june 18, 2003: stephen's thoughts and insights on the album

Love is a Hammer screams huge stadium show and Goodyear Blimp coverage. Scott's guitar riff along with the massive sound of Brian's toms gets the adrenaline pumping and the heart pounding as it would right before you jump off the worlds tallest cliff into the ocean below. Then the words hit and their could not be a more simple message. "We are here to rock and show you love."

I remember when Shane called me late one night to tell me the lyrics to Thief. I have since thought of no better way to learn more about your good friends than to hear a song or poem that they have written. To feel the since of betrayal portrayed in song that otherwise would have gone unshared is an awesome feeling. As far the music is concerned, I think that their could be no greater moment than when the band drops out and the sound of that grand piano comes in on the bridge.

OK if you haven't figured out why I wrote Angel then you have not heard a word that was sung. Inspired by the darkness of one of my favorite "Live" albums, I sat down during a break at work and wrote a song that I am very proud of. It is the story of a dark angel, a light angel and a young girl named Angel and the battle lost by an unborn child one night. I am really proud of the lyrics because they say it like it is. Too much of today's music is so candy coated with the "bling" of the world that it is almost impossible to get any substance through to the listener.

I love the way that Collide sticks out like a sore thumb on the record. It is a brief departure from the straight ahead rock groove. The funky riffs and soulful melody are great way to lighten a song that lyrically may even be darker than Angel. To listen to the gruesome story of this child's life is enough to make even the biggest pessimist stop complaining.

Everyone that has ever listened to Gray Town might have thought that their speakers were going to blow. The sound of Brian's toms can only be compared to the heart beat of God. This was Amy and I's first collaboration and although the song has been compared to an ugly woman I think that it was a successful collaboration. We both had contrasting ideas on the interpretation of the lyrics, but in the end it is always the listener that interprets according to their circumstances. Musically, I love the way the song literally starts with such "gray" tones and morphs into the anxiety of breaking out of this soulless town.

It took me a while to even like Maniac Smile. There are so many rap/rock groups out there that it would be very easy to fall into some specific category. I was also not used to hearing my voice in a rap as opposed to a melodic line, but after some long hours in the studio and allot of mixing tricks I found that I still had enough G-Town in me to pull it off. I also found it easy to relate to the song when I looked back at my anger problems as a child. It was just a matter of time.

Most people upon hearing the first sounds of Rush would be scared out of a room. After hearing the lyrics though I think that most can relate to the dying of a relationship and the struggle to hold on to the foundation of the friendship while the walls of pettiness were ripped away by a tornado. In that final moment you both decide to Rush to the underground shelter so that together you can rebuild all that the storm has destroyed.

Mercy and Me reminds me of every time that I have stared down at the runway lines while a plane carries me away from someone or something that I love. The bridge on this song was a God-given mistake and I am glad for it. This would have to be one of Amy's best masterpieces.

I have received more compliments on New in my Skin than any other song on the album. I tend to think that up until this point in the album that we have twisted hearts, knotted stomachs, and convicted souls. Then all of a sudden there is this picture of a human shedding the old worn skin and being as new as a butterfly. I think that the bands hope is that everyone will be able to feel like Christmas day .....everyday!

After two years of playing in some of the most soulless places in West Texas we had had enough. I would like to say that I continue to look at Pour as a frustration song, but I think that now I look at it as a tough love song and a constant reminder of why I/We are doing this. This song showcases the passion or should I say compassion that is missing in today's music. It shows what true love is. If love was as false as the world makes it seem then it could only exist in churches on Valentine's Day with lottery winners. Love is about the other person and serving. Musically I especially love the back ground vocals that Scott and I worked on for hours. They remind me of Steven Tyler and Joe Perry.

Hole in the Universe is catchy, freaky, and scary. It has been best described by one of our diehard fans as a "pulling you hair out moment". Every time that I hear or sing the song I automatically see an image of Job tearing his clothes to shreds and screaming to God, "This is not right! This is not fair!"

After ripping your heart out, stepping on it with heels on and then serving it up on a silver platter we dare tell you to Walk On. It may sound insensitive on our part, but I guarantee that this is the only way that we continue to come back and play for you. It is also the only way that you will fully experience live. The rest of us have got to walk on......will you?

