Rock Paper and Scissors

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Lyrics
In the land of Rochambeau lived lots of paper and scissors
And they all enjoyed cuttin’ lots of interesting shapes all day
Then one time some scissors cut themselves into quite a frenzy
Whippin’ such a strong wind that lots of papers were blown away

Soon the flyin’ papers covered up a pile of boulders
But those rocks enjoyed nothin’ more than bein’ seen standin’ tall
So the great big rocks became so unbelievably angry
That they rolled themselves into town with this rockin’ rally call

We’re gonna rock paper and scissors
We’re gonna make ’em scream and shout
We’re gonna rock paper and scissors
They’re gonna see what rock’s about
We’re gonna rock paper and scissors
Yeah, we’re rockin’ out

So the rocks smashed lots of scissors, makin’ everything mangle
And let’s face it, those rocks could shred the paper with just a scrape
Every little thing they bullied made ’em feel even stronger
All the monster rocks loved to leave most everything in real bad shape

We’re gonna rock paper and scissors
We’re gonna make ’em scream and shout
We’re gonna rock paper and scissors
They’re gonna see what rock’s about
We’re gonna rock paper and scissors
Yeah, we’re rockin’ out

Soon enough all the papers were hidin’, all the scissors were broken
And a little one lay down scared she’d get bent again
But to everyone’s surprise, when a rock came down upon her
Both her blades were now sharp
And flat as a tarp
She felt better than she’d ever been

Feeling oh so happy, she cut up her very own frenzy
Only this time no papers flew away with those rocks on top
And the rock that fixed her noticed just how good he was feelin’
And he shouted out, “All the smashin’ better come to a stop!”

He told all the rocks that sharpenin’ and paperweighin’
When compared to the smashin’ made him feel so good and just as strong
So they fixed all of the scissors and brought back all the paper
And made interesting shapes together now they all got along

We’re gonna rock paper and scissors
We’re gonna make ’em scream and shout
We’re gonna rock paper and scissors
They’re gonna see what rock’s about
We’re gonna rock paper and scissors
Yeah, we’re rockin’ out

We’re gonna rock paper and scissors
We’re gonna make ’em scream and shout
We’re gonna rock paper and scissors
They’re gonna see what rock’s about
We’re gonna rock paper and scissors
Yeah, we’re rockin’ out

Story
This song and the album it comes from were written using Appreciative Inquiry and Internal Family Systems. With IFS, we can talk about different parts of ourselves as if they are separate people. Hopefully that clarifies why these stories at times refer to he, she and we!

One part of me is very interested in feeling capable and empowered. At times when she didn’t feel these things in positive ways, she’d be vulnerable to hurt and disappointment and need to find other ways of feeling as powerful as she wanted to. In these situations, she’d do any number of mischievous or even harmful things, including putting down, criticizing or even bullying others, just so she could feel that she had some ability to make an impact on the world around us. These are the thoughts that came up right away when we began our Appreciative Inquiry on her song, so she knew that the song must have something to do with how we all want to feel strong and able, how it’s so easy for that to get put toward destructive things, and as a result how important it is that we find positive ways of discovering, building and using our abilities. Her song would be about power with a purpose instead of power corrupting itself when it’s for its own sake.

One of the first things that popped into mind was the song “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by the Charlie Daniels Band, a story about talent wrapped up with power and danger, and it made her think that her song should have a similar edge, but in a more friendly, less threatening way. She imagined it would be a straightforward, upbeat rock and roll song.

Thinking more about the ideas, she thought about stories like “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and “Frankenstein,” stories where someone wanted to feel powerful, but things ended up being perverted, even monstrous, as a result. She thought about other monster stories. Vampires. Zombies. Witches — which she’d often thought of herself as, like a sorcerer or wizard. Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde — which she could relate to really well, having that side of her that would come up and wreak havoc on others. She thought about how all these monsters are seen as threatening to others. Vampires and zombies even literally suck the life out of others. Power with a purpose was starting to become clear — it was, at least, power that makes you feel strong inside yourself without draining anyone else, and at best it would flow power back out to others without draining you either. Corrupting power made monsters and enemies. Power with a purpose would make friends, cooperation.

