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© Neal Preston/CORBIS
“I played the tag-along here. I remember well very being the nice guy. ‘You know you can sing, Artie,’ was what I was thinking. Just being the cooperator, the cement – with every package, somebody has to be the cement.
“Back in my college days, at Columbia College, we had an octet, the Kingsmen. We did jazz-inflected, standard stuff. Well, I had the middle part, the part that sounds ugly by itself, but it makes the chords work.
“I reached back to that experience of my college days to serve up what is an odd middle part in the arrangement. We met at Paul’s, and we were three gentlemen trying to maximize our goodwill and our professionalism. We all think the world of one another, James and Paul and I. We know we’re killer musicians, and so you lead with that respect.
“Musicians are people who play. We play with notes and chords. We’re children who play. You bring that spirit to the rehearsal, and the rest is ‘Stay cool. Don’t make a big deal of anything.’”