Day Thirty One: Saturday 2nd July 2005
Martin isn’t going to be with us today so we have set up just to rehearse / demo two new songs. While Steve’s been away for the last few days, he has been listening to a CD of all the backing tracks so far. I asked Steve how it was all sounding and what kind of song did he think we needed to back up the overall continuity of the album. Steve immediately said we need another ‘Cease And Desist’. I think I have just the song I replied. The song was something I wrote during the last Dead Men Walking tour, I had recorded a rough outline of it via the built in mic on my laptop. It’s called ‘My Town’. There is quite a distinctive guitar part at the start that I want to sound something like ‘Babylon’s Burning’ by The Ruts. The song sits really well straight away although we spend most of our time developing the riff. Eventually James comes up with an idea to change some of the chords underneath the top line and we finally have a definitive version of the song. I set the computer recording upstairs and run back down to the rehearsal space and 1234 we are into the song. We run through the song a few times in this way adding, taking away and defining the parts. By accident we come up with a dynamic breakdown and work out a way of singing the verse part over the chorus chords. This is something Bruce Springsteen does a lot. We do some final work on the tempo of the song, we try it really fast and then a bit slower, it definitely works best in the upper end of the tempo and once that has been decided we have a potentially great track. We break for a cup of tea and sit outside in the garden enjoying the afternoon sunshine. We decide to try and write a song from scratch as a band. The starting point is a kind of ‘Coming Home’ style riff that I had written on tour. We had a little jam session based on it, during a soundcheck in Aschaffenburg, Germany. The difficulty with this riff is that it is in a minor key and the tune that I think should go with it is major. I knew if we could get something out of this we could have something really special. At first we tried rewriting the riff with a more major emphasis. This didn’t work but we kept persevering, eventually we started jamming around the riff in a minor key and then switching into major for some chorus chords I had come up with. Suddenly it all started to come together. The verse is in a minor key but switches to major for the bridge/chorus. Craig as always, comes up with something special in the bass department, he loves experimenting with the root notes and coming up with alternatives that life the song in places that is least expected. Now we have opened up the song the melody begins to take shape, James comes up with a great idea for the chord sequence at the end of the chorus. Instead of playing chords, I play single note runs on the guitar to mirror Craig’s bass part, Steve comes up with a Hi Hat groove that really moves the rhythm. There’s is something like a dark blues feel going in the major / minor dynamics of the song, yet we are a million miles away from traditional blues believe me. All we need now is a set of lyrics for both songs.