Access Royale were headlining a festival in Warrenton, VA and the crew hadn't supplied a proper mat for the drums to stay in place. Mid way through a song, the bass drums started to slide away from Robzie (drummer). So the bass player thought to place his foot on one side of the drum head to prevent it from sliding any farther but it started to slide sideways instead. Robzie's foot was fully stretched at this point, still trying to maintain a bass drum rhythym.
When we started writing "23", we had been talking a lot about fugue states--psychological phenomenon wherein people inexplicably wander off from their lives and find themselves somewhere else later, with no recollection of the time in-between. (I think it started, actually, from talking about the use of fugue in music, where various melody lines work together to create a single, complex melody).
Fans of MOTU recognize that many of MOTU’s songs have a political or social message. An example of this is “A Better Day” from the “MOTU – Time Runs Faster” CD. Seeing the hardships that have come out of the housing collapse, and subsequent job losses that resulted from this recession, reminded me that we live now in a much harder time then the world I remember in my youth. The erosion of the middle class in America is a sad truth. However, America has seen tough times before and I do believe that better times are ahead. So this hope for tomorrow was the inspiration for this song:
The song All the Things is based on two friends that grew up with me around Philadelphia. "All the Things" .... "we do for love" refers to their relationship. For the sake of all we'll call them Jack and Faye.
Jack, fitfully brilliant, possessed a charisma people tripped over themselves following. The very intensity that people swooned over was simultaneously what isolated him. Everyone loved Jack, wanted to be him, around him, but he had a mysterious fire within that fueled him. No one better understood how it burned him up than Faye.Faye was one of those rare souls brought into this world with an extraordinary amount of kindness and compassion for others, almost to fault. Despite the various hardships she endured, Faye's gentleness never calloused. Thinking back to our childhood, Faye only had eyes for Jack; their relationship grew so strong I began to imagine Jack whispering secret words to her one childhood afternoon that bound them together forever
The most amazing place I've ever been...... I'm from a small town, things are slow here and if you don't pay attention, this place will take time away from you. It's all so the same that weeks can go by without ever noticing it and no one really notices you, which I guess can be a good thing at times. All of these people who have accidentally acquired responsibilities and worries and addictions in the form of bills, kids, spouses (whether you like them or not), the bar, drugs, gossip etc. All of them with limited knowledge of the outside world and all so opinionated and uninterested in learning cause.......they all already know.
So for me it's become a bit of an addiction, the most amazing place. A place where every second is valued by everyone there. Everyone in your presence, taking in the spectacle that is your art. It can be 5 seconds away but things are so different once you get there. It's your place.
Black Dimes by James Gilmore
There are many things I'd like to see before I die. As a generation, we've been a part of incredible change, a two steps forward one step back progression that frustrates and inspires all at once. I was born in the opening credits of the 1990's, January 4th. By the time I could crawl, Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait which led to the Persian Gulf War. I was barely forming sentences when it and the Cold War had ended, and Los Angeles was ablaze with riots. When I was a toddler Bill Clinton was sworn in as the President of the United States.
Talitha Cumi - The Inspirational
A certain miracle from Mark chapter 5 became the inspirational focus for what is now our favorite song. A synagogue ruler by the name of Jairus came and begged Jesus to heal his little girl, or else she would die. This early in His ministry, Jesus was doing miracles day in and day out, and He didn't refuse the request of Jairus. As it happened during the travel, Jesus was interrupted by another person in need of Him, and maybe that appeared to be enough of a delay to prevent Jesus from arriving at the house of Jairus. When He arrived, the people were already in the makings of grievances because the little girl had died.
They always say write what you know. So I did with my song “Never Look Back” from my debut album “Dancing With Shadows”. Over the past 15 years, I've been working very hard to make it in the music industry like so many other musicians. It's tough to navigate and easy to be destructive if not kept in check. One day I was working in the studio and starting writing a new song. I hadn’t even titled it yet but it seemed to have a very powerful bass line and groove the more I worked on it, and it practically wrote itself. Like so many other singer/songwriters we put all our emotions, feelings, life circumstances into our work and I was going through a particularly difficult time-- but was determined to push forward.
