What’s It To Ya!

Here is the Spotify link.

I don’t normally start of songs with riffs in major keys. But this one felt good to go from the D major chord to the A major chord to the G major chord in the Chorus. The song also moves between the D Major mode in the Chorus and the B minor mode in the Verses.  

And although the songs sound nothing alike, if you look at the theory behind one of my favourite tunes, “Crazy Train” from Randy Rhoads/Ozzy Osbourne, you will notice how “Crazy Train” moves between the F#m mode in the Intro to the A major mode in the verses and Chorus.

September 20,2013 was when this song began.

The title of the song came about from reading an article on peer to peer downloading circa 2011 and how at the time, there was a generation of kids who never new that music was something you paid for. For example, kids who were 5 or under in 1999 when Napster hit, are 17 in 2011 and all they would have known is how to use technology. And the rebellious attitude of the article connected with me, so I wrote the lines, “What’s it to you if I surf the net all day?, What’s it to you if I download and not pay?”. At the time, my kids were also listening to Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock” and the rebellious message in both of those songs proved to be inspirational.

So as I kept writing different variations of what’s it to you, the song just kept on growing.

What’s it to you if I like my music loud?
What’s it to you if I live my life proud?
This is my life, you don’t own me
So what’s it to you if I choose what I want to be

What’s it to you if I break from routine?
What’s it to you if I don’t say where I’ve been?
This is my life, you don’t own me
So what’s it to you if I choose what I want to be

There is always someone wanting to control others. Parents control the kids when they are little, moulding and tweaking them. Some to the point of breaking them. Some to the point of guiding them and some to control them, even in their older years. Then the task is shared by teachers and parents and as we grow older, the institutions of law and business come into play.

If you come from a background rooted in religion, you are also controlled by your beliefs. If you find a partner, they could be a more domineering partner in the relationship or their moral compass and beliefs could wash over you. If you have a big group of friends, there is always someone in the group who sees themselves as the leader. Overseeing it all, is the control the Government (backed by the cash of the corporations) has over society

Who are you to look down on me?
Who made you God today?
These games that you play
I’m not gonna stand for it no more

The “you” in this could be people or governments or institutions. Society in general is divided between classes. We are all guilty of the judgement of others.

Who are you to judge what I do?
A puppet i cannot see
A faceless monolith
That wants to control who I want to be

There are so many things happening “in the name of”. The record labels and the publishers tell the world that everything they do is for the “artists”, which is a load of BS. If your into religion, everything you do is in the name of the god you believe in. Activists do it in the name of the future and corporations do it in the name of progress but really it’s about their profits. In the end, everyone who wants to control is faceless. We don’t know who they are, but they hide behind the walls of greed.

And I don’t like
Not one little bit

What’s it to you if I’m not at work on time?
And what’s it to you if I don’t like to wait in line?
This is my life, you don’t own me
So what’s it to you if I choose what I want to be

In this day and age, there are still people who need to work a regimented block of hours when hundreds of research papers are out stating the benefits of flexibility in the work force and what not. And when I travel, the sense of queueing in a line to be served doesn’t exist in other countries, which is okay, but a bit of a shock when you first experience it, and then you become part of the non-queuers.

What’s it to you if I surf the net all day?
What’s it to you if I download and not pay
This is my life, you don’t own me
So what’s it to you if I choose what I want to be

I have no issue if people download content and don’t pay. It spreads the message of the creator to audiences and if they like it, they will eventually become a fan and purchase something. But what I have an issue with is how the Record Labels, the movie studios and their associations use the Police, to go after people who download and share content, like they are drug dealers and murderers. There are people doing jail time for copyright crimes which is longer in length than murderers.

By the way, how is the war on drugs going. This war started in the late 60’s and 50 years later, there are more drugs on our streets than ever before.

I try so hard to please you all
So what am i doing here
A life filled with fear
I’m not gonna stand for it no more

The “all” is pretty generic. There was a period in my life that I felt I had to please people and make them proud, while in the process I made myself miserable, because I was scared to hurt people’s feelings. Well with age, comes wisdom, and an Fuck It attitude.

I exercise my rights
You scream and legislate
A faceless monolith
That wants to control who i want to be

The monolith is the organisation or the person controlling the organisation. We don’t know who they are or what they look like, but they control legislation, because every politician is a sucker for money. Pay a politician enough in donations or a promise of a cushy consultancy job once their out of office and watch legislation get passed.

A bit of a back story on the monolith. Kansas had an album called “Monolith” and I had to look up the word to see what it exactly meant when I picked up the album via a second hand record shop in the late 90’s.

Then I read an article on Techdirt around 2011, about how Google had become a faceless monolith and that if you have an issue with Google, how can you get the service you need from them to fix the issue.  

So in my scenario, imagine a large and characterless building/person as the faceless monolith.

What’s it to you if I question everything?
What’s it to you if I refuse to obey?
This is my life, you don’t own me
So what’s it to you if I choose what I want to be

Our curiosity to question is what makes us alive. As soon as we stop being curious and fall in line, well, it’s not our life anymore.

What’s it to you if I write this song my way?
What’s it to you if I eat junk the whole day?
This is my life, you don’t own me
So what’s it to you if I choose what I want to be

I remember reading an interview with Jani Lane (RIP) from Warrant who said that he was pressured to write a song like “Cherry Pie” and that he hates how he gave in to the label and management, because the album was already done, the cover was agreed and it was called “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”.

Another interview from Dizzy Dean Robinson from Britny Fox, also said the same thing about his Britny Fox “Girlschool” era, saying that management and the label pressured him to re-write famous songs.

On a separate note, In the 50’s a guy called, Ancel Keys creatively and fraudulently tweaked his research and told the world that by eating fat, you will become fat. He went on to state, how eating fat causes heart disease and governments around the world took his findings as gospel, by bringing out food group charts which showed that you need to eat a lot of carbs, then fruits and vegs, then meats and so forth.

Then the food industry started bringing in low fat options (but high in sugar) and fast forward into the future, the world had an obesity problem. And the crap that Keys spread is still alive and well today.

And suddenly, I had the inspiration for writing a song in my way and eating food that was portrayed to be junk the whole day.

Of course the junk industry like McDonalds, KFC and so forth, is even worse, so I don’t recommend eating that junk the whole day, however I do recommend eating the right kinds of fats/junk to be healthy.

The solo section was cool to create. I started off the lead, with an D chord pull off lick to open strings, before it morphed into Bm arpeggios to close it. And subconsciously, I kept within the theme of the song, of changing modes between the major and minor modes in the solo.

And if I didn’t, what’s it to ya?

Here are a few more lyric sheets and cover ideas.