It’s Drew Time!

The Luck of the Humorist

By Drew Gallagher

Today is St. Patrick’s Day. A day to reflect on what it means to be Irish and to remember the nearly million killed in the great famine by ordering bacon cheese fries at lunch between pints of Guinness. Ireland has produced some of the greatest writers and musicians the world has ever known including some of the most famous one-named singers like Bono and Enya. 

Resident humorist Drew Gallagher pays tribute to the recent passing of Shane MacGowan, Sinead O’Connor, and Karl Wallinger by interviewing a songwriter of similar gifts. This is an FXBG Advance exclusive. 

INTERVIEWER DREW: Drew, before we get to the songwriting, I see that you are listed as “humorist” at the Advance. Say something funny.

SONGWRITER DREW: Interviewing myself as an excuse for a column seems pretty funny to me.

INTERVIEWER DREW: Perhaps, but some might see it as just sad and a lame reason for a column. And didn’t your friend Bill Glover gently imply that you need to make yourself less of the focal point of some of these columns? 

SONGWRITER DREW: I think it reflects an ability to avoid directly talking about myself in the third person which satisfies my New Year’s resolution of not talking about myself in the third person in 2024. Satisfying my New Year’s resolution is much more important than satisfying a Circuit Court Judge.

INTERVIEWER DREW: Even one that lets you drink his beer and borrow his books?

SONGWRITER DREW: I’m an artist now. I don’t have to think things through anymore. Inconsistencies in behavior make me mysterious. 

INTERVIEWER DREW: That or just an asshole. Regardless, tell us a little bit about the song. Who is recording it, and can we retire off the royalties?

SONGWRITER DREW: (Chuckles to himself.) Was a chuckle appropriate there?

INTERVIEWER DREW: It was in the script you handed me so it was not unexpected. Continue.

SONGWRITER DREW: The song kind of came out of my head fully formed really. Kind of like Athena.

INTERVIEWER DREW: The song by the Who? Are you comparing yourself to Pete Townshend? Not comparing yourself to Townshend seems like a better resolution than talking of yourself in the third person.

SONGWRITER DREW: No, Athena, like the goddess. I’m no Pete Townshend … yet.

INTERVIEWER DREW: Did it hurt to have something fully formed spring from your head? Sounds like it might hurt.

SONGWRITER DREW: I had kidney stones one time, and the ER nurse said they can be worse than giving birth. My wife, who has given birth twice and was in the room, intimated through a series of eye rolls and applied pressure to sensitive areas that I was not in nearly as much pain as she endured to bring our beautiful children into the world. So, when the song sprung from my head, fully formed, it hurt less than childbirth as all things must.

INTERVIEWER DREW: So tell us a little bit about the song. What was your inspiration? Is it like “Lola” by the Kinks?

SONGWRITER DREW: I can’t tell you what the song is about or the inspiration because it is still being recorded under a veil of secrecy. But I can tell you it’s not about a cross-dresser. It’s really hard to rhyme Lola and Larry just doesn’t work.

INTERVIEWER DREW: So you think Lola was a man dressed as a woman?

SONGWRITER DREW: (Looking down at the prepared list of questions.) That’s not the next question.

INTERVIEWER DREW: Sorry, you can’t tell us more about the song because you’re furthering your image as an ever-tortured artist? 

SONGWRITER DREW: No, truthfully, I can’t remember what the song is about. My cousin Shawn is a talented musician. You may have actually heard his song “Cindy Smiles” if you lived within 15 miles of a Lancaster, Pennsylvania, radio station in the late 1980s. Anyway, he was writing songs for his new band, Salt Hill, and looking for lyrics, so he sent me an email and asked if I had any lyrics or song ideas so I sent him a song. I’ll be very excited to hear it when it comes out on CD.

INTERVIEWER DREW: Do you still have a CD player?

SONGWRITER DREW: I have a five-disc changer in my office.

INTERVIEWER DREW: What’s playing right now?

SONGWRITER DREW: “London Calling” by The Clash.

INTERVIEWER DREW: It doesn’t sound like The Clash.

SONGWRITER DREW: It is.

INTERVIEWER DREW: I can hear it! And pretty sure Joe Strummer never sang about Brandy and that his life, his love, and his lady are the sea.

SONGWRITER DREW: It’s a rare B-side.

INTERVIEWER DREW: Tell me a little bit about the band behind the music, and for now, we’re going to ignore that you were listening to “Brandy” by Looking Glass. 

SONGWRITER DREW: The band, fronted by Shawn, is Salt Hill. They were recently nominated for Best Celtic Band of Central Pennsylvania. They are quite good, so I have every hope that the song I can’t remember is really good in their talented hands.

INTERVIEWER DREW: Do you have any prior experience in music or songwriting?

SONGWRITER DREW: I played violin for nine years and was the youngest violinist to ever play with the Reading Symphony Orchestra.

INTERVIEWER DREW: Wow, that had to be exciting!

SONGWRITER DREW: I’m sure it was, but I think I was three or four so I don’t really remember much except I was wearing brown corduroys and had to poop. I was hoping that if I did poop it would kind of blend in with the color of my pants and we, as an orchestra, would soldier through Beethoven’s Number 4 concerto with no one the wiser.

INTERVIEWER DREW: So why did you give up the violin? Did you find the instrument no longer artistically challenging?

SONGWRITER DREW: Mostly I quit because I did not enjoy practicing and was not very talented. When I was three or four and playing with a symphony orchestra, I was still cute and, as long as I didn’t poop myself, there was a level of forgiveness for my sometimes out of sync bowing and lazy finger work. As I got older and less cute, my lack of willingness to practice magnified the fact that I was not innately gifted to play the violin. That and when I’d get off the elementary school bus with my violin and case, Mike Capilo and Tom Holland would make fun of me and chase me around and then beat me up with the violin case. I figured without the violin case I’d be made fun of less and I’d be able to run faster. It worked out for the most part, and I’m comfortable with that decision.

INTERVIEWER DREW: So when can we expect the album and the new song? And can we retire?

SONGWRITER DREW: I have no idea about the album’s release date, but I know Salt Hill is in the recording studio working on it. I also know that we can’t retire.

INTERVIEWER DREW: Dammit! So we’ve written a song that will make us as much as being an unpaid humorist?

SONGWRITER DREW: I don’t practice my art for money. The legacy of having a song that I wrote the lyrics to will be payment enough. In CD form no less.

INTERVIEWER DREW: You do understand that kind of CD is different from the one that pays 5% interest annually, right?

SONGWRITER DREW: Shoot, really?

INTERVIEWER DREW: How would you like to wrap up this St. Patrick’s Day interview? You have a Yeats or Joyce quote that would fill nicely here?

SONGWRITER DREW: Have a good time…all the time. That is my philosophy, Marty.

INTERVIEWER DREW: That’s not Irish! That’s Spinal Tap.