Store in a Cool Dry Place
(Mark has written songs for Cheap Trick, Barbara Streisand, Eddie Money, Dave Edmunds, Ringo Starr, Michael Bolton, Jetboy, Helix, Barry Manilow, Johhny Mathis, Jeff Beck and the Muppets) Liner notes by Mark Radice: This project began when Rich was working in a music store. The owner would let us record after hours and the original recordings were done on an old 16-track machine, then transferred over to a 24-track machine later on. After about five months of trying to figure out what to call the CD I looked down at a box of tapes sitting on the floor and on the side it said 'Store In A Cool Dry Place'. I go 'Rich, that's it' and pointed to the box. 'What?' he goes. I go 'The CD title. We're in a store. It's cool and dry'. He goes, 'Oh yeah, I guess you're right'. After all that. Same thing happened with the name of the 'band' which is really me and Rich and a few of our friends guest starring so we didn't get completely bored with each other's ideas. At times I even wanted to make one string of the guitar out of tune just so I could have a new note. We had a meeting with our various backers and partners in crime about what to call ourselves, that thing every band goes through at some point. I said something about 'did you hear that new so and so commercial? It Sounds Like Us.' He goes 'That's it'. I go 'what's it'. Like that. We go alot. Let me try and describe each track as briefly as possible without being short. 'A Minute Of History' is just that, it's a minute of a combination of 20 years of a bunch of songs that Rich and I have recorded, seperately or together, all together in one minute. Some of it is backwards, some of it is forwards, some are phone calls. Think of the Beatles 'Number 9', but only for a minute and not as good. The beginning is my father yelling at me 'Don't Make The Things Too Long Now!' when I was 7 and signed to RCA records and I would sing a verse, play piano for four minutes and then sing the second verse until he lost most of his hair waiting and decided to come up with that now infamous bark. The end result reminds me of when I was a kid and coloring Easter eggs. First it's a nice blue? Ok what happens if I put it in the red dye. Oh cool now it's a pretty purple, but a little too dark. Put it in the yellow one. Ooops, now it's not really a color at all, so I might as well put it in every other color, it's beyond saving. 'A Minute Of History' is a sonic overdone Easter Egg. For a minute. 'One False Move' was born out of a Richie track that he sequenced on 'Sid', one of our two Ensoniq work stations at the time. Sometimes we write something, get stuck and give it to the other one to finish, or we sit around and crumple papers up until we have nothing, hate each other, throw them out and go home. This one made it through the 'let's bat this around until it sounds like something' stage. I particularly like the line 'ever since then, it's been the plan for Adam to get Even'. Clever ain't we. A song about how even the most solid relationships can fall apart with 'one false move', starting with a reference to the very first relationship gone awry, Adam and Eve. Towards the end, right after 'One false move and you're hit by a truck', the 'crash' sound you hear is actually from a road runner cartoon where Wile E. Coyote is looking up at a mountain that is about to come down on his head. Just before he meagerly holds up a small 'help!' sign, the thing comes down on him. That's our truck sound. We like it. Very George Harrison sounding, complete with a slide done by our friend R.K. from a local band called 'Impact'. 'Without Anyone' - I wrote this for a girl I was infatuated with and gave it to her on Christmas Eve one year. As is usually but not always the case, I didn't 'get the girl' but I got a nice song out of it. The bridge 'No one's...Alone now...No one...Can tell me...You won't be mine, when read vertically, spells her name. What can I say, I had alot of spare time back then. Like I don't now? 'Just For Fun' - the highlight for me on this track is the sax playing by my friend George 'Forever' Young of 'Saturday Night Live' fame. He came into the studio with no less than six different saxes hanging on him, looked like a strange jazz Christmas tree. Sat down, listened to the track and says, 'you have any specific ideas what you want me to play?' I go 'yeah' and sang him some. He took out a pencil and scribbled some notes down, went in front of the mike and 25 minutes later the whole thing sounded like a big GEORGE house, shook our hands and left in a puff of smoke. I was like 'wow, did that just happen? Can we hear it back?' This is Steve Wonder meets Steven Tyler with a Rich Tozzi guitar solo in the middle. Cool stuff. 'Everybody Is A Rock And Roll Star' - well, aren't they? Born out of a car ride down the shore, Rich and I discussing the ridiculousness of how for some reason whenever you tell anyone that you're a musician, they have to tell you that either THEY ARE TOO OR they will tell you about someone very close to them who is. A strange phenomenon. Imagine if you were a dentist, and whoever you told said that THEY TOO are a dentist, or they know one. We still don't get it. My favorite line, which had us both laughing till we were crying when Rich finished it, is 'My plumber is a drummer, the mailman plays the bass, my neighbor doesn't play a thing but says he's got the face'. Richie has a better title for his next CD, in this very same area of thought. His next CD he wants to call 'Why Should I Listen To YOUR CD When I Have One Of My Own'. 'A Night To Remember' - basically a Richie song. Alot of times he will have most of a song but gets bored with it and throws it at me, I either take it home and wrestle it into the ground or we have a 'writing' session (see 'One False Move'). This one was pretty easy, with some nice stolen 'Chicago' type harmonies done by me and some girlfriends of ours. Yes that's a real babbling brook throughout, we stuck mikes outside somewhere and waited for fish to jump out or a frog solo or something. Very acoustic, man. One of the fun things about recording in a music store was that we had an enormous amount of instruments to choose from hanging on walls. I would listen to a track, look at Rich and go 'you know what I think this song is missing? I think it's missing a 'green' guitar.' 