The new EP -- The Trick -- is now for sale (reposted from Facebook)
Getting this latest his EP to you was a bit of an arduous task with many stumbling blocks along the way; I had to switch engineer/producer and restart the mixing & mastering process after months and months. (It should have been on the market eight months ago. Let me just say that.) However, after much hard work with the various musicians involved (specifically vocalists J'ney Up, Jilly Sentino, and Lisa Sherman, and guitarist Tom Briant, keyboardist Adam Silverstein, and drummer Paul Galiszewski) and engineer/co-producer Steve Jankowski, we finally got these tracks mixed & mastered a month ago and yesterday they became available on all major digital distribution outlets.
I'll be highlighting each of the tracks at various points today to give a little backstory, and to provide lyrics in case you decide to buy the disc or the MP3. (Because I went for the simple sleeve production, there's no booklet with lyrics provided -- this is only an EP, not a full album.)
The opening and titular track is, of course, "The Trick," and there are two versions on this EP. Both are different from the version recorded for the album MEMOIRS OF A MANWHORE: THE REELING WALTZ OF A DRUNKEN LOTHARIO, if you happen to be just becoming a fan recently and don't realize that there's also a full album you might want to buy. You might? You do. You do want the album. You need it. Everybody needs an album with the word "Manwhore" in the title. And mine's the only one I know of. Ergo, you need it.
Anyway, I wrote the song when I was twenty years old. I had dropped out of school but was still living in State College, PA. So, a college dropout living in a college town. I was also living two buildings from a bar (Zeno's) but I was not old enough to drink. So when I would get depressed, I would roll out of my bed and throw on my pajamas, walk outside, sit on the bench outside the bar, and people watch. And that's how I crafted this song.
The original MANWHORE version of this song is amazing, as well. Adam Silverstein arranged and produced it, and it sounds like a missing track from Billy Joel's TURNSTILES album. Because the song is short and catchy, I knew I would want to make it a single eventually... If you're an unknown artist, a short (in this case, under three minutes) single is a great introduction: Much less risky for radio! But I also knew I wanted to make it rock harder, since it no longer had to fit the sonic palette of the MANWHORE album as a single, and faster, so I could put an instrumental in there that would allow my guitarist (Tom Briant, who is known for his work with The Josh Zuckerman Band and the Taylor Tote Band) to go apeshit. Tom also did the bass for this song, and then of course Paul Galiszewski, also of The Josh Zuckerman Band, added his drums to complete the sonic landscape. By the time we were done, we had a product that could have played right next to Tom Petty's "American Girl" in any mix tape.
However, because I often tour solo, reproducing the rock sound live is a challenge, and I come up with new arrangements for many of my songs when I do them live. I've been doing this one live for a LOOOOOOONG time and, when unaccompanied by a band, generally do it as a mournful ballad. I decided to capture that feel as well to craft the second track on the EP.
However, given that the studio provides the opportunity to attempt certain feats that I can't do in a live solo show, I decided to go all Brian Wilson on this one and added ten backing tracks of vocals to create a choir of voices.
For me, having the opportunity to reexamine and continue the creative process on a song I've written -- even if it's over twenty years old -- is part of what makes being a songwriter so exciting. Think back, if you will, to the original TANGO IN THE NIGHT version of Fleetwood Mac's “Big Love,” and then think of what your visceral response was a decade later when Lindsey Buckingham completely overhauled it as a frenetic and blistering acoustic number for the Mac's reunion album, THE DANCE. Or when Madonna pulled a Marlene Dietrich (or for that matter an Egyptian motif-inspired bit of erotica during her Blonde Ambition tour) on her trademark anthem ”Like a Virgin.” Think of Bear McCreary's reimagining of Bob Dylan's “All Along The Watchtower” for Battlestar Galactica. You get my point. The opportunity to breathe new life into something familiar is always an exciting prospect for me.
That said, here are the lyrics:
I couldn't give myself over to your idea of love. I woke up one too many times in someone else's* tub. THE TRICK is learning not to bleed or wear your heart out on your sleeve, not to care enough to grieve for a world gone wrong beyond redress. You give your mind to too much thought and realize what you haven't got til the bottom of the bottle is the only thing that blurs this mess.
Maybe I've reduced my prospects. Maybe I've incensed my bile. But misery's an art form, and I suffer with such style. THE TRICK is learning not to bleed or wear your heart out on your sleeve, not to care enough to grieve for a world gone wrong beyond redress. You give your mind to too much thought and realize what you haven't got til the bottom of the bottle is the only thing that blurs this mess.
Afraid of life and bored with death, a generation sleeps and sluts. Philosophy's a waste of breath, and Plato died of paper cuts. THE TRICK is learning not to bleed or wear your heart out on your sleeve, not to care enough to grieve for a world gone wrong beyond redress. You give your mind to too much thought and realize what you haven't got til the bottom of the bottle is the only thing that blurs this mess.