1.Ghosts of Scotland:
This song is about the great hills and valleys of Scotland where many men and women have died to protect their freedom. Whenever I see those awesome hills and clouds, I can feel the history there. I can sense the devastating loss of life and the ultimate sacrifice each person made. I also feel deeply that those lands are sacred to the universe in all their beauty. When I close my eyes, I can almost hear those people crying out still. Some in gratitude that they died free, some in mourning over those they had lost so long ago. And though many terrible things were done to a man from another, the land is glorious still. I had never known how I wanted to express these feelings in song. Literal months went by as I dwelled upon the idea, but nothing ever came to me. One morning when I awoke, the entire song was in my head. I could hear it all. I rushed into the studio and 12 hours later the whole song was done. It really feels like this music was given to me in the night.
2. Paranormal Paranoia:
This tune is about two aspects of fear. The first aspect is the unwanted real sense of fear. The second aspect is the voluntary spook or rush we feel from scary movies and television shows about UFOs. The unwanted fear in this song is routed in the gut wrenching paranoia I have experienced within my life. There were times when I was scared and afraid of my actions, of the consequences, of the harm to my soul. There needed to be an expression about the demons that have followed me through life, and how I lived in fear of the devil, ghosts, poltergeists, witches, religion, spirits, and the unknown. If something couldn’t be explained rationally, the fear would overwhelm me. It is like that feeling you have when you walk into a dark old house. For most of us that feeling is accompanied by a very dark animal sense of preservation. For me it is like a lion protecting his pride. Now that I no longer live with these fears, it can be expressed properly in song. On the lighter side is entertainment. I love television shows like “The X-Files” and shows about the paranormal. I love how it makes us wonder about realities beyond our own. How many levels of existence are there in this great universe? Though the sensation can be overwhelmingly scary at times, it still fills me with excitement to dream.
This is about Spiritual Awakening. When a person realizes for the first time that they are not the center of the universe. When I realized that my own self-importance was killing me, it was a brilliant day. The world became beautiful again to my eyes, to my ears, to my heart. When I felt that I no longer needed to judge another man or woman, I knew that my spirit was awakening. The energy that builds up in this song is like the energy that I felt flowing in after I let go of my own need for approval and my old desire to condemn others for not living as I thought they should. But it is just a beginning. In the song I tried to express even the self-anger one feels during the process of letting go of old ideas and motives. Along with that I wanted there to be an excitement filling the air that follows some of the disassembling. There are many layers to this song. All of them have significance and importance. The main focus was to try to express the feeling of one taking a journey into a new realm of being.
4. The Way She Feels:
Every great woman in our lives deserves a song about her. Our history is filled with it. If you’re not a musician though, you can do other things within your own talents to express the same idea. Maybe poetry, dance, or a painting of her would put that smile on her face we love so much. I have always loved the sound of the greats such as Barry White, Lou Rawls, and Isaac Hays. So I added an effect to my voice to alter it’s sound. It needed a cool groove. Each spoken passage is about a time in life with our special someones. The short guitar solos after each passage are my expressions of how those moments felt to me. It felt good to me to add to the tradition of praising the female gender for all their beauty.
5. Burning Man:
This tune used to be call “OUCH!” I wrote it for a friend of mine who always made me laugh with his particular personality. The event for this tune was from when we were walking to a car and he stepping into a sticker patch bare footed. As the pain reached his mind he screamed out OUCH loudly and then quietly proceeded into the automobile without another word. The root layer of this song is all about my friend and his unique form of handling life. He is also the one responsible for teaching me new swear words. The second layers of this song are about another event. There is a festival in the desert called Burning Man. Many people from many places get together. Because of the multi-populace blending, I wanted to add many of the images and sounds I have seen there. Though there aren’t any Native American Indian chants actually recorded in this song, if you listen close enough, you can hear them. To me, it is a release of my mind, body and spirit from their diversities into one being. To accept myself as whom I am to be today. My friend Tim has always reminded me of the Burning Man, for his personal trials and sense of humor, and even the way he looks when angry.
6. Los Angeles:
This tune speaks for itself. I spent 8 years in Los Angeles. There are so many levels to that city. I wanted to capture each level as best I could. The drums represent the driving industry required to support the city itself, including all the law firms and food industries and support industries for Los Angeles as a whole, etc. The Bass guitar represents the underlying power that controls all things in LA. It symbolizes the real movers and shakers, which are more private then public. The Bass is not very audible, yet if you remove it, the whole song falls apart and has a gaping hole. The Slick Lead Guitars represent the entertainment industry from movies to music. It is all that polishing and primping and glitz that is Hollywood. I love a good show! The Spanish Guitars represent the history of Los Angeles. It has been and always will be rooted in Spanish western flare and culture. What an awesome sense one gets in Los Angeles of the entire Mexican population’s ability to live life with good song, good food, and good family. There is also a very pensive emotion to the song that represents the crime and villainy that accompanies such a large city. I even added some guitar sirens for the law enforcement that never gets to rest. In the end all the levels sound together. At first it seems too jumbled, but the more you listen to it, the more it comes together wonderfully.
