DB: Magentalane. Obviously you got control back of the recording process. That's very evident in the production. When you started that project, was it obvious that that was going to be the last, or were there hopes that if it did well in Canada that Capitol Canada might extend you to a couple more?
JW: Well, it definitely was in the back of our mind, I think,
that it might be the last. We were starting to have sort of an erosion
of the bond in the band itself. You know, like, internally we were
not as tightly-knit. So it wasn't just external pressures that were
hinting at it possibly being the last album. There was also some
internal pressure building, which wasn't the case in the past. In
the past, you know, when we had problems that were external, we still had
a cohesive internal situation so that we were able to repel, and just go
on. You know, just absorb the heat, and then carry on. But
when it came time to do the fifth album, we weren't as cohesive internally
as we had been, and so any external pressure that was brought, in a negative
way, had more impact on us because we just weren't as strong internally.
I certainly was thinking along those lines that it could very well be the last album, because what happened was that Capitol US had dropped us by that point. And Capitol Canada essentially was a man named Deane Cameron, who at that time was the A & R Director he's now President of Capitol Canada, but he was the A & R Director at that time he stuck his neck out on a limb and signed us to a contract now I can't remember what the options were but he definitely signed for the fifth album, which was the Magentalane album, and paid us in advance etcetera etcetera. But it was also very tentative, though. I mean, we knew we would do that album. But whether or not we would be able to live on Canadian release alone 'cause, you know, we were still in the process of trying to get publishing monies that were owing to us, and were unsuccessful. In fact, we didn't recover those monies until 1988. So, we were broke (laughs). And we didn't have a lot of dough, and you know, you gotta make a living. And I certainly wasn't going to go live for the purposes of making a living. I mean, we weren't going to turn this into a bar act just to keep the name going. I figured it was better to go out like Orson Welles did, than to become a lounge act. And so that album was done knowing that it could have been our last. And I think that's shown, if you look at the lyric in the song "Magentalane," there is some hints in there. They are subtle, but the hope, the idea about the aerodrome, and .. how does it go?
DB: "Gonna leave that bad old world behind?"
JW: Yeah. "It's time we took our leave, the road to liberty awaits us on the aerodrome incline, gonna leave that bad old world behind " You know, that was a set-up for "it feels so good to be home." (Laughs) And again, we tried to turn it around and make it positive, you know? But that was sort of me saying, well, gee whiz, this could well be the last thing guys, so I want to leave you with some happy message anyway. So, yeah, I think we all knew that could be the last. We didn't know for sure, but the chances had greatly increased that it would have been. And as I say, the internal situation wasn't as solid as it had been, so I mean, we didn't fall apart right after the album was recorded, but it wasn't long after. I think the group actually became officially defunct in the late summer of '82.
A MILLION MILES AWAY
DB: "A Million Miles Away." It reminds me a lot of myself
in high school: very distanced from those around me. Any inspiration?
Is it introspective? You had said earlier that "All Good Things"
was probably the only one, so obviously there's not too much in there about
you, but where did that one come from?
JW: That's again, just a projection. I mean, I wasn't really like what the song (laughs). I used to be a pretty good student. I mean, I was not a brown-nose, but I didn't have the same kind of thing. But again, it was just coming up with an idea, and then saying, okay, now how can I get this idea across in some real-world sort of anecdote? And essentially that's what it is. The idea of the song is being a million miles away, and the anecdotes are about being in class, and not listening, and not hearing the teacher, and putting your hand up twice, whatever the heck it is. And that's really it. I mean, that's not to say that I didn't work hard on it, or I mean, I tried to make the song true to itself. You always try and do that. But it wasn't autobiographical. It just was a song. And the middle part about, what is it? "I've flown across the " something or other.
DB: " across the galaxies, and been to Berkeley Square."
JW: I was just using words that I thought sounded nice, you know? "And passed the time with Sophocles, and never left my chair " it's just really about being a daydreamer. And I guess we're all sort of daydreamers, and that's all it is. My favourite part of that song is the ending with the vocals going around and around. I always liked "I Can See For Miles And Miles" (laughs) by The Who. I always though the vocals in that, "I Can See For Miles And Miles" were absolutely killer. I mean, the way they built? The harmonies and stuff like that? And I still think that song is a killer song. And "A Million Miles Away" was -- I mean it wasn't a lift, I didn't intentionally go out to steal that idea but the ending vocal part in "A Million Miles Away" is sort of my attempt at something like that. But it's really just an exercise in songwriting, I think, overall.
