(I stole this idea to Momus)
(But now it's mine)
This was written in 1997. Now things have become a bit more professionnal.
Take your acoustic guitar or your electric guitar unplugged (too lazy to switch the amp on). If it's slightly untuned, don't try to tune it at ear: it'll be worse... If it's really untuned, use your computer guitar tuner soft, because you lost your 3rd guitar tuner last time you rehearsed with Mumbly. Play it... Play whatever (easy) chord that comes to your mind... If, at a moment, you think that 2, 3 or 4 chords suit well together, keep them. Then try to find other chords for the bridge or chorus -some of these chords maybe the same... If you can't find any: maybe 4 chords in loop can sound great (play these chords during 3 minutes to see if it's not too boring)... Or you can leave your guitar, & come back later with your bass to try to find some other notes... At this time, you should have an idea for a vocal tune in mind. Don't sing it loud, because you really can't sing... Just try to remember the tune... Should be simple yet effective -as the guitar chords!-.
Maybe you wrote some last time in the subway, maybe they would be ok for this song.. You can pick some lines in a Felt song if you like. Take your time to write them, they must come by themselves, & it mustn't take more than 40 mn to write them. 3 or 4 verses will be enough, noone read long lyrics, they're boring (anyway, no one reads lyrics -too bad-). Once you've written them on a small sheet of paper, leave it for a couple of days... Next time you want to read them, it'll take 20 minutes to find them on your stormy desk.. Maybe you'll like them (then type then on your PC, but keep the sheet as a relic, you'll be happy to read it again in 5 years), maybe you won't like them (if yes, you may send them into the bin).
Try to find a simple but good drum beat on your computer, using a sequencer & some sampled drums sounds. If the song must sound very pop (but it always has to anyway), you will sometimes write a "true" rhythm, with kitsch drums rolls, crash hits, etc. When you just don't know how the song will sound like, if there will be a farfisa or a guitar solo or nothing at all at the end, or if you have not written the lyrics yet, just make a drum loop that last 4 minutes or more (when the song isn't very fast): most of watoo watoo songs last between 2 & 3 minutes, so you can fade out at the end. Sometimes use no drums because there's no need. If the rhythm guitar part is easy (no difficult chords changes), record it with a good sound: a lot of treble, a bit of bass, a bit of boss chorus -it must be clear, sharp, but soft-. If it's difficult, record it fast -a friend of yours will play the guitar for you-. Then record the bass -there is only ONE (ok, two) good bass sound in the world: the one I get with my Fender 1969 Jazz Bass (round, rich & lush, but strong). Recording the bass will be the easiest thing. You can record guitar patterns & solo (on one string, sometimes two -make them sound like the Feelies or Galaxy 500, they're easy to imitate; try to make them melodic) before or after the bass. You can add Farfisa (or now Korg synth) at the end to make nice harmonies, to keep the chord on two notes, or even for simple solos or patterns. Use the "punch in" function on your 8 tracks, because you're unable to play the keyboard correctly. Never play with your both hands: you can't; if needed record left hand on a track, right hand on another one (it'll be in stereo, & you can change the volume when mixing). Then go & see or call a friend guitarist (if not already done) who'll eventually play the rhythm guitar (tell him how he must play it) & most often some arpeggios (let him do what he wants, but control anyway). You'll use the guitar sound you want. All these things should take between 3 & 7 hours, never more. Remember that at this time, the song has never been sung. Let your wife know a couple of weeks before you want to record that she'll soon have to sing. She'll say "I'm tired", "I have a cold", "I don't like your songs"...Never mind, ask again. Do the vacuum-cleaner, clean the house before recording: it'll make her happy, so it'll be easier to record. The day when she sings, she'll surely have a cold -never mind-. Try to record 2 or 3 songs in the same evening/morning, not to lose too much time. She'll surely throw the headphones on the ground when you ask her to repeat verse 2 because she is out of tune, or because you forgot to push the record button. Maybe you'll have to make her a tea.