“The Beat Goes On” and “Bang, Bang” were two tracks that I had completed with Erica Jennings several years earlier. It wasn’t until Living Theater act three came along that they both their rightful place. The mix of a Middle Eastern arrangement with a wester pop song had always been on my mind since the early nineties and Sonny Bono’s timeless lyric made it all possible to assemble.
Once I had found my opener I remembered something John Grisham had once said about writing. He finds his opener and his closer and rest comes naturally. So I thought I would try it and it worked like a charm. As I also had a finished version of “Bang, Bang” I thought what better bookend then yet another Sonny Bono song. It was such an obvious closer both in it’s thematic and melodic approach that I was sure with a middle eastern touch to the arrangement it would be perfect.
The writing of Living Theater act three was also augmented by my surroundings. My long time friends Pat, Andy and Jesse Langer were kind enough to lend me a beautiful country house for the summer. Amongst the sprawling one hundred and fifty acre backdrop, the two hundred year old stone house with its semi tuned wall piano I centred myself in a way I could’ve only hoped for.
My brother Frank, once again came through with yet another discovery, Mis Sarah who graced “Wishing You Were Here” with her taunting vocals, Kaz Silver the world’s funniest Brit, became a welcome edition on “True Love.” Brazilian Beauty Valeria added to the tropical feel on “Brazil” and the performances of Living Theater alumni Bert Joris, Nitzia and Terry Barber enhanced “Lily’s Lounge,” In Your Arms” and “I Must Learn About Love” respectively. “Building Bridges” was a track I had felt longed for an otherworldly element and was fortunate enough to find the perfect samples alongside the stunning vocals of Eioni Kalaitzidou in order to properly frame the feeling.
I was also reminded of my jazz roots (Berklee alumni that I am) and took great pleasure digging out an old Gibson E8295 at I.C.P. studios in Brussels and wrote “Read Between the Lines” on it. I collect old instruments and believe they have songs in them as over the years, a vintage instrument has been witness to countless experiences that partially remain inside the instrument. This particular guitar owned by my friend John Hastry had not only “Read Between the Lines” inside is (which Sienna Joy sand perfectly) but four others that were written in the course of two days in Brussels.
Frank suggested Michael Paladino for the graphics and it wasn’t until Micahel and I met again that I realized just how perfect his art would be. We all worked together looking through countless photos and paintings ultimately arriving on the cover art and package materials.
As the Living Theater ship continued its’ voyage, the family became closer.
By Living Theater act three all the musicians involved seemed reheated although the hadn’t even heard the songs. I realized that by this point in our Living Theater relationship we had such an easy going dialogue that the recording process was more like a vacation that a recording session. A vacation where rather than snap pictures of our holiday, we recorded a snapshot, making the completed music our remembrance of a time well spent.