Bald is a song that is contemporary with Bright Yellow Can, because I remember performing both of them in an open mic night at a coffee house in Jackson Hole in the summer of 1996, along with The Ballad of Stallion Cornell. It was probably written sometime before Bright Yellow Can, if I really think about it. I think that was the first time I altered the “Ballad of SC” lyrics, because there was an overweight friend of mine who was listening, so I had to soften the blow.
I know I didn’t soften the blow on Bald, though, because a local singer/songwriter took offense to the performance, he not having any hair himself. That was ironic, because he then performed a song called “My Town,” which decried the fact that all the “groovy people” in Jackson were being run out on a rail by the Mormons. I haven’t been back to Jackson in over a decade, but the last time I was there, the tension between the Mos and the NoMos was pretty heated, which never fails to surprise me. It was Salt Lake City in microcosm. People outside of Utah think of Salt Lake as the Mormon Mecca, filled with nothing but Tea Party teetotalers. There is that element to the city, of course, but there’s also an equal and opposite reaction. SLC city government is run by wild-eyed liberals, and the backlash against the church is as fervent as the zealousness of the Mormons.
The only thing the two sides can come together on is love for the Utah Jazz.
None of this, of course, has anything to do with Bald, and I’m probably stalling for time here, because I don’t have anything to say about this song, really. I can’t remember writing it, and I had never recorded it until late last night. I think I came up with it while I was trying to pluck out the melody for “Dust in the Wind,” and you can see the influence right away on the first listen. (Overall, I don’t like the song “Dust in the Wind” with it nihilistic faux profundity, but the guitar work is lovely.)
The song mocks bald people, although it’s very tongue in cheek. I’ve always loved the line “No one’s going to like you if you lose your hair,” because it’s so ridiculous on its face.
It’s not a bad song, really, and I perform it live and get a great response. I don’t know why I’ve never bothered to record it. It just doesn’t grab me, I guess. It’s written along the same pattern as Color Your Dreams and The Ballad of Stallion Cornell – three stories, on per each verse, and a throwaway bridge. The whole song feels like a throwaway to me, actually. I also think the verse about the cat is way too labored – The line “Yesterday, Kitty combusted” is a tortured meter and it embarrasses me every time I sing it.
So, with that glowing recommendation…