Interview with the CB Music Song Sparrow
Over the years I’ve received many questions about Cobscook Bay Music’s mascot, the ubiquitous sparrow on the logo. A few days ago I encountered him scrounging about the deck and, for a handful of sunflower seeds, he agreed to this interview. So here it is:
Me – so, bird, tell us about yourself.
S – first, I’m not a “Ubiquitous Sparrow,” I’m a Song Sparrow. You probably don’t even know what “ubiquitous” means.
Me – that’s never stopped me before. I like to use multisyllabic words.
S – obviously. In that case, you can refer to me by my scientific name, Melospiza melodia. We’re members of the Emberizidae family – from Jersey, I think. Oh, and, ahem, the “melodia” means I’m the melodious one. My two relatives are the Lincoln’s and Swamp Sparrows but they don’t matter. This is about me, right?
Me – ok, fine. Keep going.
S – well, my name’s not Joanne, but I lived in a meadow by a pah-ah-ahnd...
Me – nice. Keep singing.
S – that’s all I know. Put on the Mike Nesmith “Magnetic South” CD if you want more.
Me – I knew that.
S – but your readers might not. Maybe they travel to the Beat of a Different Drum.
Me – enough with the song puns.
S – OK – This is the End
Me – stop it
S – I gotta be MEEE!
Me – the Killer Awoke Before Dawn
S – now you’re scaring me. I'll stop. Let’s go on with the interview. Or give me more sunflower seeds.
Me – the meadow and pond were at Goddard Space Flight Center, right?
S – yes, but you knew that too.
Me – for the readers. So what did you do there?
S – I sang. I’m a Song Sparrow, remember. BTW – I’m offended by the “mascot” thing. It’s demeaning. I’m the brains behind this organization. I tell you everything to do.
Me – nonsense. The Voices tell me.
S – and who do you think the Voices are?
Me - ….
S – whose voice are you hearing right now?
Me - …
S – well?
Me – usually there are more.
S – you know what they say about committees.
Me – let’s go back to interviewing you, huh?
Ok – so interview away.
Me – what’s that you’re eating?
S – I dunno. Some kind of bug.
Me – I thought you ate seeds.
S – bugs are better. I eat seeds when there aren’t bugs. And to lord it over the Goldfinches at the feeder. That’s fun. Love pushing them off the edge.
Me – I've noticed you have a dark side. So how did you end up in Maine?
S – same way you did. That old Tracker of yours is so full of holes it was easy for me to crawl in and hitch a ride. And there’s enough food on the floor to last me several lifetimes. I thought it was time I did some touring, promote my CD… the usual. On the Road Again, Turn the Page.
Me – there you go again. Stop it with the song puns.
But anyway you only know one song. Dee dee dee ^ DEEE over and over, with that little jumble of notes after the DEEE.
S – that’s where the guitar comes in.
Me – and how do you play that, with no fingers, opposable thumbs or anything?
S – think of a combination of Pete Townsend and Attila Vural – percussive flail.
BTW - the Goldfinch thing is all in fun. There's one of me, a bazillion of them
Me – Whatever. A lot of people ask me why the pic of you and the guitar doesn’t show a strap. Why doesn’t the guitar just hit the ground?
S – it’s on a belt around my waste. So I can twirl it like ZZ Top. I can’t use a regular strap ‘cause I don’t have shoulders.
Me – you don’t have a waste either.
S – do too. It’s hidden under all the feathers.
Me – what kind of guitar is it?
S – the way I play, it hardly matters, does it?
Me – Good point. Tell me more about your music
S – It’s not what I do, it’s what I am. I’m a Song Sparrow.
Me – got any more cliches? And stop pulling on my shoe laces
S – In this case it’s not a cliché – it’s true. As I keep saying, I’m a Song Sparrow. I have to be.
Those are shoelaces? Thought they were worms.
Me – Sparrows eat worms?
S – only deep fried. Baked is better – like on the sidewalk on a hot sunny day. Not just for Robins anymore.
So back to music. When I first arrived here, I notice the local Song Sparrows weren’t getting the song right. We’re of a “learned song” species, y’know. The song varies depending on where we learn it and from whom. So there are, like, local Song Sparrows, and traveling Song Sparrows. Analogize Lubec musicians and musicians, dare I say it, from away. In some species, songs are purely genetic – only variation is from mutation.
Me – I knew that. So you’re a SSFA.
S – of course you knew it. I told you. Anyway, one in particular, instead of doing “ Dee dee dee ^ DEEE blah blah” was doing “ Dee dee dee DEEE blah...” - I don’t know how to type an upside-down caret. All right, I can’t type either, but I made you do it, didn’t I?
What I’m trying to squeak is that he was going down on the DEEE instead of up – like Beethoven’s Fifth. Putting on aires (get it?). Sparrow snobbery. Another bird was extending the DEEEEEEEEEE for a ridiculously long time. Showoff. I, on the other hand, am a purist. Note for note, beat for beat – except for the occasional Nesmith cover, of course. We have to stay true to tradition.
Me – I liked the variation.
S – you’re not a songbird. You’re more like a banjo player criticizing the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Me – that insult was uncalled for.
S – so call for one – I’ll be happy to oblige. Wait a minute - insult to you or banjo players?
Me – never mind. Why aren’t you out selling concert tickets like the Geico Gecko.
S – First, the Gecko doesn’t sell tickets. It sells insurance, or something like that. Anyway, it’s just a silly reptile with an affectation. I’m descended from dinosaurs. Here me Roar.
Me – guess what? It’s recently been determined that dinosaurs didn’t roar. They quacked and chirped.
S – fine. I chirp too. Actually like an Eagle. You never hear an Eagle in the movies and on TV. That's 'cause they chirp like a sissybird. Have to hire Red-tailed Hawks as voice-over. Case closed.
The Gecko is a twerp. Besides, I sell plenty of tickets. What do you think attracts people to your advertisements? Me, that’s what! I want a raise!
Me – uh-oh. Well, that’s all the space we have for this interview. So nice to have had a chance to talk. Let’s do it again sometime.
S – bring more bugs.