Sit down, kids, and I’ll tell you a tale.
The year was 1993 and Julian Schnabel was getting tired of smashing plates. But before he became a painter turned (really good) filmmaker, he tried his hand at being a painter turned (really awful) singer.
This is the lead-off track from his album “Every Silver Lining Has A Cloud,” which Island Records released two years after the recording. For God knows what reason, I bought a copy. Maybe I just wanted a CD with a giant purple phallus in my collection.
“She’s Dancing, He’s Dreaming” is the best song on the album, and, frankly, isn’t THAT terrible for the first three minutes. The production by Bill Laswell has a vaguely U2-ish vibe. The song was written by Brian Kelly and Pat Place (don’t know much about them) and the lyrics are by Kelly and Schnabel. The drums are Anton Fier, bass Bill Laswell, organ Bernie Worrell, guitar Buckethead. Yeah, I know, a pretty incredible line-up. I imagine they were all extremely well paid.
The problem is the singing. At first you think that he may be able to pull it off as a “this is how an honest man sings” type thing. But not quite. Then you think, maybe it’s simply an “unusual” voice like a Van Dyke Parks or Biff Rose. But then those strained notes come in at 3:17. Ugh.
Mind you, this is the best of the 13 tracks. I’ve never been able to listen to the whole thing.
But did I mention that The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is a masterpiece?