 

june 11, 2003: amy's thoughts and insights on the album

The first word that comes to mind now that we’ve released the CD is "vulnerable.” After pouring my very self into these songs, I of course want people to like what they hear.

To me, this project represents not only two years worth of intensive labor but also the formation of a family with all its flaws and all its love. It represents 5 disparate voices becoming one big voice that’s all of us and none of us. The CD is tangible proof that this band and these songs are worth sacrificing for. And it’s a flying leap off of a cliff when none of us can depend on our parachutes opening. That said, here’s a song-by-song analysis from my perspective:

1. Love is a Hammer - Born during a sound check at last year’s 4th on Broadway. Scott’s riff started it all. Brian’s details on the “verses” are choice. I wrote this song as an invocation.

2. Thief - What happens when you do Shane wrong! My favorite elements: Brian’s beat in the choruses, Stephen and Shane’s tight harmonies, the end of the bridge (it’s a scary and glorious moment).

3. Angel - That clicking sound in the intro was a happy accident that Shane capitalized on, and his melodic bass lines and freaky tone are perfect for the subject matter. A couple of Stephen’s lyrics are especially primo (at the end of Vs. 1 and the end of Vs. 2). And I personally had great fun conducting the violinists.

4. Collide - Shane’s true song about a boy whose father stabbed his mother and then made him clean up the mess. Despite its tragic topic, this song is so fun to play; you just set it in motion and hop on for the ride! I love the bridge, especially the vocals.

5. Gray Town - A perennial favorite among our audiences. I penned a few initial lines in the mountains around Colorado Springs, and Stephen took it from there. I’m still enthralled by the magical beginning and the way it morphs slowly into an epic. Of special note: Brian’s part on verse 2 and Shane’s solo.

6. Maniac Smile - Makes me feel macho, and the breakdown with bass and drums is just cool. Scott’s tone - WOW. I started to write “Maniac Smile” about a friend and his anger problem, then it just kinda became an exploration of unresolved anger and its worst case consequences (and there, but for the grace of God, go I ...)

7. Rush - The only song that could follow “Maniac.” Stephen’s song about saving a friendship (or not). Its down and dirty heaviness is exhilarating, and twisting that vibrato knob back and forth never stops being fun in the live show! Scott’s tone and his solo are crazynoisypainful - great stuff. Stephen’s scream: blissful agony.

8. Mercy and Me - Written in the studio during our very first recording session. It was winter, and my friend was flying in, and voila, a song was born. Scott outdid himself on the production, taking the song from some simple piano chords to a multilayered piece full of delicious details. Everyone in the band contributed enormously. The build-up in the middle of the tune is breathtaking, and Stephen’s mournful keening at the very end is chilling. Also, this is the only time I’ve ever liked my own vocals (thanks to my persistent husband).

9. New in My Skin - Another one written first on piano. Scott kept me from throwing in the towel completely on this song. Tom Jackson’s input truly helped the arrangement to have some great highs and lows, too. I’m glad the song is still around; it applies to us as people and as a band.

10. Pour - After some disheartening gigs, Stephen wrote this conflicted anthem, and it’s one of his finest pieces of work. Kudos to Brad “Five Dollars” Roberts and Dave and Janet Thompson , who fleshed out verse 2 with some good ol’ drunken revelry. Scott’s nasty guitar work perfectly captured the sentiment of this song, as did Brian’s up-beat accents. The King’s X-ish background vocals are majestic to me.

11. Hole in the Universe - The melody and rhythm of the piano riff came from the sound of an outdoor faucet. The words were my feelings about a friend’s suicide and the responses of those around me. Scott’s wailing guitar conveys my emotion perfectly. Once again, “Hole” is a production tour de force with the collapse into chaos at the end.

12. Walk On - I can’t deny the coolness of the groove thang that kicks this one off. I was a bit disappointed in the end of the tune on CD, because it falls short of the triumph that I feel in a live setting. Regardless, Stephen’s last words sum up what we intend to do: “walk on, move on, press on, my friend.”

May 16, 2003: Brian's Thoughts and Insights on the Album

Love is a Hammer: That guitar part just grabs you - it's such a hook. Then the groove with those big pounding toms and the kick drum on all four really is like a sonic hammer. It's such a blast to play live.

