It’s always exciting when you get to release an album, but in this case, for me, the excitement is tempered by the disappointment that I won’t hear feedback from one of my biggest fans–my father. That said, this album was inspired by his passing. This was as cathartic for me as anything, and the process of writing and finishing was my way of working through the grief, however, the biggest epiphany I had during this process is that I’ll never get over his passing, and this won’t be my last tribute. This is not to say that I will wallow in sadness, it is to say that my father will always be a part of me, and part of me will always be missing. This may be early in the process, but time doesn’t seem to heal the wounds, it modifies them. This was a first step, a step of acceptance, and a step of imagining what his last experiences were as he crossed over. I will miss him in the big steps like when I get married or have my first child–I miss him in the innocuous like nailing a hole shot in my Mustang on an on-ramp, but I also have the assurance that he’s paying attention, and since heaven is not bound by time, I am sure we’re discussing this right now in another dimension between riding our motorcycles over some kind of amazing landscape.
In the coming days it will also be on Spotify and a host of other digital services.
If you care to read a track by track description of the inspiration for each one of the songs, keep on reading.
Track One: Realm
This is fairly simple, the inspiration for this was death, not in a somber way for those left behind, but for what it must feel like to be liberated from a corporeal broken down body into a flying spirit, entering a new realm. The inspiration may sound cheesy, but it’s apt.
Track Two: Release
If you’ve seen the music video, you probably get a bit of a hint of what this songs about. The institution of the world sucks, however, if you live life like you have nothing to prove to the institution and deal directly with people and the creator, there’s some peace. However, at some point, you just get tired and long for release. This is how my dad lived life. He was not a financial powerhouse mostly because he didn’t believe that mattered, relationships mattered, however, the institution finally broke him, regardless, he ultimately found peace, and no one can touch him anymore.
Track Three: A Rambling Sorrow
This is my internal dialogue. If you’re familiar with the Artist’s Way, you are familiar with a discipline known as morning pages. This discipline is the mental equivalent of taking your post-coffee morning dump. Yes, that’s a crude analogy, but you just sit down and write two pages of everything that is going on in your mind at the time. If the only thing going through your mind is “Bill Leavy cost the Seahawks a Super Bowl” then you just write that over and over again. However, unlike a morning poo, occasionally it morphs into something a bit more relevant, that was the case with this song. I wrote this during my first morning in Seattle after I drove up. It is what it is.
Track Four: All Good Things
This is the response to the previous track. I’m fairly angry in A Rambling Sorrow, this is more contemplative. All good things come to an end, and when you get to that end, all you have is memories, but you long for those memories.
Track Five: aripl
I like Phil Collins, my dad liked Phil Collins, even though most of this album definitely has my sound, it has homages to music my dad liked. My dad loved music and it’s certain that this love translated into what I do today. Why do I bring up Phil? The drums and buildup are Phil inspired. Regarding the content, I’ve always thought life was long, then I lost my dad, then the realization of how short it really is hit me, so you need to live life to the fullest. You can’t run from the end, you live life, then you rest. It’s amazing how many cliches become poignant when you have an experience like this.
Track Six: Home
This song is also fairly self explanatory. For the synth, I just started playing around and it came to fruition. If you haven’t figured it out yet, most of this album is about things ending (hence the title All Good Things). This song really is the epiphany that I’m changed, but I’ll keep going.
Track Seven: Empire
This is a song that I started a couple of years ago before my dad passed. I added this to the album because he heard early versions of the song and liked it, he just thought the drums needed a rock edge as the early versions just had a four on the floor with a sampled Sandy Rivera beat in the background. Well, I added some rock to the drums, kind of sorry I have to wait to hear if he liked the addition. I also added a few more layers from the version he heard. The synthesizer with the opening and closing filters at the end as well as the piano are all late additions. The thing about this song is that it’s so hopeful and has such a positive vibe, the title Empire took on a whole new meaning for me. This song’s original inspiration was looking out at New York from Roosevelt island while DJing a set, it now reminds me of heaven. THIS IS EMPIRE! (BOOM)
Track Eight: Time Dilation
This is another song I wrote before my dad’s passing, however, he was the inspiration for this song. There was a time shortly before his passing when I was comparing my life to my dad’s and felt that I was wasting mine. This song is about my fear of growing old with little relevance. I came to the realization that even though I’m on a financial trajectory that will surpass his, it absolutely doesn’t matter. This was completely reinforced at my dad’s service, that man affected a lot of people.
Track Nine: Fire of the Sky
This song is about not taking responsibility for anything and fighting the wrong battles while ignoring what matters and will come. I don’t think my dad did any of that, but death just gets you thinking about that kind of stuff.
Track Ten: Dream in Colors
This track is pretty self explanatory, however, this was written during one of my listening to the old man’s LP all nighters. I do dream in colors.
Track Eleven: Standing
This was the first song of the album that I actually went through the production process with. I wrote A Rambling Sorrow before this one, but once I got home after spending a month in Seattle, I went after this one with a fury. There are times in my life where I absolutely need to write and record, this was one of those times. My sister compared my father to a star that burned too bright to last, that is what this song is about, however, when he was shining, I learned, and because of what he did, I keep going. He also liked soaring guitar solos, so I had to get one of those in.
Track Twelve: The Gate
Heaven. Plus I always have one random orchestration on my albums.