Episode 163 - The Art Is Inside Me
Ep. 163 - The Art Is Inside Me
Published on June 3rd, 2019.
Recorded by Shannon and Scott.
Transcribed by Shreya Shanker.
SHANNON and SCOTT: 1, 2, 3, 4.
[theme song plays]
SCOTT: Welcome to Song Salad with Shannon and Scott!
SHANNON: I’m Shannon!
SCOTT: And I’m Scott.
SHANNON: I’m a professional writer and your resident lyricist.
SCOTT: And I’m a professional musician and your resident composer.
SHANNON and SCOTT: And together-
SHANNON: We toss up a new song each week.
SCOTT: Using a random music genre-
SHANNON: And a random topic.
SCOTT: That’s right! Using our proprietary, patented, penny-whistle, industrial-strength salad spinner, we randomize over 500 music genres-
SHANNON: And hit the “Random Article” button on Wikipedia to get our topic.
SCOTT: Uh-huh. Tell our listeners what we did last week, Shannon.
SHANNON: Last week! We wrote an outlaw country song about Nellie Bly, who was a journalist and world traveler and general, all-around badass with Ned Donovan from the Encounter Party podcast. Uh, we've already heard from you, a few of you, that you've already started listening to it, so that's pretty cool. You can download Encounter Party wherever you get your podcasts, and follow them @Encounter_Party on Twitter.
SCOTT: Aaaand let's see what we're gonna do this week!
SCOTT: As we fire up the salad spinner to generate our genre and topic. (SHANNON: Let's go!) This week, we're writing a song in the style of...
[whirring machinery sound effect begins, then comes sound of something splatting out of the machine]
SHANNON and SCOTT: Dark wave! About...
[sound effect ends with a ding!]
SHANNON and SCOTT: Stephen Cepello!
SCOTT: (trying different pronunciation) Che-pello? Che-pay-o.
SHANNON and SCOTT: [laughs]
SHANNON: Ste-fan Che-pay-o.
SCOTT: Stephen Cepello.
SHANNON: Yeah. C-E-P-E-L-L-O.
SCOTT: (sing-song) That spells Cepello! Alright, so, we need to write a- I already forgot the genre--
SHANNON: (crosstalk) Dark wave! [laughs]
SCOTT: (crosstalk) Dark wave song! [laughs] About Stephen Cepello.
SHANNON: So... technically we've already done a dark wave song.
SCOTT: Yes, it was our... first guest?
SHANNON: It was! (crosstalk) Episode 11!
SCOTT: (crosstalk) First guest episode ever. Episode 11!
SHANNON: A million years ago.
SCOTT: Wow. A hundred-and-fifty episodes ago.
SHANNON: Yeah. Holy crap!
SCOTT: That's insane.
SCOTT: And that was with Black Plastic.
SHANNON: Yes! Who was my former boss' boss at the agency I worked.
SHANNON: He's a musician and, like, DJ and electronic music kinda guy, and he came on and told us about his style. And he- we didn't specifically choose dark wave, (SCOTT: Right.) we just chose his style, and he described it kind of like "vampire party music" kind of like dark wave.
SCOTT: So we didn't actually research dark wave, we kinda just based our song on his songs. So...
SHANNON: Right. Right, right, right.
SCOTT: Now we're gonna learn about other dark wave artists and see what we can do with it.
SHANNON: We've also done other waves.
SCOTT: [laughs] We've done other waves.
SHANNON: We've done cold wave.
SCOTT: Other waves have hit this shore.
SHANNON: Yes. Cold wave, episode 5, Have A Lovely Day.
SCOTT: Oh, that was a good one.
SHANNON: That was (crosstalk) a very good one.
SCOTT: (crosstalk) That was episode 5? Oh my god.
SHANNON: I know. We've also done chill wave, more recently. The Garden of Loss.
SHANNON: About the Fairy Lake Botanical Garden.
SCOTT: That was very introspective and sad.
SHANNON: Yeah, it was. So...
SCOTT: Are those the only waves?
SHANNON: Those are the only- those are the three waves I can find.
SCOTT: We've done some gazes. [laughs]
SHANNON: Yeah, we've done gazes. And pops.
SCOTT: Well, we're going dark today. So, what do you know about dark wave other than what we did with Black Plastic, I guess?
SHANNON: I mean, I know that it's, like, kinda creepy and sad and just, like, minor. Lotta minor.
SCOTT: Yes. Hence the darkness. (SHANNON: Yeah.) And I think waves, in general - if I'm referencing our chill wave and our cold wave, they often employ a lot of synthesizers.
SHANNON: Yes. Yeah, it's primarily electronic music, but there are also vocalists.
SCOTT: Yeah, alright! What about Stephen Cepello?
SHANNON: Well, I know, uhhh, nothing about him, (SCOTT: [laughs]) except for the first sentence of his Wikipedia article, which...
SCOTT: Shall we read it?
SHANNON: We will allow ourselves to read, I think.
SCOTT: Stephen Cepello (born June 29th, 1949) is an American artist and a former professional wrestler.
SCOTT: So, we have that to go with.
