Barry Ollman Songs
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+ Banker's Holiday Lyrics and Chords
As soon as I wrote the song, Banker's Holiday, I started thinking about a way to portray it in video form. Since then I've worked with a number of talented people on the project and I actually went through two earlier iterations that in the end, didn't quite work for me.
One day, a couple of months back, my friend Michael Jensen, longtime publicist to the stars, suggested that I find a good cartoonist to draw an accompanying work to put on my website. Michael is a veritable fountain of good ideas so I set about trying to make that happen. I decided to start at the top and I got lucky on my first try!
I called the best cartoonist I know, and as it happens, one of the best cartoonists anyone knows, Mike Keefe. Mike is a newly retired 36 year veteran of the Denver Post and 2011 recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Political Cartooning. His work has had a deep and subtly profound influence on both Colorado and National politics for as long as most people can remember. He's drawn and published over 10,000 political cartoons! Mike also plays guitar in a cool little Denver band called Falling Rock, and he immediately engaged with the idea.
We discussed various possibilities and he came up with a great idea based on an old favorite of his by the late, great Master Cartoonist Bernard Kliban, better known as B. Kliban. Mike went about adapting that concept and I loved what he came up with. At that point in time I wasn't quite sure what to do with such a fine contribution so I decided to wait a bit as I developed my second video attempt. As it happened, that effort came to naught and that very night, as I lay in bed, it hit me. I would ask Mike to redraw the cartoon while we filmed his work and I'd sit in the room strumming away and doing something I've never done before… lip synch!
As I thought about where to do the shoot, I thought of my friend Greg Carr, awesomely talented graphic designer (check out his Award Winning work on Steve Martin's bluegrass record jackets, for instance) and the perfectly cool studio he lives in and works out of. I asked if I might borrow the facility for an evening and he, being a big fan of Mike Keefe, and an all around great guy, said to come over any time.
Next I needed a talented, flexible and at least somewhat available film maker, yet another challenge. I started by calling Denver's beloved local rocker Chris Daniels who teaches all things relevant to the music business at the University of Colorado, Denver, where many of Colorado's most successful music people have come up through his courses (think The Fray). Chris has been playing and working in the Denver music scene for many years and he pretty much knows everybody. He set me on a path that led to my new friend, up and coming film maker Andy Diaz.
With our team in place, we met at Greg's and filmed as Mike actually redrew his original drawing, which is what you see him doing in this video. I then asked Mike to do a second drawing for the Limousine intro which he quickly knocked out, featuring our same cigar chomping Banker, captured just as his wing tip hits the pavement. Mike is a pro and this is what a pro does...
Over the next few weeks, Andy and I followed up with all manner of editing decisions and this four minute piece is the result of our efforts. Enjoy!
#occupyWallStreet, in a July 13, 2011 blog post."
Fourteen months earlier, in April of 2010, I wrote and began to record Banker's Holiday, out of my personal disgust for what the greed of a relatively small group of people was able to do to our entire economic system, all the while making colossal fortunes for themselves...
I had been reading Woody Guthrie's great semi-autobiographical novel Bound For Glory and I just kept thinking that our new social and economic reality is what at least some music ought to be talking about these days!
As the song began to take shape I recorded a quick demo in my home studio. I liked the basic flow of ideas but my first version felt a bit too folky (not that there's anything wrong with folky!) and less pissed off than I actually was. After playing it for my wife, Judy, and my brothers I realized I would have to dig a little deeper if this song was to feel like what it says.
I went into Dave Beegle's Dawghouse Studios and things started to come together. We got some strong acoustic guitar tracks going and then Christian Teele contributed his exciting drum tracks. Dave suggested a few crucial chord changes. I had been messing around with a bass part but it felt a little too predictable for my taste so I called my friend Garry Tallent, founding member and 40 year bass player for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, great player and producer in his own right, and he said "Banker's Holiday... great title! I'll give it a go". Anyone who knows Garry is well aware that he has an encyclopedic knowledge of Rock, Soul, R & B and most other forms of music so I knew the tune would be in good hands. As it turned out, Garry's approach to the song was much different than mine had been, thus helping me avoid what Dave calls the "one man bland syndrome", and I really love the feel that he created for the groove on this track. He played his Jerry Jones Longhorn bass for those of you keeping track at home. I'm very grateful to Garry for playing on this and three other songs of mine. You've got to understand, it's encouraging for a newcomer like me...
One more thank you to my friend Bill Keithler for helping me see the obvious... my working title for the song had been "Walking The Streets" until Bill heard it, thought about the lyrics, and said "why don't you call it Banker's Holiday?" Bingo!
It takes a village...
If you like this one, pass it around. And give to your local foodbank...