Some of them play music.
I’d been travelling around Europe after college (this is about 1979) and ran out of money in Athens. While I was waiting for family to wire over some money so I could get home, I saw an ad for a piano player needed in a luxury resort hotel. With nothing to do, I answered it. Flew to Crete and ended up getting hired as the piano player for the hotel and as a nightclub singer performing Elvis and Ray Charles songs. This small fishing village was so off the grid I think they thought the songs were original!
I worked for several years as a performer in America, paying my way through graduate school as a pianist.
On the Power of Music
Cookin' For Two
I wrote the song quickly, my wife, Janine, sang it, her brother, John Sabino, did all the music and arrangements and we sent it off. Apparently, Arnold had his choice of several songs and when he heard ours he said, “I like za girl” or something like that. We met him at the premiere party in New York City, and he turned to Janine and me and said “Za song vaz VANTASSTIC!”
That story gets better now that he’s a governor.
Honky Tonk Menu
I’d never really written a country song before. But it came pretty easily, and my wife and I do the singing on it (mostly because we couldn’t afford to hire anybody else.) We recorded it in Detroit, and it is in the film, in a scene involving Willie Nelson, a bar and a hard boiled egg. You have to listen very carefully to hear it. The egg keeps distracting you.
Hit Somebody! (The Hockey Song)
This song came about when my friend Warren Zevon and I were talking one day. He said, “You know, I’d like to do a sports song that nobody has done before.” And I said, “Hockey.” And he said, “What?” And I said “I can’t think of a single hockey song.” And he said, “Great! You should write me one!”
We left it at that. A few weeks later, I had an idea for a funny song about a big, goonish hockey player who is hired for his fighting but dreams of being a scorer. I wrote some lyrics and some music and sent it to Warren.
A few weeks later, I was out in California, and Warren and I sat with a case of Mountain Dew (he loved that stuff) and wrote some music and laughed. Then we went home. We left at it that, one of those ideas that come and go.
A few months later, Warren called me from a recording studio, where Paul Schaefer, David Letterman and that whole band were in session. And he said, “We’re recording the hockey song.” And I said, “What? You’re RECORDING it?” And he said, “Why did you think I asked you to write it? To read it?”
And that was that.
The song was actually released as a single in Canada, where it enjoyed some mild success. And it was played over the loudspeakers at Joe Louis Arena during a Red Wings playoff game, which I considered a personal highlight.