FOREWORD: It is my job to keep track of the music, i.e. where it goes, what is streaming, what is popular at the moment, etc. I have noticed a growing trend with our music – the resurgence of interest in Riding the Nova Train, Roger and Paul’s first collaborative release. It is always fun for me to see which song from Riding the Nova Train you all have chosen for the week to be your top streaming song from the album – and it always changes!
Rick Jamm at Jamsphere Magazine had this to say about the single In My Time of Dying: “This track could easily have come out at the time of the Chicago Blues explosion during the late forties and early fifties. Often you listen to one of those seminal Blues artists from that era and wonder, “what if they had captured this person at the top of their game, doing some of their better material with better musicians, in a more modern recording studio?” Well, here is that recording!”. And on SoundCloud, The Train is really picking up steam with singles such as “Better Daze” and “One Eyed Jack” charting on the rock charts. With more than a million + listeners, it just keeps chugging along gaining new fans every day!
In light of this renewed interest, I decided it was time to give this rocking album the attention it deserves, and so, without further ado, I give you over to Paul Barrere to talk a bit about how The Train came to be, and more… ~ LJ
Paul: I had been working with Roger for a while doing Little Feat live releases and was amazed at his talent as a producer, understanding of frequencies, and so I decided to ask him if he had any interest in doing a solo project for me – that was the start of it really. I brought over my older than old Spirit mixing board along with a headphone amp and a few other things I had lying about, my 50 watt Marshall amp and old cabinet that we set up in what is now a den area at his house, and I would just jam away on it. In the meantime, we got a chance to produce Coco Montoya and so here we were, co-producers, but in all honesty, Roger did all the lion’s share of the work. He had an opportunity to do a record for Pete Griffin’s band called Gryphon Labs, when I heard the mixes on that record, (that, by the way, they asked me to play on a couple of songs), I was totally sold.
So the process began. What was a solo effort quickly became a duet, and we started to write songs together that I felt has some of the best guitar sounds I ever got on a recording. We came from totally different musical backgrounds, but somehow we found a way to merge our two styles. I would play and he would record these crazy riffs, sometimes I would play with a drummer, sometimes with a click, and once even with a beat from my washing machine on the wash cycle! What a great shuffle that was, and eventually became “Pumping The A”. Actually, all the songs on Nova Train were what I liked to call Frankensteins – totally built by Roger from editing away at the riffs and adding drums, sometimes a note at a time like “One Eyed Jack” (hence, the drum credit went to Ed I. Ted, a friend of Roger’s named Ed Kanon).
There are really only two songs on the recording that pretty much came through from what I played, “Why You Wanna Do Me”, and, “In My Time of Dying”, all the rest were built from my riffs from the ground up, but the outcome was fantastic. Lyrically, Roger and I underwent numerous re-writes on many of the songs, the title track comes to mind as it was actually first called “Blunt Force Trauma”, and here again, Roger’s input was something that took me to another range in my voice and delivery. “Again & Again” was started with an acoustic guitar riff that just grew into such a groove that the original title “Ocean”, because of the motion of the piece, became “Again & Again”. The “Number Six Dance” was just a mean guitar riff that we though would be perfect for a reference to Blazing Saddles, if anything, we like to have fun and project that in our tunes. “Miss Believing” is a play on words - we choose things that can have multiple meanings so that the listener can have their own take on it, a suggestion for the subconscious perhaps, a bit of tongue in cheek! “Right Outta Wrong” was a chord progression I’ve had circling my brain for a while and we got another good friend of Roger’s, Tom Hardisty, to come in and play drums while I laid down those chords, and just improvised some other parts that Roger edited into a bridge and chorus. He actually had a lyric from the past that fit the bill.
And finally, “Better Daze” is where we found the name for the company, because who wouldn’t want a Better Daze after all?? You all can hit our website and have a listen to all of these and more, and if so inclined, either download, or grab yourself and actual cd – yes, there are still cd’s on the planet, crank it up and have a ride on the Nova Train!