SHANNON: We are gonna dig in to some stuff with Stevie!
SCOTT: Hopefully there's a little bit of sorrow to draw on for this dark wave song.
SHANNON: Wow. Okay!
SCOTT: Let's... get dark.
SHANNON: Turning off the lights. [evil laugh]
SCOTT: Spiderman. Turn on the dark.
SHANNON: Oh no...
[transition theme plays]
SCOTT: I was hoping to find more darkness.
SHANNON: Yeah, I think the darkness is just the, like, low synthesizers and minor keys.
SCOTT: Pretty much. But even the lyrical content doesn't seem, like, too sorrowful.
SHANNON: No, I mean, but we're also comparing it to, like, genres we've done that are, like, gore deathcore! (SCOTT: [laughs]) Which are all just about sorrow and the rending of flesh, or whatever.
SCOTT: (under Shannon) Exactly, exactly. These are more, like, yeah, I guess it says "lyrics that are perceived as dark, romantic, and bleak, with an undertone of sorrow," so, (crosstalk) It's not outright-
SHANNON: (crosstalk) Yeah, they're just kinda melancholy.
SHANNON: And they're, they're very floaty and ethereal, like they're put in a place in the mix where they feel sort of misty and atmospheric.
SCOTT: Right, if you can understand them at all in the first place!
SCOTT: As we'll get to in some of our examples! [laughs]
SHANNON: Yeeeahhhhh. There's a lot of men singing in the back of their throat. [laughs]
SCOTT: Yes. Or women singing outside of their heads.
SHANNON: Yes. Mmhmm!
SCOTT: Well, we're getting a little bit ahead of ourselves. When did this genre happen?
SHANNON: The 1980s!
SCOTT: Yes! That wonderful, wonderful decade of the 80s, which brought you such things as us. So, dark wave compositions, as we mentioned earlier, are based in minor keys, and they feature the use of guitars, violin, piano sometimes, as well as primarily electronic instruments like synthesizers, samplers, and drum machines. And the synthesis of genres like cold wave, ethereal wave, gothic rock, punk rock, all kind of like formed into this dark wave movement, particularly in Europe in the early-to-mid 1980s.
SHANNON: Yeah, Germany, France, primarily...
SCOTT: The Netherlands.
SCOTT: Little bit of Italy.
SHANNON: Yeah. It's gonna feel post-punk.
SCOTT: Mmhmm. It did spread to the United States, but a little bit later, in the early 90s. So, some of the most famous bands are the Cocteau Twins, who are from... is that France? I just guessed cause of "cocteau". Oh, they're Scottish!
SHANNON: Aw, damnit.
SHANNON: Oh, Excès Nocturne is the French cold- they're cold wave, but- I don't- all these genres, they just kinda overlap.
SCOTT: Well, even this Wikipedia article is like...
SCOTT: "Here's a list of dark waves artists, but I'm going to tell you that they're really ethereal wave combined with German Neue Deutsche Todeskunst, with a touch of neofolk." It's like, well, just tell me what's dark wave already. [laughs]
SHANNON: Yeah, I feel like dark wave, it's like rectangles and squares and squares and rectangles. It's like one is the other, but one is not always the other.
SCOTT: And also, some bands had, like, one dark wave song, (SHANNON: Yeah.) but they were really a cold wave band, you know? That kinda stuff.
SHANNON: Yeah. We're gonna pick some seminal example songs, and then we're going to try to, like, go hard on those example songs.
SCOTT: Yeah. So, we're gonna play you some examples from the Cocteau Twins, from Depeche Mode, which is probably the most recognizable name on this list-
SCOTT: -and from a band called The Clan of Xymox.
SHANNON: They're, uh-
SCOTT: Do not take if you're allergic to Xymox.
SHANNON: [laughs] They're from the Netherlands.
SCOTT: Let's start with Depeche Mode.
SCOTT: One of their most recognizable songs that I think fits into this dark wave genre is "Personal Jesus", and let's play a little clip from it now. This is from 1989.
["Personal Jesus" plays for 25 seconds.]
SHANNON: This is one of those songs where, the second you started playing it, I was like, "oh yeah, I know this song."
SHANNON: And if you had held a gun to my head, and you were like "tell me the lyric that he is singing in that moment," I would never in infinity years have come up with "personal Jesus".
SCOTT: [laughing] Any other guess? As to what it could've been?
SHANNON: Okay, now- well, like, now it's in my head, but like-
SCOTT: (to the tune of the lyrics "personal Jesus") Duh-duh-duh. Duh duh.
SHANNON: Yeah. [laughs] I think I thought it was something like "lovin' you... music". Or something! [laughs]
SHANNON: I honestly don't know! Like it's one of those songs that I'm sure- part of this is a function of where the vocal is in the mix.
SHANNON: Part of it is the- I guess, like, the strength of the- like, it's really strictly following the rhythm there? And so, like, the lyric gets lost? And then it's also just one of those songs where I'm, like, not paying attention (SCOTT: Right.) to the lyric, like, at all! And I don't know why! There aren't a lot of songs where- well, on this show, I feel like I've found a lot of songs where I'm like, "I know that song, and I did not know that lyric."