The inspiration behind Go For It started when my agent approached me and said he wanted to book me gigs in LA. I was extremely excited about the opportunity to perform in that market. When I begin doing shows in LA I noticed that there was a whole lot of competition. It didn't make me feel intimidated nor did it make me doubt my ability to perform on the big stage. But it did motivate me to examine myself to see what else could I do to become a better artist and rise above my competitors.
Our fourth album, Window Dressing, is a concept album about how things aren't always as they appear. The song cycle travels from the simplicity of youth to the complexities of relationships and modern society. During the songwriting process I was reading "Owl at Home" by Arnold Lobel to my 6-year old daughter. The book has five separate stories but she would always ask me to read "Tear-Water Tea" over & over.
I wrote the song Thin Air last summer (in 2011) while my boyfriend was away on an extended trip. We were spending a lot of time together and so I missed him quite a bit when he was away on his trip. It was still the beginning of the relationship at this point, so some of the inevitable anxieties began to surface when he was gone and I was stuck in New York feeling all Bananarama "Cruel Summer." (I literally had that song in my head for weeks.) There is a lot of vulnerability at the start of (almost) any new relationship - whether it's a romantic relationship, starting a new job, buying a home, moving, etc.
On the afternoon of Tuesday, July 4, 2011, a group of us were gathered to celebrate and play music in a friend's backyard here in Marfa, Texas. One of my friends played a song called No Soy De Aqui, by Facundo Cabral, and it moved me so much I asked her to play it again. When I got home I looked up his song and music on the internet and found he was a beloved folk singer from Argentina and an icon in all of Latin America, much like Bob Dylan. He was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace in 1996, the same award given to Mother Theresa and the Dalai Lama.
I was immediately inspired and I began hearing the music to a song and picked out the melody and chords within two days, but the words would not form within me. That following Thursday Facundo Cabral was mistakenly and brutally murdered in a drive by shooting in Guatemala on his way to the airport. I felt like I had lost a newly found friend.
That night I struggled with the words and music. I sat outside beneath a black, star-filled sky at about 3:00 a.m. The words began to form within me. I said aloud to the night, "this song will be called For Facundo Cabral, and the first words are the dance goes on, the song goes on". Immediately after I spoke the words a shooting star sailed across the sky above me, from north to south almost to the horizon, leaving a green trail of light. The next instant, another shooting star split the night from over my right shoulder, traveling east to west leaving a golden trail and almost seemed to skip out of the atmosphere. I laughed aloud. I felt like Facundo Cabral was telling me, thanks, see ya.
The words formed easily after that and the song was finished the next day. It is a tribute to him and his vision of a beautiful world that sings to us, if we only take the time to hear it.
Pull Out a Rabbit
Originally this song was part of a group of songs that were written in a tuning of my own devising. As first conceived, Pull out a Rabbit was just a simple, unusual melody and some soft backing organ, the chief inspiration being Elliot Smith's "Angeles". When I decided to present this song to the full band as part of our latest recording sessions, we all agreed that it worked well as a quiet song but something was missing. In a moment of rare inspiration we decided that what was missing was a full on rock out ending, a la The Flaming Lips or Granddaddy.
Lyrically the song draws from that place in each of us where we know something isn't right but we do it anyway. And from the feeling that you just want to give up on everything, but know in your heart you aren't that type of person and most likely you'll get out of bed even if you don't want to :)
This was the first song I wrote lyrics to for Mojo Radio. When I write lyrics I usually split the difference between what roles off my tongue on the first jam- through, and whatever I can eloquently fill in around that. In this case, upon hearing the chorus part, the phrase "My gilded cage has been rattled." came out of me. I have the easiest time writing lyrics when a chorus comes to me first, it lays the groundwork for my thesis.
Next I think of how to lead up to the message of the chorus, in this case, I went for the commonly used young-old blues stance: "Used to feel that I could fly so high...nowadays feeling the weight of my time, it's much easier to close myself in...my gilded cage has been rattled"...etc. I'm particularly happy to sneak in any double entendre bits such as birds out the window to shake my loose seed at (huge Steven Tyler fan). All in all I feel the song's about two main themes, not growing old complacently, and the blues theme of busting out of a bad relationship you're stuck in. Specifically in some of my pentameter, you can hear that I was just coming out of playing reggae music, with crammed in triplet bits like "whatever it was, whenever that happened to be, I said I'd surely love to feel it again."