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© Chapman Baehler
“This is a piece of music that I wrote when I was working on a new guitar for Ibanez, one that’s very Stratocaster-like. I was having a ‘Texas moment; I was in a very Eric Johnson frame of mind, where I had this beautiful tone through a little Fender amp. I wrote this melody, and I thought it was pretty cool as a little guitar piece. I didn’t think anything of it until I realized that I was walking around humming the melody.
“I sat down to really look at it as a full-on melodic statement, and I thought it was great, but I also said, ‘I’ve got to get rid of the way it was written.’ It shouldn’t be on the guitar like that. It’s been done. Eric’s said that kind of thing beautifully. If I was going to do this, it had to be very different.
“There were weeks where I played the song on every conceivable instrument, trying to figure out if the melody survived on piano, on a B3 or farmed out to several guitars. I was like, ‘Is it an acoustic song? Should it be distorted? Should it go back to the Strat-y/Tele-caster-like thing?’ Somewhere along the line, I came up with the idea of a horn section.
“I had Kontakt 4 up, and I took a journey through a horn section – not quite New Orleans, not quite Tower Of Power, but it was some new kind of a thing. I worked on it as an intro piece. Now, the song that it went into was something I hit a million different ways. Two months later, I came up with the idea of the Sustainer playing the melody with the honky-tonk piano. I did an arrangement where that starts the song, and then the band comes in, but there’s only one verse; there’s only one time with that Stevie Ray Vaughan-type melody.
“For the rest of the song, it goes into this other journey, because I realized that what I was thinking about was this guy who’s dressed up in a hat and tails; he’s had a few cocktails, he wanders out of his urban apartment, he gets into a lot of trouble, but he winds up unscathed. He ends the night by sipping a glass of champagne. There’s a real story going on, and that’s why you hear noise effects, sirens, wah-wah guitars, all kinds of stuff. Suddenly, it vanishes, the horns come back in, and the song gets a little tipsy again.
“It’s a very cinematic piece, but it started out so simply. I kept it in my mind that it had a bit of a Sgt. Pepper album aspect to it: an orchestra, backwards stuff, an acoustic guitar, an electric guitar, horns, honky tonk piano, Texas blues – there’s a lot going on.”