In 2004, my friend Bryan told me we needed to write a song that would motivate his daughter Lily to brush her teeth. She was just over two at the time, and she was determined to rot her little baby teeth right out of her head.

Bryan and I came up with this musical novelty and, confident in its originality, I submitted it to a songwriting contest. I won absolutely nothing. But I apparently did help win the war against plaque, as Lily began to brush her teeth along with the song on a regular basis.

I had only begun learning the ropes of home recording a few months prior, and I knew nothing about compression or proper mixing or mastering. Still, I think it this recording is rather winsome and has all the enthusiasm of two novices in the studio, twiddling nobs, pressing buttons, pounding drums, gargling (yes, there is gargling), and brushing their teeth for the microphones. I borrowed a drum set from local drumhead Matt Stufflebeam and percussed the living crap out of them that summer. But because I was recording this particular track in a former nursery that was tiny and had wooden floors, I played with bundle sticks that are made up of tiny dowel rods to mute the impact of each strike. I ruined those drum sticks that summer, and probably totaled my eardrums as well. It was worth it.

For your listening amusement, you should know that I hard-panned Bryan’s vocals to one ear and mine to another. If you listen to the song with headphones, then, you can try and pick out who is who. If you don’t know either of us personally, good luck. Really.

Also, the screaming – you will probably want to know about that part. Toward the end of the recording session when I was really fired up, I told Bryan I wanted to create an “adult” version of the song, meaning I wanted to scream like Black Francis from the Pixies. And so I did. But only on the last refrain. I pretty much gutted my vocal chords for the time being. It, too, was worth it. Download it for free below, courtesy of SoundCloud.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Toothbrush by Saint_Upid