How does a book with the subtitle “Europe, Baghdad, and the Empires of A.D. 800” sound to you? Dry and textbookish? You would certainly think that but you couldn’t be more wrong. Becoming Charlemagne by Jeff Sypeck is anything but a dry, old textbook. I have read this book three times now and will probably read it multiple more times in the future. It’s that interesting and that good of a book.
Beginning with the coronation of Karl as the Holy Roman Emperor before going back in time to tell the story of how…
The story of wendy m.
It was shortly after Prince passed away that Alberto Venezuela emailed me. He told me we should get together and start working on music like the old days. It had been years since my school buddy and I had been in touch but just as quickly he disappeared. I’m used to Alberto disappearing- he comes and goes, but a few years later I got another email from him. “How about a song about our mutual crushes on Wendy Melvoin?” I could tell he was excited about it and it sounded like fun to me. The idea was planted and we ran with it- sending each other musical and lyrical ideas. “How about some sort of long version?” I asked. “Absolutely!” Alberto said and then came up with the creepy conversation between the lovestruck fan and his crush on the full length version.
The song Wendy M was taking shape and we needed a b-side (both of us firmly believing that every single needs one) and Alberto suggested an old song we’d written together in the grips of a Wendy and Lisa obsession circa 1990- Celery and Cheese. The only copy I had was on an old reel to reel tape but neither of us had a tape machine- I did; however, have the original lyrics and Alberto never forgets a chord change so we were in luck.
We recorded both songs in my upstairs studio, taking turns playing the different part. Whoever’s take was deemed best was what we kept. The lead guitar on Wendy M being a mix of each others playing. “Your purple roots are showing.” Alberto laughed, but when tracking was done so was he. “I’ll leave it with you.” he said and was gone again. I took the tracks to Leon Racicot for mixing and then the pandemic happened, the momentum stopped and I had to wait for things to reopen. A couple hiccups later we finally got them done: two songs inspired by Wendy, Lisa and Prince.