Here’s more than you’d probably want to know about our song, California King.
What It’s About
Well before a tantrum about vaccines and masks led to a fizzled-on-arrival attempted recall of California Governor Gavin Newsom, in 2003 there was a successful recall of Gov. Gray Davis which ushered in the Schwarzenegger era in California. I was ticked off, because at least half of the people in favor of a recall at the time could not voice one actual reason.
So the line "Maybe we can recall and get a California King" started rattling around in my head. While noodling around with it, I was picturing how I thought East Coast Americans thought of Californians as all surfing to work. The goal was to paint California is a huge, huge state full of dichotomies.
Listen, Lyrics, Personnel
Let the record to show that we released it on an album in 2008 and have the tepid reviews to prove it! Lo and behold, in 2010 Rihanna put out a song called "California King Bed." We’re not saying she stole it from us, but we’re not not saying it. That’s all we can say, based on our lawyer’s advice.
Why It’s An Opener
I think most musicians have a default chord or note they reflexively play when they grab their instrument. Whenever I sit down, I’ve kind of alway first play a really wide, full D chord. That’s what California King starts with and plows ahead with a straight-4 rhythm.
The Bigfellas very often start with it for a lot of reasons. It starts big so it announces our presence. But on a more practical level, it’s in a low vocal register so I can get away with singing it before I’ve warmed up. If we can start with this, "Moving Day" and maybe Frank Sinatra’s "Summer Wind", then I could get away with eating a pizza before going on stage and I’ll get warmed up by song #4.
Here’s a video of me playing it by myself - I believe this is from a Fresno music festival at a brewery were I played in the afternoon before a burlesque show. No, that wasn’t a MadLib, that was a thing that happened.