Monday, July 26, 2010

"Escape from the Wastelands" Concept Album

When I was a wee lad (okay, when I was in middle school), I liked the TV program The X-Files a lot.  At some point, I purchased a CD entitled Songs In The Key Of X: Music From And Inspired By The X-Files, which had some good songs on it like "Unmarked Helicopters" and various versions of the theme song.

More recently, a former member of the writing group that meets in Lawrenceville got me interested in the Stephen Lawhead's "King Raven" novels, which make the claim that the story of Robin Hood was inspired by Welsh guerrillas using the longbow to fight the invading Normans. 

("Robin Hood" is a corruption of "Rhi Bran y Hud," which means "King Raven the Sorcerer," a persona the dispossessed Welsh kinglet Bran adopts in his insurgency against the Normans.)

I actually purchased a couple of songs, "Black Arrows" and "Raven Dance," off the album King Raven Vols. 1-3, a CD inspired by the books.

I had a similar concept for my "Vasharia" novels and even drew up a list of songs dealing with certain concepts in the books.

Here're the songs I'd like to include:

*"The Hunter" by Iced Earth.  It illustrates the wrath and vindictiveness of anti-hero Patrick Rassam when it's unleashed.

*"Waiting for a Star to Fall" by Boy Meets Girl-Long ago, Patrick loved Eva Stuart, who later married his close friend Calvin Grenville.  Things get awkward later...

*"Hands to Heaven" by Breathe-Calvin later becomes Imperator after Patrick kills the previous incumbent after a betrayal and declares himself Imperator instead.  Cal has to leave Eva in Cados, the Imperial capital, to do battle with Patrick.

*"All Coming Back to Me Now" by Celine Dion and "The Search is Over" by Survivor.  These songs represt Patrick's reconciliation with his former concubine Adaena Talmai, whom he eventually marries.  "All Coming Back to Me Now" is Adaena's POV and "The Search is Over" is Patrick's.

Thing is, there are some themes in the Vasharia novels that I feel I could better develop when I have more life experience (marriage, for example) and, given how the series would likely be my magnum opus, I'd also like to improve my writing skills to write it the best it can be.  The Vasharia series is now on the back-burner while I focus on the Wastelands saga, which will be easier to write.

So I figured I ought to focus my musical inclinations on Escape from the Wastelands, the first book of the saga.  Cross-promoting the book with an accompanying "concept album" means more publicity and money, although securing the rights to all the songs could be difficult.  Songs in the Key of X has songs by R.E.M., Sheryl Crow, and the Foo Fighters, but the X-Files had resources I cannot match at this stage of my career.

The thing is, I haven't thought of any songs that would go on this hypothetical album.  I'd imagined the song "Hail to Odin" by the metal band Iron Fire playing during the final battle between protagonist Andrew Sutter and the warlord Grendel, but that takes place in the fourth planned book, not the one I'm working on now.  I'd also pondered "Sarah" by Jefferson Starship due to Andrew's twin sister being named Sarah, but including that would suggest Andrew has rather un-brotherly feelings for his sister, which is wrong, wrong, WRONG.

(If the song were titled "Cassie," that would work--Cassie is the name of Andrew's hometown girlfriend who, sadly to say, does not survive to see him return to throw down Grendel and his minions.)

I figure there'll be a lot of Norse-themed music, since Grendel's origins are in a Scandinavia-like land to the northwest and Andrew himself becomes the strong man who brings down the doom on the evil, much like the hero Beowulf or the protagonist of the Manowar song "King of Kings."

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