Firstly, apologies for the layout of the ‘Inset’ design. It is perfect in Word, but does not translate on WordPress due to general lack of sophistication of the site; anyways…
After many a year of writing words (13), and working on my voice (10+), it seems that- in spite of the lack of finance- that gathering together a worthy collection of representative songs would be in order. A lot of bands form in their late teens, and some have long careers; but many finish after a few albums, and there is always something lacking. Having been writing for years, most of my tracks, I have seen as a bit inferior; lacking in something, or not as strong as they could be. Having discarded quite a few, reworded others, and started new ones, it is decided that the 7 included on the planned future release, are the best I have done, and will work perfectly for a band, willing to play to their best, and experiment and be bold. Once a band has been assembled, it will require a bit of funding, in order to hire additional musicians, studio time etc. but is hoped that, through the use of memorable tracks, and a terrific sound, it will lead to future albums, and be ranked amongst the more impressive debuts.
It is a concept album, but has a loose feel. There are no character names. The woman, who is becomes married and then divorced, is called Emma. The man, who is the husband, and becomes divorced is unnamed, but is the ‘narrator’- the songs are first person and recall his side of the romance and events. Within the 7 tracks, there are other events and people alluded to. The songs do not follow a progression; there is no real story. The concept focuses on the formation of a relationship; the coming together-marriage, through to break-up and divorce. Most concept albums suffer as they feel too forced and cannot really pull of their ambition; and they seem like a novelty. The fact that the songs are more open, means that it is essentially a regular album, but has a theme and a flow; like The Streets”A Grand Don’t Come For Free’. If you listen to an album like Rated R by Queens of the Stone Age, a great number of the songs are so tightly edited that they almost run into one another. This means that there is a flow, and there is no pause for thought, which means songs do not lose their force and momentum. This release will be like the 2nd side to Abbey Road; each of the songs will flow into one another with no pause. The only pause comes after the 6th track; there is a 15 second pause before the final track is unveiled.
The Band Ideal:
Guitarists * 2:
Male or female: preferably one will be a powerhouse; able to elicit the sort of force and electricity of Matt Bellamy, Van Halen, Page etc. They will be able to handle huge riffs, as well as create psychedelic noise and incredible solos (Hendrix; White). Looking for someone who has that ambition. The 2nd should have a similar flair, but display a talent for indie-style innovation and unexpected lines; thinking Johnny Marr, for instance. Not necessarily as hard and powerful a guitarist, but someone very intelligent, who can develop intriguing and fantastic riffs and passages to compliment the other guitar.
A great bass player, who is able to fit the band, and has a flair for power and innovation.
Powerful and primal for some tracks; in others more soothing and tactical. Think someone who has ambition to follow in the footsteps of Dave Grohl. Need to be able to handle that sort of pace.
The Writing Schedule:
2 of the songs have been entirely written; the remaining 5 will be completed during 2013; hopefully by the autumn, at the latest. The musical ideas for each track are in my head, but being unable to read or write music, will need a collaborator to flesh out the ideas, as well as translate them onto paper too. Plan to have every song written and as realised as possible by November at the latest.
The Planned Recording Schedule:
As soon as a band has been found, and gelling begins; financial issues will be next up. Provided it can be raised and budgeted so that each track can be performed, fully realised, recorded, and subsequently released, will aim to begin some time late 2014-early 2015. It may be a long way away, but comes around quickly, and obviously a bit of work and recruiting to be done before hand.
The Songs: Track-by-Track:
Black Majesty Blues-
Beginning, as it will, with a huge riff it is quite a hard and heavy song throughout. The 1:00 intro tries to match the classics; and will hit and weave and be built off of a memorable and simple chord progression and pattern. The song itself deals with a woman that the hero has a thing for, but seemingly has nothing in common with. She is putting her life in faith, fate, spirits and things she has no control over, and gets knocked down and putting her good luck down to unreal forces and ideas. The protagonist is angry and saying that things are random, and cannot be predicated or assigned to a high being; that everything is in the control of the individual. The chorus is lighter and has a catchiness to it- somewhere between The Kinks and QOTSA’s ‘In My Head’. The song is a showcase for the band; the guitars will be huge and staggering at times, with terrific riffs, twisting tails and sharp punches. The drum will be pulsating and incredible throughout, and the bass will be outstanding and domineering. Vocally it will be pitched between a combination of Rob Halford, Freddie Mercury and Robert Plant. It goes from an authority semi-operatic rock belt, to wild high-pitched screams, except for the chorus, which will be more calm and composed. It is earmarked as a potential initial release, and is the heaviest track of the set.
