The Memory Survives
by on October 12, 2017 in Featured Songwriting

Hello friends,

It never ceases to amaze me when I just put one foot in front of the other. With no expectation… just do what’s in front of me.

I reached out to my friend Humberto Gatica, just because. As many of you know, Humberto is the recording engineer who recorded and mixed some of the greatest Chicago records, Chicago 16, 17 and 18. 18 was my first one and I’ll never forget walking into the studio for day 1 of the vocals.

Of course, I was a bit nervous and thought in the back of my mind that maybe this would be the one and only day I’d be at the microphone with the great David Foster and Humberto on the other side of the glass. Luckily we started with my one and only song I co-wrote on that album “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” so I knew it pretty well.

Well, as I’ve said before, the fact I was familiar with the song and had delivered a vocal on my demo that pretty much got me the gig as the new tenor lead vocalist for the band I realized all I had to do was go in and repeat it.

Ah, but there is the rub, right? It’s one thing when you’re by yourself and it doesn’t count as far as a life changing event… but now you’re in the batter’s box at the bottom of the 9th with the bases loaded, full count, 2 outs and 1 run behind… what are you made of? When it counts?

Well, sorry if this is at the risk of sounding like I’m patting myself on the back… really not trying to… just stating the facts… Something happened when they pressed record and I started singing that vocal on “Nothing’s Going To Stop Us Now”… I felt comfortable… once the first line was sung, and I realized I was up and running… knew it was sounding real good… my wings started to spread and it literally was a metamorphosis in the first take of that vocal. In fact I believe a good portion of the vocal on the record was from that first take.

So getting back to Humberto… I just wanted to say hello to him. Wasn’t calling for anything business related… just wanted to touch base with my pal from all those years ago… actually, gotta bust myself… I did have 1 question… I wanted to ask him if he remembered what he might have done as far as a signal chain for that vocal sound… you see, I’ve been bringing up a lot of material I have that’s almost done, mainly my solo record I started several years ago with Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts. I was wanting to see if maybe I could try and recreate a sound I remembered on the vocal recording sessions of Chicago 18. They certainly were some of the most inspired of any of the albums I’ve done with the band and it’s really because of the 2 factors of having Foster producing and that vocal sound.

Humberto is not only one of the greatest recording engineers and producers on the planet but he’s the guy who, I believe, still records Celine Dion’s vocals… and a host of other phenomenal singers… Andrea Bocelli, if I’m not mistaken? etc. the list goes on.

So I call him and he says, “Yes! Let’s get together for lunch… you have any songs?” and I said, “Well, yeah… but that’s not what I’m calling for… just calling to say hey and to maybe have some lunch” and then it hit me… of COURSE he’s asking for songs! It’s what WE DO! Business IS pleasure!

He then tells me, “Yeah, because we’re going to be recording Celine”… I said, “Well, hey… let me get back to you… yes, I’ve got some things I’d like to play for you but I have an idea as well.”

You see, I had this piece of music I wrote several years ago and I thought it would be great for her. It had a classical music feel to it so I called my buddy Randy Goodrum. I said, “Randy, Humberto says they’re going to be recording Celine Dion and I have this piece of music… she lost her husband a year ago and without being corny, maybe you could write a lyric from her perspective speaking to him now” and he said, “Oooh, I love the angle… let me get back to you.”

You know what? I was actually half expecting him to say something like, “You know what? That has been done so many times… etc.” but he didn’t… he loved the angle. He told me he’d start toying with it and would get back to me when he had something… I want to say he also said something like he’d get back to me in a few days…

Well, he wrote me later that day and had a LOT of the lyric done! Of course, he was asking if this was ok and a good direction and I was flipping out… he was DRILLING this lyric. I told him I loved it and he finished it up by the next day.

2 things happened… 1, was that I felt so good that I sent a piece of music to a writer of Randy’s caliber and he got so inspired he jumped on it and wrote one of the most beautiful lyrics I’d ever heard.

