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Guest Column – Kitchen Sink Musical Dramas: Danny Goffey on writing comedy songs about his kids

Guest Column – Kitchen Sink Musical Dramas: Danny Goffey on writing comedy songs about his kids
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Having recently released his debut album Take Your Jacket Off And Get Into It earlier this month with his new band Vangoffey, Supergrass man Danny Goffey ponders the perplexities of the comedy song.

So this is how it goes… I’m a father. Nearly always have been. We have four of the buggers on our hands! But after spending almost all of my song writing years as a dad, I’ve always found it a little inappropriate or off-limits to write about the family or our experiences together. People don’t want to hear about warm milk, homework or last reminder bills, do they? Not when there is sex, drugs and R&R on offer instead.

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But as I’ve gotten older and have started reeling in my more hedonistic yoofull days, I’ve started to explore the real life comedy and tragedy that comes with a modern day family… and there’s a lot of material. Although I dearly love them all, family life has its ups and downs and runarounds. In the words of my good friend (not really) Ronan Keating: “Life is a roller coaster, you just gotta ride it”. Alright?

I’ve noticed when watching stand-up comedians that their repertoires often contain a lot of material about their kids, partners and elderly parents. They’re always going on about it. This is because they can share their family absurdities and irregularities with the audience and we all can relate to the humour. So why doesn’t this happen in the current music I listen to on my DAB kitchen radio?

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I don’t hear much, if any, comedic observation in more recent pop music. Is it THAT uncool? Ian Dury, Morrisey, Edwyn Collins, Shaun Ryder, Jarvis… they all mixed up humour and kitchen sink dramas and wrapped it up into a great musical classic. Where are these types of songwriters now? I miss them.

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In my album Take Your Jacket Off And Get Into It (out now at a reasonable price… ahem) I felt a need to write about my own family experiences and the madness of modern living. I wanted it to be real, and in reality it’s often hard to make the time to write and produce songs. It’s all go during the day and then I’m too knackered to stay up all night writing and demoing. So when I get a chance, I record my ideas as they come, on the iPhone recorder app – sad but true. These strummings and musings are more often than not interrupted and ruined by a door crashing open and a child shouting, “Oi… what’s for tea?” or “Dad… I need money for the bus”. I’ve even had my youngest, Betty, screaming “Oh shut up, that song is soooo annoying!” I wouldn’t say that’s bullying, but she can be a bit critically harsh.

What can you do but revel in these imperfections? Late night pick-ups of my drunken teenage children and the subsequent nonsense conversations. Separating all the recycling and then forgetting to put it out on a Sunday night. Oh shit… the dog’s had puppies! It’s all good fodder.

Rather than avoiding these strange and unexceptional moments in life, shouldn’t our songwriters embrace the Great British kitchen sink musical dramas and save the charts from pretentious tosh?! Bye bye x

Danny Goffey@dannygoffey

For more head to Vangoffey.com, plus listen to our backstage Vangoffey interview below.


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