This Christmas for me like most has been a time of reflection on the past year and in my case the past few years, and a time to look forward to what is yet to come. I've been truly blessed to make such good friends and get closer to my family over the past year. The beginning of 2012 will be focused on finishing the project I began at the end of 2010. I've been lucky enough to include many of my closest friends and people that have had some of the biggest impact on my growth as a human being and as a musician. I will be releasing my song "For All of My Days" as a single prior to the release of "Metamorphosis" to which the proceeds will go towards production of the album. So without further ado...
Metamorphosis is an album I have been working on since completing "Come Together" in 2010. Here is a track by track breakdown of the record in my own terms. I for one am a proponent of taking your own meaning if a song touches you, but here is an account of them from my mouth.
1. Eye of the Storm
The music for this track was written in my bedroom upon returning from my wonderful trip to London with my dear friend Neda. She truly gave to me an opportunity for a trip of a lifetime. This was literally the first riff I played after a good week of not having my guitar in my hands. It went through many lyric changes and was finally finished after I had a mild panic attack at work one day. Some of the lyrics pertain to things that caught my attention while in London, and others were literally things I was telling myself to "keep calm and carry on" during the attack. The song resolves into a jam with 5-6 different guitar solo's/noise tracks that almost makes me nauseous to hear because it musically represents exactly how I feel when having a anxiety attack. I play all of the acoustic and electric guitars on the song. Travis Kilgore and Hannah Dibble hold down the rhythm section. One of the things I love most about this song is that until the first refrain it's just my voice and an acoustic guitar. When the refrain hits surprise this isn't your typical open mic night jam that most of you are used to hearing me play.
2. Drowning in Sound
This song was written around 2005 or 2006. I used to walk into book stores and go straight to the magazine racks looking for British music magazines or American guitar mags. I remember picking up one and reading "Drowning in Sound" as the title of the mag. "Drowning in Sound" is also a tool I use to blow off steam a lot. Especially at that time, instead of yelling or punching someone or something, i'd grab my headphones throw 'em on and turn the volume up until my ears rang and could literally be enveloped by the music. I found that when turned up loud enough it would cause waves of chills and make me feel something other than whatever was bothering me. This song is about my escape place. Guitars are played by me, Mike McDade plays bass and Hannah DIbble on drums. Amber Fults also lends her Beatlesque harmony to it. To me this is the most Oasis like sound i've ever made. The chiming bell like sound is a guitar with a pitch modification that sounded like the beginning of "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" to me.
3. Hayley's Comet
I had the music for this song well before I'd written the lyrics which is actually backwards of what typically happens with me. The chorus used to say "I'm staring at the stars but if I hit the moon, for me it won't be far enough, but i'd enjoy the view." I put this one away for a little while. In walks Hayley with all of her pink and sparkly glory and the song basically wrote itself. The words feel like a Ryan Adams song to me with my own flares. Hayley sings with me. Mike McDade plays harmonica and i play light acoustic guitar and Noah Collins added light percussion.
4. Miles Away
One monday night in October of 2010 Mike McDade, Gail Lindsey, Ben Parris, Gabe Newell, Jordan Hallquist and I had all met up at Amigos for food and drinks. Apparently 2 Amber Bochs from Amigos was the perfect concoction to allow me to get the emotion out of this song that it needed to record. When I finished writing this song I played it on the deck at my parents house for Ben Parris who looked up at me and said "Dude, that's the best song you've ever written play it again." The arrangement is just me and an acoustic guitar recorded at the same time. At the end of it you can actually hear my voice quiver during the last line literally on the verge of tears.
This song is about the moment where you think you had an idea of what you were supposed to do in your life and where it was headed and then bam. Love smacks you in the face so hard it gives you a concussion and you have no idea where the hell that bus came from. To me this is probably the most Beatlesque song I've written for this album. Originally I recorded harmony with myself but I figured there's enough of that going on the record I wanted it to have a new exciting texture. Consequently the Beatalettes (Megan Howard and Amber Fults) will be singing harmony on it. Jordan Hallquistbassline that Mike McDade wrote for it it's McCartneyliciuos.