Regret is one of the hardest emotions to live with. The elderly often say that they do not regret the choices they made in life, but that they regret the things they did not do. When I feel regret it reminds me of all the things I had not yet shared with those I loved in life. My Wife reminds me often with her Poetry how Important it is to express our heart with others. It is the others in our life that creates family. This song is for them. To let them know that I had not forgotten the lessons they taught me, the joy they shared with me, or the inner person they are. I will never be able to express to them all individually the meaning that was added to my life through them. This tune is one way to communicate that. And since regret is not a good place for me to live today, it was important to write a song that let out those feelings within, which were so haunting. Today I strive to reveal my inner person as much as possible, and to give love to those I know as freely as it was given to me. My time with people was not in vain.
This tune is an old idea from a previous band of mine called Singapore Sling. The singer Michael Vorce and I wrote it together years ago and had worked out some of the details. Now I have added elements for another friend of mine, Dave. He has a certain sensibility and edge that is only found in extreme gamers. Whether they are skate boarders, skiers, mountain bikers or video gamers, this song is about that certain mental twist found within them all. I think it is about living on the edge. If you watch the X-Games on television or go to them and meet some of the participants you will find an extreme personality behind the actions. That personality is filled with youth and vibrancy and a willingness to explore the boundaries of human determination. There is a singular wit within the extreme community that has always made me laugh to the point of tears. Just the unique vocabulary alone among the gamers of every realm is awesome. I hope they enjoy this tune as much as I enjoy watching and hearing about their personal conquests. And as Dave had taught me, GET OFF MY CONQUER!
9. Cookin’ the Noodle:
Here you get to meet my mind. Since the awesome guitar style of Joe Satriani had such an impact on me, my musical mind has never been the same. This is how I write a song today. It starts with a layer of noise in my own voice, and then another layer is added and so on. Eventually it turns into real instruments rather then vocal babble. Basically these are the types of things I hear all the time. Rattling around in my head, is tune after tune. Sometimes when others are speaking to me they are even drowned out by the layers of vocal doodling scraping the inner surface of my noggin. It is an actual effort to listen some times. I wanted to share the process of how I create so that anyone who is so graced with the inner ear infection of constant music will see that it is really a gift. Most people hear music as well from the radio and so on. Some of us hear as-of-yet unrecorded music. We are just the tools to get that music out to the physical world. I believe all music exists already, and that it is our job as musicians just to present it to the world. Hopefully this tune, even though annoying, will get as stuck in your head as it was in mine.
10. Imminent Danger:
There is a duty all people feel towards security. If they are in the Armed Forces there is a sense of honor and duty to protect those they serve and to take whatever action is required to put an end to anything that proposes harm, to stop the process. The same is true within a home or a village or a job. When we as humans are faced with immanent danger most of us feel that urge toward instinct to survive whatever the cost. For myself it is a feeling that starts with anger and then moves past it into duty and instinctual animal passion. I am not there to judge the aggressor or to say they are good or bad. I am only there to put and end to whatever it is they are doing. So far, everyone I have spoken to about this has shared that they also know this human condition. There is a great deal of will at work though it is an automatic response. Rocky Balboa had this instinct in spades; the eye of the tiger.
11. El Diablo:
This tune is an acoustic variation of Los Angeles. So many of my friends like the acoustic guitars that are in Los Angeles. My friend Jason had suggested I make an acoustic version. So this is it. There were many parts I had to change and add to make this tune work acoustically. The drums at first were a bit too pounding, but afterwards I began to enjoy them that way. This version gives me the same feeling the old spaghetti western movies did when we would see a tumble weed roll across the landscape with two pistoleers ready to duel. The only electric guitar I left in was the siren guitar at the beginning and end. That is still there because it provided the sound of an eerie wind blowing though ones hair. I like the atmosphere of this tune. Very old west, very strong willed.
12. A Manic Moment:
The title song of the Album. It is more of a bipolar moment. The album is titled A Manic Moment because of the frame of mind I am in when recording. I first get an emotional sense of the tune, with all its deep personal impacts and meanings. Then I get excited about the different parts that are added and how they sound to me. Then there follows all out mania while I am recording. I won’t stop until the song is done. Sometimes I will be up for 30 hours straight working on one tune, smoking cigarettes and drinking mountain dew the entire time. As the hours pass, the mania will increase moment to moment until there seems to be a sense of finality. My focus is very deep during these times and it is almost impossible to take me to a different reality while there. Music is where I live. I believe all artists are aware of this in themselves. And though this is one example of musical mania, the song itself describes my inner workings about all things in general. This is the mental process I go through pretty much on a daily basis until it is time to sleep. It is situational as well, even though each day seems to get more energetic for me from beginning to end. Each day does hold some great moments of peace, passion, forgiveness, excitement, awe, wonder and all out MANIA!