Studio Night

Pulling parts in the musical junkyard


I was at the junkyard the other day pulling parts for @hellpellet’s car. I had squeezed inside a junked Ford Escape that was at the bottom of a pile of three stacked cars, which in turn was surrounded on three sides by other stacks of vehicles. As I was working I got to thinking about how the yard and the assemblage of music in the drunkdude riff farm are similar.

There’s a ton of music that we’ve worked on for years that has never seen the light of day. And for good reason, too. It’s either not finished, or it just doesn’t flow the way we want it to flow. So those tunes and bits and pieces all kind of hang around in what amounts to a musical junkyard.

Every once in a while we start working on a song and we suddenly realize there’s a space in the new tune that is perfect for a bit or piece from an old song from the junkyard. When it happens it’s almost like getting a gift – or maybe more like finding a missing piece to a puzzle while you were cleaning under the couch.

Here’s a perfect example. We have an old song (from around 2001) called “So Here I Am“. The chorus and the verse never really worked together (although we decided to live with it at the time). Here’s a snippet of verse and chorus:


Recently we started working on a song that sounds like the Dead Kennedys meets Queens of the Stone Age. The working title, of course, is “Dead Queens of the Kennedy Age“. The title is so tasty that we might just keep it, regardless of what the song ends up being about. But that’s another story entirely.

We had the great verse, but no chorus. And then one day it hit me: pull the chorus from “So Here I Am” and install it into the new tune. It required some transposing, and a massively low tuning on guitar (C#-F#-B-F#-B-E), but once it was in place it was that piece of the puzzle.

Here’s a taste of the demo, with the chorus inserted. Makes a whole lot more sense, right?


So that’s why it pays to keep all the rusty old heaps of musical junk around, and to listen to them every so often. You never know when you can make some new shiny tune using an old part.