Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Delightfully Blogged, Part 3.

Roller Coaster Smoke

Lost-mania was at its peak during the recording of Delightfully Pleased, and of course we are all fans (except for Cory who hasn't watched it yet, but I'm sure he will eventually). We had the musical ideas down for the song long before we ever decided to make it about Lost, but it just seemed to make sense, considering we would stop practice to watch it if we practiced on Tuesday nights. Once we even hinted at the idea of making a song about our favorite television show, there was no going back. We pressed record on Garageband at practice to record the music, and within a few days Steve sent back the same file with his vocal ideas over top of it. It went from his head to my ears, and there was no way it was coming out once it was in. I really like the way he made the first verse the "Jack" verse and the second verse the "Locke" verse. "We'll live together, or we will die alone" seemed so obvious to sing in there, but how could it be anything else? It was perfect.
The second verse of the song had a few revisions, and Steve borrowed an idea for the "you don't control me, I'm on my feet again" line from a demo of an amazing song he sent me probably well over a year ago. The demo song that he sent me just wasn't right for this album, but I hope that we record it someday. Its very Kanye West "808s and Heartbreaks" style, which may have been strange to include in this collection of songs. The line in the demo was "you don't control me, you're not my manager", but "I'm on my feet again" made way more sense for a John Locke verse.
I really enjoy playing bass on this song, and I really like the way it turned out in the recording. I love the long single notes in the chorus, and I love moving my head the way that Beck's bass player moves his head when I play it. I also got to sing the "yeaaaaahhhhh" s in the post-chorus, which I think is really fun. I don't even cringe when I listen to it, I think it sounds pretty good.
It was cool doing some things in the song that the writers of Lost would've done if they wrote the song. Secret messages, flashbacks, and strange effects all seemed very appropriate, and we had a blast coming up with little things to add in the studio. Flashing back to the Rewind EP in the end of the song seemed like the perfect thing to do, not only because it sounded good, but also because we knew that long-time listeners of Punchline would really appreciate it. Working on this song with Jamie was fun too, because he was also a Lost fan. He knew what the heck was up.
Despite all the indirect Lost references in the song, we were careful not to make the song too specific to the point that a) we'd be sued, or b) a non Lost-viewer couldn't appreciate the song. I think that if Lost never existed, the song would still be cool and put very vivid visuals in your head when you listen to it. Plus, I think the main lead of the song is one of the catchiest things we've ever written. I hope that Roller Coaster Smoke plays at the Lost cast reunion 10 years from now.

Joe DeWitt made a pretty amazing music video for the song:

We also have fun playing it:

I didn't like the ending of Lost, by the way.

Into The Mouth

"Into The Mouth" was originally supposed to be nothing but a short interlude on the album right before "Whatever I Want, Whenever I Want". Put the four of us in a room with Jamie Woolford and Mike Ofca though, and an interlude soon becomes a highlight of the album. Largely inspired by Queen (obviously) and the punk rock bands we all grew up on (obviously), this is the song that I knew all our close friends would love.
Steve wrote the very strange and descriptive lyrics pretty much on the spot, and no one even questioned them. I thought it was very Propagandhi of us to say "politefully dead" and then burst into an all-out fast punk rock song. And not to be cocky about my bass-ing, but how damn good does my bass sound right after that? Cory was the master of the punk beat, and the fact that we even used the punk beat on the album says a lot (I think it does anyway). Cory also sings the highest part in the beginning harmonies....bet you didn't know that! Paul gets to rip it up during the verse a little bit as well. He is a great guitarist. Of course all of us were very excited about this song.
I thought that having the fastest/most punk song on the album come right before the most straight-up pop song on the album would be a cool dynamic. I also think that if we sell a couple hundred thousand copies of Delightfully Pleased and have money to make a big budget music video, you'll see the best music video of your lifetime to this song. Superheroes vs. Giant Hell Monsters. Sounds cool, right? So yeah, spread the word so we can make it!

Oh yeah, and of course this song goes along great with our album cover :)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Delightfully Blogged, Part 2.

Here are some more of the stories behind the songs on Delightfully Pleased...

21 Forever

When we first wrote this song at practice, I thought it was going to be the best song on the album. By the time we finished recording it, I thought it was the best song we've ever written. Not only was it super relevant and relatable, but it was also that song I'd been waiting for...an all-out rockin' song in which Steve and Paul trade vocals. Steve had written the first very catchy verse and had the framework for the chorus, which was another one of those very "natural" choruses that just kind of happened (much like the chorus for "The Hit"...it just happened...no long discussions, lyrics changes, or anything....what it was from the beginning is what it ended up being). We had been playing the music for the second verse the way it is for a while, but we didn't come up with the melody and lyrics for it until we got into the studio. Paul came up with a great melody for it and we all collaborated on some lyrics that fit perfectly in there ( I think that's how it happened). I remember sitting on the back porch of the studio with Steve and an acoustic and really working out the intro of the song, and the whole idea of "Katy White" (or Katie White, I forget how we spelled it). "Katy" would be a girl who turns 21 and gets out of control, and we would be sort of her Jiminy Cricket conscience / guy who is in love with her. You can both of those things at once when you're writing a song, I just decided that.