LOVE OF A WOMAN
DB: "Love Of A Woman." First hint that I had that Magentalane existed. I saw it on Klaasic Klaatu. What can you tell me about that?
JW: Well, that was an inspired song. It wasn't inspired by an instrument, it was just inspired by, you know, getting a musical idea and then working at it. And that's about it. You know, the idea of "I don't want your money, and I don't want your car, I just wanna be wherever you are " That was really just sorta me trying to do some really interesting chord changes and make them sound melodic. I kind of was experimenting a little bit. There are some nice key changes in that song. There's one place where it goes to a real weird chord -- not a weird chord, but a chord that's out of context -- and then it gets back in, and stuff like that. Again, that was really when I say inspired, it's more of a musical inspiration than it is a textual one, and the idea is a pretty normal type of love song.
DB: Now I gotta ask this, and I know I'm being picky, but three minutes into the song, one of the chords seems to shift down a little bit in pitch, and it stays that way for the rest of the recording. It does it on the original album, it does it on the CDs. What's that?
JW: Where is the chord?
DB: It's three minutes into the song.
JW: Yeah, and which version does it appear on?
DB: On all of them.
JW: Oh, on all of them?
JW: And if shifts down?
DB: It goes down probably not even a quarter of a pitch, but you hear it and you know that it's going down.
JW: Yeah, it doesn't sound like it's out of tune, it just sounds like it's changed.
DB: Yeah, more like the tape slowed down a touch.
JW: Oh. Oh. Gee whiz. I'm not sure what it could be. It could be an edit. It could be a splice. 'Cause sometimes that happens when you do a splice and the two pieces don't perfectly match. 'Cause some of those synthesizers, when they, if we had synths on it for example, or even strings, when they're playing, they don't play the same pitch all the way through the if they're sustaining a note, you don't always get the pitch being true all the way through. So if you do a cut in the middle of that, and the pitch happened to change during the cut then that's what you get. But I can't think of anything that we did consciously to that. I mean, there was no tricks that I know of in that one.
DB: Okay. Just me being picky.
JW: Well that's a pretty I'm gonna listen to it (laughs) to find out what you're talking about! I don't recognize that.
DB: "Blue Smoke." Is the sitar Dee again?
JW: No. No, that's a real sitar, not an electric one, and I'm playing that one.
JW: Yeah. I bought a sitar when I was going to university. Never got a chance to use if on one of our recordings, and I knew that this was probably going to be our last album, so I whipped it out (laughs) and said "I'm going to get this on by hook or by crook!" And the melody lent itself to it, 'cause there's a lot of chromatic passes in the melody, and it didn't have a lot of range to it, so I was able to play it. I wasn't a very good sitar player, by the way, but I thought that the sound would be kind of neat, and I don't know, I just threw it on for a lark.
DB: And slide trombone was Terry?
JW: Yes, Terry did that. Terry used to take trombone in high school, and he could play okay I mean, he certainly wasn't a great trombone player, but he could get a sound out of it, where most people couldn't. But he put that on there. We wanted him to play like a drunken trombone player, and of course he had no trouble doing that, 'cause (laughs) he was probably drunk at the time! We tried to make it a little humorous, and we thought that trombone would do it. He did a great job on it.
DB: I'm going to set this question up a little bit, but feel free to tell me I'm totally wrong. In an article that I've read, with an interview and I honestly don't remember which one of the three of you that it was it was mentioned in the extra songs for Endangered Species that there was one called "Endangered Species," and both Dee and Terry have no recollection of that at all. I've seen an interview with you, where you mention that "Blue Smoke" was originally called "Endangered Species." Is that true?
JW: Yes, that's true.
DB: So was that the song that had been around that long?
