from WHISPERING LION
NEW YORK ATTITUDE
some of my thoughts about why I composed the CD named New York Attitude and so on.
New York Attitude is a collection of new and previously unreleased songs that show a more fierce lion, more lurking than whispering, but still with the familiar Whispering Lion musical signatures that mix passion, politics and poetry in a way that has been compared to Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Lou Reed, and Leonard Cohen.
I wrote a few tunes in which I tried to capture the New York spirit of relentless and continuous pursuit of everything, regardles of obstacles that are thrown in the way-every New Yorker is an immigrant and it is fitting that the United Nations is here. True-more image than actual, but still...
So New yorkers fight the subway, the busses, the traffic, the speed of life with a speed and, a languge of their own. New York is The City-Manhattan is right there on the map, a dense island with the avenues running perpendicular and streets running parallel to the long skinny island, not to be confused with Long Island, to the south of Manhattan and where many commuters try escape the heat and noise of NY to create their own heat and noise and violence. Long Island is where I grew up-now a 4 million person island that dead ends at Mountauk Pt, in the Atlantic Ocean. On the other Coast, the "Left Coast", Los Angeles is The City but there is no city, no there there, which at the very least Oakland does have a downtown--LA has no center, no downtown-it just spreads like a wildfire in the Hollywood Hills. And the West Coast beaches are much better, much warmer, more tropicale entendido-if you know what I mean- and although I left New York to spend the 1960's in Berkeley furthering my education and my own soon-to-be- girlfriend standing next to me where Telegraph-one way then!- meets Bancroft and she had her left arm draped around me-like what the fuck-rolling a doobie with the other hand all while smiling and flirting with the cop across the street, who smiled at her. I was invisible then.
In spite of all this and much more to come, I am an island boy, always around the water, with an reggae tempo, not too fast now-make no mistake on that- but still with just enough New York attitude to help me open up my big fat mouth and survive.
notes on some of the other tunes from New York Attitude
ALL THE GOOD MEN
that is Pete Escovedo on the percussion in the intro-This song always confused folks who were expecting a type of martyr's tune.
The music originated with a little piano riff -F-G-Am-I played on my old Whiteney upright 1890-I made the mistake of leaving in a garage when there was no space for it, and it get ruined.
But evenutally the F_G_Am became the Chorus
gone gone gone
The recording session was different. We programmed a DX (Davery Xavier to his firends) and then on trhe recording date, Hyde St Stdio "D" SF, we all fit in the room and the tune was recorded live.
Tom Poole played Lead Guitar, I told him to take thne solo and begin slowly so there wd be a place to take it to. Lee McGloughlin played keyboards. really smoked in the session wihc alwasy ikncluded The great and versatle Ron Rhoades played rhythm guitar. Ron played with the Shakers in 1960 and he was really the one of the forces thatbrought reggae to the USA.. Chris Solberg from the Eddie Money band played bass,. Chris is a monster player anmd of cousre insisted on standing directly between the monitors so he cd hear it better.Thx man.
U heat up My Heart.
A collaboration. Whispering Lion hooked up on this tune with songwriting partner, Ron Rhoade, the musical genius beiand The Shakers,s . Peter Dobson is playing lead guitar hear. Peter-I wish we could have hooked up again-then-maybe now? Bonnie Boyer-the very best singer in the world that I know-did the lead and bvox one afternoon. We love you Bonnie. All music performed by Ron Rhoades and produced and mixed by Michael Zeitsoff and Ron Rhoades.
Someone gonna win your heart tonight
Another collabioration with Ron. Usually I came into the studio with a song, lyrics , chords. Then Ron would program our drum machine Davey Xavier (DX) while I played the tune -fiddling around with the tempo and beat until we got it right. I did most of the engineering and Ron played bass guitar and keyboards. I actually had a chance to perform this tune live, went into the crowd (long mic chord), Rankin Scroo played bass, thats another story.
I grew up on the East Coast-
thats my roots thats the truth.
what more can i say. this one says it all.
Where there a will there's a way.
love dat bass line mon.
I got to leave that girl alone
A collaboration with my mentor John Bendich, and Ray Obiedo, world famous guitar player extraordinaire. Ray has a nice studio; we programmed the drum parts; tightened up the keyboard parts and then I took it to Rankin Scroo's where I added some horn lines and vox too. Also Puddu dropped by that day and he added those nice synths.
I always liked the line-
"she got me hot she didnt kep me warm"-how true
Ron Rhoades played the lead guitar hook on a lick I whistled to him a couple of days before.
This great tune was done at the same time as All The Good Men
Ron Rhaodes and our engineering buddy-he hooked us up in the first place-John Cunibert-.
We all went to Chris Solberg's very nice pad in the Oakland Hills; nice pool, nice refreshments, and worked out the bass lines and drum lines to my little tunes.
Then at Hyde STreet with Cuniberti and Rhaodes and me co-producing but John of course manily at the mkixing board we all performed to the drum trax- Solberg of course standing exact center pereftct between the 2 huge monitors-Bass playter got to hear it!-yeah right-so very live feeling-no?but all of us deciding on this tone and that part-and then I did a nice vocal-I just let it rip-
the 3 verse seems too long to me but perhaps on first listen its cool-you knows-there it is with the classic line
she wouldnt know a superman
if she met him in the booth.
Rock Steady Party Tonight
Is the genius of John Cuniberti on the mixing board with with me and Ron twisting dials
because each pass was live folks. This track seems to have that New York Attitude. I think it was my first non vox trax-ie-the keyboard pad in the background
Get it Back
Recordede at the real Lower GRS with Dave Russ making the bass come alive-Dave then added a sweet sweet picking part-Hux Brown styslee-Thx DF-Bass. I always like this track and the horn lines in particular. There is also nice version from a rehearsal with Rankin Scroo drums- which I need to find a clean up perhaps to be released at some pt! cause it be smoking
One World (We live in One World)
This is a wonderful tune-I sincerely hope folks get to hear this one over the world. Another collaboration with the genius Ron Rhoades - and again Peter Dotson on lead guitar, Ron on the rest. Listen to Ron on the bass. . and please Ck out his harmoinca part! I think it was a DX 7 keyboard?
I remember the session well. It was 4 am time to go home but Ron says to me, hey do the vocal now we aint leaving-the song aint done yet--so we rewound the tape and with Ron sitting and grinning and smoking I belted out my lyrics;I mislocated the lyrics sheets-or I dont think there was a lyric sheet -so if you ck the tune I think I sang the chorus 2 or 3 times and only one verse-also we forget to have Peter Dobnson redo his little raintrickle on the guitar the second time around-4 am sedated next to Ron, who sat there smoking and smirking all the while I put real emotion into the words. Hey-- I love you Ron, like brother. More songs to come soon.
I also did a pop version of We live in One World which can be found on TRIBUTE TO THE SPIRIT also very moving and very polished but this is the version, mon..