We're awfully excited about our new vinyl LP "Red Velvet". Here's a little track-by-track breakdown with the band's behind the scenes personal commentary.
Cory: I wrote the lyrics and main hook to this song while thinking about going out on the town and raising hell all night, inspired by that little voice inside your head that tells you that you are invincible. The irony in the song is that eventually reality will set in and you’ll crash, whether that is puking your guts out or getting your ass kicked. From the opening melody of the introduction, you get this feeling that all hell is about to break loose. The song continues to build that way until the end, which to me seems like a perfect representation of what it’s like when you’re in the mood to close down all the bars in your town.
Jereme: The synthesizer droning in the background really came to life on the vinyl presentation. I love how simple that part is. Cory’s guitar tone in this song is particularly delightful for me to hear. I don’t know if it’s the chorus effect or the performance or both.
Ben: The bridge bit where things get quiet and the synth washes and vocals command attention- it sounds highly nocturnal and liquor-buzzed to me. Appropriate. You learn something about dynamics when you've been a band as long as we have.
Josh: Nightlife has one of my favorite intros. I always feel like a 70's police program is about to begin.
SHAKING THE FOUNDATION
Cory: We had no drummer for about a year and had been working on writing different types of songs. During this time period, it seemed like a lot of relationships were ending around us. And so that loss of love found its way in to our songs. Jereme had written the main composition which had this dark, stompy feel to it. We wrote all the instrumentation around the piano, which allowed the guitar to focus on accents and lead melodies. It was one of the more challenging compositions, singing and playing with all the syncopation and melodies.
We came up with the idea to write a narrative the fit the tone of the music, and so the song became a story about a couple whose relationship ends violently with an exploding house. It’s similar to something that actually happened not too far from Ben’s old house.
Jereme: This song took a lot of work from the four of us to get to where it’s presented here on the album. The backing vocals come in at just the right parts. It’s my favorite performance of Ben’s. He’s right in the pocket the whole time. I tried my best to make my bass melodies lock up with his.
Josh: I enjoyed trying my hand at "Shatner-ing" vocals on Foundations. Even though it didn't make the cut.
Ben: Another entry in the BDB songbook about burning the whole damn house down. The contrast of the growly, minor key verse and the George Harrison-y major key pre-chorus conveys a bit of the emotional instability that inspired the subject matter. I'll pat myself on the back for getting the backing vocals in one take.
BULLETS IN MY GUN
Ben: I came up with the descending chord progression and the 7/8 time signature. Using this somewhat awkward framework, Cory whipped up a deft vocal melody and keen lyrics with amazing quickness. This went from an absent-minded guitar noodle to a full-fledged song within a week or so. I love it when that happens.
Cory: Sometimes you write songs for people you love, and sometimes for people you don’t like so much. This song is both about the anticipation of wanting to see someone, and wanting to punish them for making you wait. In the darkest interpretation it is about two people trying to hurt each other, and how spitefulness usually backfires. The song verse is in 7/8 time, which has a jerky feel to it, almost like getting smacked upside the head. The choruses smooth everything out as the message gets more contemplative. It’s my favorite performance by the band on this album.
Jereme: This song started out as more of an exercise in playing in 7/8. It turned out better than any of us expected. Lyrically I think its my favorite. The guitar solo is pretty fucking great.
Josh: Ms. February is my favorite song on the album. It was so much fun to record. I actually got a little carried away with the tempo a few times. I was excited.
Ben: Every rock band needs a drum intro like this on at least one song per album. This is probably the new waviest sounding thing we've ever recorded.
Cory: After the NSA leak, it seemed like there might be a good chance someone has been spying on your online activities. So I wrote this ska and new wave inspired tune about coming to the realization that this may have happened during an intimate moment. It turned out to be really a fun party song with a good driving beat and quirky bass line. It’s a self-gratifying song about self-gratification.
Jereme: It’s comical to me how the tone we got out of the organ reminds me so much of Dire Straits. This is probably the most straightforward pop song on the record. It always gets the most dancers out on the floor when we play it live.
