June 28, 2011

The real Henry K. Lee responds to the song: "The white guy in the video is not me!"

The SF Weekly blog The Snitch posted the video of my new song "Henry K. Lee," and got a quote from Mr Lee himself. The whole post, written by Erin Sherbert, is worth repeating here:

Too Much Free Time: Guy Writes a Song for Chron Reporter Henry K. Lee on YouTube

We know Henry K. Lee best as the veteran Chronicle reporter who has been chasing crime stories across the Bay Area since 1994. And while we'd expect him to have a strong following at this point in his career, it seems a complete stranger has taken an unusual liking (or disliking) to Lee's dark and bleak prose about the "grit and grime" of San Francisco streets.

In a roughly-five-minute song on YouTube, this fan croons a ballad detailing stories written by the local news reporter for seemingly no reason at all.

"The white guy in the video is not me! In fact, I don't know who he is, never met the guy, and I didn't commission the song," Lee told SF Weekly. "That being said, I'm strangely honored and shocked at the same time that my work would go recognized in such an unusual -- if not macabre -- way."

We'll tell you the chorus, but do check out the full song: "Henry K. Lee, Henry K. Lee ... if it's crime and it's grimy, it's covered by Henry K. Lee."

Thank you so much for the endorsement. And thank you Mr Lee for feeling honored and shocked by the "macabre" song inspired by your writings. I do not dislike your "bleak" prose!

However.... I have a small complaint about some of Sherbert's "WTF?" prose. "...for seemingly no reason at all..."? I feel like Phillipe Petit and his dumbfounded reaction when reporters asked him "why did you do this?" after he illegally tight-roped between the Twin Towers in 1974. It's strange that you've filed my song under "Too Much Free Time." As if my job as an economist / neurosurgeon did not consume all of my hours, and I had to resort to art.

KALW had a nicer plug on their blog The Informant:

It’s not every day that a crime reporter is memorialized in song.

Henry K. Lee, the San Francisco Chronicle‘s long-time East Bay Crime reporter, was bestowed with that honor two days ago, when The Manna Tease, a Berkeley-based folk rock duo, posted their five-minute song, “The Ballad of Henry K. Lee,” to Youtube.

In short, this song goes a long way to make up for those reams of police blotter copy that have undoubtedly stolen hours of sleep away from Henry. Enjoy!

Anyway, I want to emphasize that the song was a rough draft, and I'll sing a different version with The Manna Tease when we perform in July. In the meantime, I just recorded a sample demo of that solo version (including the rape verse), and it can be bought & downloaded for one thin dollar here, if you'd like to own a copy &/or support my free-time-wasting pursuits.

No comments: