Dawayne's Comments About Stone Of Sisyphus
To: Joe Gilmore; Chicago Forever
From: Dawayne Bailey
Los Angeles, CA. August 8,1997

I'd like to help clear up some questions about what I know about SOS-as well as include a few comments about the record. There's much to tell from my point of view and the limited time that I was around. I'm sure some of you will be sur- prised to learn that I wasn't allowed or invited to many Chicago recording sessions in the 8 and 1/2 years as an employee of Chicago Music,Inc- which is the actual name of the band as far as I'm concerned. The general opinion that I got from the band was that I was good enough to play live, but not in the studio. That's a good one! And as a vocalist-I cold hit all of the high parts in REAL voice, NOT falsetto-in all modesty, I'm also a fanatic for perfect pitch and with great pride I challenge anyone to find "bad DB vocal performances". My point being that not only did they psyche themselves into believing I was not worthy of guitar in the studio, there was definately a few times when Jason would get sick or out of voice and he would come up to my hotel room and quite casually ask me to sing the lead on 25 Or 6 To 4, or various others that night and once the originals would find out-they would freak like I was some amateur or that they would lose the audience. Bizzare,to say the least. I've received MANY compliments for my singing on the last verse of I'm A Man-yet I wasn't EVER given the chance to sing lead live otherwise. I was singing high tenor along with Cetera in junior high school (with records) as well as singing his high vocals in cover bands as a kid. I was invited to sing on practically every song on 21-gimme a break, Man To Woman? That's Jason and I both singing those incredibly high parts-in real voice-not falsetto-yet they would go into shock at the thought of me helping Jason out on a rare night. I will never forget or forgive them for that. Ever!! And when it comes to them recording my songs-well there really wasn't much room on a 10 song record by the time Jimmy,Rob,Jason,Bill,and rarely Lee but at least Dianne Warren each got 2 songs apiece-in fact, on 19 I overheard them talking near the end of the record about needing one more song. I approached Lamm and said "So you guys need another tune?" He arrogantly replied "Why-you got something?" I said "Yeah-I'm a songwriter-I've got lots of'something'!" He just turned and walked away without saying a word just like when they let me go-they didn't say a WORD!!! The point to all this is then how do you explain that 1. I wrote the title track as well as sang lead on SOS and did the guitar work. 2. I also co-wrote Get On This as well as played guitars. I'll be MORE than happy to explain this folks. Two words-Peter Wolf!!! Peter accidently heard my music and my voice and asked Chicago why wasn't I being used on the album-at that point it was to be called 22 and I hadn't as usual been asked to participate at all-Bruce Gaitsch was doing all the guitars and Jason was doing all the high vocal parts. Pankow, however had called me and said "We're almost done with the record but we still need a real rocker-you're the guy for that-let's get together at my house". I was shocked!! They needed 3 more songs to finish 22. So Pank and I got together and wrote the music-we had a ball-Jimmy got some beer-I had my usual fermented grape juice and we rocked out for hours. Jimmy gave me some lyrics he thought would be good-so I took them home-but I kept hearing the phrase "Get On This" and at that time I was also in a serious relationship with Walt's daughter Felicia who aside from being a fine classical pianist, she's also a serious poet/writer of very OUT stuff and I was absorbed in her work, as well as other poets we�were studying together. She had a huge influence on me and was directly responsible for opening my lyric writing up into where it's been going for the last few years. So with all of this in mind-the final results for the lyrics of Get On This was I wrote all the lyrics except Jimmy wrote the words to the bridge and with so much influence from Felicia and actually taking phrases from sme of her poems, she is also credited as a third writer-the very first song written by Pankow,Parazaider, and Bailey. I'll make a bet that these are the weirdest lyrics EVER on a Chicago record in 30 years! And here they are---

Get On This ***
In the middle-of a dream
Thought I saw the sacred Love Supreme
So beautiful yet so obscene
But I'm not sure I'm sleeping

And in a golden sun
I saw Hitler,Elvis, and angels
A little baby with a big gun
I saw Jesus kissing the devil

Gonna take some time for me to
Get on this-get on this
It's gonna take an angel's kiss to
Get on this-get on this
When I go to sleep tonight
I must remember to close my eyes

Saw a mother-take a needle
Burn in water-drown in flame
A soft spot for a hard habit
She had a baby that no name

They say a day will come
When a bright light shines all around you
The perfect Disney millineum
Where only happiness will surround you

Repeat chorus

The sins of hypocrisy
Will turn the world upside down
Lies in the hearts of children
Destroy their world without a sound

And in a full moon sun
I saw a king turn angels to ashes
Beside a bonfire in Babylon
Stands an empty house full of cages

Repeat chorus

(written by James Pankow,Felicia Parazaider,Dawayne Bailey-copyright 1994)