2, is that it was reminding me of 1985 all over again. Right when things started happening for me through songwriting… as my great friend Dennis Matkosky has said to me in the past, “You know Jason, when you get of your ass you’re a great writer!” Thanks for the awesome, honest encouragement Den!

So Randy sends me this version of the finished song with him singing a vocal on it. I was on my way to a charity event in Baltimore for Cool Kids Foundation, the Ken Singleton golf charity event, and I was on the plane listening to Randy’s vocals… and I’m telling you… thinking about my in-laws… especially my father in law who was such a big presence in our lives… I would think of him when it got to the end of the song and Randy’s singing…

“I count the days, the months, the years… as this ship they call Forever sails into the night… a single flame drives back my tears… then I see your face and feel your hand in mine… just a step away from the other side… across all space and time the memory survives, survives.”

I’m telling you right now, I was LOSING it on the plane. I had sunglasses on so nobody could see what was happening… tears were streaming down my face…

I ended up playing this for a small group of folks involved in the Cool Kids Foundation during a couple late night hangouts after the events. These were people who have been with them from the beginning… not the celebrities… they were the folks who’d witnessed the successes and the pain of losing children… some having lost their children and had gotten involved in the charity…

And I watched these people take this song in and how it impacted them… how cleansing it was… how healing… and I was realizing on a deeper level why I was at this charity event. What my purpose was/is. And it was absolutely beautiful.

I had mentioned that the motivation to finish this song was because my friend Humberto said they were looking for songs for Celine… and in the old days, when it really was 1985… it was all about the expectation… hoping to get the song cut… but something clicked inside of me.

A few people who knew about it asked if there was any word on her cutting the song and I said what was and is truly on my mind… “Haven’t heard back but you know what? Ultimately it doesn’t matter. I cut it. It started a feeling I had back in ’85 which started a lot of very good things… so that’s what I’m going with.

I just got back from another Cool Kids event in Charleston for Dan Jansen’s event. And wouldn’t you know… I go out there and Dan lost his mother just a few days before the event. Dan comes from a very large family. 8 siblings, I believe, and most of them were at this event as volunteers and some were playing golf.

I shared this song and again, saw the impact it has. At 55 years old I now completely see the motive of being creative. I see so many people caught up in the results of what they do and I’ve been there but I can honestly say right now, at this point in my life, with all that’s going on in the world… just getting back to the mindset of 1985 it’s a very exciting time to be alive.

It’s a great time to be alive my friends… and my mantra to myself is “Don’t miss it”. As many of you have heard me write about especially over the last several years, “Take it all in… it’s screaming by… don’t miss any of it. Family? Kids? Be there… don’t miss a single thing because one day, one of us isn’t going to be here and it might be me first… don’t mean to sound morbid… it’s actually empowering for me to say that and confront it. Makes me choose what’s important. And then another day, both of us won’t be here. Don’t miss it. Don’t waste time…”

And with that I release my songs… I write more and so my song doesn’t die inside of me.

Thank you Humberto for providing a spark in its own way to get the juices flowing.

 

 

“The Memory Survives ”

Music by Jason Scheff, lyrics by Randy Goodrum

Losing you, then finding you
In this universe of emptiness that you left behind
Still The Memory Survives

Invincible, Unbreakable
This bond we made between us while we shared a life
I still hear your voice from here
Across all space and time The Memory Survives

Bittersweet, so incomplete
For an instant I was lonely then I realized
You never left my side

Years will pass, this winding path
Through the wilderness I’ll follow your guiding light
We’ll meet again, high above the sky
Until that day and time The Memory Survives

And I remember all the good times and the bad ones
Every second there was pleasure
Every smile and every scar
The photographs have faded
But one is crystal clear in my heart

Looking back, and letting go
It’s time for hearts to heal and tears to dry
Still The Memory Survives

And I remember all the good times and the bad ones
Every second there was pleasure
Every smile and every scar
The photographs have faded
But one is crystal clear in my heart

I count the days, the months, the years
While this ship they call forever sails into the night
A single flame drives back my fears

Then I see your face and feel your hand in mine
Just a step away from the other side
Across all space and time The Memory Survives, Survives

