Kavalier Calm's Crowdsource Inspiration

I'm KC, The People's Bard. I write songs and poems inspired by the people I meet on the internet. Ask, and I’ll write something for you.
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  • Jill Valentine is one of my favorite video game characters ever. I remember when I was a kid, I would stay up late playing as Jill in the original Resident Evil, biting my fingernails in fear. I wanted to tell Jill’s story in a unique way, and my inspiration came from talking to Vinett at thehorny-zombie. She said, “I don’t think zombies are stupid,” and that simple statement made me wonder how an intellgient zombie would feel during the classic “Mansion Incident” in Resident Evil. So, I sang from the perspective of the zombie who owns the mansion. He just sees Jill as a trouble-maker. Really, when you think about it, the zombies are victims of home invasion; S.T.A.R.S has no right to enter that mansion. The zombie’s rantings are full of references to the game—even the classic Jill Sandwich moment—and they really highlight why we un-undead all love Jill (good looks aside). This song is dedicated to Vinett for the good zombie-dialogue, and to these great Resident Evil blogs I read during my research: residentevil-fanart, f***yeahresidentevil, hellyesresidentevilseries, -thehivef***yeahchrisandjill, fyeahjillvalentine, jill-valentine, valentinefever, claireredfield-, and bloodyxnightmare. If interested, free downloads are here; and stream it on YouTube here. I first recorded this with electric guitar and heavy distortion; if you are interested in comparing, you can hear that version here. I like it, but the humor in these #gaming pieces is lyric driven, and the words get lost in distortion. If you enjoy this, be sure to check out my other #zombie and #gaming songs. — Kavalier

         Evil Valentine

    Evil Valentine, everyone thinks you’re one
    of them shining S.T.A.R.S.,
    but I know you’re a petty thief in a uniform.
    I’d like to wash my hands in your Type B blood.

    Master of Unlocking who invited you to open up my doors?
    Undead or not, I’m still a resident of Raccoon, and I got rights just like you.
    I can kill trespassers on my land; what do you care if I turn them into a snack?
    Why let good flesh go to waste? Brains, brains, brains.

    Umbrella gave me this mansion of puzzles, games to test my mind.
    I don’t remember asking for your help; Valentine, you’re out of line!
    And you claim to be flexible, quick on your feet, but I would have made a sandwich of you if not for Barry.
    And your sweet flesh would not have gone to waste. Brains, brains, brains.

    I tire of you shooting my guests in the head.
    I tire of the sound of your footsteps.
    (Brains, brains, brains.)

    Evil Valentine, I just want you to leave me be.
    Take your beret, take your brain, and get off my property.
    Don’t mind the dogs; they’re as friendly as can be.
    And Valentine, we’ll see you again real soon in Raccoon City.

    This song answers a brilliant request from  kevinapocalypse at the great gaming blog theredherb. He suggested that I write a song for the true hero of early Resident Evil games: The Save Room. These rare rooms had a typewriter for saving and an inventory box for swapping items. After dealing with the undead chaos, these rooms felt like “sanctuaries” to him. He also noted the beautiful music in these rooms, which I listened to much this week and like to think affected my writing (I had about a dozen creepier riffs that didn’t make the cut for this). So, I always push a request’s envelope, right? I agree with him that these places are sanctuaries—as the room with a save point is in many games. But there is another side to the coin. Programmers don’t give us a save point to congratulate us for our hard work; it’s usually a sign that something very bad is about to happen. Thus, save rooms are sanctuaries, but they are also just the calm before the storm. I dedicate this song to theredherb and also to these rad RE blogs I’ve been following for some time: hellyesesidentevilseries, residentevil-fanart, girls-kill-zombies-deader, resievilfan, and f***yeahresidentevil. Free downloads of this track are available here. Enjoy RE fans and fellow-gamers! — Kavalier Calm

         The Calm Before The Storm

    Finally. A place to rest.
    You’ve pumped bullets into so many zombie heads
    you only have half a clip left
    and HP in the single-digits.
    The music here is soft,
    and you have the time to collect your thoughts,
    organize your items,
    and plan for what’s next.