With all these notion of monster stories, she felt that hers should be a story song. A picturesque monster story. A monster is on the loose, and it sees itself as big and strong, a threat to those who are small and weak, and it feeds off of that, feels stronger each time it makes someone else feel weaker. But the monster needs a change of diet. Instead of feeding off others for its own gain, it can feed off something else for everybody’s benefit. And through some happy accident, it starts to feed off something else, and it realizes it can feel strong not only without making others feel weak, but strong in a way that others actually appreciate. And everyone would live happily ever after.

Because she’d imagined the song would be a rock song, she started with a working title: “The Monster Rock.” This led to two things that would color the rest of the song, lyrically and musically. First, it made her imagine that the monster might actually be a rock, some kind of strange monstrous boulder. Next, recalling the song “Monster Mash,” it pointed to a more traditional 1950s/1960s rock and roll sound. “Great Balls of Fire” by Jerry Lee Lewis became a main reference point — maybe a subconscious choice because of boulders being like “great balls” and fire certainly being something dangerous to play with? “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry was also an influence, as well as “Fun, Fun, Fun” by The Beach Boys, which brought a bit more melody to this style of song.

From that idea, there was the sudden inspiration. What’s a situation in which rocks do harm to other things? The game rock-paper-scissors. If we were going to have a fantastical story about a rock monster, why not also have paper and scissors as other characters? Two things seemed particularly interesting about this. The first was that rock-paper-scissors is a competitive game — a game about enemies, about winner and losers, so there was inherently an extra opportunity to draw out the theme of enemies learning to cooperate. The second was that paper and scissors have something very obviously to do with each other. Because of that, it was easy to imagine that scissors cutting paper into nice shapes might actually be something that they both would like, as opposed to “scissors cut paper” making them enemies like in rock-paper-scissors.

At that point, it was just a question of thinking about how — and why — the rocks could hurt the paper and scissors, and what would be the twist that got them all working together. Thinking about the rock-paper-scissors game, it’s when “paper covers rock” that the rocks lose. The AI started with the very notion about how disappointment can sometimes lead us to get mad and act out, so this was something to build on. The rocks get mad because, covered up, they don’t appear as big and strong as they like to. They need to bully others in order to feel big and strong again. At this point, “rock breaks scissors” — and it also had to hurt the paper in this particular story, so it seemed obvious that rocks stomping on paper would just rip it to shreds. But stones are also used in the actual making of blades, as well as in their sharpening. So the happy accident could be the rock landing on an already crushed pair of scissors and actually straightening and sharpening them.

The title and its use in the chorus were nice opportunities to both show the tweak we made on the usual rock-paper-scissors competitive game and to show how the rocks change over the course of the story. The title sounds like it just refers to the game, but the “and” in there makes a subtle distinction. In the story, the rocks are on one side, the paper and scissors together on the other. When the rocks decide to go on their rampage, they decide to rock — to use themselves to trample on — the paper and scissors. Later, the chorus remains the same, but the words take on new meaning after the rocks find a new way to feel strong, a new way rock — to take action with — the paper and scissors. They’ve found their power with a purpose.

While researching rock-paper-scissors, we were reminded that it goes by other much more colorful names, too, including Rochambeau. For fun, we gave this name to the fantasy world of the story.

The next song written for Everyone's Invited was On the Way.

Share your own stories — of art or other things that have inspired you, of how you came to do something artistic or creative, of how the OHB’s songs have impacted you, whatever you like — at the Fan Clan.

Credits
Written by and Circle P - Phonorecord Copyright&© 2008 Mark S. Meritt (BMI). All rights reserved.

Dianne Mucci – Vocals
MSM – Instruments

Produced, arranged, recorded and mixed by MSM in the basement in the village, Red Hook, NY, using a MacBook Pro, MOTU Digital Performer 5.13, Native Instruments Kontakt 3, Quantum Leap Colossus, EastWest/PMI Bösendorfer 290 Grand Piano, and an M-Audio Keystation Pro 88.

Vocals recorded in the garage on the mountain, Bloomingburg, NY.

Release Date: November 11, 2008
Album: Everyone's Invited
Track Number: 6
Length: 3:21

Written: 11th of the 12 songs for the album, February 2008
Key: E
Arranged: 4th, starting March 14, 2008
Vocals recorded 11th, October 7, 2008
Mixed: 11th, starting October 8, 2008

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Rock Paper and Scissors — MP3 Single

Last modified on 1970-03-17 15:53:39 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

From the album Everyone's Invited

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