chopped liver productions
saving the world with song, video and commentary
copyright 2016 janice leber / chopped liver productions
chopped liver productions
Chopped Liver home page Videos by Chopped Liver Productions Songs by Janice Leber Mama O'Shea All about Chopped Liver Productions

scratch my back

This was inspired by a newsy podcast that featured a segment about all the lobbyists who go into government, and all the politicos and bureaucrats who go into lobbying. I thought, "It's a back-scratching society."

That created an awkward mental picture. If you think about it, the act of scratching each other's backs simultaneously is a very intimate process. It all begins to seem ... erotic.


scratch my back
janice leber 2014

You scratch my back, I scratch your back
Isn't this fine? I got yours and you got mine
You scratch my back, I scratch your back
It's understood, it does both of us good
The only way we can accomplish this
is if we're standing face to face
Eye to eye and toe to toe
in an unholy embrace
Then you scratch my back while I scratch your back
Isn't this nice? Let everyone else pay the price

You wash my hand, I wash your hand
Isn't this fine? I launder yours, you launder mine
You wash my hand, and I wash your hand
Isn't this keen? We both come out clean
The only way we can accomplish this
is if we're standing side by side Arm in arm and hand in hand
so let's relax, enjoy the ride
Then you wash my hand while I wash your hand
Isn't this sweet? Now let's do our feet!

Round and round and round we go
In and out and back in the door
It all depends on who you know
And what they brought you back here for

So you scratch my back and I'll scratch your back
The fun never ends
It's good to have friends
The fun never ends
It's good to have friends

writing the song
So yeah, it all started with a podcast on the morning commute. (Apparently that's the most inspirational time of day for me.) Thinking about the cozy relationship between megacorporations and government has been upsetting me for a long time (Exhibit A: Here's a video I did almost 10 years ago), and I've gotten to the point where I just start shaking my head, thinking, "Here we go again." But the new wrinkle this time was that my mind wandered to the physical act of scratching each other's backs. Ewww, kinda creepy, no?

Next thing I knew, I was humming the first verse of this song and enjoying the lyrics. I felt it was important to continue. The next step, of course, was to wash each other's hands, and thus verse #2 was born.

I like the bridge, "round and round and round we go." I'm not even sure where that came from. I just heard it somewhere. Fortunately it leads right back to the last couple lines of the first verse and ipso facto, there we are: scratching each other's backs.


The funniest trivia about this song is that I love, I really loooove to get my own back scratched. When I told my husband I had written a song called "Scratch My Back," he broke into a huge grin before I told him another thing about it. He knows -- oh, he knows.

The problem, however, is that I don't want to scratch your back. If I were writing this song for myself personally, it would be "You scratch my back, and you scratch my back. Isn't this fine?" And that would be the end of it.

I recorded this with the Garage Band app on the ipad. I had to edit the drum track pretty severely to get the beats I wanted. I am so freakin' hip.

making the video
So if you have read any previous entries in my song blog you have been informed that animation is tedious and difficult and unbelievably time-consuming. I can start on an animation at 8:00, only work on it a couple hours, but I look up and the clock says it's 3:00 the next morning. Animation is a time warp. No wonder the animations on TV, even in this digital age, are farmed out to hundreds of Koreans.

Unfortunately Chopped Liver Productions' animator force consists only of me. That really IS unfortunate, but it does give me the opportunity to figure out how to do these things (poorly). It also keeps me off the streets.

Because the song features techno keyboards and highly digitized guitar and keyboard noises, robots seemed appropriate. And of course they would have to be robots who could boogie. But for the most part, it's hands. Lots of hands.

animating on Mac
I've been using Flash since 2004, and I always loved how much you can do with Flash animation. But we've moved from Windows to a Mac-based platform, and Mac and Flash do not play nicely with each other. (If you've ever tried to watch a Flash animation on an iphone you know what I mean.) So I couldn't use Flash any more unless I wanted to go slumming on my old (and admittedly still wonderful) Windows 7 laptop.

I downloaded Hype, an application for HTML5, which is a really good compiler of existing images, videos and titles (I used it for January's video, "Here It Is") but it isn't an animation program. So then I began looking around for an application that would help me do that, and after some shopping I settled on Anime Studio. I think I'm in love. It works well with Hype to create a Quicktime or Flash format video and has features to give a poor schmuck like me a jump start on drawing characters -- which Flash does not have. Win!

Mind you, animation is still incredibly tedious and I still do it poorly, but I am having SUCH a good time doing it! The most difficult chore I must face lately is to tear myself away from the computer and focus on something less interesting or important, like sleeping or going to work.

The dancing robots were great fun to design and choreograph, and that part went well from the start. Then again, the "round and round" revolving-door segment toward the end, which lasts about 17 seconds, took several long days to create. Yeah, I worked on it several days and it still looks like THAT. That should convince you that animation is tedious.

The year is still young; I'll get better. Well, at least I'll keep trying!