My favorite part of this song is the bridge. There was much discussion about whether the bridge part should "swing" or just stay straight-forward. Steve really fought for it to have the swing feel, largely inspired by Toto's song "Africa". Jamie (Woolford, our producer, duh) very much opposed this, and I actually leaned toward Jamie's side because we hired him to produce us. Looking back, I'm glad that we did go with the swing feel because I think it sounds great. Steve wrote what I think are perfect lyrics for this part, especially since he put in a reference to The Streets. We had contacted Patrick Stump about singing the bridge, and he pretty much agreed to do it. We were pretty psyched about that, and Jamie sent him the song files and we waited as long as we could to get them back but they never came. I am sure he's a very busy guy, or maybe he thought the same thing that I did...Steve had sang the part great, and taking it away from him would be silly.

The part that gave me chills in the studio was Paul's final chorus. He sang it the way he had the whole song, and I suggested (I try not to suggest things often, but when I do, I like to make them count) that he really get to the top of his vocal range on the last chorus. There was a part in our really old song called "Play" off of The Rewind EP where Paul was going to go really high but then decided against it. It always bothered me that he didn't because I loved it, so I wasn't going to keep my mouth shut this time. Of course he nailed it, and I feel like it really gave the last chrous a very "HELL YEAH" kind of feel.

We will very soon have a music video for this song that we shot at our CD Release show in Pittsburgh. I think we very easily could have made a standard music video with a plot that really goes along with the lyrics, but I thought it would be much cooler to have a video that shows how cool our hometown is and how cool the people are who come out to the shows. I think its going to be great, and I am excited to have it out there in a few weeks.

Maybe this should be the music video for the song instead, complete with non-current band lineup! I also love the part where it has a picture of Unsung Zeros with our lyrics over it.

Greatest. Party. Ever.

We wanted to write a song that really got the party goin'. We wanted the party to get going our way though, complete with vegetable trays and Scrabble boards. I wanted to mention Mario Kart but Steve shot it down. Also, the movie was originally "Waterworld" instead of "Forrest Gump", even though Forrest Gump is my favorite movie and I've never even seen Waterworld. This was during the time where I was really into the idea of having a birthday party where everyone comes over and just watches Waterworld, which looking back still seems like an awesome idea.

I really like the chorus of this song a lot, and I think it was enhanced even more by a lead that Steve added in which really makes it sound more like something that The Pixies would do instead of just a standard pop punk chorus. We had a lot of fun with putting ridiculous ideas into this song, like the very faint Kurt Cobain-ish "hey" sounds in the bridge, and the "hey girl let me get your information" part that I got to shout very loudly into the microphone. I did a lower take and then a take where I was at the very top of my range and my voice cracked a lot, but I think it added to the craziness of the part.

I think the chorus of this song really keeps it in check. This song could have been an all-out cheese-fest, but I do think the chorus is deeper than you'd normally hear in a "party" song (but not as deep as Ween's "Your Party", which I think is the greatest song about a party ever written). All in all, its a song about living your life like every day is New Year's Eve, which wouldn't be such a bad thing, unless you were really fall-down drunk every day of your life, which would be bad. Maybe the best way to put it would be "live each day to its maximum potential". There wouldn't be anything wrong with that.

Party of the year at my house, there's no place you'd rather be.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

All I want to do is inspire everyone who ever lived.

I want to be the damn RUDY of bass playing and blogging.

I want everyone in the world to accomplish everything they want to. I want to see 90 year olds climbing Mt. Everest and 10 year olds building the Eiffel Tower out of Legos. I want to see less whining and more doing. I want to see everyone in the world making strides toward what they want. Nothing is insurmountable. I mean, look at this damn dude...

I want to see everyone being cool to each other too. Being a good person and just generally nice to other people can go a long way for all of us getting where we want to be. I hope that I have been nice to everyone reading this. If I have done you wrong, please let me know so I can apologize and buy you a damn pizza.

I love common sense too. Churchin' it up is cool and a lot of good people love churchin', but I think it would be cool if everyone practiced the religion of common sense! Don't kill anybody, don't hurt anybody, don't rape anybody, be nice, help people out, do your best, don't waste your life, don't be a jerk to people who don't have the same opinion as you, make the world a better place. I think those are all common sense things that people were probably trying to convey in religions before they got all mixed up through thousands of peoples' translations.

I'd love to see everyone in the world leave the world a better place than it was before they existed. Here's something I like to read that inspires me that was written by the BADDEST DUDE EVER!

Draw a crazy picture,
Write a nutty poem,
Sing a mumble-gumble song,
Whistle through your comb.
Do a loony-goony dance,
’Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world
That ain’t been there before.
-Shel Silverstein