We Have Seen Better Days-
Being lead in by a subdued but exciting tail-end of guitar, the track has a shorter introduction, and is close in nature to a Beatles song; somewhere between Abbey Road’s 2nd side tracks, and The White Album. It has a similar musical feel and ambition to it. The lyrics concern two people being drawn together by bad luck and bad days; both having hit a rock bottom, but trying to work together to get better. It has that ’60s pop feel to the lyrics and sentiments, and is fairly romantic. The vocal will not be at the forefront. It will be impressive, but it is the combined band performance and sound of the song, which is king. There is a gorgeous and funky piano line, and the guitar, bass and drums, are not as heavy as the previous track, but are strong and tight throughout. It has a 2-part phase. It begins out as a subdued track, and has similar elements to ‘You Never Give Me Your Money’ and ‘Golden Slumbers’ before becoming more intense and building up the sense of motivation and fun; thinking more side one of The White Album. It has a terrific ending, as everything comes to an end; except for the sound of a radio dial being turned, amidst the sound of some feedback.
This track again picks up from the end of track 2, and builds on it. In nature and style is has similarities with QOTSA and their work on Songs for the Deaf and Rated R. It is not as heavy as the opening song, but is scuzzy and metallic, and has killer riffs and a great melody. The lyrics progress from track 2, and now concern that rush of falling in love, and putting all the crap to one side. The title is referred to, and refers to romance; in the way that it can be quite mechanical, but changes direction, colour and has a hypnotic and sometimes dangerous radiation. The star of the show will be guitar, drum and bass. The guitar has a dirty tone, and there is an incredible riff at the intro, as well as a repeating coda. It changes style and sound; with the two guitarists weaving in and out, combining spectacularly for the choruses. The drum is savage and powerful in the verses, and combines and joins with bass in the choruses; being more controlled and inventive. The vocal will be more traditional rock, somewhere between Homme, Turner, Jagger or Morrison. In fact the aim will be trying to capture the raw power of Morrison. The song will end quite calmly, with just drum and a light guitar line, before an organ enters, and has a magisterial sway to it, bringing the song down to land.
Emma Cool and the Boston Dance Party-
Intended as a potential standout, and a red herring, this will be different in sound and style to the rest of the tracks. The ‘Emma’ in the title refers to the girlfriend, but the song relates to a bad dream/nightmare: the most frightening and haunting thought imaginable. It reflects a deeper anxiety and comes after a wedding, and may spell that there are doubts underneath; or the fact that being alone is the worst thought possible. The lyrics tell of the man as an astronaut, who goes on mission to space, with a fellow crew member. They would set out to discover life and explore space, but when in outer space, find that there are problems with the shuttle. It is realised that he can never get back, and no way of being returned to Earth. There is a decision of what to do; he will spend his life in space, and is forced with a dilemma of how to live. With only a telephone communication with his lover, the final hours and days are spent with his crew member, planning on how to end their tragedy. It is not a morbid song, instead meant to be haunting. Church organ will be employed to elicit huge atmosphere, and will be an entire break with just organ and orchestra. There will be a 32-piece orchestra that plays, and conjures up emotion. The guitars, bass and drum will be exceptional, but play a back seat in a sense to the vocals, which will be varied and try to stun. It will be a mix of Antony Hegarty/Tom Waits style low and deep voiced wonder, with a higher and more ethereal feminine vibe of Eva Cassidy and Kate Bush. The vocals will combine towards the end, giving the sense of a duet between the stricken astronauts and the lover (Emma); and with the combination of strings, piano, organ and vocals, will have a combination of operatic pop and chamber pop; something like Antony and the Johnsons. As the vocal end, and the decision is made; essentially our protagonist wakes up, as the daylight comes, and the piano and acoustic guitar will play. These lines will begin the next track.