SCOTT: Right. But this one, and this genre in particular, like you said, the vocal is often textured, it's often used as another, like, instrumental layer, or is happening at the same time as another instrument that's in the exact vocal range, so sometimes it just gets lost, you know.
SHANNON: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I guess, um, I mean I knew the "reach out and touch me," like that part of it? But the "personal Jesus", no way.
SCOTT: Right. Personal Jesus! That's got, like, a pretty solid beat to it. There are some other dark wave songs that are a little bit more ethereal, and Cocteau Twins is known also as an ethereal wave band. So, speaking of not understanding lyrics-
SHANNON: Oh boy.
SCOTT: -here's a little bit of Carolyn's Fingers, by the Cocteau Twins.
["Carolyn's Fingers" plays for 35 seconds.]
SCOTT: So, that was a woman.
SCOTT: Elizabeth Fraser is her name.
SHANNON: So. I just want to describe this woman's face (SCOTT: [laughs]) when she sings. Because when Scott put this YouTube video on - you can look 'em up, Cocteau Twins, Carolyn's Fingers - she looks just as surprised as we are that she's singing this way! When she sings! So what- what she was saying in there, honestly, here are- is what I think is the chorus? "Reach out for that hand (And even they don't give any more) (Try, try to fall) Even then they don't give (Try, try to fall) You just closer to me at the fall." What?
SCOTT: Yeah. I don't know. And there's also, like, a little bit of interjection from- it looks like the guitar player is also singing with her. Uh, guy named Robin Guthrie? And I- I can understand him equally well. Which is not at all! So, again, ethereal, vocals are not necessarily meant to be understood? I mean, I can't imagine how they would be, right?
SCOTT: But this gets to sort of a point of the genre that Sam Rosenthal from Projekt Records says. He says, "I found the two words "dark" and "wave" quite interesting. This was something underground, submerged, obscure... which swept over you, immersed you, surrounded you." So, I think the whole point of this music is to feel like you're being swept up, and that it's supposed to create this sort of, like, bath of sound [laughs] around you.
SCOTT: And whether you understand the lyrics or not maybe isn't the point.
SHANNON: There's a- the "See Also" on the Wikipedia article is ambient music. So that should kinda give you a clue where we're going here.
SCOTT: That leads us well into our next example from Clan of Xymox.
SCOTT: This is a cover of a song called "A Forest" by The Cure. And you'll hear that it's very ambient, and the vocals are not in the forefront of the mix at all.
SHANNON: And they don't come in for a long time.
SCOTT: Yeah but I'm not gonna wait that long.
SCOTT: [laughs] Here you go.
["A Forest" plays for 40 seconds.]
SHANNON: Just a lot of far away people singing.
SCOTT: This one definitely has more of that ballad, dark feel to it, and I think we probably want to go in that direction, I was saying we haven't done a ballad in a while.
SHANNON: Yeah, we really haven't! We gotta go for- we gotta go for that slower tempo, lower pitches, minor key, maybe some head whistling.
SCOTT: [laughs] We'll see.
SHANNON: We'll see where the night takes us. [laughs]
SCOTT: Right. And yeah, employ the use of some synthesizers and, you know, these example songs and bands reminded me of our slowcore episode, The Fog Beyond, about Icelandic horses, and I think they're very similar to each other, but that genre doesn't use synthesizers as much as this genre, and I think also came about a little bit later, (SHANNON: Yeah.) so we'll have to see what we can do to make them distinct.
SHANNON: Also just shoutout to Vince Colosimo, because we have been relying very heavily on the WikiFandom page for this, [laughs] so-
SCOTT: [laughs] Referencing all our old episodes.
SHANNON: Yeah. It's super helpful, thank you, Vince!
SCOTT: So, shall we take this to Stephen?
SHANNON: Oh, right! Yes. I can't wait to learn about this eclectic man.
SHANNON: [laughs] Seriously!
SCOTT: Maybe his paintings are really dark. (SHANNON: Maybe!) And introspective.
SHANNON: I mean, he was a professional wrestler, so.... maybe-
SCOTT: So what? [laughs]
SHANNON: Well, do you think- was he a face or a heel, do you think?
SHANNON: Like if he was a bad guy, maybe he had, like, some sad backstory, or some darkness?
SCOTT: Maybe. There's always some, like, "orphan-Batman" backstory [laughs] for these villains, you know?
SHANNON: [laughs] Yeah, exactly.
SCOTT: Yeah. Alright, let's find out!
SHANNON: Let's find out.
[transition theme plays]
SHANNON: We gotta big strong man who loves painting!
SCOTT: He's a big painter boy!
SCOTT: He is six foot four, and 285 pounds.
SCOTT: He's a big man.
SCOTT: He's currently 69 years old.
SCOTT: (under his breath) Nice. (normal voice) He was a professional wrestler and is still an artist, and those are the main two things about him.
SHANNON: Yeah, we- we're having a really hard time figuring out how he got into professional wrestling.
