Van Morrison, the famously moody singer-songwriter, once grew annoyed with an interviewer's questions about his craft.
"Nobody asks a bricklayer about laying bricks," he protested. "Why ask me about writing songs? There's no difference."
Perhaps there are some tunesmiths whose creative process is no more captivating than manual labor. If the Paul Williams Song Festival on Thursday night at University Synagogue in Irvine was any indication, though, the man who has cranked out hits for Barbra Streisand, Three Dog Night, Tiny Tim and others isn't among them.
It's not the typical bricklayer, for example, who writes a TV commercial jingle for a bank that turns into a smash hit for the Carpenters; who contributes material for the gangster musical "Bugsy Malone," which features an all-child cast; or who, as Williams recently noted while accepting a Grammy, gets a call from a pair of "robots" (actually, the mask-wearing French duo Daft Punk) to help create an album.