26 Responses to The Memory Survives

  1. Great Song It could have been oh yes a Chicago song.

  2. Robert Craig Baum says:

    And then you have no idea how or when your creation will flood into the life of a fan or a friend or complete stranger, someone new to your music, your kindness, your heart and soul. Jason. I’ve been a fan since you took center stage with Chicago back in the day. You helped me mourn the death of my father; and across the five or so years I’ve been making my mark as a writer and musician, you have been my inspiration. Today, you are now my hero. You, Patton Oswalt, and so many others have proven once and for all that art saves, our will to create and our will to live are united. Your bridge in this song is one of your best, if not the best I’ve ever heard in your music (and music in general). All the workshops, all the pain, all the loss, all the endless unknowing silence of a 3:30am call to spiritual arms and jaw-dropping moment of clarity and jaw-punching series of blows as you try to piece it all together, just to wake up in the morning, just to be there in the morning — all of you, not just a little bit — you never phone it in — you’re a rock star — you never phone it in, especially when what you are creating is a work of mourning. I am once again inspired to keep going even after having received so many blessings these past years, especially the last week. You release you music during the week of my own new song and new life and I cannot thank you enough for just being you. . . always. Robert (from VT then Long Island now Washington DC)

  3. David Kramer says:

    Great song, great lyrics, hearing the Chicago horns in my head as I listen….. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Teri Beede says:

    That’s awesome Jason! I loved reading about your creative process…it was like you were taking us along on your journey with you… I was so wrapped up in reading your story that when I got to the part where you shared the lyrics, that’s when I lost it! I didn’t expect the words to touch my heart so deeply…it literally caught me off guard. Having had a lot of losses in my life personally, I know your song will resonate with others just like it did with me. There’s no doubt in my mind that song was meant to be written! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Simon allen says:

    Hi Jason

    Great new song. Hopefully on a new album soon.
    Just went back to 18 and listened to nothings going to stop us now. Sometimes you forget about a great song then someone mentions it and your right back in the moment you first heard it. Fantastic.

    Many thanks for the musical memories

    Simon

  6. Norman Williams says:

    It was great to hear from you Jason. It has been a while. That song is a home run and I thank you for sharing it. In a word, emotional; I hope all is well. Thank you for sharing.

    Norman Williams

  7. Bea Strope says:

    Oh my Dear God—-Jason how absolutely beautiful. You have been in my life for so many years..traveling to every Chicago concert I could. I remember telling you how much your music has helped me deal with the death of a son and husband. I still try to find things that make me feel better. When you left Chicago, I thought this was the end of your music—-not a good feeling at all. This song is so heartfelt and tells the story of how it is…from experience, it really does. Thank you and may all be well for your family. Don’t go away!

  8. Love it! Great Work! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Michael C says:

    Wow! I really like the “Memory Survives.”I have admired your music since I saw you perform in OKC in 1987 for Chicago 18. I was fortunate to finally meet you and Chicago just before you left in April 2016. Keep writing, there is a lot left in your tank. Best of luck in your current chapter and I will continue to follow your future creations.

  10. Debbie Thall says:

    Jason,

    How beautiful! For me this song is sequel, a continuation of “Love Lives On”. My Mom had suddenly got very sick in January of 2015, and although she survived cancer surgery, she went from living independently to nearly two years of long term care with many hospital stays. I’m an only child, I was newly divorced, my daughter was attending DePaul University at the time and working two jobs, so I became my Mom’s personal and medical advocate. “Love Lives On” became my go to song that I would listen to ever evening after visiting her or after I spent hours on the phone arranging care between her 8 specialists. When after days in ICU, my Mom passed truly peaceful on October 24th last year. I played that song over and over and hundreds of times for her, for me, for my daughter and the relationship we shared. Now I have the gift of “The Memory Survives” to lift me through as October 24th approaches.

    I have been a Chicago super fan since I was a kid in the early ’70s. I enjoyed everything you ever did with the band. I always thought it was great that someone from my generation was contributing to the group.

    Thank you Jason for continuing to share you’re musical talent with the world.

