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Author Topic: Story of an Artist Cover by M. Ward  (Read 19832 times)
jeffmichaud
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« on: November 26, 2006, 03:37:15 AM »

Hey all. I don't know if this has been discussed somewhere before, but I wanted to share a message I just sent to M. Ward on his myspace page. I've been beyond annoyed ever since I realized that his cover of "Story of an Artist" is missing half of the last verse of the song. I don't know what I hoped to accomplish, but finally felt closure with it by hitting send. Not much can be done now, but come on. If you're going to cover something, LEARN THE WORDS! (Maybe I don't quite have the closure yet, but we're working on it in therapy  rolleyes). Anyhooo, here's what I wrote to him.

"Hello, I'm a fan of Daniel Johnston's music, and was thrilled when a bunch of great artists were put together on his Discovered/Covered album to cover his songs. You're someone I enjoy very much, and clearly very talented. You can imagine how disappointed I was when I realized your cover of "Story of an Artist" is absent of half of the last verse  before the final refrain. How the hell does a "professional" musician come to a studio to cover a song, and not know all the words? The whole verse leads up to a brilliant punchline in the song, which you completely left out. The verse before the final refrain is void of the second part: "The best things in life are truly free. Singing birds and laughing bees. You've got me wrong says he. The sun don't shine in your T.V.". What an enormous dissappointment that such a brilliant song could be handed over to such a careless moron who couldn't be bothered to learn all the words. I'm erasing "Post-War" from my iPod, and telling anyone who ever mentions your name that  you are dead to me for f@#&ing up one of this generations most brilliant song writer's songs.
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Henry Long
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« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2006, 09:05:40 AM »

Wow! The power of "send" as therapy indeed! I hear you though, jeffmichaud. It's little (or big) slip-ups, omissions and downright laziness like that which can really irritate a fan. (See my diatribe on all the typos and misspellings in the liner notes for "Discovered/Covered"!)

Perhaps M. Ward was expressing "artistic license." I can accept that. I don't have to like it, but it happens from time to time, and should be expected to. But you are right. A missing line is a missing line. Let us know if you hear anything back , or if you get a brick through your window with "You've got me wrong says he. The sun don't shine in your T.V." scrawled on it.

PS: It cracked me up that you called M. Ward a "careless moron." Daniel Johnston fans are protective, if anything!
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jeffmichaud
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« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2006, 10:16:45 PM »

Yeah Henry,
I of course considered the artistic license they all have, but considering these specific circumstances, it's more likely that he's just a moron wink. I only say that because the whole verse is setting up that zinger at the end that was left out; ya know? I think accepting that it's his "artistic license" is being too generous. The latter is more likely.
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Dr. Fingers
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« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2006, 04:33:58 AM »

Oh man, seriously, the guy just wanted to cover the song and did it how he wanted and what he felt comfortable and enjoyed singing. It's kind of hard, given Daniel Johnston's history, to criticise other musicians for being 'careless'.

Also the idea of him just forgetting the lyrics is rediculous. you don't sit down and record a song in one go and not get a second chance. If he forgot the lyrics, he'd go find out the ones he forgot. His leaving it out would be intentional because to him the song meant something else, or didn't need those lyrics. In the liner notes for the CD he says he chose the song because it says the most with the least words. He could've left out the last lines as it doesn't change the meaning of the song, it's easy enough to judge from the other lines how the artist feels in the last two.

And erasing his other music because you don't like him leaving out two lines? That's just silly.
I mean hell, if you don't like the song, don't listen to it and listen to the original. Don't send the man abusive messages just because you would've done it differently.
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jeffmichaud
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« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2006, 08:24:12 PM »

Fairly obvious observations, I guess.  You are assuming a lot here, Dr.  None of these generous assumptions really warrant detailed rebutiles; suffice to say I heartily disagree with you point for point.  But, I can respect you coming to his defense. I will say this, though. If he in fact left these lyrics out intentionally (as you generously assume), then he's not in fact a careless moron. He's a total moron.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2006, 08:24:42 PM by jeffmichaud » Logged
Dr. Fingers
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« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2006, 01:33:31 AM »

I'm just saying, maybe he got something slightly different out of the song and so didn't feel those lyrics necercerry or whatever. If it's the case, don't listen to the song, but it doesn't change him or his other music, they're all independant things.
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King Weasel
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« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2006, 09:19:01 PM »

whats the link for his myspace i cant find it?
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« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2006, 02:44:05 AM »

He's a total moron.

