Some have come in dreams and some from big life-changing situations but most have come from hard work and concentration and mucking around on the guitar.
How to talk about the muse.
She hit me fairly early – the falling head over heels in love thing.
Something inside me has to be in love.
Mona was the first song I ever wrote and Human Failing the second.
Mona was about a nun farting in an elevator and Human Failing about a young man coming to terms with his sexuality – the blueprints of the two types of songs I would go on to write. The clever, cynical observer playing mind games with humour or the gut-spilling, succinct love guy in the midst of a personal sea of hell or love.
Why me? No ability to “read or write” music and learned the guitar on my own the hard way.
When I met up with Louise and we did Negative Theatre I wrote songs that suited our dramatic stance and then in the early Spines I sort of carried that on but with different subject matter – more earthy than otherworldly.
One night in the very early 80s I came up with a song I called Pokerface and it sort of shifted the way I thought about lyrics – the story could just be in the telling.
Through all the years I’ve tried to write songs that would suit the players I’ve been with and so I got into some crazy territory with Ross and Wendy in the 80s and then some lovely blues/pop songs in the 90s with Neill and Andy.
In the 21st century it’s been the love songs that have kicked in again – Be With Me, Frida, Stop Forever.
As the Spines these days we just pick the eyes out of the best of my material and when I sing them I really mean them – this sentiment that went on in the creation.
Your Body Stays – Lily And I – Weathered Lines – Go To NY – The Lions – Stop Forever – Frida…
Man I really hope these songs outlive me.
The Ghost of Electricity –War Stories by Jon McLeary is a new initiative at Off The
Tracks, a series of stories and reflections from painter, writer and musician Jon McLeary