The Exciting Accident (1965) is one of (5) songs I included in a song cycle I wrote called “The DaDa Trilogy”. (Being “DaDa”, i.e. (5) songs in a trilogy, was the kind of stuff I was into back then.
The tunes in the cycle were 1) The Prince’s Panties 2) The Exciting Accident 3) The Last Great Waltz (which later evolved into “Triskelion”) 4) The Tomato Vendetta & 5) (Whistle) Hear!
I recorded The Exciting Accident for my Warner Bros “Handmade” album, released in 1970. All of these type songs were a genre all of my own that I called pop art songs, songs that strayed more or less from the norm (whatever that was happened to be at the time).
Conceptually, I thought of it as a sort of Stan Freeburg Rock & Roll driven comedy narrative hybrid. I always thought this Rock n’ Roll blues lick was exciting musically, so I adapted it as the rhythmic and chordial basis for the tune.
The concept behind the lyric is that it’s the story of a person who suddenly discovers & excitedly declares a universal truth about the truth and consequently an arty accident that he causes proves it.
As for the last line, “This is not a true tale, but who needs truth if it’s dull!”
Since “Art is the lie that makes us see the truth!” As for what The Exciting Accident means, to postulate that would defy its mystery. Any meaning would not be as exciting as a mystery!
“Sadness is the motor between our happiness.” Was the truth expressed. (I should have said “sadness in the mortar between our bricks of happiness” which would have been an obviously subtle reference to “Mason” as in “brick mason”.)
In subsequent live performance versions of the tune, I changed the truth line to “the truth is just another one night stand” & the final verse became:
"The truth’s another one night stand
Who knows what he meant?
The moment’s gone, my thoughts chew on
That gumball accident"
The idea of having my bluegrass friends take a crack at this tune sort of happened, true to form, by accident during a recording session at Ed Boutwell’s Recording Studio in Birmingham, Alabama in the fall of 1984.
The band members all became gumballs, spilling colorful music across the tracks. They get your attention whatever the song means. They acted like they were just tossing all of this off, but they’re lying, they worked hard on making it exciting!
My vocalization on this version was exploring a "basso perfundo" narrative style reminiscent of John Hartford’s “Hey, Babe, You Wanna Boogy?”
Mason Williams – vocal
Byron Berline – fiddle
Rick Cunha – lead electric guitar
Jerry Mills – mandolin
John Hickman – 5-string Banjo
Don Whaley – Bass
Hal Blaine – Drums
Recorded in the fall of 1984 at Ed Boutwell’s recording studio in Burmingham, Alabama.