I was inspired by a documentary I'd seen about Evel Knievel, a hero of my childhood. Evel was a real life hero and I liked watching his jumps on Saturday afternoons. I was happy with my home demo where I played a keyboard with an accordion sound to give the song a Latin feel.
Soon after recording that home demo, Renee and I went to Hualtuco, Mexico on vacation. At lunch on our second day, I met a horn player from Chicago who told me he was the band leader of a 17 piece mambo orchestra: Angel Melendez and the 911 Orchestra. We exchanged story after story and amused each other during lunch. After lunch, he asked if we cold meet on the beach in an hour and exchange iPods so we could “show off for each other.”
I had some studio stuff I had done queued up and ready to go. We met up and I went first, letting Angel listen to me singing a version of The Who's “Real Me.” He listened for 20 seconds, smiled and took off the headphones to hand to his girl. They both seemed to enjoy what they heard. Then Angel queued up a song, and what I heard was an incredible cacophony of horns-based salsa. Angel mentioned that he had been lucky enough to have been nominated for a Grammy.
The next day, I decided to play some home demos for Angel. When he heard “Last”, the thing he said was, “That song needs horns!” “You offering?” I asked. He affirmed. Hope you like the result.
Finger Paint the Sky
Greg Carrillo emailed me this rock song without lyrics to see what I could do with it. I received it at 8 a.m. on Saturday. Around noon that day, I sent him my home demo of this song. It sounded almost exactly like what I did here in the studio.
My wife, Renee, wrote this poem for me when we were dating. I thought it should be a song so I put it to music. I brought it to the studio and asked Bobby Scumaci to take my guitar demo and give me his take on the keyboards. We also created a slower, organ-based version that we played at our wedding
Food That Hurts
Often, while eating with Renee, I put hot sauce or jalapenos on my food. I smile, look at Renee, point at the plate and say, “Look honey, food that hurts!” After saying that for years, I decided the saying needed its own song.
Cry Me Back
This is one of my earliest tunes, originally recorded in a whisper on a four-track Fostex machine in the living room of my condo.
Drool on my Pillow
I wrote this song recently about how I feel about too much travel. Anyone who is a Road Dog like me can relate to this song.
Sometimes you just need some time alone to do some thinkin'.... We went to Memphis in 2012 for a quick vacation. The second night, we went to Beale Street to hear some music. We walked up and down the street and I stuck my head into every bar to listen to each of the 10 or so live bands playing. After the third time listening to every band, I thought I had found the most authentic sounding band in Memphis, Brimstone Jones. This four-piece band plays six days a week at Club 152.
The next day, we went back to see Brimstone Jones again. I asked Renee how I could get them on my CD. She said, “Ask them?” So between sets, I asked them. They said they were too busy, but I persisted. “How about tomorrow night at midnight?” A bunch of texts and phone calls later, we had a recording session booked. We recorded a totally unplanned and unrehearsed session while on vacation. The results are here.
Something's Gonna Catch Fire
In Greek mythology, Sisyphus was a king who was sentenced for eternity to push a huge rock up a hill only to watch it roll back down. He has to try again every day, forever.
Sometimes life just does that to you.
“Lockdown” is a word so overused in 21st century media that it needed its own song. Maybe a theme song for a generation.