This song is the most romantic and tender song. It is aimed to be a sort of Jeff Buckley-cum-Blur track. Again the vocal will be fairly high up, pitched as a gorgeous falsetto; that is crystal clear and pure, yet reaches and has incredible power towards the choruses. There will be roars of pain and passion, as well as incredibly pure and stunning vocal holds. Trying to pitch it is a Hallelujah-cum-Something type of track, and because of this, the lyrics will try and steal attention. They will at once be romantic, and incredibly touching, but also tinged with regret and some sadness. In terms of the concept of the album, these will be the first cracks in the relationship as it is seen that the girl/wife is pulling away and maybe has her mind on someone or something else, and the protagonist is trying to save it, before there is any tension or explosion. The rest of the band will be at their most tender, with subtle electric guitar being secondary to sweeping and stirring acoustic guitars, classic and 12-string, and gorgeous bass. Again there will be piano, similar to To Build A Home/Let It Be, with a string section evoking the spirit of The Cinematic Orchestra. I am- somewhat ambitiously- hoping to create a modern romantic classic, that will not be too sad or sombre; conveying the right amount of emotion and balance. The end of the track will begin to build up with acoustic and electric guitar combining, as if to produce a huge swell, because the track ends.
1:56 (with 15 second break)
This is the last track that will be in the medley-style chain; picking up from the last notes of the previous song, it will be a quick and fast song, that has touches of Dylan; sort of Subterranean Homesick Blues-meets- It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding). It will have that pace, and will get faster, as the lyrics tumble out. The key component is the band who create a ’60s blues/rock sound, and marry that to modern day northern rock/pop; it is awash with atmosphere, tension and momentum. The drum will be lighter, but will be constant and powerful, adding extra tension to the mix. The lyrics are about the breaking up and cessation of a relationship; the thoughts and scenes that are present, as well as words about dreams, thoughts, surreal images; mixing striking poetry with wordplay. The vocal has a similar Dylan edge, and will be breathless and focused. It is the shortest track of the 7, but has the most words, ending with the final line, followed by a short electric guitar/acoustic guitar coda, that is struck and holds. When the track ends, there is a 15 second silence; giving the impression there is a hidden track coming, and giving the listener room to breathe.
This is the longest, and most ambitious track, and hoping it is the finest. It has ambitions to be a modern-day Paranoid Android, and consists of 6 or 7 different phases. It is going to be a bit of a monster, and will be the song that ties everything up, leaves cliffhangers and twists at the end. The lyrics focus on love breaking down, the recriminations and the scenes and chaos following self-destruction and inner tensions. The song will build, twist, turn and stagger; the guitars will be a mix of huge and memorable riffs, incredible little explosions and contortion. The vocal will be multi-part, going from gorgeous falsetto and romanticism, going to hard edged imploring and strained vocals, through to full-throated scream. There will be a huge vocal chorus and rise near the end of the track, employing several hundred different vocal lines that will build one by one, and rise and amplify, creating a crescendo and high point. The intro, riffs, phases and outro will be hiughlights, and the entire song has intentions and aspirations to be a modern classic. It hopefully ends the collection on a high note, and leaves the door open for future releases.
Music Video (For Lead-Off Single):
Black Majesty Blues-
2 concepts or
We Have Seen Better Days-
Although I have a better concept for We Have Seen Better Days, I suspect that Black Majesty Blues will be a better options, but am excited about the four different concept. In terms of budget they range from several hundred pounds, to thousands, so will be dictated by economic logic. For each song there is one concept that costs hundreds; the other, thousands.
The Art, The Credits, The Insets:
Front and Back Art:
The cover is going to be as striking as possible. The image will be stark, memorable, but also humorous, too. The central image will be a person dressed as the Queen, being blown up. The image is not intended to be anti-establishment, as am a huge royalist myself; it is merely meant to be iconic. There will be the central image of the clothes being blown open, there is a comical bottom half of suspenders being seen, but mixed with shocking images; such as organs being blown apart, and blood. We will see the crown being blown off and hair (implying it is a wig), and every part of the explosion; from the crown, to the organs, will represent a song title or lyric. Little clues, items and objects will be mingled in the explosion that represent titles, lyrics and ideas. The shot will depict a London scene, possible shot near Buckingham Palace. The entire album will be concept, as well as a mystery: is it a dream, a film, or real? There are clues in the cover. In the middle of the image amongst the explosion will be a flash of light or fire, where the explosion started, and you can see the killer’s face, or part of it. There is a mystery and lots of story within the cover; it is a murder mystery, a film, and has twists, turns and questions and odd little scenes. In the background will be commentaries on modern life, such as gun crime, violence, economic depression, and are little scenes and images which are striking. In the same way that Sgt. Pepper’ has a collection of famous faces combined, in a section close to the top right of the image, there will be a host of current and past faces, together; ranging from politicians, and musicians. The entire ‘scene’ will depict the sun setting and will be a gorgeous landscape in itself; seeming like several images put together, and the entire cover draws your eyes in different directions, but there is one key image/clue/revelation, that people will miss, as naturally other scenes and areas will draw your attention away. In a tube train in part of the photo, there will be a homeless person with a sign that says ‘Death of the Sweetheart’; surrounded as he is by drugs and a dead woman as he holds a gun and smiles, rather oddly.