JW: Yes. Actually, "Blue Smoke" was I'm not sure whether it was proposed for the Endangered Species album, but it was written before the Endangered Species album, and it was originally called "The List Of Endangered Species." And then when it came time to do the Endangered Species album, we used the name Endangered Species because we thought that it applied to us. And we thought that the irony was pretty good, but at the same time, we tried to cover ourselves by having some information on the album sleeve about the World Wildlife Fund and stuff like that, so that people who didn't care whether we were endangered or not (laughs) wouldn't get offended. But yeah, "Blue Smoke" was re-titled, because you see, once the Endangered Species album had come out without that song on it, it seemed to be inappropriate to have a song come out later on with the same title. And not only that, I don't think it worked as well, so I ended up re-writing the chorus, so that In answer to your question, yes. "Blue Smoke" originally was called "The List Of Endangered Species" and it was written before Endangered Species had been recorded, and it was revamped and recorded on the Magentalane album.
I DON'T WANNA GO HOME
DB: "I Don't Wanna Go Home." Probably my favourite song on the whole album.
JW: Mine too, I think.
DB: I love the guitar work. How did you get that sound out of it?
JW: Which guitar, the acoustic?
DB: Yeah. The one that starts off the song.
JW: Yeah, the acoustic. I don't know. I played the acoustic on that had to practice a lot to do it. I've always liked Paul Simon. I've always thought Paul Simon, in his pre-Latin days, was a great acoustic guitar player. If you listen to stuff like "The Dangling Conversation" (?) I don't know if you're a fan of Simon and Garfunkel
DB: I am. Yeah.
JW: I was a huge Simon and Garfunkel fan, right up to Bridge Over Troubled Water. But his earlier work had incredibly nice acoustic guitar picking. I never actually got anywhere near as good as him, but I always wanted to write something that had picking in it, so that song really and that was an inspired song, I must say. That song came quickly. And there's a Canadian artist called Andy Kim, who I don't know if you'd know
DB: "Rock Me Gently?"
JW: Yeah, and "Ride" and he had a huge hit with "How'd We Ever Get This Way?" And he used to do this, sort of a soft-pop type sound that I always liked. I know a lot of people say he's bubblegum, but
DB: Nothing wrong with that.
JW: No, I guess so, but there are people who think bubblegum's a dirty word. But at any rate, his stuff was always so melodic, and sweet, and really nice sounding and stuff like that. So, "I Don't Wanna Go Home," like the middle part, the (sings) "So if you " like, the syncopated part, " ask me to go, I will" that part, was sort of an Andy Kim influence.
But the guitar sound itself was just I think I probably overdubbed.
The first thing you do is you clean the guitar. I mean, you clean
the neck with lemon oil, so that it's got no gunk on it at all. Then
you put a brand new set of string on, so that there's absolutely no gunk
on them. And then you let it sit for like maybe an hour, so it stretches,
and then you record it right away. And within an hour the strings
are no good. So that's what I did. I got the guitar so that
it glistened. I was using a Gibson Gospel. That's my own guitar
on that. And I think I probably just overdubbed it I recorded that
myself and just overdubbed it. I mean, it's recorded twice it's
double-tracked. And, if you play it accurately enough, you get that
nice, ringy, sort of glisteny sound, and that's pretty well it. Dee
did some really nice slide guitar work on that song. And then the
other guitar, there's also a Gretsch Country Gentleman on there, as well,
that I play, that does sort of like bass lines, only they're on the Gretsch.
And, I don't know, that song sort of came together. It's just a nice little pop tune, and it just sort of came together. It was written in a relatively short space of time. And actually, the version that you're hearing on the album is very true to the demo. Very little got done to that that was different from the demo, except for the drums. We added some drum work to it, but not a lot. And that's about it. But it is one of my favorites, too. You mentioned that it was your favorite. I think it's probably one of my favorite songs on the album because there's no, excuse my French here, there's no crap in that song. It's all straight ahead it's just a pure song. It doesn't make it because there's some fancy string line, or some great vocal performance. It hold together because the song holds together, and as a writer I feel gratified that it does that.
DB: "December Dream." I know the song is mostly Terry's, and I've heard Terry's interpretation of it, but do you recall it being written about anyone specific, and what can you tell me about it?
