For comedians like Adam Sandler and Jimmy Fallon, writing music involves
conceiving some goofy scenario and then singing in a dorky voice. Andy
Dick's songwriting process is a little more personal and cathartic.
For example, "The Stalker Song," the first single from Dick's debut album,
Andy Dick & the Bitches of the Century (August 20), is about one of
the funnyman's bad habits. "I'm not stalking you, I'm just calling a lot,"
Dick proclaims on the track, going on to explain, "We've got the perfect
relationship in my head/ I'm talking about the voices that I hear/ That's
what they said." Things only get stranger and more perverse from there.
"In real life I definitely have been known to, I guess you could call it
stalking," he admitted recently from his Los Angeles home. "Driving by their
house and checking up on 'em is kind of stalker-y in a way. So there are
seeds of truth in 'Stalker Song.'
"Of course, I didn't kill her new boyfriend, Kevin," he added in a tone of
voice that makes you wonder if he's telling the truth. "In the song it's
implied that I killed him. Of course, I probably wanted to kill him. But you
can play around with fantasy in a song and it's really fun. It can even be
more freeing than just outright saying something."
The rest of the album is just as strange, naughty and character revealing as
"Stalker Song." "I'll F---" is about Dick's history of making a play for
"anything that moves," "Little Brown Ring" addresses his fascination with
poop chutes, and "Garden Song" is about a frog the comedian lovingly raised
in his back garden.
"It died. I think it died of old age, but I was so distraught," he said. "I
thought I killed it. I thought I wasn't feeding it enough 'cause I used to
go to the pet store and get bags of crickets and throw them back there and
let him have a field day, but one day it was just kind of sprawled out. And
I felt weird and guilty about that. And then I started writing the song and
realized that the song might possibly be about my other close friends who
passed away, so it's a little more serious than my other stuff."
Of course, Bitches of the Century also includes more absurd tracks,
such as his favorite cut, "Stephen Hawking." Just mentioning the track sets
him off giggling and triggers him to imitate a computer voice for almost
"It's funny because people think that's Stephen Hawking's voice, but you
have to know Stephen Hawking doesn't have a voice." He sniggers again and
continues, "He types on a keypad and then the computer generates a voice.
It's weird because our brains think, 'Oh, yeah, I recognize that voice. It's
Stephen Hawking's voice.' No, that's IBM or Macintosh speaking. It's a
digital voice generated by a computer."
The origin of the track is even stranger than the song itself. Dick came up
with the lyrics after one of the musicians he was working with told him he
dragged his feet when he walked, and he replied, "That's 'cause I'm sick of
walking." From there, Dick concocted the idea of envying Hawking because he
gets to scoot around in a mobilized wheelchair.
"I started going off on how jealous I was of Stephen Hawking, not for the
obvious, not for the fact that he's a genius who has the whole universe
figured out in his head 'cause he's got a lot of time to think, I
guess but for the reason being that he gets pushed around in a
wheelchair. And that's what the whole song is about. There's this really
great line that I love that goes, 'Stephen Hawking, I envy you/ Except for
the fact that you can't get up if you really wanted to/ Do you really want
Dick worked on the album with producer Kevin Augunas, who played bass on and
helped engineer Sinead O'Connor's Faith and Courage. Because Augunas
is well connected in the music biz, he was able to assemble a roster of
guest guitarists including onetime Foo Fighter Franz Stahl, Jellyfish's Andy
Sturmer and Greg Camp of Smash Mouth.
The collaborators provided riffs that "f---ing rock," Dick said. "In 'I'll
F---' there's this guitar thing that always makes me dance. It's a solo, and
when I hear it I just start dancing. Actually, I don't know a lot of the
people Kevin brought in. When they'd come in, he'd usually kick me out and
I'd have to wait outside. Then I'd just come in later and do the vocals."
The cover art for Andy Dick and the Bitches of the Century, a
caricature of Dick half-naked, holding a joint, was painted by Marilyn
Manson. "Marilyn is so great," Dick enthused. "He painted a beautiful
watercolor for me and gave it to me as a present. He didn't do it for the
album, but it was so pretty I asked him if I could use it."
As the interview drew to a close, Dick frantically scurried around the room
to make sure he imparted all the wisdom he could generate. He coaxed his
4-year-old daughter to sing Eminem's "Cleaning Out My Closet," explained how
the secret to raising kids is "lots of love and no sugar," and he called in
his co-songwriter Andreas Jones to preview the song "Good Luck With That."
Finally, exhausted and momentarily talked out, Dick summed up his modus
operandi for Bitches of the Century. "I just needed to get this stuff
off my chest kind of like a messy phlegm booger that you cough up and
spit across the room."