Thief:  Again that guitar! What a wall of sound. The off-beat accents in the drums really propel the chorus.  Oh, and coming out of the bridge Stephen sings the longest note ever...Betraaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyed!!!

Angel:  Probably the best example of sonic achievement on the album. That
growling bass tone just rocks, and the strings are amazing. There are so many textures in the guitar, and what a solo! The ending of the song is just huge, the biggest on the record.

Collide:  A real refreshing departure stylistically for the band. It's got this great relaxed kind of R&B thing happening. Of course we had to tweak it somewhat by going into a straight feel on the bridge, which also has killer vocal lines. It's just a great song.

Gray Town: Of all the songs, I think Gray Town most closely captures the
meaning of the lyrics musically. There's just this rich texture everywhere,
especially from Amy's Rhodes. Stephen's vocals are simply extraordinary and
Scott plays the single most amazing note I've ever heard at the end of the
guitar solo.

Maniac Smile:  This song is all about pent-up anger. Amy's Rhodes sounds
amazingly like a distorted guitar. Scott's guitar has the most maniacal tone ever heard, for real. The breakdown section rules - just drums and the phattest bass you've ever heard.

Rush:  Definitely the heaviest song on the album, but not without musicality.  There are a lot of subtle textures going on in the verses. Warning: The guitar solo should not be heard by children under 13 or pregnant women!

Mercy & Me: Simply a well written, well crafted song, lyrically and musically. There's a real intimate moment with just guitar and vocals, and Amy's vocals throughout add such a magical touch.

New in My Skin:  Seriously one of my absolute favorite songs. This one has it all - creative lyrics, great melody, incredible chorus. I just never get tired of playing it or listening to it.

Pour:  A good hard-hitting rock anthem. There's a little humor in the verses but the most in-your-face chorus on the record and the best vocals. You really feel it.

Hole in the Universe:  By far the darkest song we've ever done. It explores
anger, doubt, confusion. By the end the song has completely disintigrated
musically.

Walk On: Probably my favorite intro on any song - the Rhodes and bass just
swirling. The drums sound HUGE on this one. Definitely one of the more
uplifting songs - an appropriate ender.

April 2, 2003: Everything needed to make our new self-titled CD is currently in Nashville doing it's job. If you've been living in a vacuum, you don't know our CD release is scheduled for May 2nd at the Depot Warehouse in Lubbock. Don't miss any of the upcoming shows for a sneak peak at the new show and songs...not to mention new fun stuff to take home!

March 27, 2003: The CD date has been moved to Friday May 2nd due to availability of the venue. See our calendar for more details.

March 25, 2003: Ok, all the suit stuff is finally resolved...and we can release our album. We are now called Meltdown Morning, click here to read the story. The website, www.meltdownmorning.com, will be up soon. The CD release date has been set for Saturday May 3rd. We are presently finalizing art work for the album with the new name and it should ship to duplication on monday!
March 2, 2003: Currently we are awaiting a nod of approval from the people that wear suits to work (lawyers) before mass producing our CD. Unfortunately it seems there are people in the world who would like to use what we create for their own profit without asking us if it's alright. All this will be cleared up soon. In the mean time...here are some pictures from our trip to nashville last month!

February 9, 2003: Scott, Amy, Shane, and Summer spent the last week in Nashville. It was magic! At every turn incredible things happened that seemed to be orchestrated by something greater than ourselves!

A new friend and kindred spirit was found in world class engineer Shane Wilson. Picture a room full of lava lamps, incense, vintage gear, Elvis memorabilia, action figures, and state of the art mixing technology and you'll be where we were this week. We'll try to have some pictures from our Nashville experience up soon! We also met some manager and distribution bigwigs and are hoping that this leads to something.

January 28, 2003: The final edits of all the songs are being overnighted to Shane Wilson in Nashville today! Scott, Amy, Shane, and Summer will be flying to Nashville next week to supervise the mixing and meet influential people.
January 19, 2003: 22 hours straight is how long Scott, Amy, and Shane spent in the studio yesterday (and this morning) in order to complete the final touches. This included Amy singing some last minute vocals on "Love is a Hammer" and some awesome cello and violin parts on "Angel". Most of the time was spent making thousands of "clean up" edits. Scott also demonstrated his versatility by modeling a wide array of hairstyles which he created on the spot at 4:00am. Scott also created rough mixes of all the songs so we can listen and critique them while waiting to mix.