JW: Well, not a heck of a lot. Terry had this song that he had written, and he brought it to me he had done a demo of it with Dee, and after he and Dee had completed the demo, one day Terry came to my place with this demo. And this is just before the Magentalane album was going to be recorded. We were still in the process of writing and preparing material for the Magentalane album, so Terry was proposing "December Dream" as one of the tunes. And he played me the demo, and I said, "Well, Terry it's okay. It's not bad, but there's no chorus. Where's the chorus?" 'Cause at that time, there was no chorus. And he said, "Well, I don't know " and I said, "The way it is now, it's not strong enough. We need to have a chorus." So he and I started jerking around on the guitars there while he was there, and we came up with the (sings) "December dream " that part there? (Sings) " don't leave me now " that thing. And so the chorus was written that day. Now, I didn't know what the song was about then, and I probably don't know (laughs) what it's about now, but when the smoke cleared, we had a chorus for it and the chorus was strong enough that the song was definitely a contender for the Magentalane album and ultimately ended up on it.
I just don't know what it's about. You'd have to ask Terry that. I know one of the guys at Capitol Records suggested to us once that it should be about something, to capitalize on an event that just occurred, but I was pretty aghast at that, so I just I don't know. Ask Terry.
DB: Well, Terry said about two different people's deaths, one
of which was John Lennon. The other was the person that "Winter In
Peru" was written about.
JW: Well, the interesting thing was, it was written before John Lennon was killed, so (laughs)
DB: Right, well he's mentioned that, that it was originally about the person that "Winter In Peru" was about.
JW: Yeah, it had nothing to do with John Lennon, and in fact, we had a bit of a disagreement, I guess, within the band about having "The dream is over" in the ending of the fade, you know. I don't know if it's still on there or not.
DB: It is.
JW: But I was always very sensitive to the fact that if we did anything like that, we would simply be re-opening the door to all those critics who were saying that we were just Beatle cops. And so I went out of my way not to I was very sensitive about making sure that we didn't do it, that we didn't feed that fire, because we never did live it down. And no matter what we did, we were always held responsible for that rumor, even though we had nothing to do with it, and it seemed that by doing something like that, we may have been number one admitting complicity in the original rumor, in the first place, which we had been denying for eight years, and number two, it just gave more ammunition to the detractors to justify their criticisms. But it ended up getting on, and I guess when the smoke cleared it didn't really matter 'cause that was our last album anyway. But I don't think that I think that was done sort of as an afterthought.
MAGENTALANE (It feels so good )
DB: The name Magentalane obviously is still being used. It's Magentalane Music Publishing where did the name itself come from, for that song?
JW: It came from my word list.
DB: You just liked "magenta?"
JW: Yeah. I had the word magenta on this word list. Like I mentioned to you before, I used to write down words that I thought had neat phonetical sound, that would sound good in lyrics, and that was on there, so Actually, Magentalane was originally the title of that suite that I told you about earlier that never got done, and it was simply just picked out of the word list. And it's like "Abbey Road," right? "Magenta Lane." Only we made it all one word.
DB: Not any more. Have you seen that?
JW: What's that?
DB: On the CDs?
JW: Oh, is it two words now?
DB: Yeah, apparently when they did the insert, the booklet for it? They couldn't find the original artwork that was used on the album.
JW: Oh yeah.
DB: They had the artwork of the cover itself, but without the lettering. And when the record company put together the lettering to go over it, they split it into two words and capitalized "Lane."
JW: Oh, okay. Well, I'm not going to jump off a bridge over
that one. Because actually, it's probably easier for most people
to understand because, you know the funny thing is, if you show the word
"Magentalane" to somebody without the space in between, a lot of 'em don't
know how to pronounce it. They don't recognize that it's "magenta"
and "lane" put together. I think we might have gotten a little too
fancy. The other reason why we put it together was, I thought for
sure if we said "Magenta Lane" everybody would say, "Oh yeah, now they're
doing their Abbey Road album." You know? Abbey Road Magenta
Lane, you know, what's next? A Black Album, right? So, at any
rate, we made it all one word for artistic reasons, but for practical,
commercial reasons it probably would have been better as two words, anyway.
Anyway, so that word, Magentalane has no super significance, other than the fact that we were writing this suite and this is way back in 1970 and we're into this trippy-type stuff, and we picked this name off the word list and made Magentalane out of it. And then when it came time to do the Magentalane album now, in answer to your question, you asked me something about that once before, and I should point out that when we went to do the Magentalane album, there was a very strong suspicion that that might have been our last album. And one of the reasons, and you also alluded to the fact that when you heard the Magentalane album it was a departure back to our old style from the fourth album, Endangered Species, and that it appeared that we had more control. The answer to your question to that is yes, it's true, we intentionally tried to go back to what our fans expected of us as the last album, so that the last thing they heard us do was something like we couldn't let me put it this way: we virtually stayed together solely because none of us could bear the thought that the last album that anybody ever heard was Endangered Species. So the Magentalane album was really put together for the fans. That's really how that came about. And if we got lucky, and it sold a lot, and we were able to stay together, so much the better. But it was really recorded in an effort to let the fans have one last shot at something that we thought was worthwhile. And we really tried hard on that album. We had a very limited budget, by the way, too. But we tried very hard to do something that was in the spirit of what we had done before. Now I forget what you asked me.
