Power Pop legend Arthur Alexander (The Poppees, Sorrows) is back, with his solo debut album, One Bar Left.
After all those years the hunger is still there. You might think he has nothing left to prove. You are wrong, so wrong! Listen! And Watch
BUY it on RED VINYL
So the time was right to release your first solo record?
It was more than the right time. After Sorrows album was re-released in 2010, I really got the fire under my ass to get back to playing and recording again. I knew the time has come to do my own thing and actually started working on this record. But as the John Lennon quote goes: “life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans”. Almost as on queue, every time I started working on this record, some other production jobs would come along and divert my time and attention, like the last T-Model’s record (he died 6 months later), King Mud (featuring guys from Diamond Heavies and Left Lane Cruiser), The Bloodhounds, Dirty Eyes, and many others.
You are using a lot of different styles. Do you start writing a song with a certain style in mind or is the song showing you which direction to go?
If you listen to Sorrows records, you’ll hear that my songs are all over the place stylistically. I like so many things, classical music, blues, jazz, you name it… rock n’ roll is my passion, but the influences, styles, and sounds come from all over the place. That’s because, to me, there are only two kinds of music – good and bad. I don’t give a shit where it comes from. As long as it feels and sounds good, it IS good! (Joe Meek gets credit for that line! J)… People tell me you can hear a lot of “film music” vibe in some of my arrangements. Well, I love Nino Rota and Ennio Morricone!… During my “punk days” I hated disco, even had a “disco sucks” belt buckle! … but the stuff The Bee Gees did on “Saturday Night Fever”?… Absolutely fucking brilliant! Classic!… I still remember when Sorrows were trying to get a record deal, the geniuses at CBS Records told me the music was too eclectic, too all over the place, too much like this, not enough like that. Well, six months later we were signed to CBS and the same geniuses thought I was the next fucking Gershwin and could walk on water! lol
I never start writing with any “style” in mind. The music just comes and I let it take me wherever it feels like the song wants to go. Sure, I may have a general idea about the sound and the vibe that’s in my head, how I’d like the song to be as I begin to work on it, but I don’t get stuck on it. In fact, I think that most of the time, the final outcome ends up being quite different than what I started out with and I’m cool with that.
There is an urgency to all the songs. Hope you take that as a compliment. Still, plenty to prove? Or just angry? Or still on a mission? Or…?
I think it’s my DNA! The overabundance of energy… I was always a hyperactive kid! True rock & roll has always had an urgency to it, and it’s what I love about it. When it doesn’t, it turns into schlock.
“Ready! Set! Go man go!
I got a gal that I love so
I’m ready ready ready Teddy
Ready ready ready to
Rock ‘n’ roll!!!…”
Urgent enough, eh?… this guy just can’t wait to… 😉
Mind you, to me, urgency doesn’t have to have anything to do with just the ‘tempo’ of the song, it’s the feeling I’m trying to convey. I love rockin’ fast songs, but even when I write a slow, sweet love ballad, I think that by injecting a feeling of restlessness it gives the song a certain edginess to it you may not even realize is there, but it affects you on a subconcious level. Love is always… urgent.
And yes, sometimes I am angry. By definition, anger has an urgency to it, or you might as well relax and not be so pissed off about something. So if I write a song that’s angry, if I don’t play it like that, to make you feel my anger, then what’s the point?… Sometimes it’s also therapeutic and cost-effective. Writing “Shot In The Heart” must have saved me thousands of dollars on shrink bills! 😉
And yes, absolutely, I’m still on a mission!!!.. Music, and music making is my life. I love writing, recording and playing live. And most of all, I feel like I still have something to say that will resonate with people. As an artist, nothing is more rewarding to me than seeing people be affected by my music. Show me an artist who tells you he or she doesn’t give a shit if people like their stuff or not, and I’ll show you a lier.
The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?
It’s definitely true, the changes in the music industry have been monumental. And as with anything else, there are upsides and downsides to it.
As opposed to the “good old days” when the record companies were the gate-keepers to your fame and fortune, today, the possibilities for getting your music out there are practically limitless. You’re the best example of that! J
On the other hand, these days any tone-deaf person with songwriting skills of a rhino (no disrespect to a rhino) and a credit card can become a recording artist, engineer, producer and a record label in the time it takes to get to and from your local music store and be rich and famous by the weekend.
What did it bring me? The ability to get my music out without asking the music industry’s permission to do so. Of course, now I’m sharing that gift not with, say, 5,000, but with 50,000,000 other people! Lol…
What did it not being me? Nothing I am worried about. I’m at the point in my career where I don’t worry if the music industry will accept me and make me the next Justin Bieber (no danger of that either!). I write and play the music I love to play. I don’t write or play the stuff trying to fit in with the flavor of the week. I don’t care if I’m ‘current’, or if they call me ‘dated’ or ‘retro’. There are only a few things that matter to me: is the music good?; did I do the best I could with it?; am I being true to myself? If the answer is ‘yes’, then I’ve done my job. If people like what I do, I’m happy and grateful. And if they don’t? Well, they have the other 49,999,999 choices to listen to! 😉
She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mixtape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?
If the girl tells me that our second date hinges on a fucking mix-tape, I would think I need to hit the bars again or sign up with a different dating website!…
But if I were desperate enough…
1. Long Tall Sally
2. No Particular Place To Go
3. I Saw Her Standing There
4. Under My Thumb
5. Sheena Is A Punk Rocker/Smells Like Teen Spirit
… and if she turned me down based on that selection, that’s just as well, ‘cause there ain’t no future in this act! 😉