So here we are again as I prepare to unleash original material once more.
I had lots of positive responses to my song-by-song descriptions and history for 'Prove You Wrong' on here, so I thought I'd repeat the dose for my upcoming Second full CD album that is set for release later in the year, and there are 3 tracks (Chinese Whispers, Second Time Around & All Comes Back To Rock) that will be released via ITunes during late March, around the time of my LIVE show at the Half Moon Putney on Mon 30th March - ticket details are available on my news 'ticker'.
Anyway, the songs...
1. Chinese Whispers
- A title that I've had & tried to use/crowbar into a tune for donkey's years...probably since Shotgun Wedding days, but nothing ever seemed to work. Recently whilst sat in my house at the piano, I came up with a chord sequence I really liked and, in one of those lovely moments a songwriter sometimes has, the title, melody and lyrical framework came together quite rapidly.
Another lovely moment came courtesy of my keyboard player Gemma E. Susek, who provided the inspiration for the initial guitar hook when I was searching for something to go with the first chord sequence. Thanks Gemma...and thanks to producer Alex Cooper for forcing me to write another harmony guitar solo on the fly just like with 'Soulmate' on Prove You Wrong!! Bastard....but I luvs ya ;)
2. Simple As That
- Now, let me state straightaway that this tune & lyric is a good 25 years old, and so none of it is relevant to....well, you know.
This was the one tune Shotgun Wedding really should have recorded in my view. We played it live and I thought it sounded fantastic. I did own a Tascam multitrack cassette thingy in 1990 & we tried to demo it then in our dingy old lockout rehearsal space near Spaghetti Junction in Brum - our then co-manager tried to make bass player Paul & I sing the backing vocals "in an English accent" by accentuating every syllable. It sounded utter, utter crap that way & I told him so. Cue big row with co-manager berating me for 'not knowing how the industry works'. The demo never got finished and it inexplicably faded from our live set soon after.
Only too happy to revisit it here, albeit with more twin guitar nonsense added to the mix. Couldn't resist the handclaps either.
3. Second Time Around
- A brand new composition of which I'm very proud indeed. Different for me in terms of vocal delivery and song structure - producer Alex came up with some great ideas for the picked acoustic guitar parts that I would never have considered on my own. The lead solo is one of my better moments on guitar, too, as I desperately tried to channel my inner Lukather. The lyrics mean a hell of a lot to me.
By the way, that's my mate Jane Gillard of Our Dystopia you can hear lending her considerable vocal talents to the counterpoint harmonies in the last 2 choruses and some quality 'ooh'-ing in the 2nd verse too. She's also in amongst it on Simple As That backing vox too, and as such is the ONLY other musician involved in this L.P.
Thanks, the Janey! X
4. Love Fatigue
- The music fuses together a couple of old discarded Shotgun Wedding songs of mine (from memory I think they were entitled Come As You Are & Beware Of The Dog - yes, well...), but the lyric is much more recent, as it centres around my unwillingness to initially play the field following...well, you know...
Can't beat a good shuffle now and again - stop sniggering at the back there! I was asked how I record these tunes when I'm on my own i.e. what do I work off as a guide when I record the drum parts? The answer is nothing - just my memory, which usually holds together for long enough to get a successful take.
5. Better Off Out Of It
- This was a great Shotgun Wedding song that we did demo up in a Redditch studio around 91/92. A friend (who shall remain nameless) had met a girl at a gig somewhere in Dunstable or Luton and this brazen hussy had swiftly moved up to Brum to live with said faceless nameless and his parents, consequently eating them out of house and home, cutting out all the Steve Vai pictures from his prized Kerrang! magazine collection...not to mention sleeping around once she'd established herself in our network of friends.
At the final denouement, where our pal discovered this tart's duplicitous nature and had literally slung all her worldly possessions onto the front lawn of his house for her to retrieve & then promptly sod off, someone (it may well have been me) said, "Blimey mate, you're better off out of it than worse off dead..."
Boom. I heard a rhythm in those words, and the song was written in about 10 minutes flat on my Marlin Sidewinder guitar when I got home later that night. Hope it doesn't come across as being that slapdash a tune. A bit of harmless, rifftastic fun that I'm sure nods its head towards things like AC/DC's 'Beatin' Around The Bush' and Phil Lynott during 'B-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-Baby Drives Me Crazy' :)
6. Love You More
- Brand new tune for 2015, this is the first song I've ever written where I've not heard drums or guitars in my head as the whole thing has come together. I felt very exposed singing to such a gentle melody or such a sparse arrangement, as it should be apparent to most that I'm not as confident as singer as I am a drummer or guitarist, but this works for me, very much.
You may love it...but I love it more :)
7. It All Comes Back To Rock
I've had the basic lyrical idea for some time now and had an old, stomping riff from my teens to marry it to, but no song framework. Enter Greg Hart from Moritz, Limehouse Lizzy, Cats In Space and the excellent Supersonic 70's show, a man who has the same appreciation of anthemic rock as I do, and who helped mould the sketches in my head into a right old rip-snorter of a tune in just one writing session. The drum sounds are a definite homage to Eric Carr/Denny Carmassi/John Bonham and any drum track I heard in my youth that just sounded like thunder. Such sounds endure to me, as does the genre - hence the song.
8. Mr Poison
A slow riffy stomper that brings - to my mind at least - thoughts of bands like Raging Slab, Rainbow and Thin Lizzy fused together. I think I started with the riff to Kiss' "Watchin' You" and jumbled things around whilst slowing the tempo. I always loved Lizzy tunes where you had staccato chords in the verse leaving loads of space for Phil Lynott to sing over. That was definitely an aim here on my part
9. We Believed
Lyrically this one could be considered a 'sister song' to 'I Wanna Be A Has Been' off the first album, although it's perhaps a more affectionate than angry look back at my aborted attempts on rock stardom with Shotgun Wedding as the 80's became the 90's.
It was an interesting way of constructing a song too. So often I start with a riff or a chord progression - this time, I always had it in mind to write a song in 6/8 time, but it wasn't until I happened upon a nice opening line "I found that old cassette today" that everything started to piece together. Alex told me this was his favourite lyric of mine. Must admit, there's some good lines in there...
Musically, however, this is not so much a tribute to Jellyfish as me sticking my tongue down the back of their collective trousers. I'm not fit to touch the hem of their garments, never mind administer...whatever...and in case you were wondering from the lyrics, Hugh Syme worked with Rush...
10. If My Truth Is A Lie
I wanted a strong powerful & pacy opening track to the album, and this was a deliberate attempt to write a tune to lead things off in an 'in your face' way - albeit still with plenty of harmonies going on here and there. Lyrically I guess it just details my happiness and contentment at not knowing for sure what comes next...
11. I Didn't Get Where I Am Today
I had this old bluesy tune crop up in my mind from way back, and I thought it was a wee bit throwaway, but I always liked the lyric and the Angus/Malcolm-like simplicity of the chord progression, so I thought I'd give it a whirl - as Forget About Me proved on the debut album, simple songs can be very effective anyway!!