SIGN UP This was the first one we did. It was fleshed out by a brief reincarnation of Asylum in 1987. The band did not proceed unfortunately, but this song got a start. We took it back into the studio ( the loungeroom and the fostex ) and off we went. Mainly my musical idea originally, but a complete lyric and vocal rewrite by Jeffrey took us to a brave new world as poineers on a new frontier. Check out the 80's synth sounds.
BREATHE This one is dear to our hearts for a couple of reasons. It is a serious subject matter as you will hear, and just as relevant today as in 1988, when we wrote it. However it did have a funny side, and the experience gave us a much deeper understanding of the creative forces and styles of each other. For me it was a terrific lesson in collaborative songwriting as I was in the middle of a songwriting course at Sydney University. (You can never know too much) I started taking along some of my smart new ideas to our friday sessions. I tried to technically analyse Jeffrey's lyrics to Breathe. I could'nt ! With an enthusiasm verging on hubris, I tackled him on these lyrics and demanded that he explain and justify their relevance. They seemed obscure to me and not likely to be understood by the punters. He was patient and I think quite enjoyed expanding on his apocalyptic scenario of the world reeling towards crisis. In the event not one word was changed. I was converted and now these are one of my favourite lyrics. Once explained, my musical imagination took off and I thought, right, this demands some super music to do justice to the lyric. I think we got it with this song. A good example of the creative juices getting churned and challenged and coming up with a great result. Jeffrey's haunting line "the colour of the air leaves me breathless" was nicked from the side of a building. It was grafitti !
I THINK WE'VE FALLEN IN LOVE Here's an 80's power pop song if ever there was one. I started it off, but a lyric and melody rewrite finished it off in grand style. An extraordinary vocal performance by Jeffrey displaying his dazzling range really caps it. There's also some of that Supertramp keyboard stylising which you will hear scattered throughout my arrangements. Well, they did not invent it, it's just a popular style for piano players.
ARMAGEDDON ( COOKOUT ) Calling all stations. Well, sub-stations anyway, and by the light of the micro wave beams and with the cooking so clean the human race finds a way to survive, as always. The terminator theme rears its impressive/ugly head as Jeff gives a take on a future tense scenario. We humans have been ousted by the machines and banished to the desert to die. The very same machines which we invented of course. Talk about a jumped up attitude. A little imagination required here but once aboard the good ship fantasy, its a wonderful and joyful flight of fancy, full of cheerful camaraderie and bonhomie. Well, not entirely. Dark themes are present in the undertow!
DARK ANGEL One of Jeff's other passions in life is his Harley Davidson trike. He has had it a long time and has re-built it, re-designed it, re-engineered it, and basically re-invented it more times than I can remember. and I think I've been told about most of the phases. Anyway, the motor cycle world is a world unto itself and in the trikes early days, Jeffrey had some assistance from another enthusiast, a like minded soul and a Hells Angel, who was instrumental in getting it up and running. He died, tragically, in an accident. But there are stories to tell and this song takes us a little into that world.
RACING Mainly myself in the writing department. The song was performed by the Tommy Tyco Orchestra with Jeff on vocals, for the opening of the 1988 para-olympic games. Speaking personally, as a songwriter, it was a great thrill to have one's song performed in front of thousands live and many more on TV, by performers of the calibre of Jeffrey and Tommy. The song is pretty much about just getting on with it. No losers, just winning by endeavour.
MOVERS AND SHAKERS I wrote a song once called "Azaria's Baby''. It was with another lyric writer and me doing the music. This writer expressed great interest in having his lyrics put to music. No pre-conceptions he said, just happy if someone would partener him in songwriting. Well, I did it. A few of his lyrics actually, I turned into songs and sent them off to him. Was he pleased? I do'nt know. I never heard from him again. Not even a christmas card! So much for the open mind and no pre-conceptions. That's ok. It happens all the time. He obviously did'nt like the stuff and could'nt say so.. Anyway, here's a completed song with no lyrics. Over to you Jeff. What do you reckon. Do anything with this one? No worries, leave it with me. Hence a rebirth. "Movers and Shakers" is born. A sobering reflection on the highs and lows of fame and fortune. Is it worth it? Well at least the music gets a second lif
BABE Jeff's song. Previously performed live with another band and always a crowd pleaser. I like it too. It was fun to record because having previously been established as a regular song in a working band, there was a pretty good template to work from. However a working band is a little different to a two man recorded version. Jeff programmed all the drum parts and directed me with the musical arrangement and instrumental sections. I think we got a good facsimile of the original. The somewhat out of the blue middle instrumental section is in 7/4 time for those interested in that kind of thing. Babe, the story, well lets just say "An affair to remember".
