I never thought I’d actually share this… but I guess I’m feeling brave after successfully “sneaking” a few of my earliest songs (some stretching back to 3rd grade) into the score for the new Care Bears: Unlock the Magic animated series this year. ?
This is about a parody song I recorded 31 years ago, in 1988, when I was 11 years old. If you just want to hear it, the link is below. If you’re interested in the backstory, read on!
The idea for this song came about after my father commented on a song he was working on for one of his clients. He didn’t particularly care for the song and referred to it as sounding “like a nightmare on Sesame Street.” My friend Will and I thought this was hilarious and immediately started working on this song when my dad’s session ended. It was also inspired by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince’s “Nightmare on My Street” which had just been released.
Will, who I believe was in his early 20’s at the time, wrote most of the lyrics and held down the lead vocals and some backing vocals. I programmed the drums and bass on a LinnDrum connected to an Akai S900 sampler via midi (nerd stuff), played all of the keyboards as live overdubs, sang some backing vocals and did a very poor impression of Freddie Krueger with the help of an Eventide H910 harmonizer. The song was tracked and mixed, by me, at my father’s studio (Great Tracks Recording) on a Sound Workshop model 34 console and MCI JH24 2” 24 track analog tape deck.
Hearing this song brings back a lot of vivid and incredibly happy memories of my friend Will and my early days in the studio. Will and I worked on a lot of songs together and he was always encouraging… Especially when it came to pushing me to get in FRONT of a mic (as he did on this song) instead of always hiding on the other side of the glass. I was embarrassed to have my voice recorded so I just kept recording instrumental music. Even though it’s a silly song, this was a defining moment in that Will was successfully able to push me beyond my comfort zone and get me out of my shell a little. I’ve carried that moment with me ever since and *know* that moment helped to inform my approach as a producer. I remember the moment and exactly what it felt like. I can feel it right now as I’m typing this.
The studio was the only place I ever really wanted to be and observing, experimenting, collaborating, and creating were the only things I *really* cared about. Some things never change…
I hope you get a chuckle out of the ridiculousness that is Nightmare on Sesame Street. I don’t know where the last 31 years went and can’t seem to locate Will despite hours spent searching the internet, but I remember recording this like it was yesterday.
Special thanks to the love of my life, Kim Henderson, for the artwork.
– Michael Seifert