  11. Carolyn says:

    Beautiful song.Would love for you to do a solo tour.

  12. Jim Solem says:

    That is one beautiful song Jason. Reminds me of “Love Lives On” which I love. Really anxious for your new release. Hope we all see it soon. Keep up the great work Jason

  13. Tim Baker says:

    Wow,you just never cease to amaze us and here is yet another gem.How sad though as this song took place we find it even more fitting today just by the latest world tragedies from the horrific weather to Las Vegas there seems to be no shortage of events that fit right into this song.Thanks for sharing your story on how the lyrics touched you and while that comes as no shock just knowing how big your heart is there are so many people who wouldn’t share that.Im so glad that you could be there for your family during such a difficult time esp Tracy and just being around your boys who you can tell look up to you very highly and rightfully so.Last but not least I’m so glad your working on that album.Its long overdue the rest of the world hears about Jason Scheff.

  14. Jeremy Armentrout says:

    What an incredible song! The message it delivers is powerful; way to go Jason! I can’t wait to share this with others. Chicago would have loved to have a song like this.

  15. Robert says:

    Jason:
    This is very well done. Lyrically touching and musically both calming and soaring. In a word, it’s transcendent. And your voice sounds stellar. Bravo from longtime fan.

  16. Susan says:

    Another masterpiece. Left me with tears in my eyes, just as Love Lives On did. Thank you for your honesty and sharing how this all came together. It again makes me realize how connected we all are.

    Many years ago, my sister was again at the hospital with her terminally I’ll son. Grady Nutt (remember him?) visited during every hospital stay. How can anyone come to understand why these things happen–how do you process it so you can move forward. Anyway, Grady said he imagined life to be much like a tapestry. We see everything from below, a chaotic mess, but God’s view from above is of a perfect scene, where everything was beautiful and made sense.
    This song took me back there.

  17. Mark says:

    If this Song”The Memory Survives” doesn’t touch you ….Check that you still have a heart beat.

  18. ROBERT EVANS says:

    Absolutely beautiful, Jason. Absolutely beautiful. God Bless your heart and great talent to continue shining in the lives of all of us who hear you. Bob Evans, Alpine, Utah

  19. Emi Akutsu says:

    Hi Jason, this makes me cry and realize what is truly important… So touched… Your music always heals me, thank you Jason for sharing your beautiful music and story.

  20. Gene says:

    I just lost my mom and this song is so beautiful. I wish I could express myself like this.

  21. judy graves says:

    There are no words…You’ve heard them all…Absolutely beautiful…I love it and you too! Don’t ever stop with your music and vocals! We would be lost!
    Love you Jase…

  22. Dede says:

    Deeply moving.

  23. Buzz Fine says:

    Jason, you meet a lot of people who are fans and I’m sure you can’t remember them all. I hope you remember us and here’s why:
    My wife Clare and I had the good fortune of meeting you a couple of times in Vegas at the Chicago conventions. Unfortunately, after a fierce battle, we lost my dear Clare to cancer this past January. She absolutely adored you, your voice and, most af all, your music. You were one of the most important musical influences in her life. I’d like to thank you for this beautiful song. I know she is hearing it and loving it. And thank you for bringing such joy into her life!
    Buzz Fine
    Merrick NY

  24. Jim Linke says:

    Nice job Jason. It brought a tear to my eye listening to it. You sound in great voice. I was waiting for the horns to kick in at some point though. Keep writing!

  25. Donna Valentiner says:

    Thank you Jason for such a Beautiful song! Can’t wait to hear more and hoping you will think about doing some solo tour dates so we can hear your beautiful voice again in person! I still have and often listen to the CD you made and autographed 10+ years ago. Actually it’s a copy I listen to, the treasured original is hanging on my wall in a frame. Can’t wait to hear more!

  26. David Redding says:

    A deeply moving addition Jason and a wonderful song! Thanks for sharing the full story here and look forward to hearing you live again soon. Keep up the great work and congrats on your son’s music too* David

Leave a Reply

2014 JamSession © All rights reserved.