1974 became graffiti heaven on the subway cars in New York city. No matter what the city tried, gang bangers used the sides of the train cars as their canvas, spraying whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted.
The city even tried painting the cars all white to give them a neat appearance.
But then, what color is a painter’s canvas?
Yeah, you know it.
Finally, in 1984, they brought in a hard-core dude to clean up the subway system. He did it in other major cities in the U.S. so they hoped he could do it for NYC.
He put the word in, and laid down the law. The very minute they found a train car was desecrated with spray can art or words, they pulled it off line and repainted it.
If they showed up to work and found one slathered up, before they did anything else, they brought it in and repainted it.
It didn’t even matter if it was rush hour or what. They pulled it off, painted it, and immediately put it back in action.
It took a bit of time, but eventually, the bangers realized their efforts to mark up the cars was futile, and graffiti stopped.
Two things here.
First, when you are creating one of your tunes, consider your editor one of those street punks carrying a spray can smudging out words and writing new ones.
The minute he starts, stop him.
But, when you’re done creating, and it is time to edit, put all the cans that will fit in his smudgy little hands and let him go to town.
Let him cross out all those extra, redundant, pissy words you don’t need.
Even better, read this month’s Tune Booster and put things like the action-result technique into your songwriting DNA. You won’t even have to edit. Eventually, it’ll become second nature.
This one technique can help put some punch in you lines with less lyrical real estate straight off the brain cells.
Find out more in December’s Tune Booster.
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