TrackLog 66 – Call Me Johnny Wander
(Click all images to see the original comic)
Download the track (link)
This is a song about the webcomic Johnny Wander.
I’m going to write a good amount to explain the backstory for this TrackLog song, so let me make it easy: right above this, there’s the song. Right there. Click on it. Go ahead. It won’t bite you.
And while you’re here, why not check out the debut single, “The Silver Age,” from the upcoming Adam WarRock debut album, The War For Infinity, out October 7.
Long-winded Backstory of “Call Me Johnny Wander”
I wasn’t initially a fan of Johnny Wander. Weirdly, I’d seen both of the creators on twitter through mutual friends, had come across the comic a couple of times, but really, I have such a hard time keeping up with all the webcomics I read, it just slipped through the cracks. So when I went to SPX this past weekend, I kept hearing people talking about the Johnny Wander Volume 1 book that creators Yuko and Ananth were selling. So I walked up and bought a copy, walked outside, and sat down to rest my weary, achey legs, holding the book in my hands. And I started reading it…
…and 50 minutes later, I looked around and realized that I had read the whole book, and was laughing to myself in the corner. By myself. Like a crazy person. But more importantly, I realized that I had been smiling more than laughing. Think about it, it’s a hard thing for a comic, especially one that’s not necessarily a continuous story arc, to accomplish. It’s easy to make jokes, and when a comic makes good jokes, even great jokes, you laugh…a lot. But when a comic makes you truly smile, it’s rare, it’s special, and it’s amazing. That’s what Johnny Wander is. I wandered back into the convention floor looking for their table and told Ananth what had just happened. That I was now a fan. That I maybe sorta did music and sorta would like to do a song about their comic. I took out a card and showed it to Ananth. And weirdly, he immediately knew who I was, and talked to me about his roommate, John, being a big fan of “Ira Glass,” and that he’d heard my music before. As if they needed to do anything else to hook me into their world, that was it. Fan for life.
Anyway, that was the origin of this song. The actual execution of the song was interesting, because taking a slice-of-life/auto-bio comic isn’t an easy thing to flip in a unique way. Most of the time, it just becomes a shout-out-a-thon,which while fun, doesn’t really translate well to a 3 minute song. I took the idea that each verse in this song is loosely based around the 3 cities the group has lived in for the past few years (Rochester, Rockville, Brooklyn). I took the concept of post-college young life, and knew I wanted it to encompass this “I’m not lost, I like to just wander.” And I sung in the chorus with a horribly hoarse voice, so excuse the…less than stellar vocals. What can you do.
But really, it was just one of those moments that made me glad to be in this community, made me feel good about what I was doing, and I wanted to make sure I captured it in song form for history’s sake. So thanks Ananth, Yuko, John, Conrad. And if you don’t already, go read their comic. You won’t regret it.
Beat Used: Thes One “Northwestern Bell 2″; Ol Dirty Bastard “Brooklyn Zoo”
[The Tracklog is a free, never-ending mixtape of rough song ideas, mixtape verses, and unmastered b-sides.]