Some of you may be familiar with the bootleg 11 Tracks of Outtakes, which purports to contain “demos” of various Whack-era tunes. (In actuality, these “demos” are often just whatever intermediate version of something the purloining party decided to slip into his pocket that day). This Outtakes boot includes a “Medical Science Demo” which is a near-final version of the cut that eventually ended up as a bonus track on the official Japanese release of 11TOWIn honor of W’s B-day, we post an earlier but still “mid-level” demo of the tune, with no vocals. And thanks to Matt for the accompanying slideshow that won’t let us forget our current Medical Science nightmare :-) There is in fact an even earlier (earliest?) demo of this tune that’s not available to us right now; if and when I do “reacquire” it, we’ll add it to this page.
But this version is a pretty good representation of the bones he settled on for the final CD version
I’ve also included below some of his early brainstorming lyrics — where he’s working out rhymes and couplets, zeroing on wording choices, and working over segments that he’ll later stitch together into cohesive verses and choruses. Listening to Walter’s tapes as he’s writing a tune — a process also observed IRL — one thing you hear is while the basic track loops and he “free sings” his melody over it, he’s mainly scatting, but occasionally drops in a phrase or couplet. At some point he stops the loop, and you hear him writing in his notepad…and the next time the track loop starts, he’s now got a few more couplets…then another pause in the track, the sound of notebook rustling and writing, and then another looping track where larger segments of the lyrics have taken shape. And thus he fills and tweaks and constructs his way — updating and editing notebook pages as he goes — into one hell of a tale.It’s also always interesting for me to see his “asides” in his notebooks, or at the end of a computer file. These are often bits that he probably never means to turn into a lyric, necessarily, but are thoughts or images or expressions that set a mood, or especially, express an attitude. Watching him write (alone and with DF) you can see how these sometimes-extensive “emotional/attitudinal backstories” can play a very large part in the eventual construction of such psychologically deep, cohesive, and resonate narrative “voices”.
(Teaser: We’ll see quite a bit more of this sort of thing in our next “Deep Dive”, now under construction)And speaking of the Medical Science lyrics: It’s occurred to us, as it may have to many of you, that we’ve heard songs of this general topic many times from Walter; Danger Zone, Darkling Down, and any number of other songs are narrated from within this particular maelstrom.But this time, he’s no longer in the morass himself, but has come out the other side. Now, he’s out of it, he’s past it … and observing pitiful others through the lens of experience. Thus, his commentary is soaked with knowledge of the all-too-certain outcome, the utter impotence of intervention…and, above all, with a sharp-edged anger and bitterness about what he’s watching as it all goes down. I’ve always found this lyrical stance particularly powerful and moving. Matt wisely observed it’s sort of likeCouchriders In The Sky… but without any of the latter’s empathy and warmth. So when you queue up the final CD version,“Put your little snowshoes on.
Then ask yourself:
Is you or is you notThe silly twit that time forgot?
And prepare to hearOne more sour disquisition(Put yourself in his position)
[Click lyric pages to enlarge.
Note: In some browsers, once you click the pic below and get it on a page,