I have to partially agree with John on this one. I know you're probably not supposed to pick favorites, and while "Woody Allen Surrogate" isn't my all-time favorite ENB song, it is probably my favorite song on this album. (If not, it's in the top three, along with the two songs that Sammy Shuster sings on.)
This song started off as an instrumental music cue called simply "E7" (due to the fact that all the chords in this song are seventh chords, and the song is in the key of E major).
It appears a few times in this short film I made, called "In Defense of Lemmings." It's a Monty Python-ish sketch film that runs about 9 minutes.
I always thought it would make a good song with lyrics, but I never came up with anything satisfying. My immediate impulse every time I started playing "E7" was to start singing whiny lyrics about girls that sounded to me like Nerf Herder (pictured right; a band I liked in high school, after seeing the video for their song "Van Halen"). Those song attempts always completely sucked.
I pretty much set "E7" aside, although I would just sometimes play it to myself because I liked the sound. Then, somehow with the prospect of having to write 3 songs about movies, I found a completely unlikely song topic: Woody Allen. And then I tried matching that up with the sound of "E7." It worked brilliantly! Hooray! Let's go get ice cream! Who's buying?
ENB goes electric, pt. 2
Dibson T. Hoffweiler (pictured far right in the picture at the right) and Casey Holford (pictured far left in the picture at the right) are one-half of Urban Barnyard (pictured all over in the picture at the right; photo by Herb Scher). These two gentlemen lend their electric-guitar-playing expertise to this track, as well as "I Am Klaus Kinski," and they are a large part of the reason why I like this track so much.
Me and them, we didn't meet up about these songs until we were already in Major Matt's studio to record, so it took a little bit of time to work out who did what. Mostly, what they came up with as their initial instincts is what we stuck with. And after four and a half days of noodling around (ha ha, just kidding!), we had the guitar parts you hear in the song.
Casey plays the almost New Wave-y rhythm stuff, while Dibs does a simple lead that often acts as a counterpoint to the keyboard (which was overdubbed later, so maybe the keyboard is the counterpoint... whatever). Dibs also takes over during the bridge.
You wanted it; you got it, suckers!
Our drummer Doug (pictured right... no comment) said to me one day, "You know that Beatles song 'Taxman,' where the cowbell just comes in for a few bars and then drops out? I think 'Woody Allen' needs that." I am never one to hinder that kind of ripped-off creativity. Hence: more cowbell.
John Houx on "Woody Allen Surrogate"
This year I came t Manhattan n saw my first Woody Allen film, Manhattan. It cost Manhattan dollars. I left th cinema having watched onscreen a lifestyle newly familiar to me, walked out into th village — July afternoon, coffee, gorgeous gals n bookstores. It was all black n white, with Gershwin music.
As I said, I jus know one of Allen's movies, but we're all a lil familiar with his character n style. He's an icon, an he's had imitators. Some copy his worried-nerd ways, some his method of writing, directing n starring in his films, and they succeed in diffrent degrees, some never escaping Allen's shadow.
"This is not impersonation"
Another famous Woody, one I know a mite better, also had unique mannerisms an a then-distinct habit of writing his own material. Had th image of a travlin champion of free folk. Ain't surprisin he had followers. The follower finds Woody's work — which Woody we mean don't much matter — inspiring. Studies th gestures, drawls his "cain't"s n stutters his neuroses, takes t heart th message, n goes out t recite it himself.
"Doesn't even matter how good I am,
you'll only compare me to that other man"
Whether he's playin th part of th hayseed sage or th self-conscious city boy, th follower's received as a harmless novelty for those what missed it th first time. But if he don't soon evolve, he's gotta quit. Learn th diffrence btween th mask and th face wearin it. An take th same ol thing an do it better, or upside-down, or naked, but by lord do it differnt. Grow into his own skin, an equal or not, be seprate.
Lotta innovations start as pale imitations. Lotta pale imitators just give in n quit. But with time, no one can help but grow outta th tight-fittin Halloween getup n pick th right suit for hisself. Sure, Ken Branagh ain't so widely known these days as that bespectacled curly-headed New Yorker. But he became, and is remembered as, more n jus a Woody Allen surrogate.