DB: Where the title came from originally.
JW: Oh yeah. It just came from that word list, and it was originally a song that never got done, and when it came time to do that album, I can't remember why the hell we used the name. But we always did like the name, and I guess we always wanted to use it, so we figured we might as well call the last album that. And then as I mentioned to you before, I had this other song that wasn't had nothing to do with Magentalane, which I re-titled "Magentalane" and re-wrote the lyric to make it fit the idea of Magentalane.
And by the way, the cover art for the Magentalane album, by Ted Jones,
is a graphical depiction of the subject matter of the original suite that
never got done, okay? It was about the Ambrose Lightship. It
was a suite that was called I'm not sure if it was called "The Ambrose
Lightship" I think it was. And it was about this Ambrose Lightship
that had wings, and it was sort of a Jules Vernian type deal, and that
picture on the cover is the Ambrose Lighthship. And so we used that
as you know, we wanted to get it on somehow (laughs), and we certainly
weren't going to do the suite, so we just did it that way.
DB: That lightship was also on the Endangered Species cover.
JW: Yes. Yes, because again, we weren't sure that actually, that was put on again, we used to work in pretty close contact with Ted. Ted was very much a friend, and also a fan, and when we were doing the Endangered Species album we, even though we were doing it for Capitol, we wanted to have something of us still there, you know? And so we put that little lightship up in the corner because if, in fact, it turned out to be our last album, at least we had something on there that, you know, was ours. And then when it came time and actually, the logic was that that lightship was supposed to fly out of that picture (laughs) and become the Magentalane album, right?
I mean, we were nuts! We used to think of things that were, in retrospect, are just absolutely unimportant. But we used to make them important, you know? It's part of the mythology of the band. You know, we used to build this mythology up in our minds, you know, the mouse, and the sun, and all this kind of we used to call it "tightness." And if something was "tight," it fit these pre-ordained ideas that were supposed to be carried through each album. And the lightship appearing on the Endangered Species album was part of that philosophy. I'm not sure if the mouse is on there or not.
DB: You can see the top of his head sticking out of the sand, and that's about it.
JW: Oh, can you? Okay (laughs) well, he's half-buried then!
DB: It took a while before I saw the mouse on Magentalane, though. I had to have it pointed out to me.
JW: I'm not even sure where it is.
DB: It's the top of every one of the masts.
JW: Oh, is that (laughs)! Is that right? That's funny.
DB: Of course, seeing it on the CD, I couldn't see that. When I got hold of the album, I saw it.
JW: No, of course not. You'd have to get a magnifying glass,
and even then you'd be lucky to see it.
MRS TOAD'S COOKIES
DB: "Mrs Toad's Cookies." My kids love it. I love the message. Obviously, a lot of people in today's society seem to have forgotten that.
JW: Oh, yes! No kidding!
DB: What can you tell me about it?
JW: Well, actually that song was written, again, before actually, that song may have been proposed for the Endangered Species album and turned down. It was written around 1971 or '72, somewhere around there. And it was inspired by a little article, or a little poem or short story that was printed in some women's magazine or something that my mother had, or somebody had. I can't remember who. And I'm not quite sure what the original story was about now, but it probably it had something to do with toads, and it may have had something to do with cookies. And I always liked the idea of writing a kids' song. And so again, I cut that out and put it in my file "ideas to be pursued later" and then when it came time to write a song I pulled it out started working on it, and came up with something that I thought was reasonably good.
Musically, it was inspired by "Mary Had A Little Lamb" by Paul McCartney.
But the message that "good is good and bad is bad, but too much good can
" you know, that whole thing, that really was an original idea.
