It's not that I actually wish I were an asshole. I'm not attending any kind of asshole training course. It's not one of my life goals. But it would make things so much simpler!
I see this girl around university every so often. For whatever reason, I was always intrigued by her. She may not be Cindy Crawford, but she's pretty in her own way, and something about her told me she would be an interesting person.
And this interesting girl was no exception.
But then, I was at a dance club with a friend from university. I guess she'd invited others, because others showed up, and one of them was her. You know, the interesting girl. There weren't all that many of us, so we all were dancing together. And she was dirty dancing. Or that's what I'd call it anyway. Much sexier than anything the rest of us were doing.
But not for long, as some of the guys danced with her real close. And I wanted to join in. And I didn't. And I swore I would. And I didn't. Wound up next to her when the group was dancing in a circle, so I had my arm over her shoulder. And that's all that happened.
This is where the whole "asshole" bit comes in. The next day was, if anything worse than that night. There was nothing to distract me from wondering what the hell was wrong with me. At first, I said I was being nice. But if I was being mean, who would I have hurt by dancing that way with her? Maybe I was a coward. Yeah, or maybe I just couldn't bring myself to do something that was against my nature. But...
Finally, I thought, "If I'd just been an asshole, it wouldn't matter. If I were an asshole, I wouldn't play nice and I wouldn't be a coward. I would have just done what I wanted to do and danced with her." When I sing "Wish I were an asshole," that's what I mean. Not that I always wish that I were an asshole, but when I wrote the song, I sure did.
I wrote the song soon after the events described. As usual, the chorus came first. Chord-wise, it's pretty standard--it uses only the chords from Heart & Soul (though not in that order), plus a seventh or two. It's meant to have a sharp contrast between verse and chorus-- I pick-strum and mute it in the verse, then start sawing away at my guitar on the chorus.
The trick with songs like this one or the Alligator Song is to say enough that the subject can recognise it, but keep it vague enough that no one else can. I think I achieved that here.
She does know I wrote a song about her and she attended my first gig, but I think she missed "Wish I Were an Asshole". I've found it's actually quite hard to get girls to recognise the songs you've written about them.
This is the first song I recorded on Cool Edit Pro. I used a demo version of Cool Edit Pro, so I could only 30 minutes of work. That's why I don't have many tracks. I'll have to re-record it some time.
Update: I've recorded a new version of "Wish I Were an Asshole", with the help of Mike Audet (as sound tech) and Joe Phillips (on upright bass and lead guitar). A track of Kevin Quain (on accordion) was lost to the ravages of hard disk corruption.
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