I went through all the time. It was surprisingly easy to write. A fun self-assignment. Disney, it’s your move. 🙂

KDG


He was his aftershave, he wore Mom’s favorite – Bay Rum
He was his passion, coaching – Great advice, he gave me some
He was his religion, a Catholic through and through
He was his parents who survived the Depression & World War II

He was that one room schoolhouse he went to – Emigrant Gap
He was his favorite San Francisco 49ers baseball cap
He was all three boys of his, that includes yours truly
He was more than a slight improvement to our family tree

He had a smile that brightened even the saddest of days
He made time for me a lot, we’d go on little getaways
He was the only Father I’d ever wanted and had
He liked it when I called him “Pops” or “Dad”

We both were right handers, unlike my Mom & brothers
When he was with me, he wasn’t thinkin’ ‘bout his druthers
Now I look at both my daughters and I hope they’ll see
The Dad I’ve always hoped I could be

He was those cashmere V Neck sweaters he’d wear a lot
He was those aloha shirts he wore when it would get hot
He was the kind of man who was always cookin’ up a plan
and he was a dedicated San Francisco Giants fan

He was that man who many went to for advice or just to talk
His point of view was like the cliffs near the Boardwalk
He was the deck he built with Gramps when I was a child
When he was laughing, I’d laugh, and when he smiled, I smiled

When he was in his bed during his last dying days
I’d look at his eyes, he had a glossy gray gaze
There were stickers with visitors names up on a board
On the last day I saw him, I told him he should run to the Lord

His initials were KDG, his name was Kenneth David Gray
He is a huge reason why I am the man you see today
He taught me about tennis, about how great life can be
I was so glad he was alive to enjoy my family

Now, my daughters, they talk about him, they miss him a lot
For he was our fearless leader and yet he wasn’t a big shot
He was a good man through and through, did the best he could
I am thankful for what he taught me during my childhood

And as I sit here tonight in the front room of our house
I think about the time he introduced my girls to Mickey Mouse
I think about all our good times and memories
He may be gone for good, but he’s guiding me

My Dad, My dear Father, My good friend – Good ol’ KDG.

2017

Inspired by my Father, Kenneth David Gray. I think that says it all.

When We’re Well to Do

Cameras will be everywhere
Everything will be brand new
Many checks we’ll be cashing
When we’re well to do

I’ll take you out on the weekends
Velvet ropes, we’ll walk right through
We’ll be incredibly amazing
When we’re well to do

They’ll wonder how we did it
How we made all that dough
They’ll wanna hear the secrets
How we’re running the show
They’ll wanna hear our stories
They’ll demand selfies & autographs
and we’ll be lots of laughs

Life will be so different
from our point of view
But inside we’ll feel the same
When we’re well to do
When we’re well to do

Homes, there will be many
I might even get into Kung Fu
The past they’ll be rehashing
When we’re well to do

We’ll fly First Class to Paris
It’ll be a dream coming true
We’ll be a wildfire that’s blazing
When we’re well to do

They’ll wonder how we did it
They’ll assume a lot of things
They’ll ask you what you’re wearing
and about your expensive earrings
They’ll wanna know all the details
We won’t have privacy anymore
Everything will be paid for

We won’t be that different
They’ll speculate if we always knew
we were headed for riches & fame
When we’re well to do

We’ll be masters of our game
When we’re well to do
When we’re well to do.

2017