Category Archives: songwriting blog

Chasing the Dream, Part 2: The Mission

In my previous blog, “Chasing the Dream, 3 Years Later,” I reviewed my accomplishments over the last 3 1/2 years after I took a layoff from my IT job to work on music full-time.  In this blog– Part 2– I discuss what’s next– my musical mission– both musical and lyrical– and what type of music I want to play, and what type of bands I need to play that music.

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What’s next for Rob Roper music?  I gave this a lot of thought over the past year.  I decided to start at the top– the goal– and work down to the details.

What should be my goal?
Be happy.

What makes me happy?
Creating and playing music with and for people.

What kind of music?
Rock and folk.

Played how?
In a band.

Do you want to compose music, write songs, record or perform music live?
Yes.

Who is your audience?  Who does your music serve?
Misfits.

What is my Mission?

My mission is to create, record and perform music that I like, with and for other people, in order to serve my fellow misfits.

(You wouldn’t believe how long it took me to compose that one sentence.)

I first realized that serving misfits should be my musical mission back in 2010, while choosing songs for my album by that name.  Nothing has happened to cause me to reconsider that.  In fact, my views on that have been strengthened in these last years.  Scroll down to see my poem, “My People” elsewhere in this blog, written last May, see see how I define “misfits.”  If anything, I feel like I haven’t served my people well enough in the past.  I feel like I’ve been too conservative, both musically and lyrically.  But that’s been changing over the past 3 years.  Have you heard my songs, “I Didn’t Believe?”  Or “Metadata?”

What is Misfit Music?

Non-mainstream, original, interesting rock and folk, mixed with other types occasionally.  Musically, I strive to combine various musical genres I like into a unique style.  I want it to be difficult for people to describe my music.  Lyrically, I like lyrics about both personal and social/political struggles, done with good emotion and sometimes humor.

Solo Artist?  Or in a band?

Although I enjoy playing my songs solo at times, I prefer playing with other people.  This is true whether I play in a rock group or an acoustic group.  I just like the interplay of the different instruments and musicians, and how they add to the song.

When I took up songwriting seriously in 2004, I did it mostly on acoustic guitar.  So when I started playing my original songs in 2007, it was done in the singer-songwriter or folk environment.

But for the past 3 years or so, I’ve focused on writing rock songs.  In 2016 I released two rock albums, Word and Roses.  Continuing to write rock music, and forming a rock band to play that music, is a top priority for this next year or so.

But don’t worry, my folk friends.  I’m still writing acoustic songs, and I will continue to play my acoustic music live.

So I need a minimum of two bands– one rock and one acoustic.

I have the acoustic band– Scupanon– which is violinist Paul Ermisch and myself, and whatever other musicians pass through.

My rock band has a name– Total Flower Chaos– but no band members yet.  I’m looking for them.  It’s been a little difficult, because the music is not mainstream and neither are my lyrics.  But I’ll find them.  I’m focusing on recording home demos of my new songs so other musicians will be able to hear my musical and lyrical vision for this band.

Meanwhile I’ve been having fun playing with 3 excellent rock musicians, Paul Webb, Sean Mullen and Jay Meikrantz, with my friend Janet Lipson on backing vocals.  They like my older songs from the Misfit and The Other Side of Nowhere albums, as well as some of my newer songs, like “3-Legged Dog.”  We’ve played two gigs so far and plan to play more.

Speaking of new songs, I have more than enough for a new album.  In fact, I have more than enough for two albums– one electric and one acoustic.  What I don’t have is funding.  Recording in a professional studio takes thousands of dollars.  I have enough experience now, after recording 5 albums in studios, to be able to estimate the cost pretty accurately now.  I have given a lot of thought to this question, and that will be the subject of Part 3 of this blog.

–Rob Roper, September 29, 2017

 

 

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What Are We Losing? (new song)

This is a song I wrote about what’s been going on in my neighborhood in south Denver the past couple of years. Developers are buying up the old one-story houses, tearing them down, scraping the lot, and building big, ugly 3-story triplexes with 5 bedrooms, 4 baths, and 3 living rooms.

The demo has some guitar mistakes in the solos but I put it up anyway. I banged this out pretty fast.

The Neighborhood (What Are We Losing?)
by Rob Roper 2nd Draft May 30, 2014

A small house is sold
A small house is torn down
What the hell’s going on
on my side of town?

Blue collar out
Suit and tie in
The swingset is gone
and so are the grandkids

This house was built
in 1953
when 1000 square feet
was all you’d need

They were paying rent
for all these years
Now they have 30 days
to pack up and leave

Chorus:
What are we losing?
We’re losing the neighborhood.

A big ugly box
goes up in its place
4000 square feet
multiplied by 3

That takes a lot to heat
and a lot of A/C
So you burn more coal
put a bigger hole in the ozone

A 3-car garage
where’s the oak tree?
How much room
does a lawyer need?

Soon the robins
will have nowhere to nest
And a gang of pigeons
will be all that’s left

(Chorus)

Builders on the make
Politicians on the take
history and memories
raped and scraped

They only care about money
and making it fast
Historic Preservation
that’s a thing of the past

(Chorus)

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Amsterdam Songwriters Guild

While in The Netherlands recently, a friend pointed me to the website (or rather the blogspot site) of the Amsterdam Songwriters Guild. As a result I found two great open mics in Amsterdam where I play, Cafe Sappho and Skek. If you’re ever in Amsterdam, check ’em out!

-Rob

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Jeff’s Songwriting Blog

I was inspired to create this blog partly because of Jeff Oxenford’s songwriting blog. He has a lot of good stuff on his, check it out: http://jeffsongwriting.blogspot.com/

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Welcome to my Blog

Welcome to my google blog site. Yes, I’m belatedly joining the blogging fad. I’ll probably use this mostly for music–to comment on what I’ve learned about songwriting, recommend musical artists I’ve discovered, and such. I might comment on politics, but probably not. I find that the political blogsites just become an insult contest; nobody ever convinces anyone to change their mind. So I’ll probably stick to music, but never say never…

-Rob

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