Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Making Of Young Lions (part one)

following hard on the heels of mr. music head
I put together a touring band with long time friends
Mike Hodges on drums and Rick Fox on keyboards.
Rick also sang and played keyboard bass,
as well as triggering the necessary samples
required for the material from mr. music head.

one memorable sunny day on tour rick and mike and I were having a sleepy poolside chat by our hotel* pool.
it was a day off in San Diego. the next night we were playing a club there called the Bacchanal. someone from the hotel came by to tell me to expect a call in my room in a few minutes. so I went to my room, the phone rang, and it was David Bowie. what a surprise! hadn't seen or heard from david in years. after congratulating me on my recent video success (oh daddy) he got right down to the point: would I like to join him as his guitarist and "music director" for a long tour around the world? as we talked I told him about the touring I was currently doing. he suggested I should bring my band along as well. (what a thrill it was to go back to the pool to tell that to rick and mike!) it all sounded fabulous (and it was) but there were a few small bumps to work out. like what was I supposed to do about the new solo record Atlantic Records was expecting from me?

recording a new solo record is not a problem. once I know what I want I'm fast.
writing and developing the new material for a record is another thing entirely.
especially the words.
it can be a very long process.
lyrics have always been the hardest part of writing songs for me.
I'm very particular about what I say and how I say it.
the words have to fit every little nuance for me to be satisfied.
different words have different tonal qualities, you have to try
many ways of saying something to find that magic alliteration
or the proper stress at the perfect time.
the emphasis for each syllable has to be in just the right places
to match the music.
I sing my ideas over and over a hundred times to a tape of the music.
that's why it takes so long.

of course sometimes you get very lucky and a song just appears
full blown like lone rhino did or man in the moon did.
john lennon used to liken it to being a reciever of a transmission
from somewhere unknown.
but those are the rare ones.
most of the time it's work to pull a song out of yourself.

it was the end of September when the music head tour ended.
rehearsals for david's tour began in january.
considering mixing the record, I had about 10 weeks
to write, develop, and record what would become young lions.
I worked at a crazy pace: recording in the day, writing at night**.

in the end I simply ran out of time.

songs like happy guy
or hawaiian cowboys never did get finished.
I resorted to using two cover songs:
not alone anymore recorded the year before on december 27, 1988
and a cover of one of my own songs heartbeat.
I re-wrote the words to phone call from the moon
which had been recorded july 6, 1988 and originally was intended
for mr. music head.
one thing which threw me: I recorded two songs which didn't
seem right for the record:
shoe salesman and neptune pool.

then david came to the rescue.
why not do a duet with him?
one of his songs, something I wouldn't have to write.
and pretty pink rose was born.

*the band America was staying at the same hotel. I think it was Gerry but it might have been Dewey who came out to the pool and talked with us for a while. ironically America was playing the Bacchanal that night. we were invited to the show and asked to join them onstage for their encore of horse with no name. which we did later that evening. I couldn't help but remember my struggling days in the Holiday Inn band, showing Barry and Dave (our guitarists) the correct chords to horse with no name.

**at the same time, as "music director" I had to work out arrangements and parts for 35 of david's songs he planned on doing. that in itself could have taken 10 weeks, his material was so varied.


  1. Wonderful Reading Your Blogs !!
    Thanks ...

  2. AS I said before, Adrian, you're the coolest guy on Earth.

    I love Bowie's Low, Heroes, Lodger, and Scary Monsters period.

    I think you've mentioned a couple of experiences recording Lodger but maybe you'll give us a few more, one day.


  3. then david came to the rescue.
    why not do a duet with him?

    Yeah, that would kinda rule.

    Meanwhile, I understand MTV has passed me over for the Quadruple Threat of the Year award once again, giving it to some Timberlake kid.

    .. and Timberlake said: "I want to challenge MTV to play more videos!"

    Wow, MTV used to play music videos?

  4. Thanks Ade for your excellent stories. I appreciate them very much. - S.