    But don’t let your guard down.
    This safe place is not a prize
    for all those hard fights;
    it’s the calm before the storm.

    What do you think this ammo’s for?
    Why did the programmers let you save your state?
    Because a boss is just around the bend,
    ready to make you RESET.
    Did you think it would get easier?
    You’ve won a battle not the war.
    The undead are plotting their offensive
    right outside that door.

    So you better save, maybe in two slots.
    Grab all the ammunition you got.
    Leave that unused weapon behind,
    so you can carry all the herbs you find.
    'Cause it's coming, the final push;
    wave your calm goodbye.
    You won’t feel safe again,
    'til those final credits roll by.

    Songs for The Walking Dead

    My brief hiatus from writing #gaming-themed songs is at an end. With this post, I am announcing my intention to write a series of songs centered on The Walking Dead: The Game, which recently won Game of the Year at Spike TV’s Video Game Awards. I credit Eric at the fantastic On The Level Gaming blog for the idea; knowing my penchant for storytelling through song, he correctly assumed I would enjoy digesting Telltale’s epic story and adding to it in my own way. I was familiar with the graphic novels and the show before Eric made the suggestion, but I was admittedly unaware that I could participate in the story as a gamer. After a bit of research, I downloaded the first episode onto my Xbox last night, and it only took a few exchanges between Lee and Clementine before my brain started puzzling out lyrics and song structures. This is really a win, win opportunity for me, as the only thing I have enjoyed writing as much as my #gaming songs are my #zombie songs.

    Right now, I think a logical way to approach this is to write a song for each episode in the five episode series. The titles of each episode are already begging to be song titles or parts of a chorus; for example, “Long Road Ahead” has a Johnny Cash-luster about it. I also imagine these tunes will stylistically be minimalistic folk because 1) that fits my strengths and my budget and because 2) I think it fits a post-apocalyptic subject matter. The quantity and style are still very much up in the air, though. In the end, I may release the set as an EP on my Bandcamp page for free download, depending on public interest.

    I would be thrilled to work with fans of the The Walking Dead on the lyrics, the songs, the album art, etc. If you would enjoy collaborating in any way, shoot me an email at crowdsourceinspiration@gmail.com. Don’t be shy!

    Thanks in advance for playing along, zombie lovers!

    Brains! — Kavalier Calm

    Last week, I announced my plans to write a series of songs about The Walking Dead: The Game, which recently won Game of the Year at Spike TV’s Video Game Awards. I wrote this song after finishing episode 1 of the series, “A New Day”. In this bluesy, raw tune, I sing from the perspective of Lee Everett. Think of it as a lullaby for Clementine. I hope you enjoy, friends. Can you spot all the references to the game in the lyrics? — Kavalier Calm

         A New Day

    I was dead man walking until the walking dead
    gave me a new reason to live.
    I’m a bad man. I didn’t earn this new day.
    But I’ll take it just the same.

    A man’s past can’t haunt him
    in a present full of fears.
    Yes, I will protect you, my dear.

    Who knew babysitting was such a dangerous game?
    I’ll hammer, punch, and kick ‘til you’re safe.
    Momma says call the cops, but I know first hand:
    help’s hard to find in this lawless land.

    Some of the living want it all to end.
    One bullet to check out of the Motor Inn.
    I can’t save everyone. Life forces me to choose.
    But, darlin’, I will always choose you.

    I was dead man walking until the walking dead
    gave me a new reason to live.