Peter Wolf,the producer hadn't heard this song yet though and in the meantime Lee had accidently played Peter a tape of a song of mine that Lee had from 1990. It had no words yet but Lee was playing Peter one of his songs and as they were discussing that song, Lee had put my song on his tape right after his song. Peter asked Lee "What is that music?" Lee explained that he had heard me playing the music on our band bus in 1990 and together we went up to his room and I played his keyboard into his tape recorder and the next thing I knew, Lee and I were "writing" a song together-however, let me say this-at first I was bitter about Lee getting 50% of Stone O Sisyphus, since I wrote every note and word to that song-if not for Lee the song would NEVER have been finished and he put a LOT into the demoing of the song so even though he didn't write anything-he absolutely deserves his share!!! Lee called me after his meeting with Peter and said if I would finish the song by writing lyrics that Peter said they would record it for possible inclusion to 22. After being ignored for all those years as a writer-I was freaking-WO, a song with Jimmy and now with Lee's help, another song. My mind was racing as fast as my heart was pounding! I immediately started singing phrases into the air in my back yard. I kept singing "20 Years Upon The Sufferbus" but the band Masters Of Reality had an album called Sunrise On The Sufferbus so I nixed that one but I loved the way "us" flowed with the melody. I've always been into Middle Eastern food and culture-I was dating a woman from Turkey when I did my CD, Dancing The Marmara which is based on a theme about the Sea Of Marmara in Istanbul,Turkey so all of a sudden I started thinking about Greek mythology and the word Sisyphus came into my head. I ran to the dictionary and found out what was to become the title track to Chicago 22. I started writing every word about how difficult my relationship with Felicia had been and how awkward it was having her dad as my boss. Lee also asked me to keep the theme "positive" so I reversed Sisyphus' dilemma and I wrote "I'm gonna take the stone of Sisyphus-I'm gonna roll it back to you"-and then and there,I had my chorus. I met Lee at his studio and I knew he would react negatively, but I believed in it so much, I was convinced this was the title. After playing it for him he literally yelled the infamous words "Do you think you could write something we could ALL understand?!!" So I tried I'm Gonna Send My Love To The Universe-but it wasn't working. So I begged Lee "Play it for Peter and if he hates it, I'll rewrite everything." Lee did and the next day Peter called and with great passion he told me in that thick Austrian accent "Sisyphus is BRILLIANT-we are going to start recording it this week!!" I died and went to heaven! They had already finished "Get On This" but I told them that Gaitsch's guitar wasn't heavy or strong enough-it needed more BALLS and attitude, which is what I thought I always did with them in concert. So they actually let me play on both of my songs, as well as Bigger Than Elvis, the rest is ALL Bruce on guitars. Thanks guys! After Peter heard me singing backgrounds on Get On This, he asked the band right there in front of me "Why don't you use this guy more in the studio?" They all just kind of mumbled something and Peter had everyone taking turns singing SOS-but it all came down to Lamm doing the verses and I took the choruses and the bridge. At one point on the last "I'm gonna roll it back to you", we morphed Jason's voice onto the last 3 words,"back to you" and the song was done except for the horns. Jason and I did all the background harmonies on SOS. Lee and Jimmy and I did the horn arrangement for SOS and I deliberately stole a melody line from The Beatle's song, Norwegian Wood and put it in there. I also deliberately wanted to hear a guy from Chicago sing the phrase "blood,sweat and tears". It worked. I'll never forget when Bill suggested instead of naming it Chicago 22-how about Stone Of Sisyphus? Lamm's choice was "Resolve" and I remember asking him "Isn't that a laundry detergent?" So my dreams came true. In fact I never even dreamed any of it-I never thought any of this would come to pass-and sure enough, it didn't, although it's cool that SOS is out-in Canada only-yuk! But really, it's available from Chicago Records and Thoughtscape Sounds so it is available to the whole world at the moment anyway. I also got to be involved in the artwork and got to see the final CD cover with the lettering and all-what a high-I had brought a book cover of a book I had bought called A Thesis On Sisyphus which had a very ancient look to it of Sisyphus pushing the stone up the mountain and the artist for the CD took it from there and the band approved the final draft. The last thing I'll say here for now is how funny I find it that before I played my SOS idea for Lee, I remember thinking how all these Chicago fans would finally, just like me, discover the meaning and story of Sisyphus and how funny that such a funny word would be spread around the world. It has. The other funny part is how I've read over and over how the song is about Chicago and their career and it's ups and downs-I've even heard Chicago themselves saying this to the press. How ironic that it's completely about my girlfriend and I. And here it is----

Stone Of Sisyphus *

Tomorrow is teasing me
Time seems to run away from the future
But this could be that lucky day
A dream is make believe untill
Blood, sweat, and tears turn faith to will
It's gonna take some miracle, man
To show there's a way

I'm gonna take the Stone Of Sisyphus
I'm gonna roll it back to you
Building a wall of Stone

Sometimes you know what's right
Sometimes wrong is better than nothing
They cast a stone so heavy to turn
I believe in a love so true
I believe you get what's coming to you
We get so tired of living a dream
For some other day

I'm gonna take the Stone Of Sisyphus
I'm gonna roll it back to you
Wall of stone around the two of us
That only angels can break through

Looks like it's another
Of those lonely nights
Will we always be alone
That's never kept me from you
That's never stopped me from the fight

Repeat chorus

(written by Dawayne Bailey and Lee Loughnane, copyright 1994)

The REAL ironic thing is after all the odds that I was against with accomplishing any of this, I never got to play it live-they did that after terminating my contract. I hope this clears up a few things for you all. Keep smiling-Dawayne Bailey,Los Angeles,CA, August 8,1997

Dawayne Bailey---maydron@hotmail.com
Back To Chicago Forever 1