I can’t believe it’s been 20 years since my first album! The time has finally come to do a “greatest hits” that collects together the well known songs and the most loved songs. Here’s a little bit of what happened. So many stories. So many loves and good times. Here’s to many more.
“So Much In Love (Dance Mix)”
The song was written by Jill Jones and Ian Ginsburg. Rarely do I ever do covers…but this song spoke to me on such a deep level it felt like my blood was in it. Jill used to sing with Prince in the 80s and she went on to have an iconic indie career. You may remember her from PURPLE RAIN or the “1999” video.
In the mid-2000s Jill paired up with guitarist Ian Ginsburg and they released an acoustic album under the monicker The Grand Royals. “So Much In Love” was track 2…and the first time I heard it I just felt like I had to sing this song.
Fast forward to 2009 and I was in New York City performing. I’d demoed up a dance version of “So Much In Love” and Jill came on stage to find it with me. The rest is You Tube history.
I eventually recorded “So Much In Love” for my 21st CENTURY LOVE SONGS album in a more morose downtempo vibe. For years people have emailed me and asked where the dance version was from You Tube. Finally, here it is.
When I first moved to Florida one of the first guys I ever had a crush on was this boy named Kris. He worked the door at the Castle and loved Madonna. We had one date at Village Inn. This song was about how hard it was for me to actually have someone like me. Self-defeating behavior is a bitch.
This song was originally demoed for my second album STILL FEEL IT in 1994. It didn’t fit that album, but when it came time to record SPIN GIRL SPIN in 2000 it fit like a glove. That album was very gauzy and dreamy…it needed some sass. I had two different girl friends sing at that album and there was a little friendly competition going on there. Little did they know I recorded them both to sing with me on this song…what a dirty trick! 😉
“The Sound Of My Crashing”
It was 5 am and I was waiting for a gay.com hookup to show up. I waited in the front window of my apartment for a couple hours and he never showed. At the time I was already going through a lot in my life. Being as fragile as I was…this was a really rough night.
I am from a small town in New York. I grew up in the country in the early 80s riding in pick up trucks with FM radio always on blast. Bob Seger…Bad Company…Led Zep…
When I wrote this song in 2001 the American Dream seemed such a farce. I was thinking about how hard my step-father worked…and seeing how hard my friends’ and their husbands and wives worked. This is one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written…about the fading and the eventual death of the human spirit. This song was used during the closing credits of the Joe Redner documentary STRIP CLUB KING.
“Perfect As You”
When I was in 10th grade I wrote a catchy song called “I’ll Catch You Now” that had a great chorus and okay verses. When I was recording ROMANTICO I was reconnecting with my pop side. What a perfect time to save that old chorus I’d written in high school from obscurity. I wrote new verses with the recent attacks on 9/11 as the backdrop.
This song originally appeared on my 1997 album SONGS ABOUT STUPID PEOPLE in a synth-laded dream-pop version. While rehearsing for a show in 2002 my guitar player Jimmy Reese showed me a song he’d just written. Coincidentally enough it fit perfectly with my own “Skygazing”. People loved the song live so much that we had to put it on ROMANTICO.
The original story of the song is about this kid I had an obsession with in college named Scott Cross. I did absolutely terrorize and stalk him – guilty as charged. One of the last times I saw him was at a convenience store. I wrote this song later that week about how heartbreaking it was for my to lose that friendship…even if it was my own fault. Throughout the years I’ve emailed Scott for forgiveness but he never responds. Sometimes in life we have to accept that not all loose ends with be tied.
“Dancing In Your Blue”
I had a crush on this raver kid in Buffalo when I lived there. He looked like one of the cartoon characters in the classroom on the show Daria. Just perfect. Big blue eyes. Wide jeans. The whole bit.
In the mid 2000s I got the wild hair that I had to find this kid. Eventually after paying for a people search we reconnected. This led to him moving down to Tampa with me. Before he moved I had all these romantic ideas that we were going to spend the rest of our lives together. I had an empty dresser drawer waiting for him when he moved in. I cleared a shelf for his music.
