“Track by Track” is written by the Artist who made the music possible. Today we feature GospelbeacH’s “Pacific Surf Line” , one of my favorite albums of 2015.
1. California Steamer
“We wrote a song about a train” is what Neal Casal said when we finished this one…bassist Kip Boardman came up with the “40 more miles to Lompoc” line and we recorded it using the incorrect but colokial pronunciation as “Lom-POKE” but then he ran into a friend who is from Lompoc, Ca. and he told Kip it was pronounced “Lom-POCK” so we went back and re-sang that one line. Turns out its a bigger controversy than we knew as we’ll get comments from the locals from both sides on how it’s pronounced…oh well, you can’t please everyone.
2. Sunshine Skyway
Originally titled Miller Lite because of the “everyman blue collar chord progression of the ending but the record company persuaded us to change the name to keep the corporate world off of our back…it’s a true story about a made up person making his way through the Central Gulf Coast of Florida in the 1970’s working at tourist traps along the way. There really was a “Monkeytown USA” but that’s another story.
3. Your Freedom
This is the very first GospelbeacH song…I recorded it solo and we added the band later…Tommo and my wife Kathleen helped write the lyrics to this song. Its a “self help song”…kinda.
4. Mick Jones
We named this one after Mick Jones of the Clash for two reasons…One: it’s our own version of Safe European Home but from a Californian point of view.
Two: we were listening to the way Mick Jones phrases his songs on Sandinista and we knew we wanted to the lyrics to float over the music rather than follow the frantic nature of the drums and guitars…it doesn’t sound anything like the Clash although seconds before the recording I told Neal to think very SST Records/Minutemen/Meat Puppets and he just launched into the opening guitar riff…Tommos drumming on this song is sick, he went “outer body”.
5. Come Down
This one is for a very good friend of ours who is battling ALS…Josh Schwartz.
Nelson Bragg did all the harmonies on the coda himself, it’s like 12 Nelsons singing “won’t cha come down…it’s the only thing i can’t replace”. Nelson is one of the most talented vocalist/arrangers on the planet…he’s in the Brian Wilson Band.
6. Southern Girl
This is the first song Jason Soda played on…I sent the tapes for him to play on before we’d even met in person…all those guitar amazing guitar parts and blazing solos, that’s what you hear on the record! I asked him to join the day I heard it. The Count-up through the 70’s is a tribute to my wife Kathleens birth year. she’s the Southern Girl. Jason friend Alana Amram did the voice over and it sounded like a cool Logans Run/Sleeper type of futuristic announcement…it’s my favorite song on the record.
7. Out of My Mind (on Cope and Reed)
A total pun on Out of My Mind on Dope and Speed by Julian Cope who is easily on of my favorite artists of all time. With a lyrical shout out to the Rain Parade who gave us our first big show. The most fun song to play live. Neal came up with that double harmony slide part right off the top of his head in one take…pretty rad!
Amazing harmony and backing vocal arrangement by Nelson Bragg. There are about 40 tracks of harmony on this song we would’ve had to hook up two 24 track tape machines to get this done…thank God for Pro Tools (this time).
9. Damsel in Distress
Written and recorded on a very late rainy night in Chinatown…Damsel in Distress was just a “fill in” phrase until we came up with something better, we never did. I think people would be surprised to know this song is about a girl.
Jasons guitar solo is right up there with the great guitar solos in rock and roll history…i can hum every note of it.
just in case you can’t access Spotify: