I Like Big ol’ Ditties

Thanks to Sirius XM this particular Game Master has a plethora of perky and upbeat tunes to brighten up my drive time and weekend walkies. As I have mentioned before music of the right sort can truly kick creative thinking into high gear. For me the best is music that I loved in high school. Somehow it just puts me in the mood to write. Of course not every song from that era is going to be a winner. My apologies to fans of John Mellencamp, but there are a couple of his songs that makes me want to change the channel or swerve into oncoming traffic just to put an end to the horror. Top of the list for songs that make me violent? Jack and Diane. I have no time for little ditties. Hate them little ditties. Stuff them in your little pink houses and get back to hurting so good. If I wanted to be depressed I’d listen to the Springsteen channel.

Some songs are just so good that one can’t help but be inspired. Trying to imagine a dark elven priestess? Try “Its Raining Men.” Want to know the motivations of Lersha, the Archduchess of Maelonbourg? The Pointer Sisters have those answers. Curious as to the inner workings of Baron Tubicus Aurelius? Try “Jessie’s Girl.” How about the night hag who keeps veering on and out of the campaign? Try Queen’s “Fat Bottom Girls.” Have a particularly tough dragon you need to develop more? Eurythmics. Working on catchy dialogue between intriguing characters? Yello and/or the Art of Noise. Catchy tunes that formed the background music of classic looney tunes, Weird Al Yankovic, and anything else that is peppy enough to keep a brain awake will do. Mariachi is also a damned fine choice, same with Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass, or P.D.Q. Bach.

The main thing is that in order to help the writing and creative process my music has to be upbeat. Slow, depressing music will not do. Plenty of country music falls into that sad category. Sorry, Kenny Rogers. Loved your beard but your music sucked. Johnny Cash (especially the Highwaymen) nailed the vibe, and so did the Bay City Rollers. Elton John occasionally, but usually not. Surefire winner? Anything peppy about cannibalism. Yeah, its out there. “Timothy” by the Buoys. I don’t care who you are, that’s a damned fine song perfect for working on any underdark adventure.

Last weekend I ran my favorite driving route from BCS to Tucson. Fifteen hours of pure driving delight (except Dripping Springs which sucks a lot more than the name saucily suggests). With the radio buzzing between the 80s channel, classic rewind, classic vinyl, and Studio 64 I managed to come up with dozens of new ideas for the game I am running. Fleshed out a foreign country the players might visit, finished work on three subplots, and began expanding the worldview held by one of the primary villains to encompass matters and activities unknown to the players but key to how and why the villain acts in the manner that they do. Next weekend I will repeat the run to and from Tucson and I look forward to even more developments.

I also look forward to not hearing “Jack and Diane.”