This song was actually the first music recorded for the album. I'd had a concept one night while speaking to Kristen on the phone and told her about it. A sort of 3 movement song with all these different parts that make up one piece of music. She asked me what I'd call it and the word "Metamorphosis" flew from my lips. All of the music are pieces that I couldn't seem to write lyrics for, I'd get this "Nope it's too important for that" feeling when I'd try. The second movement is something that i'd play to myself holding my guitar right up to my chest when I was feeling anxious or nervous about something. It would always calm me down. Upon finishing and recording the first demo for this song Gail Lindsey has a couple birthday/birth-month books and I found out that my "healing note" in music is "D". This song revolves around D. Each movement represents something important that happened to me in my life. Steve Brehm added acoustic guitar so far, and Holly McCormack let me use her 12-String guitar to record with. Funnily enough it will probably be the last song that is finished for the record.
I wrote this song one night after going to Raw (nightclub) for open mic. It is one of the heaviest songs I've written in subject matter and sound. Mark Holder plays slide guitar that makes you feel like you're waking up from a massive drug binge and moving into one hell of a hangover. Butch Ross and I supply the electric rhythm with Travis Kilgore on Bass and Hannah D. on drums.
Here's another tune that was written in 2008. You can thank Gail Lindsey for it being a part of the tracklisting on this album. I walked away from recording the guitars for this song feeling like Noel Gallagher and Jack White were just having a guitar battle inside of my head. I came out the winner. Hannah D. bangs drums and Mike McDade plays Bass.
This is the oldest tune on the album, another one you can thank Gail for reminding me about. Let's just say the girls seem to like this one. I think the biggest influences on this song were JET and The Who. I play guitars, Mike McDade plays bass, and Hannah D. bangs the drums.
10. Pour Myself to Sleep
Here's another one that was inspired by my trip to London. The idea came from a story that Audrey (Neda's friend we stayed with in London) recounted about a skype date she had with her boyfriend. At the end of her story she described how over the course of the date she'd had so much wine that she just "Poured herself into bed." I asked if i could borrow that phrase and thus the song was born when I returned to the US. Gabriel Newell plays drums on this one. Butch Ross added bass and percussion to the track. I play acoustic guitar and have a whistle solo. I've asked Jim Pfitzer to add keys to the song as well. Another one that's very influenced by John Lennon.
11. Collecting Butterflys
Here's another one that I had music for a little while before I wrote the song. Originally when I was playing it, the strum pattern made it sound a lot like "Wonderwall." Once I had finished the lyrics I was playing it for my sister on my parents deck and when I got through I just started playing it a bit more quiet and waltzy without singing. She looked up from her iPhone and said, "You should do it like that." I play the acoustic and eletric guitar on it, Mike plays bass and Hannah plays drums. Butch Ross plans to add electric guitar to it as well he says it reminds him of The Church "Under the Milky Way"
12. Never Let Go
This song was originally going to be the closer of the album. It's a quiet acoustic number that erupts by the end. Musically it reminds me of "Poison Oak" by Bright Eyes meets "Tender" by Blur. Butch Ross added bass and the electric guitar break which to me sound like something off of "Abbey Road". Also a trippy outro guitar line that washes through the music. Hannah D. plays drums. Also Travis Kilgore was kind enough to let me use his mandolin for the intro and first half of the song.
13. What I Know By Now...(aka The Ballad of Ben Parris)
This song is the newest song written for the album. I awoke from a dead sleep with this song stuck in my head. I immediately googled the phrase "If I knew then what I know by now" from my phone and found that no one had written it that way. The closest thing to it was a Rod Stewart song "Wish that I knew what I know now". So I scrambled for a pen and wrote it down. After reading back through the lyrics I figured out that it was about me and my best friend, so the Ballad of Ben Parris was born. This song is so influenced by Ryan Adams, which is fitting because he's one that Ben and I enjoy listening to while we're talking about whatever it is that's on our minds. Due to the Ryan Adams influence Megan Howard will be singing harmony with me on it. Ben Parris will need to add a saxophone solo to it. And it'll probably need piano... (paging Mrs. McCormack) SO the album ends on a positive note and almost with a sigh of relief.
The album artwork is designed by Kristen Rogers and is absolutely stunning.
It's been a pleasure sharing with you, and to all that have put there hard work and time into this project, no amount of thanks can be enough. Now to finish it up!