Alien Skin


Occasionally people ask me about the origins of my songs and how the germ of an idea begins. Sources of inspiration may be endless, as it is for most writers, but the mechanics of recording an idea are usually quite crude & quick in order to capture it immediately from its birth. If I begin deliberating too much, the song may lose the initial spark, losing my interest along the way.

I thought it novel to demonstrate to you how many of my songs begin life. If I pick up a guitar, by nature, I try to write a song, whether I use it or not, whether it's any good or not, I just write. A friend recently sent me a postcard while visiting Dublin, Ireland. This song demo (below) inspired by that postcard is today's result.

The postcard, with the caption Temple Bar in Dublin, sitting on the mantle piece above the bedroom fireplace, triggered my imagination. Beginning with a friendly C chord using a capo on the 4th fret, I began singing and what you hear is what came out in a spontaneous stream of consciousness fashion while a digital recorder ran.

Above is the postcard, sitting on my mantle-piece that inspired the song.

It is evident I have made no effort to polish or beautify it, that would defeat the point & tarnish the experiment; it's just a rough one take/first take job. If I were to use the song later, I'd expand & revise it, probably rewriting the lyrics, and it would thus take on a whole new personae, but this spontaneous recording is just a naked birth, warts & all. It may not be my best work & I will probably not take it any further, but I may add more similar song births in future blogs if people are interested in hearing raw development ideas.

For a songwriter, the act of composing songs regularly is perhaps akin to regular exercise & training for an athlete; well that's how I view it anyhow. Many of my songs from all Alien Skin albums began life in this simple, unadorned manner.

Here then is the 'rough as sawdust' recording like you've never heard before from Alien Skin. If you listen hard enough you'll hear the clanging of local church bells at the end & the din of urban road traffic on a Melbourne spring afternoon at 3pm, on John Lennon's birthday RIP.

Listen to Temple Bar in Dublin audio

Now listen to the first take, only take guitar demo of Temple Bar in Dublin.

Post Script  In 2014 I eventually finished, produced & released the song on my Alien Skin album Creature with the Human Face. Listen to it here.


2012-12-04 15:26:53 - Patricia
George... Your voice is still so wonderful !! Just your voice, your guitar, and emotion is here. Thank you for " Below"... :)
2012-10-10 08:09:37 - Patricia
It's so sweet to listen your beautiful voice just with the guitar! Thank you George ! :)
2012-10-09 17:54:31 - Maria Mercedes
You sound so amazing! George :-)
2012-10-09 17:42:48 - David Slater
Raw nothing, great to hear the BIRTH of a song. Little hint of Beatles in my mind, fitting for the time of year. Onya George.
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