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© Brian Hineline ./Retna Ltd./Corbis
“I think The Anarchist might be one of the first songs we wrote for the record. It goes back a couple of years. So far, the response has been quite strong, which I didn’t really expect. It’s an in-your-face song, and it’s a powerful part of the whole suite.
“If you listen to the demo and the final version, they’re pretty close, although a couple of things are different. There’s an instrumental melody line that Nick got us to think about that really gives the song its signature. The rest of it is pretty much the same as it was on the demo. It has an Eastern influence, which is somewhere we’ve gone before; it’s something we all feel and like a lot.
“The way that Neil and Nick approached the drum arrangements was great. Typically, after we’ve written everything, I make copies of songs for Neil with drum programs or click tracks so that he has some reference points that he might want to use or develop. So he goes through the songs methodically, works on his drum arrangements, and he memorizes what he’s going to play. It takes a month or so, and after that we go about recording.
“This time around, Nick came in and said, ‘I want to record on the first day. Let’s put up a song, and you’ll learn it while playing it. We’ll do a bunch of takes and see where it goes.’ I think it was an incredibly challenging way for Neil to work, but he’s the kind of person who constantly needs new challenges in his life. And really plays like crazy on the record – he’s very, very free. Of course, he’s got his work cut out for him because he’s got to learn everything to play live.”