Select Page

Chapter 27: Carousel. This is the beginning of a campaign that I started thinking about back in 2020. Left with my creative devices at the time, I wanted to tell my story through song and experiences that also reminded me of where I came from. So like a biography through music I came up with Chapters. Each representing a song i have written in the order upon it was conceived. All the images are from where i grew up. The street i grew up on, the beach i would go to, the high school of high schools and neighborhoods we rode through. ‘Carousel’ is the second installment of a chapter a month. The Chapter’s songs are either alternative versions of already released music or new tunes. So this is my story.

This was my first attempt as a songwriter to pen something to someone else’s story. It was a high school coming of age autobiography written by the same two friends who put together ‘A Poor Kids Guide to Success’. They grew up in Lawrence Harbor New Jersey. Finding their way through a lesser known town and piecing together ways to make their way out. Michael Maerd is the main character and it follows him through the real life personal experiences of trials and tribulations with him and his cohorts.

This was the first time i had ever taken a stab at something like this. It was the classic boy meets girl, boy doesn’t think he can get girl, then gets girl before boy leaves town type of situation. Very 1980’s john hughes style which played right into my writing pocket. I was heavy into the Dave Matthews style of playing at the time which is what led me to the chorus. Using his open chord technique, I was able to put together a cool little progression. I built the rest of the tune from there.

Once I was able to put some of the verse lines together then came the lyrics. I had most of the melodies, then i really sunk into the script to feel what this Maerd character was feeling in that moment. He was coming from a ‘have not’ part of town and trying to connect to a ‘haves’ kind of girl. Figuring out how to get the better of life instead of the other way around. Getting knocked down and only knowing how to get back up. Once he smelled a sliver of hope he grabbed on to all of it and never lets go.

I recorded the demo on GarageBand in the closet of my friends house. Closets aren’t bad spots with the natural sound proofing and all. Then came the most nerve racking part of the process. I needed to perform it in front of my 3 pals The ones who lived it. The ones who made it out. Who wrote about it. Wearing their story on their sleeve. ‘Who am i to write something about their life’ i thought. We sat by their pool at the Wooster house and i still remember it like it was yesterday. As a performer you can tell how the vibe is going. You can also tell when it doesn’t matter. When you yourself are completely vibing with what you created and no one else can take that away from you. I felt both. I was proud of what i came up with and sang it that way unapologetically.

The script ‘L.H.R.O.’, Lawrence Harbor Rats Organization, never ended up getting made. It did lead the boys to putting together their second which was made into an indie film. ‘A Poor Kids Guide to Success’. As for L.H.R.O., it lives in a place that one can always go back to. Nothing more do i love than a great high school John Hughes type movie. Maybe it’s the 80s kid in me. Maybe it’s about the hope, struggles, dichotomies of good and evil. I think it could be summoned up in one word though. Just write down Maerd and stand in front of a mirror. If you have one of ‘those’ even a carousel couldn’t stop you.

This is the alternative version of Carousel recorded by Jeff Trott and released on Foregone Conclusion.

Chapter 27 in my book of chapters. Im on this carousel…with you.