A performance of ‘Elliott Gould’ from the Grand Central Nowhere CD Release Party on 6.20.09 at Viva Cantina.

When I was a kid, my grandmother bought my cousins and I miniature 32 key 8-bit Casio keyboards. There were 10 voices (including one of the best synthetic trumpet sounds I have ever heard) and 12 back-beats (including a wicked rumba) and we all took to making as much noise with the things as quickly as we could. I grabbed a couple of quick keyboard lessons from my aunt and then set off to ham-fist the keys as I saw fit.

One day I picked out the instrumental theme song to the TV show M*A*S*H, playing it by ear. My folks looked at each other, a little stunned as they had no musical skills of which to speak (other than an appreciation), and the next day I was at Fred Meyer Piano in Ft. Wayne, meeting with a keyboard instructor.

Years later as I began my foray into film geekdom, I watched my first Altman film, M*A*S*H, and heard the theme song, with lyrics, for the first time. I suppose I should have been a little unnerved that the tune, which kick started my trip on music, was called ‘Suicide Is Painless’, but more than anything it added to the romance of the whole venture.

To add to the amour, M*A*S*H also introduced and immediately endeared me to Elliott Gould.

This song isn’t really about Elliott, but when writing it, my brain couldn't help but cast him in the role of the Prophet of Happenstance mentioned in the last verse. There’s something about the idea of stumbling upon Elliott espousing the virtues of life’s simple pleasures during an existential crisis that makes perfect sense to me.

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