Dark Songs Starts with a Spin of the Bottle

This week the Holiday Music Hotel is host to an all-star cast of 45 songwriters who will present freshly written originals in the theme of Halloween at the Third Avenue Playhouse on Friday October 28 and Saturday October 29.

How does the songwriting weekend begin? Musician and songwriter Pat MacDonald explains the collaboratively creative process.


It All Starts With a Spin of the Bottle

The songwriters arrive on Sunday
We have dinner in the motel, 
then go to the Tambourine Lounge and listen 
to the previous year’s “best of” album.
Then we talk, introduce newcomers, etc.
Then everybody goes downstairs to “the lab”
where everyone stands in a big circle
and i spin the bottle to pick the first songwriter
to spin for a group. The first songwriter spins
a second songwriter, and the second spins a 
third. That’s the first group. 
The third songwriter from the first group 
then spins the first songwriter of the second 
group. And so on, until we have all the groups
(approx. 15) 
Then they go off to write and record a song. 
The next night, we listen to new recordings
and then spin again for new groups. 
 After that, they can write with 
anyone. It becomes really spontaneous. 
Strong new relationships are formed.
A few write alone and recruit “collaborators” 
(mostly to fill out the recording ensemble).
Lots of good songs are written in the “no spin”
days (with momentum, comradery, and sleep 
deprivation all in the mix). 
The last days are also used to rehearse for
the TAP shows on Friday October 28 and Saturday October 29. 
It’s pretty amazing how it all happens.

-pat mAcdonald

Dark Songs

Friday, October 28 and Saturday, October 29 at 7:30$5 at the door. No advance ticketing.Two completely different shows Friday and Saturday night!”Music so fresh, it’s frightening!”