“Groping for the Perfect Song” is one of two numbers written for the Fashion Jungle that explore songwriting angst, although this is less about staring at the blank page and more about circumstances and motivations.
“Groping,” finished in 1982, and 1983’s “Nothing to Say” were responses to the FJ’s early emphasis on original material. The quality of our songwriting was such that we wanted recognition for it — but there were never enough original tunes. Writing a song about insecurity about songwriting (twice, no less) isn’t high inspiration, but at least it was honest.
And, as those swingin’ teens on American Bandstand used to say, “Groping” has a good beat and you can dance to it.
This concert recording, direct from the soundboard, is rough but I like it. On stage is the longest-lasting FJ lineup: drummer Ken Reynolds and bassist Steve Chapman, along with me singing and abusing the Stratocaster. (Keyboardist Kathren Torraca also performed with us during this show, but not on “Groping.”)
The concert took place in a rambling brick pile in Portland, Maine, that has seen nightspots and eateries come and go. (I personally performed at four of them, at least.) Located at the corner of Market and Middle streets, it housed the Rathskellar in the late 1970s, Ruby Begonia’s in the 1980s, and the Big Easy in the ’90s.
And as I recall, the nightclub It’s Magic had just gone belly up there in 1983 when some promoter dreamed up an April Fool’s Day show featuring local and regional punk–New Wave bands. We were one of three or four acts booked, with headliners possibly including Boston’s famed Neighborhoods (or was it Lou Miami & The Kozmetix? Or Pastiche?).
Hear “Groping for the Perfect Song” below! Buy it on Bandcamp! (Below, the Fashion Jungle in action in 1982: Doug Hubley, Ken Reynolds and Steve Chapman. Photo by Jeff Stanton. Above: songwriting setup, Maine Idyll, 2017. Photo by Doug Hubley. “Groping for the Perfect Song” copyright © 1983 by Douglas L. Hubley. All rights reserved. )