SCOTT: Yeah, he- he grew up in Arizona, he started painting at age seven and went to an art school in Phoenix, he went to college in Phoenix and played basketball, and then his biography kinda jumps to the mid-70s, when he's all of a sudden in Hawaii wrestling. [laughs]
SHANNON: Yeah, I don't really get it. And his website is no longer maintained, his personal website, it's just, like, captures in the Wayback Machine, and if you look at his website, it's just a picture of a Daniel-Boone-type frontiersman and the words "Nautical Themes, Whimsy and Fantasy, Embracing the Ages of Pony-"
SHANNON: "-and Propeller and Steam."
SHANNON: Don't particularly know what any of that means, but his website is not a real website anymore.
SCOTT: 'Kay. Uh... well, I guess let's start with his career as a wrestler, yeah?
SHANNON: Yeah! Yeah, yeah, yeah.
SCOTT: So, he competed for NWA Hawaii, uh, National Wrestling Association?
SHANNON: I dunno.
SCOTT: I dunno. Uh-
SHANNON: This is another fandom like comic books that we are going to dip our toes into, and not understand much of it, I don't think.
SCOTT: Ah. National Wrestling Alliance.
SHANNON: Ahhhh, okay.
SCOTT: And, [laughs] uh, he eventually became a tag team wrestler and was partnered with a few different people, but most notably, Jesse Ventura.
SCOTT: They were similar heights and both had very muscular physiques, so they were put together as a matched pair, and they won the Tag Team championship on July 28th, 1977, and held those belts until November of that year, when they lost to John Tolos and Bill Francis, which are the worst wrestler names ever heard.
SHANNON: Yeah. So he wrestled under the name Steve Strong, and then also the California Surfer and the California Terminator.
SCOTT: Do you think Arnold Schwarzenegger was mad about the California Terminator? [laughs]
SHANNON: Yeah, probably. He's like, (accented) "I am the California Terminator."
SCOTT: (accented) "There can be only one."
SHANNON: Uh, he was trained by a man named Mac McFarland, and if there's more "wrestling coach" name than that, it doesn't exist, I don't think.
SCOTT: I'm just picturing, like, a dumpy guy with a cigar, and you're like, "how is he a wrestling coach?" and everyone- every wrestler that's, like, 6'5" and 300 pounds is like, afraid of him.
SHANNON: Yeah. (SCOTT: [laughs]) This guy, he- Stephen Cepello kinda looks like Hulk Hogan.
SCOTT: A little bit, yeah.
SHANNON: He's, like, a prettier Hulk Hogan.
SCOTT: And he actually appeared in a music video, and the artist from that music video, years later, accidentally said that Hulk Hogan was in his music video, and had to correct himself when people pointed out it was actually Steven Strong.
SHANNON: [laughing] Oh, that sucks so much.
SHANNON: So, as his stage name, he also has a couple IMDb credits, he was in a few movies. A couple, it seems, that were about wrestling, but then he was also in a Tarzan movie with Bo Derek.
SHANNON: With Bo Derek!
SCOTT: In 1981. Tarzan the Ape Man. [laughs]
SHANNON: Yeah, he played the Ivory King, in Tarzan?
SCOTT: Who knows.
SHANNON: I mean, it should tell you something that that movie, Tarzan the Ape Man, is not even hyperlinked on Wikipedia.
SHANNON: No one has seen this movie.
SCOTT: (under Shannon) No one's seen it. Not even Bo Derek.
SHANNON: Yeah, probably not.
SCOTT: So, uh, his painting career, let's move there.
SCOTT: Yeah? So he is known for painting seascapes and marine wildlife, he's also into marine wildlife conservation, (SHANNON: Yeah!) and he is a portrait artist and painted the portrait of Governor Jesse Ventura, his former tag team partner, which hangs in the governor's mansion
SCOTT: Now, an interesting thing about that painting, uh, I read a little, like, Associated Press article about it from 2003, where it talks about how a lot of people think they see hidden messages (SHANNON: Yeah...) [laughing] in the portrait? Like cursive letters in the sleeve, or a face in his tie, and Stephen Cepello (his real name) claims that there could be something there, he says, "A magician can never say anything about his magic, I'm not going to deny or say that there isn't anything there because there could be, there could be."
SHANNON: He said that there is a reference to Ventura's wrestling career in it.
SCOTT: Yeah. Some people think they see the letters "WWF" in the folds of the suit sleeve. I think the funniest thing in this, though, is- I guess Jesse Ventura was known for wearing a pink feather boa when he was wrestling? (SHANNON: Oh.) And there's a quote from Cepello that says he told Ventura he used degenerative oil paint and eventually, it will begin to deteriorate, revealing a naked Jesse with a pink boa.
SHANNON and SCOTT: [laughs]
SHANNON: That's a good gag!
SCOTT: I love it.
SHANNON: I think it's weird- so, the two- he actually painted two portraits for Jesse Ventura, one of which hangs in the governor's mansion and the other's at the Minnesota State Capitol. One of the portraits is Jesse Ventura on a horse, holding an American flag, which is, like, the most- minus the American flag, the most Vladimir Putin thing I can think of. (SCOTT: [laughs]) And then the other one, he is leaning- Ventura is leaning on a small squat reproduction of Rodin's The Thinker statue.