That's the only thing I didn't lift (laughs). You know, that was
the only thing that really, you know, was just me. 'Cause I knew
it had to have a moral. You can't have a kids' story without some
kind of a moral. Or at least, you shouldn't. Aesop's Fables,
you know, they always tell you a story and then they end up telling you
what the point of the story is, and that's what that is. And the
middle part of that, let's see, how does it go? How does the middle
part go? (Sings) "Do you wonder
be a better place
Well that only time will show, but if we put our heads into a better space,
then maybe we can make it so
" Well, like, that's a pretty positive
message, I think. And in fact, that part was written while the Magentalane
album was in production. In other words, the song had already been
written without that part, and I realized that I needed one more part to
it, because it didn't hammer home the message quite strongly enough.
And I came up with that part, and I was very happy with that because, musically,
I thought it worked well, but also the message, it reinforced the idea
of excess being a bad thing, and the fact that we can't just stand around
and complain about it -- we've got to take things into our own hands.
And so, really, that's just a nice little ditty.
And actually, a lot of people hate it, but it was really just an attempt by me to write a children's song that had a point, but also had enough music in it that an older person could still enjoy listening to it. I know when we played it, when we previewed the Magentalane album to the promotional director at Capitol Canada, when that song came on, it wasn't on for more than five seconds and he turned around and said, "I hate this song!" And he wasn't joking (laughs)! He wasn't joking! And I thought, oh Christ, here we go again. But you see, they couldn't we were very sensitive to artistic control, and when we signed that last deal with Capitol Canada, we retained artistic control. So even though the guy hated it, he couldn't take it off the album. And I was kinda glad he didn't like it, 'cause, you know, we did their trip. Now they're gonna do ours, you know? And it was sort of our way of getting something on that sort of paid back a little bit. But I mean, it's not a fabulous, fabulous piece of work or anything, but it works for what it is, I think. And there's a lot of little weird sounds in it that we did on the synthesizer that are kind of neat, and there's a lot of vocals, and Terry's wife sang some of the backgrounds on it.
DB: the ending of it, with the "Aaaahs" I don't know if this is an influence of yours or not, but it reminds me so much of the Cowsills.
JW: Oh, does it? That's not where I got it from, I mean, that's not what I would associate it with, 'cause, like but on the other hand, I know what you're talking about 'cause the Cowsills used to use a lot of that rich, textured it's a California-type sound. But really, it has more in debt to, it owes more to what's that one called, by Badfinger? (Sings) "If you want it, here it is "
DB: "Come And Get It."
JW: "Come And Get It." It owes more to that than it does the Cowsills. But yes, it's Cowsillish, but if I had to be pinned down, I would say well, I probably got the idea from "Come And Get It." 'Cause Badfinger used to use a lot of nice harmony like that, and chord changes, you know, where they'd do a weird change and fill it up with harmony, make it sound neat. You don't get much of that now.
DB: No, you don't.
JW: You don't get much of it, and, you now, a lot of the stuff you were asking me about where does the inspiration come for this, that and the other thing. You know, a lot of the inspiration, a lot of the whole thrust and I'm just sort of talking off the top of my head now but it was really more of a quest to try and do something neat musically than anything else. You know, it wasn't so much trying to be autobiographical or make socially relevant statements or any of that kind of stuff. It was more like I used to remember when I would hear songs for the first time, when I was a teenager and in my early twenties. You know, you'd have to have the radio on all the time 'cause there was so much great stuff around, and I can tell you where I was the first time I heard like about 15 different songs, you know? Because the first time you heard them, there was something musical in it, some specific musical movement, or chord, or whatever the heck it was, that really moved you? You know, the very first time you heard it? And, I was always very impressed by that, by the fact that, gee whiz, you know, some guy sittin' in a basement somewhere came up with this idea, and here I am, like, thousands of miles away, and maybe months or years later, and it's moving me in much the same way that he possibly intended.
And it's just a bunch of chords. It's like Disney animation always
amazed me. I mean, how can you cry at a bunch of cel drawings?
It's just a bunch of cels, one after the other! But it's what they
put in them, you know, it's the fact they can take pen and ink and put
so much humanity in it that it actually touches something really deep in
you, that you can't control. I mean, that's what happens to you when
you listen to a great song. I remember the first time I heard "We
Can Work It Out" by the Beatles. I mean, it's not a sentimental song,
I didn't mean to imply that, but the very first time I heard it, I thought
"Wow! This is amazing! I mean, listen to this!" And they
change it, the "Life is very short" part, and then they go back to the
three-quarter time thing, and then McCartney comes back in with the I
mean just fabulous stuff. I mean, it really moves you.
