We're all stuck inside for at least a couple of weeks, and most importantly we hope everyone is doing well and staying safe. Along with getting the new live album ready, it seems like a good time to reflect on some things.
We're also using this time to write some new material, so let's look back on the songs on "Jumping Sharks," and I'll try to think of what was going through our minds on each song before I forget!
Smoke Screen - This was as close to a political song as we've gotten. I was comparing current political personalities to the Wizard of Oz, and commenting that there is a smoke screen of mirrors clouding what's really going on. This idea has aged well already, and I think we were only hitting the tip of the iceberg. Whenever I meet someone who thinks they know what's really going on I want to slap them. Most people probably have no idea why we're here. I sure as hell don't want to pretend to know what's going on. There's a smoke screen clouding many peoples' minds. The fact this was our top song yet as far as streams made me happy. We said something with this one.
Stop You Now - We needed another song or two for the album and this was one of the last ones I showed to the guys and we finished it quickly. The main riff is taken from something Alan added to an old song of ours, "Girl With The Red Hair." We sometimes call the song Bow Bow Bow in reference to the riff. It's a bit derivative of some of our other songs but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Reason To Stay - Reason To Stay was a co-write between Dave and I. We reused and old hook we've had for years, and did our relative minor thing by putting a part in the key of C with Bridge/Middle 8 in the key of A minor (my part in this one). We managed to really rock out on the recorded version. We layered several instruments on, and kept most of them.
Through The Night - This was another rocker that I'd had in my head for a while. It was one of the first tracks we recorded at GCR in Buffalo with Brad Lauchert engineering. It sounds like a bit of a teenage angst song by the lyric, and has some comedic elements. I can hear some '90s punk/grunge in this one as well.
The Best Thing - One of Dave's, and this one gave us some great space to jam. Anthony put together a lyric video for this one too. I wanted to add some Kinks-inspired harmonies and I think we pulled it off.
Really Coming Home - This song is a little older and originally appeared on my solo album Late to Fly. It's a solid acoustic-based track that reminds me a bit of something off Every Picture Tells a Story. All the guys played great again on this one, and Al even added some mandolin!
I Hope You'll Understand - I wrote this song for Lisa Platko Auteri to sing with Second Act, and while she didn't end up singing this one (She went with Smoke Screen, a better choice), it was one of the last songs to make the cut for the album. It sounds almost like something that could be on a soap opera it's so sappy for one of mine, so it's perhaps my least favorite on the album. But it sounds professional and I'm still proud of it and the way everyone played. Brad, our engineer for the GCR sessions, helped find spots for harmonies and organ fills that rounded out the song well.
We've Got To Roll - The song that pretty much started the rest of the album "rolling" for me. I'd had the bulk of this one for a while, and one day the lyrics and arrangement poured out quickly on the piano. It was originally titled "We've Got To Row" and was much slower (there's an early version on Spotify etc.), but when we all played it together we managed to turn it into a rocker. Now it's a highlight at most shows and was the second single from the album. John Tomerlin made us a very cool video for the song as well.
What I Love - One of Dave's that I really didn't want to make many changes to - It was pretty much ready when he showed it to me. Al and I took solos and Anthony laid down a nice 2/4 drumbeat. The harmonies were what we worked on mostly, and they were simple, fun and catchy on this track too. We recorded this one with Mike and Jason and Mammoth Recording Studio.
At The End of The Day - This was another song I finished at the last minute for our final session on the album. Samantha convinced me to make it the last track, and I remember the last 25 seconds of the song really sticking with me. I'd had the chorus for a while and needed verses to finish it off, and that little descending pattern tied everything together. It ended up being one of my favorites. Al's guitar through a Leslie speaker was one of the more memorable elements to the song.
Hope you'll enjoy hearing new live versions of all the songs when Live Picks Vol. 7 comes out in May.
MMOC frontman Tyler Calkins does his usual ranting