SCOTT: Which apparently was a reference to his campaign for Governor?
SHANNON: I guess so?
SCOTT: Campaign slogan about being the thinker?
SHANNON: But, like, if you look at the portrait, he's- it's small, it's kinda turned away from the viewer? Like, you can't really tell that it's the- it's so little. And it also feels, like, disrespectful? Like, he's not- he's not embracing it, or using it to prop himself up, he's, like, fully just "hand-mashed-on-its-shoulder" leaning on it.
SHANNON: It's weird.
SCOTT: It's a little strange.
SHANNON: I don't get it.
SCOTT: It's also a very dark sky behind him.
SCOTT: And he looks a little upset.
SHANNON: Looks like the- the building in the back, from this distance (I'm looking over Scott's shoulder at his computer), looks like the Taj Mahal.
SCOTT: [laughs] It's probably the State Capitol of Minnesota.
SCOTT: I'm guessing.
SHANNON: Can you see- do you see the hidden messages? What do you think?
SCOTT: I can sort of make out where you could read a "WWF" in the sleeve, but it's also just, like, a wrinkled shirtsleeve, so...
SHANNON: What about the face in the tie?
SCOTT: I wish I could see a better image.
SHANNON: Without having to go to Minnesota.
SCOTT: Yeah, it's not worth the trip.
SHANNON: Hey, any listeners in Minnesota, have you seen this portrait? Like, you know, on a tour of the State Capitol or something? Let us know!
SCOTT: Go see it. Tell them about our song.
SHANNON: Well, let's wait and see if it's a good song first.
SCOTT: Alright, so dark wave.
SCOTT: [laughs] Dark wave.
SHANNON: Yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah-yeah. So, not a ton of personal information out there about Steve Cepello.
SCOTT: No. He's guarded it.
SHANNON: Or he's just an old guy who's not on the internet.
SCOTT: Yeah, that's true too.
SHANNON: Yeah, I think it might gotta be that. [laughs]
SCOTT: [laughs] We could invent how he got into wrestling and got to Hawaii!
SHANNON: (under Scott) Ooooh. Oooooh! He had to pay off a debt, so the-
SCOTT: [laughs] He's not allowed back in Arizona.
SHANNON: (theatrically) Yeah, the bookies were coming after his father and he had to pay off a debt so he had to prostitute his body in the wrestling ring.
SCOTT: Oh god. [laughs]
SHANNON: Well, you- I mean, not literally prostitute, but I- I'm speaking figuratively.
SCOTT: Sure, sure.
SHANNON: Selling his flesh.
SCOTT: And his paintings!
SHANNON: I do love the idea that, um, professional wrestling is the more stable career choice than being a (crosstalk) visual artist. [laughs]
SCOTT: (crosstalk) Than being a painter, yes, yes. Well, you gotta do the professional wrestling when you're young enough and you have the body to support it (SHANNON: That sounds true!), and then you can always paint later, unless you get a horrible arm injury from wrestling.
SHANNON: Yeah. (SCOTT: [laughs]) Good point, boo.
SCOTT: That would be a good dark wave song too. This amazing painter who loses his ability to paint because of a wrestling injury.
SHANNON: Or what if he's just a wrestler who just wants to be a soft boy?
SCOTT: He just wants to paint. (SHANNON: Yeah!) He's an indoor kid.
SHANNON: He's trapped under the bright lights and glistening pecs of the WWE or whatever, the NWA, and he wants to be out in the ring, out of the ring, (SCOTT: Yeah.) and painting seascapes and saving turtles.
SCOTT: (to a slow tune) I wish I could put down this foldin' chair, and pick up my palette, grab my brushes and paint my days away.
SHANNON: I don't know why this is a country song.
SCOTT: (loudly, still singing) You gosh-darn-tootin' with your paints over there, drivin' your horse- [laughs]
SHANNON: [laughs] (in a high-pitched ethereal voice, to a tune) I just want to pa-a-a-aint, (SCOTT: That was good!) I-I just want to pa-a-aint.
SCOTT: I think we're ready. [laughs]
SHANNON: Yeah, we'll- let's- uh, let's explore that.
SCOTT: But we're going to go sad, introspective...
SHANNON: Yeah! Yeah.
SCOTT: Uh... ethereal, ambient on this one, yeah?
SCOTT: Okay. Well, I'll start there and let you figure out the angle. [laughs]
SHANNON: Great. Cool.
SHANNON: Let's go.
[transition theme plays]
SCOTT: I'm into it.
SHANNON: Yeah, me too.
SCOTT: You got some lyrics?
SHANNON: Yeah, I decided to go really hard on the "he's a tortured artist who doesn't want to be wrestling, but he has to to put food on the table."
SCOTT: I think that works well.
SHANNON: I think it does too.
SCOTT: For this genre.
SHANNON: Yeah, it's just a little bit of, uh, melancholia, you know?
SHANNON: And that, like, the longing of knowing that you're a soft little- a soft little oyster inside of a hard, shiny shell.
SCOTT: And you just wanna share the pearls with the world.
SHANNON: Yeah, you wanna share your seascapes with the world!
