IT’S ALL COMING TOGETHER

POSTED BY: 23.01.2013

Gday,

Here’s another studio update from LA…..also there are some new photos to sticky beak at.

Each night we’ve been deciding what we will attack the next day. Next we lined up to record “Zero Sum Game”. This song was one I originally recorded in Spain with my mates Marky, Matt, Jairo and Pax. At that stage it had a totally different arrangement and no chorus. Now it feels complete and again, it has a feel that nods to mid seventies funk/soul. Matt and Sean have such a great natural feel for this stuff and Lyle was all over it with Carlos Olamar-style double string riffing. Zac went straight for a Grandmaster Flash-style synth sound and modernised the song immediately. It’s now a bit more 80’s soul than 70’s. There was  bit of too-ing and fro-ing getting the arrangement sorted out. Zac has A LOT of ideas and is ready to throw them out there at any time. The great thing is that no-one is sitting there phoning it in. Everyone has made suggestions that have been taken on and it is making it feel like a collective effort. All under the guidance of Joe Chic of course. Most of the time I am sitting in my vocal booth just listening to how the song naturally evolves once everyone has an idea what they’re doing. This song has taken the most effort so far. I think we had thirteen takes, including false starts, by the time we felt we finally had it. It’s so different to recording in a band where you have worked out the songs over a long period and gotten to know them well before you are in there. Obviously I know the songs well but there is a freshness to them now with others bringing a first time enthusiasm to it. We added a few drum break sections to the arrangement and Matt was trying out new stuff with each pass on his Slingerland concert toms. They sound AMAZING.

Zac getting all Grandmaster Flash on us

Matt Chamberlain – You could set your watch to this man

Lyrically on this album I keep coming back to three main themes. Death and how to face and deal with it, and the future and what it might hold, and ‘home’ and what it actually means to me. It doesn’t take a psychoanalyst to work out why. Not exactly the three most original or unexplored concepts to be delving into, but I just followed my nose and wrote what came to me.  At the end of 2010 my band Powderfinger split up. We had been together for 20 odd years and it had occupied almost all of my adult life. In many ways it WAS my life, especially in the earlier years, much as I sometimes liked to pretend it wasn’t. So the end of the band was the death of an enormous part of my existence. Shortly after the band split my Dad passed away after a battle with dementia. Soon after that we moved our family to Spain and we had our second child. All pretty self explanatory really. As I go through the songs I might try to explain some of them a little bit. Or maybe I won’t?

“Zero Sum Game” opens with the lyric…..’God and death, love and sex, fame and money’. It’s mainly just wordplay in the verses but gets around to addressing the idea that everyone will sooner or later be saddled with a label (usually by much of the  media that likes to dumb us all down as much as possible while simultaneously trying to prove to us all how clever they are with oblique references to this or that)……..

‘Sacred or profane, provincial or urbane, your little arms race, a zero sum game’………..

A constant cycle of pitting one against the other.  Everyone can be put into a little easily explained box that means you don’t have to think too hard about anything. As long as you are FAMOUS, or BEAUTIFUL or even better….RICH AND FAMOUS AND BEAUTIFUL…..then life will turn out great and you will ‘rule the world’. ………….what a future. YAWN!! This song is simply saying that i don’t think that is true. Here are the lyrics…..

GOD AND DEATH, LOVE AND SEX, FAME AND MONEY
ART AND POOR, OIL AND WAR, RICH AND HAPPY
JEWEL AND THIEF, MAN AND BEAST, BLACK AND HUNGRY
GUNS AND PEACE, WHORES AND STREETS,
WHITE AND LUCKY

ALL YOU BROKEN BOYS AND GIRLS
MAKING PLANS TO RULE THE WORLD
ARE YOU SACRED OR PROFANE
PROVINCIAL OR URBANE?
WHEN YOU BREAK IT DOWN

YOUR LITTLE ARMS RACE
A ZERO SUM GAME
YOUR POWER PLAY
A ZERO SUM GAME

LIES AND TRUTH, WILD AND YOUTH, THIN AND PRETTY
CROWN AND THRONE, SEED AND SEWN,
BORN AND READY
LAW AND CRIME, VERSE AND RHYME, GREED AND PITY
CRADLE, GRAVE, FORTUNE MADE, DEAD AND BURIED

UNDER THE TOWERS WE PASS BUT NOTHING HAS CHANGED
THE SHADOWS CAST WE GROW INDIFFERENT TO THE PAIN
THRUST UPON US IN THE VORTEX OF OUR BROKEN LIVES
TODAY THE DARKNESS BUT TOMORROW BURNING BRIGHT

ALL YOU BROKEN HEARTED FOOLS IRONY YOUR ONLY TOOL
ARE YOU SACRED OR PROFANE, HENDRIX OR COLTRANE
YOUR LITTLE ARMS RACE
A ZERO SUM GAME
YOUR POWER PLAY
A ZERO SUM GAME

Taking it all in