Paul Gilbert shares video for “Things Can Walk To You”
Yes! I am building a tradition of cantankerous rock songs. “Get Out of My Yard,” “Everybody Use Your Goddamn Turn Signal,” “Enemies in Jail,” and “Atmosphere on the Moon” (a song about moving to the moon to escape from auto-tuned music on Earth) are melodious rants from my past albums.
“Things Can Walk to You” is the closing track on my new album “Behold Electric Guitar,” and although it is performed as an instrumental, the melody is based on my most recent cantankerous lyrics.
Let me tell you the story.
One of my goals in moving to Portland was to live in a neighborhood where I could “walk to things.” I looked forward to getting daily exercise by walking to local restaurants and shops, and getting some fresh outdoor air. I found a website called “Walk Score,” which rated the walkability of any address, and the area where I moved was rated high, and seemed perfect.
It turns out that walkability not only attracts exercising musicians, but also attracts homeless people with their shopping carts, brimming with garbage, and leaving a trail of hypodermic needles.
This led me to comment to a friend, “When you can walk to things… Things can walk to YOU.”
So when you listen to my friendly slide guitar melody, if you want to add a dimension of cantankerous thought, you can hum along with my first verse:
Well, I bought my house for the high Walk Score
There’s a café, and a pizza, and a grocery store
What I didn’t realize
But I’m finding out is true
When you can walk to things
Well, things can walk to you
Yes, yes. I know that it’s callous to call anyone a “thing.” (Even when they steal your license plates, and smash your car window to steal your son’s backpack.) I’m sure everyone has a story. And not everyone has the good fortune to be able to turn their story into a song. I certainly appreciate my station in life.
So I used the power of music to transform a callous rant into a soulful slide guitar melody, and guitar solo that builds and builds until it earns its place as the closing musical statement on my album.
Some of my other cantankerous songs offer not only a problem, but also a solution.
Problem: People don’t use their turn signals.
Solution: Everybody use your goddamn turn signal.
Problem: Auto-tuned music is annoying to me.
Solution: Terraform the moon, so I can move there, and get away from auto-tuned music.
“Things Can Walk to You” offers no solution, because I don’t have one. For those who are struggling, I wish I had the answer. If I could help homeless people by showing them how to play patterns with the major and minor blues scales, then I think I could do some good. But I suspect they need help in other areas.
So in the meantime, I guess we’ll all keep walking, and breathing the fresh air. And if it’s blues scales you need. I’m here.