Toby Gerling knew that if he could write that one song, everything else would fall into place.
Toby had been banging piano keys from the moment he could reach them. He studied. He practiced, even when he didn’t want to. He learned enough to start writing his own stuff and he shared his songs with anyone who would listen.
So far the response was a very consistent, lukewarm, and noncommittal ho-hum; a judgment he didn’t embrace because the people he was getting to listing to his stuff were usually people consumed with there own problems. Getting them to sit and listen, really listen, for the four and a half minutes it might take was just too much of a commitment. It was more of a polite dismissal of him than the music itself.
He was good enough to join several bands in high school and he’d put together ‘Still Fackin’ with his friend Dinx (actual name Dexter Napoleon) Capstone after college. They were getting regular gigs and making enough money to keep Dinx in guitar strings, but he wanted to make his own music.
Much like the pleasant noise he got the first time he brushed those piano keys, he knew he wanted to be a songwriter the first time he heard Wonderbomb on the radio. It moved him and while he had yet to admit it out loud, the bit at the end where the orchestra just seems to explode can still bring tears to his eyes. If he could create something even half as good as that, he would be satisfied. Or, so he told himself.
Writing the next Wonderbomb bordered on the incredible and near impossible, as Dinx kept saying. And the problem wasn’t so much writing the next Wonderbomb as it was not rewriting the original.
The first few Tony Gerling originals had a sound very close to other songs that already existed. He tried hard to avoid it, and he never really heard it. But time and again, he would stumble on something that would be amazing only to have Dinx come into rehearsal to list all the artists and songs he was subconsciously copying.
It seems his Velvet Jacket borrowed heavily from Swinging Mama by the band Blueberry Cluster. His Tenuous Heart reminded Dinx of Smile that burns by The Radical Twins and pretty much everything else fell under the heavy influence of Wonderbomb by Max Henry.
He didn’t want to steal those songs. He wanted to be original. He didn’t even think of those songs when he wrote. He knew he was close. He knew it.