April 7th: After taking a few days SP returned to work on the ‘Monuments To An Elegy’. Billy wrote
Well, after a short sprint thought ‘DORIAN’ (a heartrending new-waver), team Howard was prepped; save for confusion over how many songs were actually in the STAR pile. Jeff and I claimed 26 (minus those COUGARED), HW said 25. Much counting ensued! Time was wasted. And after 20 minutes of counts-recounts and hanging chads, a solution was found: one title having been counted twice between its two iterations. Oy vey!
So that made 23: 25 STARS minus 2 COUGARED, yes? And alphabetically so a traipsing began, with a discussion after each listen; pros and cons traded. When all was said and done we’d gotten the list cut to around 13, then a brutish 9. Another dialogue, this one looking at the record as it stands without further input. This cycled us back to songs overlooked, for all felt something was missing or needed. Let’s call it ‘rock.’
Now let me say here that this is very, very consistent with the process I’d normally undergo on my own in choosing what makes a record. It’s just in this case I’ve decided to let my brethren in on my mental process, and they’ve been fantastic about working through the logic with me without a single regret in being so open to their perspectives. And throughout the digging there was general consensus on what belonged save for one fantastic brooding idea that Howard referred to as a ‘jam.’ I won’t say I was offended (Jeff said he should have used Hollywood-speak and called it an ‘experiment’), but having written a verse, bridge, and back chorus for a song I think has a killer under track, I’d hardly qualify that as ‘formless!’
The good part of this warp was a general agreement that the idea was best served on ‘Day For Night,’ where a darker set of themes should be explored. That would be ‘ROUSTABOUT.’
So yes, tomorrow begins a second round of pre-production; 16-17 demos in 6 days; ahoy. Call ULTRAMAN, I need his honorable assistance at this time.
Aloha! From sunny Illinois I send you more more-ness; and this update on SP in its current orbit-transit. STARS…
And back into the rock-pile, starting with ‘ANTI-HERO’ to see if we might resurrect its fading chances. After much dilly-dally I arrived at the stunning conclusion that the chorus needed to be better.
“As goes the chorus, so goes the song…”
And lo! The chorus was improved with melodic tricks of invention (i.e. repeat the best hook ad nauseum).
Batting 2nd was ‘THE HUNTED,’ she of the killer chorus and the encouraging mono-riff, but never the ‘twain shall weep. (apologies for high school verbosities)
After some sally-go-rounds I declared it D.O.A. and COUGARED, which I guess like COUGARTORY.
And-a-last, we had a go at ‘LOVE TO LOVE YOU;’ he of the menacing gait and snide lyricisms. Once again, we turned to the wisdom of TG.
“When you have a good ‘un, make sure you don’t pummel the darn riff into the ground,” or better yet, “When you live by the riff, you die by the riff.”
So, ‘L2LU,’ he of the drooling swing. Attractive open: check; engaging story: check, decent b-section: check; solid-anthem of a back chorus: umm no. So we went digging for another idea that had the guitar playing a triplet 3 over the 4/4, and with a little grease and tempo gymnastics I guessed we’re in the neighborhood of rock Valhalla.
If you find yourself up at 7 AM CST, know that’s what I’ll be doing with half-open eyes. Finding power where there should be none. Because…
“No matter how hard one tries, the feel of 3 will be the death of thee…”
April 9th: After a ‘bit confusing’ day Billy wrote that he’d keep it simple and ended up giving us a name of what songs may end up on MtaE:
We started where I’d left off, on ‘LOVE TO LOVE YOU.’ Went down a blind alley by speeding it up and losing the Scorps-shuffle. Dead end.
Picked up ‘TOODLE-LOO,’ lost the blurry chords ala ‘AGE OF INNOCENCE,’ and went back to the straight-punk-8’s. Sped it up too. Probably too tra-la for SP (not song, but direction) but we made the point.
Last, the Numan-esque darkness of ‘MONUMENTS,’ Howard Willing’s pet project of love. Got nowhere, but not poorly so. Just re-established that the song as-is is fine and the debate ensued if it was ‘good enough.’ (Same debate every song!)
That led us to recalibrate our album list, now leaned with some more life than before. An hour’s chat ended with an agreement on: ‘if we made album today, it would be these songs.’ So next 4 days is trying to focus those pieces and see what we’ve got in whole. Exciting because the work of past few weeks has elevated already strong song A LOT, and nerve-wracking because the game is really set from here out.
Here’s the list:
MONUMENTS/ANTI-HERO/TOODLE-LOO/RUN TO ME/THE SPANIARDS/BEING BEIGE/ONE AND ALL/DORIAN/DRUM AND FIFE/TIBERIUS