January 12, 2003: Scott and Shane spent 7 hours doing the final edits on Maniac Smile and Hole in the Universe. Hole in the Universe only lacks a few decisions on the final cuts at the end of the song! Shane also finished the final edits of Walk On. Only a few things left to complete: a cello part on Angel, final decisions and edits on Hole in the Universe, final edits on Rush, and one final vocal part and edits on Love is a Hammer! Keep watching our lyrics page to find out all the lyrics to these songs.

January 9, 2003: As we wrap up the final days of our time in the studio, big decisions are being made. Every note and edit point are being critically analyzed. We even decided to completely re-record all the vocals on "Thief" in order to make sure there was magic on every part! We have recently decided not to mix the album ourselves and are researching several studios in LA, Nashville, and Austin to help with this part of the project. Check out these pictures of us in the studio putting the final touches on the songs!

December 30, 2002: All guitar tracks are finally complete! Scott broke a string on the last note of his solo on Greytown...and it was definitely a keeper. Greytown's guitar tracks were recorded using the Marshall since the Bogner is in the hospital. You would never know this was Scott's second choice amp from hearing the tones on this song. Scott and Amy are currently recording violin tracks on Hole in the Universe with guest artist Connie Goodwin from the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra. Also, work continues as Scott and Shane meticulously pick out the best phrases, words, and even syllables of Stephen's lead vocal takes for the final versions of the songs.

December 27, 2002: Scott and Amy spent almost the entire day completing the keyboard tracks on New In My Skin and they are whoopin! They invented a new tone and a new intro. Amy gave new meaning to the song when she ripped a hole in her pants and had to go home and change. Scott and Shane spent a few hours recording the guitar tracks on Greytown until Scott's Bogner could no longer handle his supercharged, bionic hands. Scott's guitar amp started smoking and then stopped working signaling the end it's use until repairs can be made.

December 5, 2002: Work continues with edits. This probably wouldn't be such a time consuming process if we weren't perfectionists, at least when it comes to our art. Also, Stephen completes all of his BGV's (background vocals) in one morning and afternoon. Brad has a birthday this month, but no one is sure how old he really is.

October 2002: The basic tracks (drums and bass) are completed for the final 4 songs of the CD:Collide, Angel, Mercy and Me, and Hole in the Universe. Final arrangements on these songs are made in the studio which means Shane and Brian have to perform under pressure. Brian completes the recording session like he's got an internal link to the atomic clock, and Shane serves up Christmas ham tone with sides of cranberry sauce and an extra helping of stuffing. Scott, Amy, and Brad Roberts record grand piano until the wee hours of the morning in order to complete them...after numerous annoying technical problems they contribute sounds not yet heard on this planet to the already bursting array. Also, Stephen masterfully completes the lead vocals with Brad Roberts and Shane as engineers, and the help of a pair of Neumann U87 microphones from 1969. Scott discovered a stash of vintage mics just in time to record vocals.
July 2002: We finally return to the studio and decide to redo 3 of the songs we recorded in December. It is also decided to cut Candy Store from the album due to the strength of the other songs. We record basic tracks for Maniac Smile, Pour, Thief, New In My Skin, Walk On, Love is a Hammer, and Grey Town. Brad Roberts and Scott are primary engineers. Scott spends whole days fine tuning his guitar tones and creating parts for these songs. Red Bull reaches toxic levels in Scott and Shane's blood streams.
February 2002: Walk On is written on stage at South Beach, a venue in Amarillo, TX. Afterwards we all eat fajitas, and Scott says "balls" on the radio!
December 2001: Following numerous intense writing and arranging sessions, we record 5 of the songs we wrote this summer: Maniac Smile, Pour, Rush, Grey Town, and Candy Store. Our friends Matt Quick and Aaron Miller are primary engineers.
 

