A "Dose" of Discourse From Ed Roland
Ed Roland: vocals, keyboards, guitars * Ross Childress: lead and rhythm guitars * Dean Roland: rhythm guitars * Will Turpin: bass, percussion * Shane Evans: drums, percussion
"Tremble For My Beloved"
When we did pre-production in Atlanta, this is one of the first songs we wrote. We were just trying to experiment. We knew all along that it was going to be the first song on the album, so we were trying to work out the little intro piece. Lyrically, it came together at the same time that I found out I was going to be a dad, So it's basically about the insecurities of being a father and bringing a child into the world especially since it was during that time when there were all those kids killing each other in school. I couldn't help but think, "Oh my God, have I really screwed up here?" The song touches on all the insecurity that comes with those thoughts and wondering if you could actually be a good parent. But it's been a great experience. My son was born in August and it's been so cool.
When we started the record, the first thing everybody said was how we wanted songs with big guitars, y'know. That's the reason this song was written. "Heavy." The whole idea behind it was finding a way to get the guitars to sound bigger than life.
As for the lyricse, sometimes when I write, the words come out as quickly as the music. We call those vowel movements, when I just blurt out anything to see what happens. This time, I actually came up with the words, "all your weight/it falls on me/it brings me down." So it kind of worked. Then I thought, we'll just call the song "Heavy." It seemed to fit with the sound of the song and the things I was singing about. I got lucky on that one.
"No More, No Less"
Basically it all came off of that loop Shane did where you hear the breaking glass. We were in pre-production and he said to us, "Hey, check this out." As the loop was going I wrote the song right there. Thank God we had the DAT player going. I said, "Play it back, cause I don't even remember what I just did." We sat there and listened to it, listened to the structure. It was one of those moments when everything falls into place.
At the very end of the song we did our best Queen impersonation Ross did anyway. He had fun with it. Ross actually came up with the piano part. He was listening to me play and just went over to the piano we had set up. That was the cool thing about this record. Nobody was confined to their instruments. I mean, we recorded songs with Will on vibes which is what he majored in at college. And Shane played a lot of percussion and did the loops and even played bass on one song. Will played a lot of percussion, too. I'm not a keyboard player but it was kind of fun to pretend like I was. We're so fortunate that the band is able to change things up to that degree.
"Needs" That one was from the last batch of songs we did. I was focused on writing a ballad. I really wanted it to be as sparse as possible, 'cause it's very personal. We thought it would be really cool to have a excuse me singer-songwriter song where it's me sitting and playing acoustic and singing. Then at the very end, the whole band picks up where the whole tone of the song lyrically changes. It was a little concept we came up with... and it worked.
The funny part to me is the line where I sing "I don't need nobody." What's that? Two double negatives? It's the worst grammar in the world! I was so worried about it, I went to the band to ask what they thought and they said, "Just sing!"
The reason I like this song is because it's the first one I wrote with my brother, Dean. I had written a lot of songs for this record, and after a while, I felt drained. On "Slow," I think I had the chorus and the first line, but it got to the point where I was stuck and told Dean to just take it from there and see what he could come up with. He was really nervous at first, but it worked out great. It helped free me up to concentrate on some other things in the studio. Plus, I only have 50 words in my vocabulary. I'm always hoping to bring somebody in who's got a couple more. People ask me now, "How can you sing someone else's words?" Well, he's my brother. I understand exactly where he's coming from because, basically, we live with each other. I know he's of his own mind, but our surroundings are the same.
For the next record I think we'll even expand that more to where you'll see Shane and Will singing and writing. I mean, all the Beatles got to sing their songs. They're the ones that wrote the rulebook on rock n roll, which is that there are no rules.
Ross wrote that one. He actually had written that one and another one called "Tell." He went back and forth between the two for a while there. Eventually he decided to go with "Dandy Life." I think he was working through to that comfort level, y'know. It's hard when you're recording the song that's going to be your showcase on the album. That can be a kind of pressure situation. In the end, I wish I'd have written that song. It's a great pop tune. So I'm really proud of him and excited that we did it.
I was in the studio when I was writing this song. I remember Dean walked by and said, "What is that? We've got to record that." I had just finished it. So, literally, Dean went and got the guys together and I played it on an acoustic. They were all saying "We've got to record that song." "Okay. I'm up for it."
It's one of those that has a bit of a concept to it. Lyrically it's a tribute to the artists that inspired me to even want to be a musician they're the same ones that inspire me now. So I took what I loved about those artists like Jeff Lynne and his production of the 12-string guitar. For the melody, I tried to use the same formula as Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" where all of a sudden you bounce up into the falsetto. Lyrically, I tried to write about how much not that it's a bad time in music, because I'm sure people are very inspired by what's going on right now but personally, I wasn't. Basically, it's about trying to get back to what has inspired me. The song is a tribute to Elton and Bernie and Jeff Lynne, and, of course, the Beatles. If it wasn't for them, y'know, I don't know what would have happened with music. It's hard to tell. They are the history of rock. I just bought that new Beatles 30th Anniversary White Album. It's cool. You get the little postcards. The other cool thing is that it actually smells like an LP. Do you remember how LP's used to smell when you'd first open them up?
I wrote the riff on a guitar, but I thought, "Okay, enough guitar riffs for a while, let's try something different." I wanted to at least introduce the riff on a different instrument. That how I ended up using the clavinette at the beginning of the song. Stevie Wonder used one all the time.
It's one of the songs that Shane worked hard on. We never got the right vibe, and then one night he was leaving the studio (Criteria Studios, Miami, Florida) to go home. He was catching a plane. But I said I just wanted to try "Generate" one more time. I put one mic in the room and he literally played it one time through and left. And that was the take. From now on, we'll record when we're in a hurry to catch a plane.
We recorded that song in one night our last night in the studio. We did two versions of it. One is almost a blues thing. Ross actually played the solo with a quarter, like a ZZ Top. Then we came back and did it the way you hear it on the record. We were very busy that night.
Dean did most of the lyrics; I came up with the chorus. It's funny how the whole thing came together. I mean, Dean was running in and out of the room with new ideas while we were recording. Also, I was just having the hardest time singing. The word "world" was used a lot and it's one of the hardest words for me to sing. I have to remember No more "world" lyrics!
"Not The One"
I was really trying to get the right mood with the vocals. I actually sang that one about three times. I sang it kind of hard one time and really forced it. But, y'know, it's a three-four waltz, so it didn't require that. Still, it took me a couple of times to figure that out. It needed to be more of a whisper. The lyrics are very personal, to the point, it's just a very quiet song. It's hard to sing softly. To me, it's a lot easier to scream. Yeah, it took me a good day to get that one down.
That's an older song. Shane and I, when we first started the band, used to play it. It had much different feel back then. We tried recording it one other time. I forget which CD it might have been the second one. We just couldn't get the right feel. So we let it sit... forever. Actually, I had forgotten about it, but the guys said, "We need to try "Crown" again for the next record."
So Anthony Resta came in and did some programming, which helped set the tone. It just hit. And production-wise, we did keyboard bass, which gave it a kind of Pink Floyd feel. Lyrically, it's about the loss of someone you love. It's about watching a young couple watching from the outside and not even being able imagine what it would be like to lose a partner.
"Dose" Produced by Ed Roland Mixed by Tom Lord-Alge
All songs written by Ed Roland, except "Dandy Life," written by Ross Childress; "Slow" and "Compliment," music by Ed Roland, lyrics by Ed Roland and Dean Roland