And that's not the only example. There's hundreds of examples of songs like that by various artists, including a lot of American like early Motown. You listen to some of that early Motown stuff, it's just mind-boggling how much power there is. And I'm not talking about volume. I'm not talking about audio level. I'm talking about emotion, and power, and chord changes, and just great instrumentation. "Reach Out, I'll Be There." There's an example. Just songs that have something in them that stays with you, like I know, I'm going to bore you with more examples, but there's tons of 'em. You probably have a list of your own examples of songs that have touched you, so A lot of the writing, you know, when a lot of the Klaatu I can't speak for Dee, but for myself, a lot of the inspiration was really that. Just an attempt to try and do something like that myself, because I admired so much the people who had done it before me, and the fact that they were able to do it, you know? I mean, it just seemed like such a neat thing to be able to do (laughs). To be able to just put some notes together and have people react to it in that way. And so something like "I Don't Wanna Go Home" for example, is sort of like that. You know, it wasn't really autobiographical, or any of that kind of thing, but it's an attempt at doing a well-crafted pop tune. You know, how successful I was or I wasn't, that can be argued. But that's what the intent was.
OF MICE AND MARS
DB: Reprise at the end of the album of Magentalane again. It's similar to the ending on Hope. Was that more because the song that had just finished wasn't a good ending to the album, or were you trying to
JW: Which song was the one just before that?
DB: "Maybe I'll Move To Mars."
JW: It was "Mars?" Yeah, well again, the Mars song was a little bit it's a great piece of music. Absolutely killer. One of Dee's best works. But it's extremely overwhelming, and it was a little heavy going as the final cut, you know what I mean? Now you might argue yeah, but you ended the first album with "Little Neutrino."
DB: But that's not so negative, or down.
JW: And not only that, you've got those explosions that, what they do is they I mean, they're neat, for one thing. We used to love playing them back over and over, I can tell you (laughs)! There was a lot of nights where we'd listen to that track with you know, and just wait for those explosions to come because the whole control room used to shake! But those explosions are sort of a primal thing. Like I mean, when they hit you, they hit you on a gut level, not a cerebral one. And so, you an afford to end the album that way, and it didn't you know, it's not a heavy message. It's like going to a movie nowadays, and what have you got? You got car crashes and guys getting killed. So, it's like one of those deals. But "Maybe I'll Move To Mars" is a little bit introspective, a little bit too cerebral to end an album with, I think, especially our last album. And so we just wanted to end it on something so we did that "It feels so good to be back at home," I think we did. And the other reason for doing it was to reinforce the message that this possibly could be the last album, because that's what the "Magentalane" song was saying, that this might be the last one, so we just wanted to kind of reinforce that. And then after that we had the mouse being caught in a mousetrap, I think.
DB: Dee and Terry have corrected me on that point, 'cause I thought that too. And apparently, if you really crank the volume, you can hear it pitter-pattering away after the mousetrap.
JW: Yeah, but you don't know if it was injured fatally or not (laughs)!
DB: Oh, I like that! That's good!
JW: No, that's true. We definitely had him scurry away afterwards, because we weren't absolutely sure it was our last album but, you know, we were pretty sure. We wanted to let everybody know that, hey, this might be it guys, so you better listen up because (laughs) there might not be another one! And so we had it scurry away because, you know, it would have been a complete bummer, if we would have had the mousetrap close and then you hear "Aaaaah!"
It would have been like you know, Hitchcock did a movie called "The
Wrong Man" with Henry Fonda that is such it's a great movie, but it's
so depressing I can't watch it. And the reason is, an innocent man
gets convicted of a crime that he didn't do, and he ends up losing his
wife because she goes into an insane asylum
and like, it's a great movie,
it's typical Hitchcock, but it's a bummer! And like, my wife won't
watch it, right? And like, I don't even like watching it. And
yet, it's a great movie. So we didn't want that. We didn't
want it to be a total bummer, so we had the mouse scurry away. But
as I say, we left it open-ended. It's up to the listener to interpret
whether that mouse was, as I say, fatally injured or not (laughs)!