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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

That John Burdett of the Royal Guardsmen Turns Out to be a Pretty Nice Guy

(This is a follow-up to this post.)

Sun, 19 Nov 2006 11:25 PM

Hi Roger,

I have responded to your Blog that refers to Snoopy vs. Osama.

I am the academic computing administrator and web analyst for Lake Superior State University. I help the students. What's in a title? My department is under the dean of the library. How ironic.

I just wanted to thank you for making conversation about The Royal Guardsmen. I enjoyed it.

Thanks again,
John Burdett (Drums)
I wrote back:

Hey, John-

Could I use this letter you sent for my blog? I think it shows a different side of you than the response you posted, a tad less intense.

Also, is the name of the song Wednesday or Any Wednesday? I've seen it listed both ways. I know I mentioned that I REALLY liked that song.
Tue, 21 Nov 2006 1:02 PM

Hi Roger,

Absolutely, you can use my e-mail on your Blog.

I see that my explanation of what we were trying to accomplish, was taken as though we were tying to change the old Snoopy character to a new one. I suppose I should have gone to greater parameters.

Where the change takes place is in the new song. The new tune is about that character being growing up and taking on responsibilities that an older Snoopy would, as if he had matured. Of course, we know the real Snoopy can't get old and I wouldn't go there outside of the song. However the song is what it is. Some may like it and some may not, but it is controversial. We aren't hijacking Snoopy. It's just this song with today's military agenda.

I think if you re-read my response to the Blog, you will find I agree with what was said, it is nasty. War is nasty. The only thing I disagreed with was the point of controversy, but I respect everyone's opinion.

Regarding your response; yes, we have a lot of time on our hands. We don't hold a candle to the artists that you mentioned. So I agree with you totally. [Actually, that was someone else's response, but I tended to agree with the sentiment.]

This is about the new song. If it were about how I think and feel, well, we just don't have, butI enjoyed every bit of the rhetoric we put forward. It was a lot of fun and if ever you want to mince again, it would be an honor to do so with you.

Your new friend,
John Burdett

PS. Any Wednesday
Merry Snoopy's Christmas! (The original Snoopy)
Tue, 21 Nov 2006 5:36 PM
Hi Roger,

I forgot to ask. Would like me to mail you a promo copy of Snoopy vs. Osama?

John B.
I replied in the grateful affirmative.

The next week, I received it. I played it several times, after reading the copious notes John included:

Hi, Roger,


The song is mastered for radio, so for the best listening experience, use headphones moderately loud and flat on the EQ.
This is the dissection of our efforts put into this song. Some of the things we put in the song are obvious and some more more subtle.

Some people don't see the shadow of the Bradley behind the dog house. [Count me as one of them.] The tassels on the scarves have been removed to give it a more modern feel [ditto] and Snoopy is in charge while we are hanging out in the past with our old uniforms. The Snoopy vs. Osama title is surrounded by the blood red of war [noted] and the states represented by the stars are not in focus, as the states are not in focus about policies [I missed that]. However, the red and white stripes take to the foreground representing the clarity of the wounded and dead. [I did see that, but didn't realize its significance.]

The call to prayer was selected by our Islamic students at LSSU. It says, "Let there be hope through prayer and what comes to be the will." [It's very affecting, actually.] As the eastern singer hits his last note, it is a fifth to the root chord, which would makie it Gregorian. Just a little twist! [Way too subtle for me!]

The marching has a wounded cadence to it. The tempo of the bridge was given the feel of dragging its heel, a kind of stuck in the sand, thud tempo, portraying the respolitics poltics affecting the effort. [I noted that it had a deeper "feel" than the original, but never could have deconstructed it so precisely.] The bass drum rhythm beating heart of war that contrasts the thud tempo.

The verse and chorus pick up the tempo with determination as in representing ther individual soldier's attitude and ability not to falter in the face of adversity. [I heard the change of tempo, but didn't recognize its intentionality.]

We used close mike techniques to get the warm vocal and the John Lennon spit in the microphone

Using a bugle rather than a trumpet at the end gave it a patriotic but haunting sound. [Haunting indeed.]

There is absence of a lead guitar, in reverence to our departed Tom Richards in 1979. [Oh, THAT'S why it sounds different.]

The overall sound we were trying for is that warmth of a vinyl recording and to portray many aspects of the war through the feel and sound as well the lyrics.

Listeners may not hear or care about any of this; I just thought you might find how we built interesting. Hope you enjoy the song.

WHEW! Yes, it is interesting and, as I've noted, not that obvious to me.

So, what do I think of the song?

I like the song for what it is. It isn't as "chirpy" as the songs of the '60s, it has a more somber tone, starting with the eastern chant, and as noted, the bugle is haunting. It is a well-crafted song, and obviously made with a lot of care, a lot of love.

Yet I still wonder about the use of the iconic Snoopy character, who, as John noted, doesn't grow up as we do, but is frozen in time, to kill bin Ladin. I suppose I could go on and note that I don't think killing bin Ladin at this point would solve many of our problems in the region, or the world, but that's another issue.

Regardless, I appreciate John Burdett's conversation about a four-minute pop song. Thanks, John. And thanks for the extra copy, which will find a home with somebody soon.
Oh, and while I'm on the Royal Guardsmen track: I've just gotten a copy of The Best of the Royal Guardsmen. I'm wondering why 7 of the 20 songs have no writing credits.

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