HOW THE SONG CAME ABOUT Growing up in the 90’s was a great time for music...especially rock music. Bands like Metallica, Megadeth and Nirvana ruled my bedroom. Another band that was in regular rotation was Faith No More. The outro piano motif from their 1992 hit “Epic” was quite possibly the 4th or 5th thing I taught myself how to play on piano.
When I was collating additional material for TFK II, I had found a basic riff in my Voice Memos that sounded quite Faith No More-ish. I expanded the riff, added a chorus etc etc. I would be lying if I didn’t base the arrangement and orchestration around their aforementioned song, but additionally their tunes “Midlife Crisis” and “Stripsearch” and “Last Cup of Sorrow”.
During the time of recording vocals for this tune I had stumbled onto a band called Major Parkinson. An eclectic progressive rock band from Norway whose singer has a unique low register, almost whispery speaky vocal styling. His technique leaked into my delivery of the vocal track for this tune. Which not only was a first for any of my tunes, but is a style I’d like to explore more in the future.
Furthermore, Major Parkinson was heavily influenced by the English prog band Cardiacs. Who I am a later comer as far as getting into their catalog is concerned...but if we’re talking 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon here, then Major Parkinson was influenced by Cardiacs. Who, Cardiacs in turn had a huge influence on Faith No More's early few albums, as well as Mr. Bungle.
I’ve been listening to Cardiacs for a couple of years now and I’m waiting for their influence to creep into my music soon.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Around the time I began writing lyrics, the 3 bands I was with at the time were slowly slipping away from my immediate interest.
When I first moved back to Western New York in 2016, it was my goal to play out as much as I could to make a living doing what I loved...music. I found myself in 3, regularly gigging bands and would even take one-offs if I had the space. As the years and months progressed, I found myself becoming more and more distant from each respective group. I was beginning to get burned out.
Perhaps I just didn’t like music all that much anymore? Or maybe I was just fed up with playing other people's music and the mere thought of having to load up my gear and drive to practice or a gig began to make my stomach turn.
I mean, do you really think people want to hear “Brown Eyed Girl” for the upteenth time?
I for one was sick of playing covers and couldn’t warrant the time spent practicing or gigging anymore.
So, in essence “Abandonship” is about my imminent departure from the live scene at that point in time.
I do miss playing out but with the restrictions with Covid these days, I feel like it'll be just as hard to get people to come out to see me play live…
Now people HAVE an excuse not to come out. Lol
TRACK 8 "King Of The Castle"
HOW THE SONG CAME ABOUT The main riff was written on guitar and for all intents and purposes is my “Kashmir”. I wanted a solid, four to the floor, groove to close out this album and not unlike the Led Zeppelin hit, King Of The Castle did just that.
It wasn’t until I had Mathew Pike lay down the lead vocals that this song finally became its own. Between Mathew’s “Chris Cornell-esque” voice, Madden’s rock solid drum beat and Jordan’s insatiable organ sounds, this is exactly how I wanted this song to sound.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Lyrically from the surface one would assume that this song was another thread from the whole “king” regal type of vibe throughout. Quite the contrary.
I’m always interested and fascinated about how people act when they're in public or around other people...compared to when they’re home and behind closed doors. Specifically the way parents treat their children in public, compared to how they treat ‘em when no one is looking. The narrative tells the story from the viewpoint of a Father and how at home he is “king” and a force to be reckoned with..but in public he is an epitome of a great parent.
It was inspired by my own fears and doubts about myself being a good Father. I do my best to try and balance my life out. Kids, wife, work, family etc etc...but there’s always that nagging voice in my head saying… “you’re shit. You’re ruining your kids life”... all because I want to sit in my studio and play guitar.
The bridge section was from a completely different song called “Rose Coloured Glasses”. Which was an unfinished tune which contained both the verse chords to “When Your Mourning Comes” from The Darkest Of Summers and this bridge section we’re talking about here.
TRACK 9 "Closing Credits"
HOW THE SONG CAME ABOUT As I may have mentioned, everything I do always has to tie in with something else. Either a lyric idea, musical motif or otherwise - everything is connected.
I blame Frank Zappa and his use of “Conceptual Continuity”. Zappa's works were all part of some larger whole, and as a result, certain identifiable patterns run through most, if not all, of them.
If the main melody for “Closing Credits” sounds familiar, it’s because it is from the very first track on The Forfeit King I. Just expanded upon and unleashed in its full glory. Yes my friends, we have come full circle.
Think of it as the music that would play underneath a movie’s end credits. I don’t have the budget to make a feature film out of the story of the album, but if I did, this is where that music would go. I based the arrangement and possibly the rhythm feel specifically around the national anthem for the U.S.S.R. I wanted a grandiose and very regal theme to accentuate the whole “King” vibe and found that this theme had all that I needed. The middle section has a very “Brian May” vibe with the harmonized guitar melody and I didn’t shy away from stealing that sound.
This is actually the anthem for my fictitious city from my dystopian rock opera, which I plan to release in 2022. So, since everything is connected conceptually, I felt it apt to use this theme to close out TFK and subtly introduce a theme to this future work.
At the end you’ll hear two chords. In this case it’s an E Major to Bb Major. Not specifically these two chords, but in music theory terms; I to bV. Which not only is a tri-tone, but these two chord flavors are in fact the foundation on which my dystopian rock opera is based on. So listen closely...you’ll hear these chords again soon.