The back cover mixes tragedy with comedy. It will show a pair of legs hanging from shot in the cold and rain, implying that the guilt party has been hanged. It is a man, but someone who is wearing high heels. It will be a rain-swept scene and will be at night, as we see siren lights, streetlights and various colours and fires, as again there is a lot going on in the background. One of the seven dwarfs is sweeping up, and there will be a mix of surreal and unusual images, as fantasy figures and famous faces mingle in various scenes, including one with Churchill being arrested. There again will be social commentaries, including scenes and images related to natural disaster, as well as unemployment, and hollow reality shows and celebrity. One of the bold and striking images will see two naked figures entwined and will be quite stunning, but also fairly sexual. There will be money handed from the woman to the man, maybe commentating on fame, or the nature of celebrity. The idea is that there will be clues to unravel the mystery if you look in the right places, and various characters and people will hold clues, and if you put them together, you can solve it. There will be a bride, with a ripped dress and her makeup running, who is stood looking to camera, and has a tattoo on her arm that says ‘Marriage: The Beautiful Revenge’. There is a blood stain on her arm as well, and she gives a mysterious and striking look.
Inset and design:
Death of the Sweetheart– ‘Marriage: The BeautifulRevenge’
Black Majesty Blues-
In The Beginning:
dislike and hating the girl; a rally call to see science, not blind faith.
3:33—– 2. We Have Seen Better Days-
The Intrigue Unfolds:
Both down on their luck; mutual need for companionship; romance begins.
The Passion, The Power, The Pride:
The thrill of pure passion; fall deeply in love and headspinning lust.
Emma Cool and the Boston Dance Party-
In bed and have most frightening dream possible; changes hero’s views on his love.
4:38—– 5. Minnesota-
Things Go Wrong:
Both start to pull away and try to make it work; old times remembered.
1:56 (with 15 second break)
The Break-Up- Divorce Ahead:
The anger boils to the surface and builds and builds.
8:02—— 7. Vanity Mirror-
Showdown And Grand Finale:
The petitions, court dates, emotions and split; to be continued…?
‘Duration’: 33:39 (Weeks; Days/Hours)
The inset will be over 2 pages. To the left will be the track listing. It will be designed as you see above, but is part of a wider image. The entire page will be a marriage certificate/divorce certificate. There will be phrases and paragraphs throughout, but the only words that are highlighted are those above. The song titles and words fit seamlessly into paragraphs are are part of sentences. The ‘Beautiful’ and ‘Revenge’ part of the title will be in different hand-writings, implying that the wife wrote one, and husband the other. There is a tear stain on the ‘Revenge’ word and cigarette burn and ash on ‘Beautiful’, as well as there being a red wine stain further down the contract. It is designed to be a very stylish and memorable image; one which could be an album cover in its own right.
The 2nd page of the inset will have the credits and have a look of a mix between a divorce contract and a film poster. The band members names will be listed and instruments played etc. but in the context of a film’s actors/guilt parties. For instance one of the guitarists will have ‘Strings’ as a credit. There will be parenthesis by it that says (None attached) and (Heart Strings Also Pulled). Producer and Engineer credits are given similar attention with words added or crossed out, so it appears like amendments have been made by lawyers or the parties involved. It look quite stylish, and the Lyrics and Music credits will be given key scrutiny, and seen as the key ‘guilty’ players.
Each track will have a separate page, that has a different photo or image for each one. It may be appropriate or stunning, and there will be different styles- colour, B/W, animated, etc. and will consist of the song title somewhere in the image; either as a street sign or worked in cleverly. There will be 7 images, and 3 others that would feature the entire band in some way. They would not be regular band photos, instead stylised; one would feature the entire group in a gripping and great image; and the other two would see two different sets of band members, each in different scenes or scenarios.
As well as funding and members required to add the colour to the black and white as it were, it is an effort to get the ball rolling, and lay out everything that I want and need to do for the first steps, of hopefully a long career. As soon as I have finance will be moving to London, and hunting for 3 other people to help me do this. From there it is about getting the necessary money to make it a reality. I am sort of fed up with lacklustre debuts and underwhelming debuts from acts. Whether it is because of innovation or finance, it shouldn’t be that way, so aiming to buck the trend and begin with a bang, and never let up…