Stories Behind the Songs: “What’s This Music For?”

Posted by  Grand Poobah  May 27, 2013  •  No Comments  • 

The Penguin, AKA Oswald CobblepotThe chords and melody for “What’s This Music For?” came along years before the opera, in September-October 2001, in fact. The chorus melody was slightly different, so I altered to fit the words. I remember writing the words while I was at work, and recording a “demo” by whistling while stomping up steps in the stairwell to keep the beat. The “flute” solo at the end was a late contribution by John, as was the percussion in the background. Both enhance the final product immensely.

The title is a bit of an in-joke. When I did desktop computer support a number of years ago, one of our customers was a character we nicknamed “Oswald Cobblepot” because of his resemblance, in body and behavior, to Batman’s nemesis the Penguin. One day he asked me, in all seriousness, “Doc, you’re the expert—you tell me: What is this Microsoft Office for? ‘Cause I don’t have a damn clue!” I thought this was funny, and it came out when naming the song.

“What’s This Music For?” was another of the Transposition songs on the set list when put together a short-lived performing version of Chameleon Red in 2008 and was the only one actually performed in front of an audience. It was also performed live several times by our other band, Mother Zephyr.

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