SCOTT: Mmm, just trap a little bit of sand and turn it into a portrait of Jesse Ventura.
SHANNON and SCOTT: [laughs]
SHANNON: The sand, it just irritates your insides 'til you poop out a portrait of Jesse Ventura! [laughs]
SCOTT: [laughs] Can you imagine if that's how all- I mean, that's a metaphor for how a lot of great artists created, but-
SHANNON: Yeah, (crosstalk) I guess it is.
SCOTT: (crosstalk) If that's really how great art was created...
SCOTT: Like, whoa, that was a thinker! (SHANNON: [laughs]) Just came right out!
SHANNON: So big. (SCOTT: [laughs]) Uh, I had surgery after- [laughs] reconstructive surgery. Um-
SCOTT: Yeah, Michelangelo was never the same after the David.
SHANNON: Can I tell you my lyrics?
SCOTT: Yes, you can!
SHANNON: [laughs] Okay, great. So, I'm doing a verse, and then a kind of, like, longer, more wandering chorus? (crosstalk) That kind of can have, like-
SCOTT: Mmm. (crosstalk) A nomadic chorus.
SHANNON: Yeah! It can sort of have more than one part, I think?
SCOTT: Okay! Can it be a duet?
SHANNON: It could certainly be a duet.
SCOTT: (vocalizes random high-pitched notes over Shannon)
SHANNON: Yes, uh- [laughs] there's definitely an opportunity for it, you'll see... Actually, now that I look at the lyrics, I have an idea for maybe how, like, one thing could kind of be, like, almost like a descant over the other, um, so we could do the (high-pitched vocalizing) thing over the more substantial lyrics, cause there's some kind of, like, fluffy filler lyrics?
SCOTT: (under Shannon) Yes, okay, great.
SHANNON: You'll see what I mean. So yeah, so verse-chorus-verse-chorus, and then we can do kind of whatever we want for the outro.
SHANNON: So, here we go! "The roar of drunken crowds / Bright lights and bodies buff / My heart is elsewhere yet / I’m made of softer stuff."
SHANNON: Uhh, and then the chorus, I wanted to bring in that weird list of things we found on his archived website?
SCOTT: Oh, okay.
SHANNON: So here's the chorus. "Nautical themes / Fantasia and whimsy / Propeller and steam / Ages of pony." (SCOTT: [laughs]) "My art / My art is not my body / It’s inside me / The art is inside me."
SHANNON and SCOTT: [laugh]
SHANNON: Uh, second verse. "Slick men in shiny shorts / Piledrive and powerbomb / Can’t bare my painter’s soul / The fans are looking on." Uh, and then, "Nautical themes / Fantasia and whimsy," etcetera, etcetera, 'til we get to "the art is inside me."
SCOTT: The art is inside me. And it has been, all along!
SHANNON: [laughs] You just have to click your heels and say "art, art, art."
SCOTT: [laughs] There's no art like art, there's no art like art!
SHANNON and SCOTT: [laugh]
SCOTT: Very nice!
SHANNON: Thank you! Do you think you can work with that?
SCOTT: I do, and I- I really wanna sing the verses and, you know, whatever part of the chorus we decide in that voice of Depeche Mode, which is also the voice of Tears For Fears, which is also the voice of Human League. (SHANNON: Yeah.) You know, that- I'm gonna have to work on the impression.
SHANNON: Yeah, we're both going to have to, kind of, do a little bit of vocal warmups for this.
SCOTT: It's that, it's that very, like, present, forward, loud-
SHANNON: But it's also, like, down, like the jaw is, like, down.
SCOTT: (over SHANNON) Yeah, it's open vowels, like instead of "shout shout, let it all out", it's like (elongating all the vowels) "shooout, shooout, let it awl ouuut."
SHANNON: Do we think that that's a German thing?
SHANNON: It sounds a little bit- the vowels sound a little more Germanic to me, but I don't know, maybe I'm just making that up.
SCOTT: I think it's an 80s thing. (SHANNON: Yeahhhhh.) Cause there's a lot of male singers from the 80s that have that thing going on, like Rick Astley, for instance.
SHANNON: (under SCOTT) That's true!
SCOTT: It's the same placement.
SHANNON: Yeah, like, low, no nasal resonance...
SCOTT: (mimicking Rick Astley) "We're no strangers to love." (crosstalk) Like, it's that-
SHANNON: (crosstalk) Yeah, there you go! Yeah.
SCOTT: "Shooout, shooout." It's like they were kind of classically trained?
SHANNON: Uhhh, they were classically trained if you watched a video once.
SCOTT: [laughs] They learned from John Daker.
SCOTT: (mimicking John Daker) "That's amoreee."
SHANNON: I just showed that to someone at my- that video- so anyway, if you don't know what this video is, stop, stop!
SHANNON: This podcast.
SCOTT: Stop it now!
SHANNON: Right now. Go Google on YouTube- Google on YouTube, (crosstalk) what an idiot I am.
SCOTT: (crosstalk) Wow, you are elderly.
SHANNON: Go search on YouTube "My name is John Daker," D-A-K-E-R.