Warning: Do NOT listen to P doing "I Save Cigarette Butts" on their Capitol Records album without taking a tranquilizer first. They leave out a LOT more than a couple of lines, and I don't know if you'll make it through alive.

  - notdan

(Actually, my old band Buster and the Crabs recorded a version of "Never Before Never Again" that's missing the last verse - I think it was because we did it as part of a medley and the overall thing seemed too long with all the verses.)
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jeffmichaud
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« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2006, 07:28:54 PM »

Quote
whats the link for his myspace i cant find it?

Oh, please go find it. It would fill me with joy if more people than just me told him, and one day at a show he was just like, "This next one was written by Daniel Johnston, and when I did it on his tribute album I totally messed it up, and I'm so so sorry for being a careless moron. I'm not a total moron, I didn't do it on purpose, just a careless moron" And then I'd somehow hear about this testimonial and, well, I don't know. The world would be right again (sort of)

Anyhoo. I just checked off "My Space" in the search menu options, and typed M. Ward. A bunch of sites that mention him show up, but his actual page is right on top. I'm pretty sure that's all I did. Then I clicked on "send message" and wrote out what I posted above. The message subject was "YOU SCREWED UP 'STORY OF AN ARTIST'!!!!!".  Oh yeah, he got the message. He's relistening to it right now in horror. Horror I tell you. His moroness has been exposed and he'll never have another goodnight sleep until he gets up on stage and admits he has a problem. Or, he could come on this forum and come clean about it. I'd forgive him, and put "Post-War" back on my iPod if he did that.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2006, 07:31:40 PM by jeffmichaud » Logged
Henry Long
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« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2006, 12:15:11 PM »

I've thought about this for a bit, and I've come to the conclusion that Daniel most likely doesn't care about the accuracy of M. Ward's version of "Story of an Artist."

"Discovered Covered" is a really great collection of songs, after all is said and done, and the originals are all included and have never sounded better. If Daniel doesn't give a crap, then I don't either.

I've heard Daniel cover other artist's work as well, even mistakenly giving credit to The Beatles when in fact it is a Wings song ("Live and Let Die" from the GREAT "Live in Vienna" bootleg), not to mention his appropriations of The Police, Bruce Springsteen, Buddy Holly, etc. He doesn't remain true to their original versions, and certainly makes their songs his own in every way.

The Muse has the final say. Whatever she demands of the Artist is fair trade, as far as I'm concerned.

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jeffmichaud
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« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2006, 08:37:51 PM »

That's very insightful Henry Long. Very valid points to consider. I too have been know to miss lyrics entirely when on stage, and I've seen some of the most road worn veterans do it too. I'm having a hard time forgiving a studio version is what I'm saying. I've seen Jerry Garcia mess up songs that he wrote himself while onstage. But, this was a studio cut for a digitally mastered song. Apples and Oranges, Henry Long, Apples and Oranges.

JFTR, I'm personally making the biggest deal possible out of it with tongue-in-cheek.  Of course it's not a crime against humanity. I'm just pointing out something that was probally so subtle that it flew right under the radar of everyone involved in the recording evil.
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jjealit
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« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2007, 01:24:39 AM »

i saw m. ward last week in chicago and he performed story of an artist with all the lyrics,  first he showed a video he made for "to go home"  which showed a photo of daniel and then a picture of the "the what of whom" cassette-- pretty awesome
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Henry Long
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« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2007, 07:28:39 AM »

Did he happen to say anything concerning Daniel? How was the rest of the show?
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D. Sulpy
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« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2007, 08:02:42 AM »

Good point, Henry.

If M. Ward's a "moron" for leaving a couple of lines out of a song, what does that make Daniel for what HE did to "Live and Let Die" (or, even worse, "Baby Let Me Be").
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Billy Castillo
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« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2007, 07:03:13 PM »

I'll keep all of this in mind when I put my cover of Funeral Home up on my site!  grin
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