May 16, 2003: Brian's Thoughts and Insights on the Album

Love is a Hammer: That guitar part just grabs you - it's such a hook. Then the groove with those big pounding toms and the kick drum on all four really is like a sonic hammer. It's such a blast to play live.

Thief:  Again that guitar! What a wall of sound. The off-beat accents in the drums really propel the chorus.  Oh, and coming out of the bridge Stephen sings the longest note ever...Betraaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyed!!!

Angel:  Probably the best example of sonic achievement on the album. That
growling bass tone just rocks, and the strings are amazing. There are so many textures in the guitar, and what a solo! The ending of the song is just huge, the biggest on the record.

Collide:  A real refreshing departure stylistically for the band. It's got this great relaxed kind of R&B thing happening. Of course we had to tweak it somewhat by going into a straight feel on the bridge, which also has killer vocal lines. It's just a great song.

Gray Town: Of all the songs, I think Gray Town most closely captures the
meaning of the lyrics musically. There's just this rich texture everywhere,
especially from Amy's Rhodes. Stephen's vocals are simply extraordinary and
Scott plays the single most amazing note I've ever heard at the end of the
guitar solo.

Maniac Smile:  This song is all about pent-up anger. Amy's Rhodes sounds
amazingly like a distorted guitar. Scott's guitar has the most maniacal tone ever heard, for real. The breakdown section rules - just drums and the phattest bass you've ever heard.

Rush:  Definitely the heaviest song on the album, but not without musicality.  There are a lot of subtle textures going on in the verses. Warning: The guitar solo should not be heard by children under 13 or pregnant women!

Mercy & Me: Simply a well written, well crafted song, lyrically and musically. There's a real intimate moment with just guitar and vocals, and Amy's vocals throughout add such a magical touch.

New in My Skin:  Seriously one of my absolute favorite songs. This one has it all - creative lyrics, great melody, incredible chorus. I just never get tired of playing it or listening to it.

Pour:  A good hard-hitting rock anthem. There's a little humor in the verses but the most in-your-face chorus on the record and the best vocals. You really feel it.

Hole in the Universe:  By far the darkest song we've ever done. It explores
anger, doubt, confusion. By the end the song has completely disintigrated
musically.

Walk On: Probably my favorite intro on any song - the Rhodes and bass just
swirling. The drums sound HUGE on this one. Definitely one of the more
uplifting songs - an appropriate ender.

April 2, 2003: Everything needed to make our new self-titled CD is currently in Nashville doing it's job. If you've been living in a vacuum, you don't know our CD release is scheduled for May 2nd at the Depot Warehouse in Lubbock. Don't miss any of the upcoming shows for a sneak peak at the new show and songs...not to mention new fun stuff to take home!
March 27, 2003: The CD date has been moved to Friday May 2nd due to availability of the venue. See our calendar for more details.
March 25, 2003: Ok, all the suit stuff is finally resolved...and we can release our album. We are now called Meltdown Morning, click here to read the story. The website, www.meltdownmorning.com, will be up soon. The CD release date has been set for Saturday May 3rd. We are presently finalizing art work for the album with the new name and it should ship to duplication on monday!

March 2, 2003: Currently we are awaiting a nod of approval from the people that wear suits to work (lawyers) before mass producing our CD. Unfortunately it seems there are people in the world who would like to use what we create for their own profit without asking us if it's alright. All this will be cleared up soon. In the mean time...here are some pictures from our trip to nashville last month!

February 9, 2003: Scott, Amy, Shane, and Summer spent the last week in Nashville. It was magic! At every turn incredible things happened that seemed to be orchestrated by something greater than ourselves!

A new friend and kindred spirit was found in world class engineer Shane Wilson. Picture a room full of lava lamps, incense, vintage gear, Elvis memorabilia, action figures, and state of the art mixing technology and you'll be where we were this week. We'll try to have some pictures from our Nashville experience up soon! We also met some manager and distribution bigwigs and are hoping that this leads to something.

