10 Songs of America Today
When I embarked on this album I had nothing more than a head filled of ideas and an earnest pipedream that I had concocted...I don't think that's much different from anyone else in Los Angeles..........I guess it's no longer a highfalutin reverie but rather a completed sound recording ......... I owe tremendous gratitude to Peter Case.........It was his guidance and production techniques that turned this into a magical experience. I could go on and on embellishing on the production but I sincerely hope it will speak for itself. Do you really want to know more about me? I don't think so. My accomplishments in the music business would barely fill a page so who cares. I tend to use the past for experience not marvel in what I did.........I try to stay focused on today, my observations of the landscape I behold and let it seep in my subconscious.........It is there that I stir the cauldron of emotion, memories, craft, and melody lines for that three minute something.........Something that won't stay in the same bag, something that might color your ears, something to twinkle out a tear, or even that undefinable something that just lingers like a halo........... I love to paint pictures in my mind...It sort of juxtaposes me into a schizophrenic personality..... One is always raking the leaves for songs while the other sits emotionless to the daily humdrums of life. All the characters parade across the boulevard with stories of glamour, moaning where God has placed them, and their blood vessels ready to explode. Uh huh, uh huh, uh huh. Tell me more kid... I decided that the title of this album would be 10 SONGS OF AMERICA TODAY...It wasn't hard to figure out...My landscapes and backgrounds were Los Angeles and every other metropolis in America....... I love all kinds of songs...From Big Bill Broonzy's ALL BY MYSELF to Burt Bacharach MAKE IT EASY ON YOURSELF to The Doors L.A. WOMAN, to the Beatles A DAY IN THE LIFE, to the Clash LONDON CALLING, to David Bowie ALL THE YOUNG DUDES, to Johnny Cash RING OF FIRE......... Peter took me to a place where we stayed contemporary, and created sounds that I've been chasing for a lifetime.............. I'd like to give you some tidbits on each song of the album....A little meaning to where they stemmed from, side notes, etc. TRACK #1 ........SO OUT OF PLACE When initially looking for a producer I had considered old friend TOM ROTHROCK.....I played him some songs and he suggested I write something close to home....To be specific geographically close. Like my neighborhood of Highland Park....I took the assignment.......It was my first attempt at blending my awkward Spanenglish with a surrealocumentary of the streets around me.......This is based on actual experiences and some of the local characters.....It dawned on me that though I was a minority here and most of the language spoken Spanish, I indeed found a "home sweet home" and those that had crossed borders and distant lands shared somewhat similar values , seeking opportunity to further themselves. Duane Jarvis's twango blistering licks mixed with Amy Farris's gypsy violin and Phil Parlapiano's accordion francais was just the crème de la crème I was hoping for............. TRACK #2......WARMTH OF MY TEARS I met a very beautiful woman whom I was enamored with.....We were both at a grand opening soiree in Venice Beach.....We joked and danced and then she spoke of her present situation........She was a widow and her husband of many years had been killed a few months earlier in a car accident .......I wrote this in the very early morning after I came home and stayed up till the sun peeked thru the window.......... Peter Case's crunch fuzz box effect on guitar and DJ Bonebrake's marching military drums with fine back -up harmonies by Amy.......... TRACK # 3 PAYASOS BORRACHOS Y LOCOS This was my second attempt at Spanenglish.....There are a group of Mexican painters and handymen who always get together after work each day and in the twilight bust open beer bottles and drink till sloshed ...They're happy drunks, we struggle to communicate with their little English and my distorted Spanish...But somehow we reach that median place and I wrote this there....I knew it was something special when they would howl to the chorus like coyotes.......Pete gave it a mariachi poppy point of view and even utilized Duane Jarvis on electric sitar.......Amy added Jalisco violin while Phil went for Norteno spiced accordion.......... TRACK #4 LEAVE IT ALL IN THE HANDS OF THE LORD I couldn't help myself from writing this song after hearing George W. Bush open his mouth once again.....As we all know when he gets into a bind he tells us to leave it in the hands of the lord and everything will work out fine.....As political as I am, which is quite anonymous, it's just so hard to swallow his white house antics while us and the rest of the world scratch our heads in disbelief. So much for nationalism, just stand on a podium and articulate the real concerns and not be such an embarrassment.......I thought about how a kid comes back from Iraq or Afghanistan missing a body part and George smiling and patting him on the back and saying "In no time we'll get you a new leg so you can get back there and finish off the war, son" This is the first song where we introduce trumpeter Mike Fortunato.....DJ Bonebrake recommended this kid and I nicknamed him Don Ellis whose records I inhaled. This really added more magic and a poppy grandeur which permeated the album... TRACK #5 WHAT GOT INTO YOU I came up with some dark eerie yet pretty arpeggios that just took over.. It turned into some exciting lyrical imagery for me like "A witch that burned her broom" which is quite vivid and lovingly haunting. Have you ever been with a person that you knew deeply and suddenly you don't know them anymore and they've tipped a little towards the deepest end? It has wonderful pre chorus harmonies with big Ahs by Pete and Amy. TRACK #6 NO VEGANS HERE I had a buddy over my house who hosted a vegan radio show........After I did his show I went and wrote this track.......I've been a vegetarian and now a vegan for years I'm not one to preach to anyone but I do practice this lifestyle and felt it was time to cover this subject matter with a machine gun lyric attack....I hope it wakes people up! I remember suggesting to Mike on trumpet and Jeff Turmes on Saxophone to just go off like the Chicago Art Ensemble.......They sure came close........... TRACK #7 SIX TATTOOS AND A TONGUE RING I was walking on Hollywood boulevard and saw three punk kids pan handling. That's all I needed and the rest followed....... Pete came up with a great trumpet part that Mike executed, Amy doubled her violin to make it sound like a string section, and somehow this track just grew..........It reminds me of an adult "It's A Small World" TRACK #8 RED Pete suggested I write a song about my father. And I did....... This is a tribute to him.........I dug deep in my memory as painful as it was and attempted to sketch out his life in a 4 minute melody........ Sheldon Gomberg bass and DJ Bonebrake drums came up with some tasty parts and of course Mike with his US Marine taps-like Trumpet........... TRACK #9 DON'T WANT TO RIDE THAT TRAIN NO MORE I was chord doodling and stumbled upon a pattern that seemed a bit different for me....It changed my attitude of phrasing to a monotone, talk-sing approach....It's a dark song and melody but ever so beautiful as if I somehow infused my interpretation of a morna or Portuguese fado . In the studio Pete went wild......DJ played Vibraphone like a Brazilian Milt Jackson and Sheldon on bass.....And Mike on trumpet......... TRACK #10 MARCHING DOWN THEM GOLDEN ROADS This was another arpeggio of a D very high up in the neck which gave it a very open not fully suspended sound. Duane and Sheldon nicknamed them Crosby chords because they were fragmented briefs of full chords.......I just descended down the neck and then went into a bravado chorus and then images took over and I imagined myself Jean Jacques Rousseau leading a revolution and people were listening and the distant echo of the melody line "everywhere are rogues marching down them golden roads" could be heard.......If ever there was a fitting way to end the album this anthem- like crescendo is it........Kudos to Pete, DJ, Duane, Sheldon, Mike, Phil, Amy and everyone involved........ If I was to describe Crosby Tyler'S 10 SONGS OF AMERICA TODAY I would say it's a fusion of 60's pop mixed with a versatility of songwriting against a backdrop of urban Americana...........Does that sound confusing? Don't forget I was born and raised in Los Angeles........................