Pete's Blog

Back in the Studio

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Liam has been in Kentucky with his family the last three weeks, and in that time Engineer John and I did everything we could do in the studio without him, then spent what seemed like forever waiting for him to return. But now he's back and last night we had our first session in three weeks. It felt great and I must say the separation seems to have sharpened both of us. We overdubbed guitar and bass together against preexisting drum and voice tracks on "Holding On" and, considering this will likely be the album's leadoff track, we gave it as good as we had. In fact, the hard work of matching up the four parts felt so good that when we were done we jumped right into "The Afterwhile," another A-list tune, nailed one take, then let it sit while we did ANOTHER one-take on "Delicious Cookies." Then John suggested we try a live duet vocal overdub and THIS worked, too. "Delicious Cookies" is on its way to becoming the Most Popular Song In The World, much to my chagrin. Early this year I was having a lot of trouble writing what was to become "The Afterwhile." Usually if a song doesn't happen in a couple of weeks I let it lie and wait to see if it comes back. Memory is the great arbiter - if something's good I remember it, if it's bad I forget. But I loved the chords and the title and would not let it go. I was using the monthly Seabold Second Saturday as a deadline and three months went by while I agonized over this thing, which is unprecedented for me. Then one night I was fooling around with a short, goofy piece of improvised doggerel and this somehow opened the sluice. By the end of the week I had "The Afterwhile" ready. At Seabold you get to do two tunes, so I did "The Afterwhile" and this piece of ephemera now called "Delicious Cookies." Both went down well. "The Afterwhile" is, as I said, an A-list track on the new album. "Delicious Cookies" is now far and away my most requested song. Groucho Marx used to tell a story about his days in Vaudeville. The Marx brothers were playing the Palace in New York City. The headliner was Fanny Brice. Also on bill was an act called "Frayne's Rats and Cats," where an animal trainer had rats riding on the backs of cats - "a terrific act," according to Groucho. One day Groucho is backstage when he hears bloodcurdling screams coming from Fanny Brice's dressing room. He grabs a Turkish towel and runs in to help. A rat has gotten in, not one of Frayne's rats - a street rat. Frayne takes it away and all is well. The Marx Brothers play the Palace the following year, with Frayne, and by this time that street rat has become the star of the act.

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