Athanas earworm ‘Skipaway’ opens CDWritten by Sarah Ottney | Editor in Chief | firstname.lastname@example.org
Steven J. Athanas wants the opening track of this summer’s American Red Cross benefit CD “Red, White & You, Too!” to get stuck in your head.
“I hope it’s one of the songs they hear and can’t get out of their head and they get pissed off at me because it won’t leave their cranium,” Athanas said.
With “Skipaway,” Athanas somehow makes lyrics like “It don’t matter how the river runs when your life’s been torn apart” sound upbeat and catchy. The tune contains river imagery such as jumping fish, hollow logs and skipping stones.
Athanas wrote “Skipaway” on the porch of his dad’s house in Perrysburg, overlooking the Maumee River.
“It was like that old metaphor, the river drew me in,” Athanas said. “I never had an intention of writing. I was just sitting on the porch with a guitar, farting around, and it just kind of came out of me.”
Afterward, he put it aside, where it sat for years until he got divorced.
“As it is with most of my tunes, there is a muse at work. I wrote it with the woman who was to become my wife in mind, and it made sense because she ended up dumping me,” Athanas said. “I went through a really hard divorce and one of the ways I helped to purge myself of it is I recorded an album and that song just sort of made sense to put on with all the mopey, woe-is-me songs that were piling up.”
That solo album, “We Are Our Own Parade,” was released in 2005. Athanas also released a primarily acoustic 2011 album, “Worn Out Libertines,” with The Coosters. He is currently frontman for The Homewreckers.
Besides music, Athanas said he enjoys drawing and writing. His weekly cartoon, “Wrath O’ Ath’,” is published regularly in Toledo Free Press. A book of his “doodles” and “pomes” was published as “Random Commands, A Well-Hung Man & Other Claptrap” by University of Toledo Press in December.
“I call them ‘pomes’ because I don’t think they are worthy of Walt Whitman or e.e. cummings,” he said.
Athanas previously contributed a track, “Looks Like Christmas Is Here,” to the 2012 Make-A-Wish benefit CD, “Holiday Wishes 2,” but this is his first time on the summer Red Cross CD.
“I’m very excited about this one because I’m the lead-off track. So even if people get bored or distracted and stop listening, they have to listen to mine,” Athanas said, and laughed. “I’m aware of all the wonderful things the Red Cross does so it’s a good thing. But primarily it’s my ego.”
Tags: "Skipaway", "We are Our Own Parade", American Red Cross of Northwest Ohio, benefit CD, Holiday Wishes 2, Make-A-Wish Benefit CD, Maumee River, Perrysburg, Random Commands A Well-Hung Man & Other Claptrap, Red Cross, Steven J. Athanas, The Coosters, University of Toledo Press, Worn Out Libertines