Anti-Stodgy and Muppet Flailing

I’ve talked elsewhere about Fabulous Publisher Babe™’s Anti-Stodgy campaign. It arises from research showing that between about ages 14 and 24, your tastes tend to lock down.

Same food. Same music. Same clothing. Same routine.

Humans are creatures of pattern, so they get into something and stay. That’s how mid-life crises come about, when someone wakes up one morning wondering what the hell they’ve been doing with their life for the last twenty years.

Or, to quote one of my favoritist characters recently (Kohahu Kugosu): Comfortable kills.

I try to keep myself uncomfortable. Simple as that.

Stay out of the rut.

A good chunk of that gets wrapped up in my own Anti-Stodgy campaign.

In answering “Yes” to new experiences when something comes up. Done some stupid shit. Made some mistakes. Learned some amazing new things.

Until recently, I did two monthly newsletters. One dedicated to Publishing news, and the other the infamous Anti-Stodgy/Redneck Chef newsletter. Combination of new experiences I’ve tried and new recipes I’ve come across. (Redneck Chef is now exclusive to my Patreon for folks at the $1+ level but still happens monthly.)

Same food? Nope. Want to try new things. Might not all work. Not get added to the repertoire.


About eighteen months ago, I got interviewed by the local newspaper in Enumclaw, WA. Gave my usual spiel about “Do you want to be famous or rich?” by talking about Bernie Taupin.

Nobody knows who Bernie is, except fans. Man’s got more money than he knows what to do with, though.

Usual spiel. Given it dozens of times. I’d rather be rich.

Weirdly, though, I got an email right after that. Fellow in Enumclaw who was a composer. Asked if I wanted to be his Bernie.

We call him Elton, because he’s absolutely nothing like the original. (It works, just run with it.)

So he and I started collaborating on music. I’d never written lyrics, but I’ve written poetry, drama, non-fiction, and make a living at fiction.

Shit, yes. Let’s do it.

So I taught myself what lyrics looked like. How they worked. Not an expert. Not even the instant expert that writers can do.

But wrote a series of lyrics for Elton. He turned one of them into a song.

Then he looks at me one day and says “We need a singer. You sing?”

Well, technically yes. Have been known to crank the CDs to stupid and sing along. Used to be pretty good, once upon about forty years ago when last I had formal training.

So I recorded all the vocals. He played all the instruments. We’ve gone back and forth for a while getting the sound right because this is all new to me, and a new genre and art form for him.

He usually writes music samples that get picked up for television shows or movies. Incidental or introductory music. Nothing where you’d know his name unless you were the Music Director of the project who heard his stuff and decided that it fit what they needed.

Until now.

This last Friday, he pushed the launch button.

Ward & Rogers are in the process of releasing our first single. “Left It All Behind.”

Lyrics by B. Ward. Composition PJ Rogers. Vocals by B. Ward.

Sometime in the coming week, it will get out everywhere and I’ll share a link to Amazon and iTunes (along with a lot of muppet flailing, because muppet flailing) so folks can see what we’ve been up to. LIsten along. Even buy it and help me expand into my new multi-media empire.

First song. Already working on a second, as well as writing more and teaching myself how to use the MuseScore software in order to get down the melodies I hear so he can turn them into awesomeness faster.

And (this is the utterly cool part), I will have a Freddie Mercury Number of TWO. Somewhere, on some project that might never get released, the lead singer of Queen took some of PJ’s music and did something with it. And did it officially so that you see both their names when you look in the right database.

How awesome is that?

Worse, I’m already talking to some folks to see if PJ and I can create something like our own Alan Parsons Project, where I’m not necessarily always singing. (Got a couple of things that work far better with a female voice, so I’ve talked to at least one friend to see if I can blackmail her into playing along. TBD).


Doing something new, for the sake of newness, rather than spending the rest of your life in the same chair, eating the same food, watching the same tv shows every night after a job you hate, but not enough to strike out and try something entirely new.

For me, it has included making music, weird as that should sound to anyone who knows me.

But it’s happening.

What have you done to introduce newness into your life?

Why aren’t you smiling more and occasionally muppet flailing?