'It's A Beautiful Day For A Breakdown' - my personal favorite, because I actually felt like I was having a breakdown as I was writing it, and tried to capture my manic thoughts, and I did, and it was therapy, cheaper than talking to someone who didn't know me anyway and when I was done? I was so happy the song came out so cool that I forgot I was losing my mind. I especially like the 'melting piano' at the beginning of the second verse. Our good friend Carol Dante does a SUPERB Ethel Mermon at the end, and that's her laughing throughout most of the track. We asked her if she could come in and sing and laugh, and as soon as she got in the studio she started laughing, which was totally contagious. She said she was 'practicing'. I didn't realise until we got her on mike that she was laughing so hard that she was literally 'doubling over' so we had to put an additional mike about two feet from the floor to catch most of it. Then she couldn't stop. 'Love Rules The Night' What a pain in the ass this was to record. The final one is the fifth attempt. We kept starting from scratch. I don't know why. It was just one of those impossible songs to get right. Has alot of Steely Dan type chords in it, plus a bridge that when you think it's over? It keeps going and then you think 'OK, NOW it's over?' but then it still keeps going. Then it's over. Kind of country rock for easy listeners. I think we should do it again. NOT. 'Some Good Things Never Last' - This is the one that got the attention right out of the box. VERY sad song. When we did this 'live' we actually handed out tissues before we played it. Has a beautiful real big angelic type harp in it played by a dear friend of ours who passed away last year, Raphael Rudd. Which now makes it SADDER. Do NOT listen to this song if you are anywhere near a ledge. Also recorded by Barbara Streisand, twice, of which the last version wound up on her 'Till I Loved You' CD and Barry Manilow, twice, of which both of his versions you can find on his CD's if you look hard enough. One is on 'Live On Broadway'. Apparenty this one WE got right the first time, and anyone else that tried it suffered the 'Love Rules The Night' problem. Cool. I still look at the title and go 'is that proper English? What's wrong with that sentence?'. 'Nothing' - It is what it says it is. It's 33 1/3 seconds long, an ode to the rpm speed that LP's use to play on. We were gonna do a minute of nothing to go with the minute of history, but it was just too long. And ten seconds only seemed like we forgot to start the next one on time, so 33 1/3 turned out to be enough to make the point that it was actually suppose to be there. We had eleven people stand in front of four mikes and not do anything. We had to do it about five times. Alot of people wanted to be on it. When we went to do the final mix, our engineer Warren Ryker wanted to know if he should 'fade it in'. I wasn't sure. Then in the heat of the moment I yelled 'Stop it! It's NOTHING!!!' I kept thinking for months that I ocassionally heard it on the radio, but I couldn't prove it. 'Not Natalie' - our engineer (Warren Ryker), we are proud to say, has gone on to record some very huge records since this and has won himself a couple of (album of the year) grammys, one for Santana,one for Lauryn Hill. I found myself in a true 'who's on first' conversation with him when I first told him that I was on a beach with a friend of mine, Mia, over the weekend, and she inspired me to write a song called 'Not Natalie'. I told him I was walking on the shoreline trying to figure out what to call it, and 'Not Mia' didn't sound right, so I decided on 'Not Natalie'. 'So what did you wind up calling it?' he asked me. I said 'Not Natalie'. He said 'then what if it's 'Not Natalie' '. I said, 'no, it is'. He said 'what.' You get the idea. It's 'Crocodile Rock' with a mustache to disguise it. Very crunchy cool Tozzi guitars. I think one was a blue one. 'Last Of The Big Time Spenders' - I don't know where the hell this came from or how it got on here, it now sounds to me like either the Captain and Tennile or the Partridge Family or some other horrible 80's smiling pop monster. It's ok till I get to the hook and find myself in a sea of chords under a highly melodic warped sideways Christmas song melody. Most of it came to me one afternoon in a flash of sound, then Rich and I sat around and tried to make sense of it musically, and lyrically, for days on end, until we decided ok that's enough this is how it goes now let's move on to something else, maybe that we LIKE. Nice Steely Dan sounding bridge if you can make it that far. The best part is the dime at the end which we asked some girl to go out in the studio and when we pointed to her, to drop it on the floor by the mike. First take was perfect. Little miracles after two years of effort. 'Don't Wait For The Gun' - At this point we had conceded to ourselves that we had completely forgotten how to write anything simple, so we went the other way. This goes under the 'we can't be done, we still have more tracks' theory of recording. I think I was shooting for a kind of Springsteen 'Jungle Land' or 'Rosalita' but did we get there? You decide. Warren called up Rich during the final mix and requested that he 'come down to the studio NOW and get this MANIAC out of here' (meaning me) 'Monday Will Be Fine' - This song came to me violins first. I didn't know what they were, or why. You hear the line throughout most of the song. I can only descibe them as a more subtle version of the 'Psycho' theme, you'll know what I mean when you hear them. They wouldn't leave me alone for about four days till I gave in and wrote this haunting ballad about a runaway girl named 'Monday', written from the viewpoint of her father wishing she would come home. It seemed to write itself, and I was just there to catch it, like standing around waiting for a breeze. Deep, huh.