This weekend was bittersweet for me and the Weekend Startup School team. We had to do what was best for the quality of the offering we had for our attendees and that was cancel this weekend’s (June 4th and 5th) event.
In the course of our interview, Waits went on a whimsical rant about all the different forms that song ideas will take when they are trying to be born. Some songs, he said, will come to him with an almost absurd ease, “like dreams taken through a straw.” Other songs, though, he has to work hard for, “like digging potatoes out of the ground.” Still other songs are sticky and weird, “like gum found under an old table,” while some songs are like wild birds that he must come at sideways, sneaking up on them gently so as not to scare them into flight.The most difficult and petulant songs, though, will only respond to a firm hand and an authoritative voice. There are songs, Waits says, that simply will not allow themsleves to be born, and that will hold up the recording of an entire album. Waits has, at such moments, cleared the studio of all the other musicians and technicians so he can have a stern talking-to with a particularly obstinate song. He’ll pace the studio alone, saying aloud, “Listen, you! We’re all going for a ride together! The whole family’s already in the van! You have five minutes to get on board, or else this album is leaving without you!”Sometimes it works.Sometimes it doesn’t.Sometimes you have to let it go.