When I Build My Boat

When I Build My Boat.  The song took me forever to write.  Some songs come quickly-fairly and some medium-quickly, but not this one.  I got a glimpse of it when I lived in Liberia, Costa Rica in 1989.  I was in such a headspace then that it couldn’t help but be inspired.  I wanted to write something like Bruce Cockburn’s ‘Wondering Where The Lions Are’; especially with that kind of finger picking…and it began.  Much more came a year later in my first few years in Ibaraki, especially the lyrics and then demo after demo after demo. I was never satisfied.  I wanted a MASTERPIECE.  I created way too much work for myself as I envisioned myself to play guitar parts beyond my capability, wanted the lyrics to be perfect, and expected the mixed results to sound 10/10 while I twiddled on my Yamaha 4 track cassette recorder. (Trivia:  I changed a second guitar part after hearing Nagabuchi Tsuyoshi’s song ‘JEEP’ while shopping at a video rental store in Ishioka; I stole the style and panned it hard right).  I was dismayed when a friend, after playing him an early demo in my cassette player in my Honda Today (yes I had a Honda Today) asked, ‘how many times are you going to repeat ‘when I build my boat’?  I cut about a minute of it out, then kicked him out…I continued to fudge with it throughout the 90’s, then finally put the song to rest on my album, BANG!  Jerry, the guy who mixed the album in Toronto, plays a nice heavy bass and also convinced me to play Congos on it.  Most recently, another friend who knew me back in the Ibaraki days (now in Vancouver) commented ‘you can’t say “friendly natives” anymore.  You better change it.’  Maybe this song is destined to never be finished….just like building a boat? …(yes, the tin drums at the end are my favorite part now)

Leave a comment