SCOTT: You won't regret it.
SHANNON: You will be not sorry. And I showed it to someone at work, and he was, like, "what is this? It's amazing." And I was like, "I know."
SCOTT: How had he never seen it before?
SHANNON: I know- I couldn't believe that he'd never seen it! He was like, "do you have more like this?" And I was like "honey, do I!"
SCOTT: Buckle up and join my YouTube rabbit hole!
SHANNON: Yeah, yeah, like I can give you an entire, like, chef's tasting menu of insane vocal performances. So then I sent him Mari Lyn's "Summertime", obviously.
SCOTT: Yes, yes.
SHANNON: Also very good, if you don't know it. Uhh...
SCOTT: But yeah, we gotta do that vocal style.
SCOTT: I would love to incorporate some of that wispy, Cocteau Twins vocalization over top of the chorus if you're game.
SHANNON: (clearing throat) Eh-eh-em, I will warm up my instrument, I will see if I can oblige you.
SCOTT: Thank you. And then for the music, I've got- I've got kind of a groovy thing going on.
SCOTT: Cause I went back and listened to some songs and I noticed that even if these songs are dark and ethereal, there's still always, like, a groove, a drive to them. (SHANNON: Yeah.) So I've got a drumbeat that starts out pretty simple and then adds in elements as the song goes on to make it a little bit more driving and dark, so here's the drum beat.
[5 seconds of the drum beat]
SHANNON: 'Kay. Cool.
SCOTT: I also have some synth bass, because in all of these songs, all these examples, the bass line is heavily synthesized, even if there's a live guitar, so I've got both of those elements. So, first of all, a synthesized bass that sounds like this.
[5 seconds of the synth bass]
SCOTT: And funky, in the right way. And then I've got "real", quote-unquote, electric guitar, that sounds like this.
[7 seconds of the electric guitar]
SHANNON: Very real.
SCOTT: So real. And then the last element are additional synthesizers, our favorite pads that we like to bring in in these types of songs that- and in this genre particularly, a lot of the pad sounds have a vocal quality to them, almost like a choir singing in the background? So it's like a (vocalizes, mimicking synths), kind of a sound, you know? [laughs]
SHANNON: Very good.
SCOTT: So here is my vocal morph synthesizer pad.
[10 seconds of the vocal synths]
SHANNON: Nice, it's like you're in a ghost church.
SCOTT: Yeah, exactly!
SCOTT: And then, finally, two other lead synth sounds that are a little bit more melodic and single lines and so, here's those!
[20 seconds of lead synths]
SHANNON: I'm excited to put this song together.
SCOTT: Me tooooo. It's a fun little dark wave puzzle.
SCOTT: And the art is inside me! Is the title?
SHANNON: I think that's- I mean, I don't know what else it would be.
SCOTT: Well, it could be "Ages of pony", and then we'd have our third horse song in, like, five episodes.
SHANNON: [laughs] I don't think we can do it. We can't do it.
SCOTT: No. We can't do it.
SHANNON: Especially not because pony was also in the title of the episode two weeks ago.
SCOTT: True. "The Art Is Inside Me."
SHANNON: "The Art Is Inside Me" is a good title.
SCOTT: It is. Here is "The Art Is Inside Me."
SHANNON: A dark wave song!
SCOTT: About Stephen Cepello.
SHANNON: Professional wrestler and fine art painter.
SCOTT: [laughs] By Shannon and Scott.
[Song plays - all the tracks from before are layered, with tuned vocals over it.
The roar of drunken crowds
Bright lights and bodies buff
My heart is elsewhere yet
I’m made of softer stuff
Fantasia and whimsy
Propeller and steam
Ages of pony
My art is not my body
It’s inside me
The art is inside me
(The first four lines of the chorus are sung over the last four lines.)
Slick men in shiny shorts
Piledrive and powerbomb
Can’t bare my painter’s soul
The fans are looking on
Fantasia and whimsy
Propeller and steam
Ages of pony
My art is not my body
It’s inside me
The art is inside me]
SCOTT: (mimicking the low vocals) Good job, Shannon.
SHANNON: (mimicking the high vocals) Tha-a-anks, Sco-o-ott.
SHANNON and SCOTT: [laugh]
SCOTT: Who knew we were born to do Depeche Mode?
SHANNON: [still laughing] We both laughed harder than I can remember laughing in recent Song Salad recordings making this. And also, we're both like, yeah!
SHANNON: This is the slap! Yeah!
SCOTT: This is a bop! [laughs]
SHANNON: Yeah! We were like, into it while we were doing it too.
SCOTT: I really love it.
SHANNON: It's really fun!
SCOTT: I think the lyrics work well for the genre, (SHANNON: Thank you!) I think the instrumentation and the vocal treatment [laughs, with SHANNON] also work well for the genre.
SHANNON: Oh my god.
SCOTT: I think we do'd it!
SHANNON: I think we do'd it, we do'd it up (crosstalk) this time, yeah.
SCOTT: (crosstalk) Do'd it right. Do'd it right, do'd it tight.
SHANNON: Can we- can we tell the people what your wife texted you while we were recording this?
