Poet and writing program administrator Steve Davenport talks about poetry and lyrics—and co-writes a song or two—with indie musician Bruce “Bruiser” Rummenie. Davenport also collaborates with Kevin Matz.
For thirty-five years, minus that one he spent in Austin playing for tips in a couple of Texas blues bands, Bruce “Bruiser” Rummenie has been a mainstay—“rock royalty” according to one local reviewer—on the Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, music scene. Beginning with the Mudhens in 1985, he has also been guitarist, singer, and songwriter for The Freak Brothers, The Javelinas, The Impalas featuring Dawna Nelson, and Bruiser and the Virtues, which in 2004 won the Illinois Central Blues Society Challenge and went on to compete in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, performing at B. B King’s Nightclub on Beale Street.
Steve Davenport, Associate Director of Creative Writing at the University of Illinois, is the author of Uncontainable Noise (poetry) and two chapbooks, Murder on Gasoline Lake (originally published in Black Warrior Review and listed as Notable in Best American Essays 2007) and Nine Poems and Three Fictions (available in The Literary Review’s Summer 2008 chapbook issue). A story in The Southern Review earned him a Special Mention in Pushcart Prizes 2011.
By day a developmental editor at a leading sports science publisher, Kevin Matz (MFA, Poetry, University of Illinois) plays nights with Katarina Catizone (vocals) and Steve Davis (guitar) in their band Birdhouse Echo.
In Podcast 1, Davenport and Rummenie sit down to talk about poetry and song lyrics and end up writing a song together. Davenport’s never written a song lyric, and Rummenie’s never written a song with anyone. The song’s called “Once I Had a Sorrow.”
In Podcast 3, Davenport interviews Rummenie about his own songs, which include “Garbage Man,” “Pain as Big as Texas,” and a song you might not want to write if you’re asked by your wife to write a song for her.
In Podcast 4 Rummenie and Davenport get back together to write one more song, “This Noise in My Blood,” and talk about the ways they might turn a 1:57 song into a long-jamming version. Davenport also admits he’s been two-timing Rummenie since they wrote their first song. The result is a third song, “Honey and Glue.” Davenport begins cooking up the “Honey and Glue Project,” where multiple songwriters would use the same lyrics to produce different songs.
In Podcast 5, Bruiser performs the co-written “This Noise in My Blood.”
In Podcast 6, poet and songwriter Kevin Matz performs the song that came of an email in which he asked Davenport to get drunk and send him some lyrics: “Honey and Glue.”