    Song #2 in my songs for The Walking Dead: The Game focuses on the dilemma at the heart of “Episode 2: Starved For Help”: Hunger. As you play as Lee Everett through this episode, you are given many opportunities to fall victim to your animal needs and forget morality. But I continuously elected to make the right choice. Starvation is no excuse for cannibalism, murder, or stealing. And because Telltale Games shows you how your choices rank up against your peers when you finish an episode, I could see that most of you made the right choice, too. Of course, none of us were starving as we played the game. In fact, I am a well-fed gamer. So, I’ll climb off my high horse now. My song “Starved For Help”, unlike my first, bluesy Walking Dead tune, has an upbeat rhythm and chug, chugs along. I hope you enjoy it. Can you spot all the references to Episode 2? — Kavalier Calm

         Starved For Help

    The world is dog eat dog, man eat man.
    We’re all starved for help in this dying land.

    And I know when hunger strikes,
    good men lose their minds.
    But the need to feed
    does not give me the right
    to deny my helping hand.

    Be you a Walker or one who runs,
    know well the lesson of Tantalus:
    the St. Johns, with all their fear,
    do not have the right
    to deny a helping hand.

    And living among bear traps
    with your precious axe
    and rations growing thin
    does not give you the right
    to deny a helping hand.

    Song #3 in my songs for The Walking Dead: The Game is inspired by the character Chuck. I borrowed his playing style when I wrote the guitar part for this song, and the chorus is based on Chuck’s warning to Lee that the living are just as dangerous as the dead. The verses make reference to key moments in “Long Road Ahead”. Can you spot them all? I dedicate this song to the good people at On The Level Gaming for inspiring me to write these tunes, and to these blogs I’ve been reading for their awesome Walking Dead content: thewalkingdeadempire, we-the-walking-dead, clementinetears, f***yeahthewalkingdeadgame, f***yeah-the-walking-dead, and the-walking-dead-art. You can stream my song on YouTube here, and you can download it for free here (just enter $0 as the price). Enjoy, everyone! — Kavalier

         Long Road Ahead

    I killed a girl to put her out of her misery,
    and I killed a man to put myself out of mine.
    Broken flashlight, dwindling supplies—
    the truth is hidden in chalk lines.

    It’s a long road ahead in a world full of dead.
    But all we need fear is the living.

    Cut your hair short so reaching hands
    slip off of you like water off a duck’s back.
    Take my gun, hold your breath, and aim.
    When it’s time to pull the trigger, don’t be afraid.

    Everyone’s road ends in the same valley,
    but some choose to get there in a hurry.
    Take a nip to forget what she’s done;
    it ain’t known for its finish—unlike us.

    Song #4 in my songs for The Walking Dead: The Game highlights the gut-wrenching feeling of betrayal I had while playing “Episode 4: Around Every Corner”. This song is sung from the perspective of Lee; he’s warning Clementine that in a post-apocalyptic world, the only person you can really trust is yourself. Sad but true. In the lyrics below, I’ve added links to the characters who surprised me with their strength or, more often, their weakness. Special thanks to zoes-horror-show for designing the awesome album artwork for this song; check out her blog and send her loving messages. Thanks again to On The Level Gaming for the idea behind this songwriting project; it’s been a blast so far, even if I’m terrified to see what happens in Episode 5. You can stream my song on YouTube here, and you can download it for free here (just enter $0 as the price). Enjoy, everyone! — Kavalier Calm

         Around Every Corner

    Around every corner, around every bend,
    is a foe or a friend,
    and it ain’t always clear
    what the difference is.

    Darlin’, trust yourself and no one else.
    The world’s a cruel place; it’s all gone to hell.
    Everyone’s looking out for me and mine;
    the line is blurred between survival and crime.
    And, darlin’, you should know:

    Save a man's son, he repays you with doubt;
    try to lead with kindness, and everyone shouts.
    Keep faith in a coward, he lets you down;
    watch in awe as a stranger holds his ground.

    No one’s safe from this Walker sickness;
    you can’t know how people will act in a pinch.
    Mothers, fathers, children, and man’s best friend:
    you’re the only one you can trust in the end.