SCOTT: [laughs] Shannon and I were trying to work out what the soprano-y part would be, because it's just like, it could be anything.
SHANNON: Yeah, it's, like, wander-y random notes.
SCOTT: And in the middle of that, I get a text from Megan that says, "do you need me to sing this?"
SHANNON and SCOTT: [laugh]
SHANNON: I appreciate the offer.
SCOTT: Well, she doesn't know what the genre is, she might think that we're doing, like-
SHANNON and SCOTT: Opera.
SCOTT: (crosstalk) Or something. I don't know.
SHANNON: (crosstalk) Yeah, in that case, please, come in here, take my microphone.
SCOTT: More like, "Ride of the Valkyries", like (vocalizes). [laughs]
SHANNON: [laughs] (over Scott) Yeah, crazy.
SCOTT: (under Shannon) Very good.
SHANNON: Uh, that was a lot of fun.
SCOTT: Really fun! Fun channeling that 80s voice.
SHANNON: Yes! The dark- it reminds me of like, if you're just, if your jaw was made of Legos or something.
SCOTT: Yeah, it felt very robotic, mechanical, which maybe was, like, sort of part of it, because the 80s was all about, like- or 80s pop culture was all about robo-stuff, you know? [laughs]
SHANNON: Yeah, like industrialization of the art and the music.
SCOTT: Yeah, like the movie Short Circuit.
SHANNON: Oh my god. Do you think we captured Stephen Cepello in any way?
SCOTT: Well, we don't know much about him personally, so maybe. Maybe he always thought wrestling was a temporary thing and wanted to be painting.
SHANNON: Yeah, I wonder- I don't think he's on Twitter, I'm gonna do a search, cause (SCOTT: Just in case. ) hope springs eternal. No results.
SCOTT: No results.
SHANNON: No one has even talked about him on Twitter.
SCOTT: Did you look up Steve Strong, though?
SCOTT: Cause maybe- (under Shannon) maybe there's that.
SHANNON: (over Scott) Good idea! Well, there's also just a lot of people who are actually named Steve Strong, so.
SCOTT: Get off Twitter, other Steve Strongs!
SHANNON: Yeah, this is not- this has not gone well. Yeah. Sorry.
SCOTT: Well. You hold a special place in our heart, Steve.
SHANNON: Thanks for being you, (crosstalk) you soft strong boy.
SCOTT: (crosstalk) Thanks for having the art inside you.
SCOTT: It's like a Twinkie with an art filling.
SHANNON: [laughs] Why is he a Twinkie on the outside?
SCOTT: I dunno. Because something with a filling.
SHANNON: But shouldn't he be Twinkies on the inside?
SCOTT: No, he's art on the inside. (crosstalk) You wrote it!
SHANNON: (crosstalk) Well, yeah, but like-- okay, but like, I'm saying- okay. So wrestling is the Twinkie?!
SCOTT: [laughs] You're thinking too hard about this.
SHANNON: [sigh] Always.
SCOTT: Well. If you wanna think about nothing, listen to our other episodes!
SHANNON: Yeah! Guys, we're very bingeable!
SCOTT: We are. We invented binge-worthy content.
SHANNON: Mmmm. Not true, but...
SCOTT: Check it out anyway!
SHANNON: We were, uh, pleased to be featured in a couple of different publications over the past month or so. Check out Pod Bible, which is- especially if you're in the UK, I know we do have listeners in the UK (SCOTT: Shoutout.), there are physical copies of the Pod Bible, we're listed under "Indie and Amateur" podcasts.
SCOTT: [laughs] We are one of those things.
SHANNON: We are. And not both! And then, we also- we talked about this in our Facebook group, we're also featured on the A.V. Club's Podmass Newsletter, kind of roundup thing?
SHANNON: So go read Podmass, most especially because podcast critic Wil Williams, who has also written us up in a couple other publications, she writes for them regularly, so.
SCOTT: And she is very good to us.
SHANNON: She is.
SCOTT: And we thank her!
SHANNON: She's great! And listen to her podcast, Tuned In, Dialed Up.
SCOTT: Yeah! You can find us on social media, on Twitter @songsaladcast. On Facebook, you can join our group "The Produce Section", and you can support us on Patreon! What else do we have to say?
SHANNON: I dunno. Is that it?
SCOTT: I think that's it for this week.
SHANNON: Hey, thank you for listening.
SCOTT: We appreciate you.
SHANNON: Yeah, we do. You're beautiful. [laughs]
SCOTT: (mimics the song) You're beautiful.
SHANNON: (high-pitched vocalizing)
SCOTT: Until next week.
SHANNON: I'm Shannon.
SCOTT: And I'm Scott.
SHANNON: And this has been Song Salad.
SCOTT: The veggies are inside you.
SHANNON: So... eat 'em? Eat your inside veggies? Ew.
SCOTT: (sternly) Use your inside veggies, Shannon.
SHANNON: [laughs] What did I tell you about using your outside veggies in the house?
SCOTT: We have company!
[tuner sound as they fade out]
SHANNON and SCOTT: 1, 2, 3, 4.
[outro theme plays]