January 28, 2003: The final edits of all the songs are being overnighted to Shane Wilson in Nashville today! Scott, Amy, Shane, and Summer will be flying to Nashville next week to supervise the mixing and meet influential people.
January 19, 2003: 22 hours straight is how long Scott, Amy, and Shane spent in the studio yesterday (and this morning) in order to complete the final touches. This included Amy singing some last minute vocals on "Love is a Hammer" and some awesome cello and violin parts on "Angel". Most of the time was spent making thousands of "clean up" edits. Scott also demonstrated his versatility by modeling a wide array of hairstyles which he created on the spot at 4:00am. Scott also created rough mixes of all the songs so we can listen and critique them while waiting to mix.

January 12, 2003: Scott and Shane spent 7 hours doing the final edits on Maniac Smile and Hole in the Universe. Hole in the Universe only lacks a few decisions on the final cuts at the end of the song! Shane also finished the final edits of Walk On. Only a few things left to complete: a cello part on Angel, final decisions and edits on Hole in the Universe, final edits on Rush, and one final vocal part and edits on Love is a Hammer! Keep watching our lyrics page to find out all the lyrics to these songs.

January 9, 2003: As we wrap up the final days of our time in the studio, big decisions are being made. Every note and edit point are being critically analyzed. We even decided to completely re-record all the vocals on "Thief" in order to make sure there was magic on every part! We have recently decided not to mix the album ourselves and are researching several studios in LA, Nashville, and Austin to help with this part of the project. Check out these pictures of us in the studio putting the final touches on the songs!

December 30, 2002: All guitar tracks are finally complete! Scott broke a string on the last note of his solo on Greytown...and it was definitely a keeper. Greytown's guitar tracks were recorded using the Marshall since the Bogner is in the hospital. You would never know this was Scott's second choice amp from hearing the tones on this song. Scott and Amy are currently recording violin tracks on Hole in the Universe with guest artist Connie Goodwin from the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra. Also, work continues as Scott and Shane meticulously pick out the best phrases, words, and even syllables of Stephen's lead vocal takes for the final versions of the songs.

December 27, 2002: Scott and Amy spent almost the entire day completing the keyboard tracks on New In My Skin and they are whoopin! They invented a new tone and a new intro. Amy gave new meaning to the song when she ripped a hole in her pants and had to go home and change. Scott and Shane spent a few hours recording the guitar tracks on Greytown until Scott's Bogner could no longer handle his supercharged, bionic hands. Scott's guitar amp started smoking and then stopped working signaling the end it's use until repairs can be made.

December 5, 2002: Work continues with edits. This probably wouldn't be such a time consuming process if we weren't perfectionists, at least when it comes to our art. Also, Stephen completes all of his BGV's (background vocals) in one morning and afternoon. Brad has a birthday this month, but no one is sure how old he really is.

October 2002: The basic tracks (drums and bass) are completed for the final 4 songs of the CD:Collide, Angel, Mercy and Me, and Hole in the Universe. Final arrangements on these songs are made in the studio which means Shane and Brian have to perform under pressure. Brian completes the recording session like he's got an internal link to the atomic clock, and Shane serves up Christmas ham tone with sides of cranberry sauce and an extra helping of stuffing. Scott, Amy, and Brad Roberts record grand piano until the wee hours of the morning in order to complete them...after numerous annoying technical problems they contribute sounds not yet heard on this planet to the already bursting array. Also, Stephen masterfully completes the lead vocals with Brad Roberts and Shane as engineers, and the help of a pair of Neumann U87 microphones from 1969. Scott discovered a stash of vintage mics just in time to record vocals.
July 2002: We finally return to the studio and decide to redo 3 of the songs we recorded in December. It is also decided to cut Candy Store from the album due to the strength of the other songs. We record basic tracks for Maniac Smile, Pour, Thief, New In My Skin, Walk On, Love is a Hammer, and Grey Town. Brad Roberts and Scott are primary engineers. Scott spends whole days fine tuning his guitar tones and creating parts for these songs. Red Bull reaches toxic levels in Scott and Shane's blood streams.
February 2002: Walk On is written on stage at South Beach, a venue in Amarillo, TX. Afterwards we all eat fajitas, and Scott says "balls" on the radio!
December 2001: Following numerous intense writing and arranging sessions, we record 5 of the songs we wrote this summer: Maniac Smile, Pour, Rush, Grey Town, and Candy Store. Our friends Matt Quick and Aaron Miller are primary engineers.