I didn’t realize he was on drugs. He only stayed with me for a week then went off to move in with a 67 year old. That week was full of awful fights. I was heartbroken when I watched him pull away in that older guy’s car. The fairy tale was over. I ended up writing a 15,000 word essay on the whole ordeal. I think the whole incident led me to years of depression.
For the sake of history…I will now remember him where he is best remembered…dancing at Club Marcella in Buffalo in 1996 wearing a tight blue t-shirt.
“My Silver Lining”
There was this cute boy named Mike Klimis who used to go out to all the same clubs I went to. For a couple minutes he caught my fancy. This song isn’t really about him per se…but it’s about the feeling you get when you are hopeful…and when there’s someone that’s a ray of hope in a sometimes murky existence.
At the time I was performing all over the place with my friend Jimmy on guitar and my friends Lea and James singing back up. We called ourselves “The Cold Band” (a nod to Emmylou Harris and The Hot Band). I just love their harmonies on this song…still gives me goosebumps!
After a series of somber albums I switched gears and decided I wanted to make a great pop album that sounded like it was recorded in the year 1987. The album was a blast to make…especially after all the money and time and years I spent on the previous album NOW’S THE RIGHT TIME TO FEEL GOOD.
“Lights On” was about the joy of celebrating the body. If you are gonna get freak nasty freaking keep the lights on. Don’t hide yourself!
I wrote this with my longtime friend James Ratliff and we had a blast. The beginning is a bit of a nod to Prince’s “Cream” and to a memory from my hometown. There was this drag queen Vonda and during a game of truth or dare…this straight guy Mike had to suck her tittie (she was on hormones). The whole time Mike was on Vonda’s tit she was screaming “OH MY GOD…YOU GOTTA STOP….YOU GOTTA STOP!” I couldn’t resist putting that nod to Vonda in my song.
The end cadence of the song…the “guilty guilty guilty” bit was a tribute to Kim Carnes…who I was listening to a lot at the time. She always had these strange raspy parts in her songs and I decided to go a little “Carnes” with my own writing.
In 2007 fashion designer and Project Runaway alumni Ben Chmura still lived in Tampa. It was at one of his fashion shows (Ozmopolitan) that I met this beautiful boy named Tim. We hung out a couple times but I ended up getting pissed when he went for my friend instead of me.
When practicing for a show I was putting together a cover of Madonna’s “Physical Attraction”. I had this drum beat going and I was dancing around my room. Upon returning to my keyboard I started writing my own new song over the beat. That became “Beautiful Boy”. It was one of those songs that just appeared out of nowhere in complete form.
I remember sitting in Tim’s car and him telling me someone had already written a song for him once. Naturally, I took great satisfaction when he told me my song was much better than the other one 😉
“One Phone Call”
During the tour for the 1987 album I played a lot of shows in the gay-electro scene. It was a new world and a new audience for me. At first it was a lot of fun for me to be flamboyant but it got to a point where it felt too narcissistic and self-serving for me. I ended up retreating and writing a batch of dead-serious socially-introspective songs. I chose to call the album 21st CENTURY LOVE SONGS because it provided a timestamp that was a progression from 1987…and also a bit of dark humor. All the songs were so tortured…what exactly is love in the 21st century?
At that time it seemed like a lot of people I knew were overdosing or committing suicide. I remember writing this song right before I was due to meet my friend Heather Dibkey for dinner. I wasn’t enjoying writing this song…and in a way it felt like a chore…but I knew it was something that had to be written.
I shot the music video on my hand held Canon. What a horrible day that was…thinking about dead friends is never a joy. But I do think this song helped a lot of people…and it’s a really beautiful song. To all my friends in this song and the ones who have passed since then…you are missed.
“Oh Sweet Boy”
Yet another crush…and another song from another year. There was this boy Ryan who worked at a lot of the clubs in Ybor. He was so little and cute! Being pensive as I was in 2009 I was still going to clubs and having a miserable time. In retrospect no idea why I subjected myself or any of my friends to my bad state. I remember watching Ryan and his friends dancing and thinking to myself “how the fuck can anyone be having a good time when the world is so fucked?”
