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Writing Weird Decibels 1, Its a joint effort this time round. Part 1, the early songs

Its 2009. the year got off to a tragic start. 

pabs77On the 12th of January 2009 Dave Broon our great friend and avid listener of our music sadly leaves this world in the most tragic of circumstances. The band is stunned, everything changes, our outlook to life and our music.  Suddenly everyone takes stock of where they are, what we are doing with our fleeting time on this world. We needed to make a new album.

Quiet Act was fine.  We enjoyed writing and making an acoustic record that we had to get out of our system. Now our thoughts turned to a new album, possibly something heavier, back to our roots would be the easiest cliché to fling in here.

The first song was Speak an angsty fist shake at God in whatever form he (or she) may be.  I guess as years pass by you say goodbye to more and more people who have filled your life (happily I would learn later, you say hello to new people as well!). Sometimes they way our loved ones leave this world is unjust. In Speak I ask God why this is so.

I was told you work, In mysterious ways
I learned you were liberal, with your selection
I’ve been gifted a life, with wonderful people
Why must you start, to take them from me?

So speak to me
Let me hear what you say
Speak to me

You built this world, in all it’s glory
You gave us greed, to strip it all away ( Worldly themes are spread throughout Weird Decibels 1 and Speak touches on this.)
But I hope you’re there, taking care
Offering refuge, for our weary souls (I believe there is a greater power behind our existence, just not sure who or what that may be)

Speak started life as the simple picked riff from G, I can’t remember how I discovered it, often its strumming the guitar in front of the TV. Anyway I played it for weeks. Stu took the simple riff and added the rest. I was worried by the standard Em G A progression, but the pause after every riff made it work. The verses were based around the initial G riff, I found another picked progression and Stu layers a riff over the top. The verses avoid the pitfall of bar chord riffs that had served us well for many years. It was time to develop our playing. Stu hammered out the chords for the middle 8 and the solo speaks volumes of his form throughout this album. Derek’s tribal beat is now the signature of this song and Greg plays a neat Bass cycle high up the fret board throughout the verse which fits the mood perfectly. It was an easy song to write, it kick started what would be a long development cycle however we had a creative surge mid 09 to mid 2010. I also remember Wilson being a rare guest in our practice room he gave Speak the thumbs up. Phew.

Speak was part of a trio of songs. Speak, Forward and Pay.

This is a party we had to listen to Weird's old music at this time we were all thinking of a new album
This is a party we had to listen to Weird’s old music at this time we were all thinking of a new album
It was a great night and we sank a lot of beer, we now have a Weird fest (pat on the back sesh) once a year. Sad I know, but hey!
It was a great night and we sank a lot of beer, we now have a Weird fest (pat on the back sesh) once a year. Sad I know, but hey!

I can’t remember what came after Speak but I’m going to put half my chips on Forward

Perhaps one of the last songs I had written about myself, eventually I would turn to writing stories about characters I had made up or politics, I guess this is a sign of getting older.

Leave now
We have to get in the car and leave now
Dusk is falling and we’re getting left behind (throughout the last few years I have had a fear of being left behind)
The ghosts of our past are going to rob us blind (I have a bad habit of looking to the past)
I cannot pay if you do not show the way

Moving forward can’t see where we’re going

Forced by
A hand you never see or want to feel now
Pushing you on the back you’d think its real (life turns, eventually you do all the things life expects you to do)

Moving forward can’t see where we’re going

Another guitar riff that had been given to me by either a fluke or constantly playing around with the guitar, the intro. Much of Weird Decibels 1 is a  guitar lick that is built upon by the band. This is the first record for many years that I have not turned up to practice with complete songs for the  band to either say yay or nay. The first since Whapper Stormer. The long intro goes against all the rules of modern music, (Fast. Punchy. Straight to the Point or Skip)… Forward takes its time. The song progresses to a middle 8 where Stu and I play solos. I struggled for a long long time to nail this. Derek flexes his drum fill muscles and Greg nails another solid bass line. Both knit all this album together in a wonderful way. Makes me want to buy them a beer.

The jam that is Pay

The idea of a rolling riff right through the song was nicked of a Munich band called The Colour Haze, below is a link to the song I love and that gave me the idea for Pay.

If we take this now
will we pay for it later  ( often wonder if our early excesses in our youth will come back to haunt us…)
If we take this now
Is it the start of the summer

If I grab your smile
can I save it for later
for every easy straight
there is a difficult corner (another reflection on the ups and downs of life, everything is great when all is well!!)
-but what the hell lets just go for it-

if we take this now
will we pay for it later
the nights are short
and the days are getting longer (I’ll always play this song on summer solstice, love the long nights)
-so what the hell lets just go for it-

Early WdB1 sessions see Greg and Derek wrap up warm
Early WdB1 sessions see Greg and Derek wrap up warm

At one practice I had the whole band outside listening to this record on my car. Half an hour later Pay was born. Stu and I spent some time trying to nail a riff that would work. Eventually I slipped back to rhythm  and Stu just effortlessly poured this beautiful riff all over the track. Derek subtly builds the drums to a perfect beat and Greg’s bass binds it all together with a blend of high and low notes. This was another example of us changing our writing, using our influences to within an inch of plagiarism.

Next blog will tell all about the next phase of writing WdB1 including two of the songs we omitted from the album…


By creepingash

I am a father and husband and love family holidays in the tent visiting Scotland which is perhaps the greatest country in the world. I love music and play in Weird Decibels as well as solo. I love video games but have yet to blog about that.

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