Archive for January, 2008


January 31, 2008

this weeks songTHIRSTY

MAN!!! HOLY MAN! GOLLY~! hey kids!! feels like a it’s been a long time again huh? ZOWIE!!

well, this weeks “song of the week” is called “thirsty” (mp3) and is about…well, that’s a bit complicated! ha! well…let’s see. kids, have you ever had to talk about something “serious” before, and felt so nervous that you scraped your teeth against your hand until it bled all over your arm?

well, this song is about being thirsty, in a sense. thirsty not only for water, but for direction, work, motivation, love,God, Truth, etc…good things. this sort of thirst can be very exciting and very scary. at this point in MY life, i welcome this sort of the thirst with open arms when it comes. and it isn’t always there, but in certain moments for whatever reason, motivation strikes. so, this song is about welcoming that feeling of unrest that requires something of you. that feeling of partial emptiness that asks to be filled. and welcoming it in such a way that does not assume it WILL be filled, or that you can fill it. the idea is that the NEED itself provides you with motivation for good. for worthwhile pursuit.

have a good week kids!

tune in next time for a journey into the Wild Wild West!!


jonny songatron

p.s. mailing list ist hier


January 24, 2008

Grace (mp3)

hey team,

okee. this song is titled in honor of my niece, the Amazing Grace Steinmeier. gracie called me a couple of times in the past week cause her mother let her, and just wanted to say hi and thank me for the songs i’ve been writing and encourage me to write another song and to come and visit. so sweet. made my week. she’s increasingly coherent and impressively polite in conversation, and these recent interactions inspired the content for this weeks song. well, these interactions along with her God given charm and sweetieness.


i’m honored that you’d call
big smile from baby doll
i see it through the telephone

i’m glad you like my songs
that you would sing along
this one’s for you per your petition (peticiown)

you’ll have a lovely lifetime
no color greys on gracies dime

if i could visit you
we’d dance around the room
and cook a meal and talk on telephones

you’d call me by my name
listen to “aeroplane”
i’d tell you all about chicago

we’d have a lovely playtime
no cloudy days on gracies dime


precious babies bring
life to things

fragile life


this is an unusually sappy and sincere song, coming from me. some explanation of said lyrics: Gracie loves to talk on the phone (real or pretend), and her favorite steiny song is “airplane”, which is up at somewhere down the list, halfway or more. so that’s the phone bit. cooking a meal goes back to one of the amazing christmas gifts she got from her mom and dad, an expansive plastic play kitchen.

the end of this song is the real sap…”precious babies bring life to things, fragile life.” this part is a bit about the life cycle. this is the point in the recording process where i had to wipe tears down and do a few takes…i had a hard time making it past the word “fragile.” and this song was pretty satisfying to record in that way. it’s a pretty personal one to me, in honor of a couple of very dear people in my life. Gracie and her dad, Dave. (holla!)


i started this track with drums and little beep boops and keyboards and harp, and added guitar lines that weave around each other. setting up a groove and some harmonic changes. i added bass in a weavy way too, and found it to be too complicated and scrapped it, opting for the now simple “anchor” bass part. i treated the little keyboard and harp parts differently after each verse. three times, a “chorus” of some sort happens, and each time, i opted for different chord changes under the same beepy boopy material, which i was pretty happy with. my attempt at not being so repetative. 🙂 that was half of the fun of this tune. the other half, was getting it to build at the end, or evolve from point A to point B. i feel as though i accomplished this in the writing, but not in the performance. i feel as though doing it with a live band would fix it…that dynamic evolution. this one is a bit static for me, compaired to how i hear it in my face.

thanks for listening.


two get in

January 17, 2008

welcome to week three of year two. this weeks song has had a few titles in the last 8 minutes, and i decided finally to go with this one:

two get in” (click it, i dare you)


piano/vocal. a little tune and changes that i was playing with this week at one of the studios where i teach. i liked the sort of old-timey character of the changes, and wrote a melody around ’em. that’s mostly it on the music end. pretty straight ahead.


the words for this one went through about three versions, from bad to not quite as bad to not as bad, which is what we have here. also, the focus/subject of the lyrics changed a bit between versions, but were all leaning on this idea of independence/dependence verses communal/isolationist if that makes any sense. i’ll post the words below…right now:

i had a bike
i rode it through the night
through the cold

i never showed
but i’m allowed some cold

but i tell the tale
when that avails
something about me

and maybe i share
because you weren’t there
to see me

perhaps with breaking ties
growing up
or something

but i’m alive
only because i tried
and someboday
helped me

so we call it names
think of things to blaim
for our calamities

and this interests me
but i’ll wait and see



the “out” in the all-caps ending section is meant to be an object, a noun. “out” and “in” being focus or attention. i never know how far into “what’s it about” to explain, but i’ll field questions about it. think of it this way, the original version was about how people’s attention for each other is a strange mix of out and in, and i was claiming that most people’s is more selfish than they’ll admit. but these lyrics got pretty dark and made me depressed for an afternoon, so i changed them a bit, realizing that they were heavier than i actually feel. i wasn’t writing from my feeling, i was creating one. so, this one has similar ideas about dependence, which i call “community” in this case, of which i’m a firm believer. let’s also just say that i’ve been feeling sort of anti-social lately and loving it. trapped in my basement making music. 🙂 sometimes, for some reason, it’s brilliant to be alone.  any day now, i’ll need to break out and kick it with the peeps, and thems the cycles.  🙂

busy body

January 11, 2008

busy body (mp3)

hey kids! welcome back.

here’s a song with the “asshole” word in it. yay!!

for this song, i used a borrowed upright bass (thanks ari!), two drum kit tracks, glockenspiel (bells), accoustic guitar, and one brief fake wurly track. the main goal was to groove with that awesome bass. super fun to play.

lyrically, i decided to make the lyrics super awesome. i went with the tested and true “write them in a notepad document while thinking about them and looking at them” approach, and wrote about feeling like a real busy body lately (months). it’s true, that i don’t handle boredom very well, and learning that about myself has helped me figure out productive (and a few non-productive) ways to keep the wheels turning. this song, lyrically goes after that bit of me. specifically referencing some recent events and situations. this is something i’ve gotten excited about in listening to last years song of the week songs; that they serve in some vague sense as diary entries, even if they’re cryptic or ridiculous. my free-associations tend to have a few recent real life references. i also mention some list of things about me, as this song is a bit of a “who am i now?” sort of entry. maybe a bit weird and neurotic but i can pull it off cause i’m amazing.

and then, of course, being a busy body, i thought the quick delivery of lots of words made sense.

the real point of the tune is to get sponsorship. i’m look’n at you k-mart! and you starbucks! throw me money. i’m name dropp’n all over the place in this song. i even say the word “buzzy.”

hope you like it

happy new week.

mailing list is here

happy new year for realz – slight revision

January 4, 2008

i’ve added some werds for you werd nerds.

they’re all about some version of me that i met once while fishing for compliments.

0708 (click it)

or visit for all the songs.  all of them.

happy new year

January 3, 2008

hey lovers.

welcome to the jon steinmeier song a week turbo-toasting automatic static processing class blaster robot handkerchief chug-a-lug bug blog, and happy new year.

this weeks entry celebrates one solid year of “song a week”ing and is called “0708,” really obviously and unimaginatively of course. CLICK HEAR (mp3)

the openning material was written over christmas time at the steinmeier HQ in jefferson city missouri, and started as an ode to 2007 (really, i’m serious) that i was going to develop into an ode to ’08, or just to the idea of marking a year in the life and having hopes or expectations for the next period. i got caught up in the moving lines of this openning theme and it quickly ceased to be programmatic. i came back to chicago at the end of last week and continued to flesh it out a bit, tweeked and expanded, and recorded it.

the second “half” of the piece was originally going to represent 2008 (stupid i know) but then i realized that i don’t know anything about 2008, so i just made it a rocker. maybe a bit butt-rawk at times, but hey, live a little.

throughout the piece i use the same bit of thematic material, which i think helps it feel like one piece instead of two. it’s an A and a B, a jeckyl and hyde, a before and after, etc…of the same theme that’s presented in the first 2 or 3 bars of the piece. i love this approach of taking a small idea and using or overusing it from beginning to end of a song. beethoven did this a lot (far better than i), taking a very short idea, and expanding it into hours of masterful orchestration and developement.

also, the middle section of the piece is in 7/8, meaning it has seven beats in every measure and feels funny because we’re used to hearing 4 or 8, some even number of beats. this originally was going to be a transition from 7/8 to 8/8 as a symbolic turn of the year marker, but ended up being a transition from 7/8 to 14/8. oops.

it’s a total failure. hope you like it.