Cory: Forever remembered as “Banana Mayonnaise”, this track is a schmaltzy goof we would crank out when we got bored at practice. We recorded this album for a vinyl release, and most of the songs on side two were six minutes or more. We only had a couple of minutes to spare, so I decided to push for this track as a “palate cleanser” from the previous side. It’s a curveball, a Syd Barrett lounge act in front of a studio audience. We’ve performed it live a few times for shock value. In the end, it showcases both my vocals and Jereme’s piano skills in our typical smart-ass, cynical way.
Jereme: This is my least favorite track. It was a waste of resources that could have been put towards something less stupid. The song clearly stands out because it has no place on this record.*
Ben: A lounge-inspired gag or a cry for help? Big men also cry.
*Jereme has long been valued as the most brutally honest Dirty. Bless him.
Ben: Not everyone you meet inhabits the same planet as you. Sure, their driver's license address might be in your town, but it's a different orbit, brother.
The intro is the finest example of musical conversation on the record, I feel. Building up to the thunderous transition and tempo shift is always a rush.
Cory: Surviving the Cold War, living through Y2K, and all the realities of post-9/11 America inherently leaves some potential catastrophe lingering in our minds. For this tune, we decided to look to space and consider the possibility meeting our end the way of the dinosaurs at the hands of an asteroid or comet. It’s definitely the most dramatic tune on the record: from Ben’s somber bass intro, to Jereme’s spacey synth, to the surf-rock style guitar hook. The finished product sounds like the Silver Surfer catching a tasty cosmic wave into an apocalypse.
Jereme: This part-surf rock, part-prog epic about fearing the end of times was made for a good set of headphones. The interplay between piano and guitar at the beginning is still as magical to me as it was when we cut it in the studio. There’s a lot of dynamic going on here. All the layers. Josh worked very hard on the drum tracks and I think it shows. This song was borne out of Ben’s bassline. Driving and hypnotic. The vocal performance from Cory is as powerful as they come.
Cory: This song is inspired by the Olympics, and the Greek god Pan. It is also about fucking. I was in a good mood from a “gold medal worthy” performance in the bedroom during the 2008 Beijing Olympics and wanted to write some lyrics with a bunch of swagger. I came up with the idea to do it from the point of view of Pan. As the song developed, I recalled the way Pan was described in the Tom Robbins novel “Jitterbug Perfume” and created a different context. So it became a little less autobiographical and sexual, and a little more literary.
It’s the most simple and powerful song on the record. We created variations and different feels to make each verse distinct. We added a little something to the chorus for everybody to scream along. You feel cool listening to the song.
Josh: I had more takes on the fills of Olympic Fuckers than all other songs combined. It took a while to find something that felt right.
Jereme: It’s a loud-ass anthemic rocker that deserves to be played in a very big room with the coolest fucking lights you’ve ever seen filled with people yelling the words back at the band. If Cory were to channel Bono, it would sound like this.
Ben: It's taken over five years, a few personnel changes, and multiple recording sessions to finally get this one recorded. Why are the three chord songs about sex sometimes the hardest to get right? Sorry about the naughty language. Feel free to sing "Suckers" or "Truckers" as mixed company dictates.
KINGDOM OF WEEDS
Jereme: We were really hitting our stride with this track. It’s my favorite piano performance for obvious reasons. When we play it live my favorite part that I get to play is the string machine at the end. Having the kids in the studio to sing at the end was a real treat, too.
Ben: A verse taken from an old bit of rehearsal improv. An intro/bridge that had been sitting in my notebook for nearly a decade. Serendipity. Probably my favorite group performance on the album. I insisted on the sub-bass, so if your speakers blow, that's on me.
Josh: Sub. Bass. Whomp whomp whomp!
Cory: Epic. Imaginative. This song is like three dreams in sequence. It’s a soaring waltz where the band brings all of its stylistic tendencies into one. This is the quintessential Burning Dirty song.