So “Oh Sweet boy” was basically a list of all the tragic things that were happening the very moment these kids were shining on the dance floor. At the time my friend Pat Maue was playing bass with me…and he came up with the riff here.
Long time Tampa legend Ronny Elliot came in to sing backups…joined for former Down By Law member Hunter Oswald. I thought for sure this was a legendary Tampa music moment but the press completely skipped it.
“World Won’t Do It”
The original demo for “World Won’t Do it” was a rock song…but one night while practicing with Pat we came up with this slow soul groove. The lyrics were about all the people in my life who were self-defeating and troubled. The song was very much a call to arms to them..and to myself.
The whole “get out of bed…open the front door” bit was fun to write. In my head I always pictured Ike Turner singing that section in his low baritone.
Recording the chorus of this song was great. So many of my friends were there and they were mostly all drunk. The mirth you hear is real!
This song was used as the grand finale of a Square One show at the Ritz Ybor. There was a confetti cannon and fancy gowns. A night and a performance to remember.
My friend Geoffrey Dicker writes a blog called According2G where he is pictured taking selfies with different celebrities around NYC. At one point Geoffrey wanted to branch out into songwriting. He sent me a batch of lyrics and the one that really stood out to me was “Manhunt”. Sure, the song is fun and dirty…but there’s a little bit of that melancholy for me to latch on to. Every gay man has lived this song.
“Manhunt” was original demoed around the time of 21st CENTURY LOVE SONGS but there was no way this chirpy song could have fit on that dirge. But it was perfect for THIS.
This song ended up getting used in the Logo-produced movie Eating Out 5: The Open Weekend.
“My Life Is Perfect”
After releasing THIS my life kind of spiraled. I lost my job of 15 years. I had some falling outs with some of my best friends because I wasn’t dealing with conflict properly. My apartment of 15 years was falling apart and in foreclosure. My life felt very shaky and uncertain and that was hard on me: I am the kind of person who thrives on stability and consistency.
As my own life crumbled the Occupy Wall Street moment was in full force. I remember signing on to Facebook and seeing this art kid in Tampa (Branden Hollywood) posting emphatically about the movement. I was so inspired by Branden’s posts that my year long writer’s block ended. At the end of the day…no matter how bad our lives may seem…are they really that bad?
“Force Of Nature (featuring Ashley Lash)”
Hair salon owner and stylist Scott Bentley puts on a yearly hair show in Tampa called AMF (Always Moving Forward). For one segment of the show each year he had a local act write, produce, and perform an original song that fits the theme.
For the 2012 show Scott approached me about collaborating with one of his friends Ashley Lash on a theme song for his show. I didn’t know Ashley really…but I was always game for a challenge.
Ashley lived in this beautiful big house way on the other side of the city. At the time my old clunker car had no heat…and our first writing session was at 11:30 pm. I remember driving there…freezing…and listening to Kate Bush’s recently released 50 WORDS FOR SNOW album.
After a little initial awkwardness Ashley and I got to business. We ended up writing this song in two sessions. What a perfect summation of not only Scott’s show…but my life at the time. And life in general. Hurricane…spin me around again.
“White Glint (featuring Digital Geist)”
I’ve known Digital Geist since the days I lived in Western New York. When he sent me a track earlier this year it was perfect for a poem I’d just written. When life is hard…follow the white glint.
I had a friend who was in a band. They were all so young, beautiful, and hopeful. When one of the band members killed himself I not only mourned for his death…but for the loss of dreams I saw in the eyes of his bandmates. When you are young you are supposed to dream big, have a huge ego, and enjoy the moment. Watching it all crumble broke my heart. Never take for granted your moments in the sun…clouds come so fucking fast sometimes.
I knew the second that this song was finished it was time for me to release a Greatest Hits album…and that this had to be the new track. Another era ends.
HURRICANE LULLABIES: THE BEST OF JEREMY GLOFF is available on iTunes, Amazon, CDBaby, and Bandcamp.