I've been meaning to do this for a long time. Here's a bit of info about some of our more popular songs over the years, including some from the new album Jumping Sharks.
We've Got To Roll - This was the first song completed for Jumping Sharks. The chorus had been spinning around in my head for years, and the verses came together through some strumming on the acoustic guitar and sitting at the piano. I had a slow demo version ready to go and showed it to Dave when he was still living in Nashville. That version is available on our We've Got To Roll EP. Dave seemed excited to help on it, and before long we were showing the song to Anth and Alan. We sped it up a bit, and with a few minor tweaks we had the song ready to record at Mammoth Recording Studio in December '18.
Smoke Screen - Smoke Screen was simply written as an excuse for Alan to go nuts on electric guitar a la Jimmy Page. The whole political/religious slant came later. And yes it's making fun of people who are overtly religious or political these days. I like to kind of be in the middle and argue with everyone, and admit that I have no idea what's really going on. I'm afraid there's almost a Wizard of Oz situation going on in the world - We're just waiting to have the curtain pulled back. Maybe it seems bitter, but overall I was proud of this one and happy to have it be the first single from Jumping Sharks.
Reason To Stay - Reason To Stay started out as one of Dave's songs, and probably my favorite of his newest ideas. My goal was to contribute the other half without it seeming chopped up. We stole the riff from our old song She's a Winner, used Dave's verses, finished up a chorus and finally I threw in a bridge/middle 8 that probably could have been its own song. There's definitely some Beatles influence on this one, as usual. It's probably the closest we've come to a dance song, and I find myself moving around when it comes on (you don't want to see that).
Not Coming Down - This was the first song on the first MMOC album, Dominique's Garden. While it's probably our weakest release, it's worth having for Not Coming Down and a few others. Sometimes I can write a song in a few minutes (Miracle on Wait For Me), but this song took years. Ideas spun for a long time, and I remember sitting down with an acoustic guitar and knocking it off in one take. It was one of those songs that really frustrated me because I knew it was good but, I knew I didn't quite have a grapple on what I was doing yet. It's a personal one about losing friends, and we still play it from time to time. Dave and my dad have mentioned this one being among their favorites.
Girl With The Red Hair - Wow, this is another song that dates back decades. My old friend Stefan and I used to sing the chorus to this when we were in elementary school - I have no idea how we actually came up with that. I showed it to the other guys during sessions for the On Safari album, and we had it down in no time. We still play it often, and it has become one of Alan's favorites. In fact, the riff for our new song Stop You Now originated from a lick Al added to Girl With The Red Hair! This is also one of Dan Glassmire's favorites, which must be mentioned. Grant Ferguson hated it, which I also appreciated. I think it's a middle of the road MMOC song.
Goin' To Williamsport - Williamsport was one of my first attempts at a story song. I was in Cape May, NJ and Dave happened to be there as well. My dad was with us and mentioned he had to go through Williamsport on the way home. I was annoyed by this as I just wanted to get back to Bradford or State College, but the phrase Goin' To Williamsport as well as a chord sequence kept spinning around in my head, and when we got back home I finished the song. This was over ten years ago now but it feels like just yesterday sometimes.
Wait For Me - My favorite song Dave and I have written together might have to be Wait For Me. He had most of the song already, but it was slower and almost had an Elliott Smith vibe. I made a few minor changes including putting the key up to B, and before long we had our own Jumpin' Jack Flash.
Marshmellow Overcoat - Jason Wood mentioned that we should have a song called Marshmellow Overcoat. I'd been writing with Danny Glassmire for our self-titled album, but when Jason had the idea I went and wrote the song in a matter of minutes. It was very simple and the words just flowed. When I hear this one I almost feel like I didn't even write it because it was so effortless. Snow Lights was probably my favorite from this album, but as of right now this is the most successful song we've put out as far as online streaming and downloading goes.
At The End Of The Day and Stop You Now - These are my most recent songs, and they were written with the pressure of knowing we needed a few more tunes for Jumping Sharks. I used a couple of old ideas and worked in some new ones, so you could say these were a bit of a hodgepodge. But by the time the other guys were playing these and adding to them, I knew the album was going to be ready. We even had a practice just to perfect the last 25 seconds or so of At The End of The Day before heading up to GCR to record this past May. Sam mentions these as among her favorites, and while I can't pick a favorite on the new album, I'm happy a lot of other people are having the same problem.
(Let's go Penn State and Buffalo!)
MMOC frontman Tyler Calkins does his usual ranting