SHARE A good bluesy rocker from Jeff. Plenty of punch with the vocal track a stand out, highlighting just why, in this style of music he has long been regarded as one of the genres leading exponents.
IN LOVE AGAIN ( FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME ) Picture some troubadours swinging down a country lane and singing this song with all those pleasing harmonies and just for the sheer joy of singing. That's how a record producer, who veered into our orbit at this time and wanted to produce some of our songs, pictured this particular song. We did actually re-record some of our songs with him and they turned out pretty good, but for some reason our original recording, this one, seemed to capture the the song best. There is a certain amount of serendipity involved in recording. Some things can only be captured once and no matter how hard you try subsequently, it can't be replicated.
TRUE LOVE Pure unadulterated pop. It should have been a number one. Could still be. I'm working on it.
DARE Only those who dare can succeed. It may cost you blood but can't you see, there is no second prize." With that kind of advice one would definitely get out of bed early in the morning, determined to succeed, the contemplation of failure too terrible and scary for words.
I'LL BE HOME TONIGHT Lovely country tinged tune, heartfelt and easy going, to give Jeff his balladeer credentials. He wrote the song and sings it like he sings all his songs; he means it.
I KEEP DENYING MY MUSIC A passion for making music is like a blessed curse. Try to remove yourself from this artistic predilection, get out of the way of the muse if you will, then wait and see what happens. I have known some excellent musicians and writers over the years who have cast the whole thing aside, barely never turning to it again, but for others, not so easy. It can keep coming back and awakening you like an alarm clock permanently set to midnight. A siren song where no sea is wide enough. Of course there is always the inspiration of a beautiful woman to help a writer along. This song gets into this topic and was written mainly by Jeffrey. Some nice orchestrations in the middle I tend to think worked out rather well.
HOW CAN YOU LOVE AGAIN Jeff wanted to write a song in the " Bruce Springstein " mould. He had it all worked out and played it to me on his piano at his home in leafy, balmy Newport, Sydney. The interesting thing about borrowing someone else's musical style as inspiration is that you don't really get all that close to replicating it, but what you do get is something unique in its own right. This song is a beauty and one of my favourites. It's got all the power, passion and appointments to rank up there with anything of Bruce's. Most of our songs I like pretty much as they are despite the limited recording facilities, however this song is one I would love to re-record in a big studio with some great players.
OLYMPIA Roll up roll up, sound the trumpet, bang the drum as we present for your musical pleasure and general uplifting, a stirring anthem, complete and sung with all appropriate pomp and ceremony by Jeffrey and guaranteed to bring you to your feet and raise your arms in the air. Written specifically for the 100 year anniversary of the modern olympic games A song contest was held and in we went. This song came second. Bah and humbug, it should have won. The judges must have been gotten too. No, just joking. I'm sure no. 1 was pretty good. In any case I do'nt think it was used commercially anyway. This was recorded on a fairlight computer. Famous machine that one.
RAINBOWS Delightful acappella piece by Jeffrey showcasing his ability as a singer to conceive and perform all the vocal parts intrinsic to the piece. He also recorded and mixed himself as he went, thereby leaving me with an input quotient of precisely - zero. Day off.
TIMES A THIEF I like the blend of sounds that we acheived here. A good musical track, a pleasant sonic quality and one song that I always like to listen too. ( If I can only find the time! )
THE BELL This was Jeffrey being impressed and inspired by a young boy in the USA who was the one of the earliest profiled people who contracted aids via a blood transfusion. The boy had a wonderful character and was a willing and able to educate on this new and terrible scourge. He dispelled myths on the way aids could be transmitted, for example by using the same things that an aids person had had contact with. " Don't cry for me he said, I am simply truth he said, overcoming fear." Jeffrey also lost himself for a week he tells me with a new piece of equipment we had acquired. The reverb machine.
FREE AGAIN A song from the Asylum days. A muscular number with a forthright vocal delivered in plain english and with a no nonsense attitude. Always went over well played live back in the early 80's.