Song 4: Grizzly Bub

Year in New Zealand: 12 Months 12 Songs is an audio journal of an album, that is being written song by song, month by month. Each month a new track is posted at
This is the fourth in a series of posts breaking down the story of each song

Cora has a cold. You might say that she is a wee bit grizzly. After much resistance, Mary Beth has finally gotten her to drift off and places her into her crib. I finish singing “Golden Slumbers” to Annie, turn off my keyboards and stumble through the dark to bed. I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. 

I’m up. Distant moaning. No time for my glasses. Cold feet on the floor. Out the door. Into her room. Hands searching. Grizzly Bub wailing. Annie tossing and turning. Pacifier found. Growling. Chomping. Sighing. Sleeping.

I stumble through the dark to my bed. I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.

I’m up. Grizzly Bub wailing. Into her room. Hands searching. Chomping. Sighing. Sleeping.

In New Zealand, the first time a woman has a Bub, she becomes a Mum. There are, in fact, special gatherings for Mums & Bubs. Since I am a Dad, I am not invited to these Mums & Bubs morning teas, even though I am the primary caregiver. I have been told that I am welcome to come and bring my Bub to these events, but that would just be weird. This means that while Mary Beth is working, this Grizzly Bub is stuck with me. 

I wave goodbye to Annie at the 3-year-old kindergarten, and roll my pram-o-wheezing-Bub out the door. The walk to daycare has given her an opportunity to catch up on all the sleep she has missed from the night before, but I know that she’s really a ticking time bomb. I begin to bolt across town to the church, hoping to get some practice time in on the pipe organ before it’s too late. As my feet pound against the sidewalk, I listen to the rhythm of my keys jangling. I pull out my phone to record the beat, whilst pushing the stroller with the other hand. I try to maintain a steady tempo, but when I reach the crossroads, I pick up the pace as I race across the street. I roll the jogging-pram right down the aisle so Cora has a front row seat, fire up the organ, and place the music on the stand. Halfway through the first hymn I hear a voice: the Grizzly Bub!

A few days have gone by, and Cora is well enough to go to school. I pull out the voice memo and jam along with the pounding of my feet and jangling of car keys. This means that the song gets faster, not because of a compositional choice, but because I didn’t want to be crushed by an oncoming lorry. 

Because our little Bub is only in daycare a couple days out of the week, today she will get a private lesson on home recording. I bring some of her favorite toys into the crib – a metal bowl, a rattle and a light-up tambourine – and we get to work. Cora takes the lead on the shaker and tambourine, while I use the side of the crib as a bass drum. Who knew that a crib was a perfect instrument for electronic dance music?

Halloween is not very popular in New Zealand, so I am trying to make sure Annie gets her fill of the song Ghostbusters. I know the Kiwis aren’t going to do it (except if you go in Pak n Save in November; then you’ll hear it). It only seems natural that Grizzly Bub became a scary song, complete with Michael Jackson “Thriller” style narration.  To get the full effect of this track it should be played on repeat, so just when you think the Grizzly Bub has stopped wailing, she rises from the crib once more…

Listen to the finished song here: Grizzly Bub

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