Sheep (One Of Those Days) is track 7 from my record, Grope. It’s a bouncy, fun singalong, with simple lyrics and a big gang vocal to round things out.

 

I wrote One Of Those Days in 1996 as part of the second tranche of songs for Grope. Up to that point, we’d largely been playing songs that I’d written before the band formed, so One Of Those Days and its siblings were more representative of the muse at the time.

It’s a very simple song – really just two sets of chords that are only slightly different – and, as with all my playing during the broken hands days, they’re barre chords without the barre. While this was a reality of the pain of playing, in a three-piece it really helped to fill out the spectrum, and I still use many open-drone strings to this day.

We actually only played One Of Those Days a couple of times before the band morphed into its next generation in 1997 and, at those gigs, it was listed on the set list as SHEEP, simply because we sang a lot of Ba-ba-baaa and had been joking about it at practice

[it also takes up less real estate on the set list!]

Of all the songs on Grope, Sheep is the one that wasn’t captured in my muscle memory – in fact, up until the session that triggered the project, I could never remember those droning chords, I had a vague recollection of the positions, but nothing more than that. When my Strat gave me them back, I felt huge relief, as I always had a sense of how much fun the song could be.

And it is.

Lyrically, this song is all about how freely others offer opinions, and in turn seek to control us, and that we make a choice to either bend to their will or walk our own path. When we make that compromise, it never really leaves our conscious mind, no matter how much we bury it.

Have you ever had one of those days
the smile seems nailed to your face
and everything aches
with the effort it takes

Have you ever had one of those times
you feel like you’re learning your lines
’cause time after time
you tell them you’re fine

At the time the song was written, I was very much consciously bending to meet others’ expectations. In recording the song now, I found myself finally free of that choice. And the more I thought about it, the more the word Sheep played on my mind.

So, the title shifted, and I added the little stab, “Don’t be a sheep!”, into the gang vocals. I also tweaked a lyric in the third verse:

They’re telling you what to say
They’re telling you what songs to play
And they’re telling you
not to sing them your own way

A little nod to where I still bump into unrequested opinions, and where I still offer a hearty f**k you!

Ultimately, Sheep is a song of personal choice and freedom, and my original cut featured a many-track gang vocal with me singing each line. I reached out to friends and was blessed with a many-track stem from Isabelle and Mark of Combine The Victorious, as well as several vocal lines from Anne Castellano and Tony Castellano of my lead guitar gig: Anne Castellano & The Smoke. Finally, if you listen closely, you can hear our daughters, Elise and Kyra, adding their voices con mucho gusto!

I’m really looking forward to working Sheep up for live performance, and egging the audience to join in the end. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy Sheep (One Of Those Days). And remember…

DON’T BE A SHEEP!

 

Love-peace-trust

Vince Sig 131x89