Friday, December 22, 2017

Behind The Songs - Fall On Me

Many of the songs that make up Third World Sun’s first CD took a circuitous route to get to where they are today. Indeed most of them even continue to evolve since we recorded them as we continue to play them live. Because of this, I wanted to document how these songs came about before I forget and it all just becomes a blur. - Carhart 

Stream "Fall On Me" from Soundcloud 

Fall On Me (Johnson, Driml, Carhart, Carhart)

I wanted to write a deep worship song. One that would go beyond the basics and talk about really being touched by God. I brought it to Lori with I think pretty much all of the chords intact. She added harmonies for the Launch Pad version and we recorded it as intended: A slow, deep worship song. When we formed Thrid World Sun, it was an obvious choice to bring over since I was the lead singer on it in Launch Pad. But a funny thing started happening when we would play it. Because it’s such a deep worship song, we as a band will hand it over to the Holy Spirit when we play it. We’ll worship as we play and the song more often than not takes on a life of its own. It’s literally different every time we play it. On the TWS CD, is still pretty close to the Launch Pad version. The harmonies are close to what Lori used to sing. But live, it turns out that this song is a chameleon. It’s hard to explain. But sometimes it’s faster. Sometimes the whole style of it shifts. It’s a perfect example of what can happen when you give something over to God.

Behind The Songs - Jump Gig

Many of the songs that make up Third World Sun’s first CD took a circuitous route to get to where they are today. Indeed most of them even continue to evolve since we recorded them as we continue to play them live. Because of this, I wanted to document how these songs came about before I forget and it all just becomes a blur. - Carhart 

Stream "Jump Gig" from Soundcloud 

Jump Gig (Johnson, Driml, Carhart)

Sometimes there’s just an idea that so good, you gotta make it into a song. Mike came up with the term Jump Gig. The term is meant to be used for when a band comes in and plays another band’s gig for them without their knowledge and/or consent. For example, “Hey, let’s go down to The Blacklight and see if we can jump someone’s gig.” It may or may not entail also high jacking the other band’s gear for said gig and, in real life, would probably result in someone getting punched in the face. Naturally, WE would never do such a thing. But we found the concept to be quite humorous. Right around the time Mike was toying with this term, we recorded a down and dirty band practice that started out with this jam that we improvised on the fly. I led the way through (which Scott also does just as frequently as I do). The whole thing was complete. The verse, even the chord progression for the chorus. I felt like it was a song. There were enough changes. It was strong enough. It just needed some words and a melody. And Mike’s Jump Gig concept was at top of mind. Next practice, I showed up with lyrics and a melody to Jump Gig that meshed with what we had jammed the previous practice. And since we had the bad recording, we were able to remember what we had played. And then, because the whole thing had been Mike’s idea, we put a drum solo in it. And to really shake things up and fake people out, we put it right about where the first verse should start. Typically, we vacate the stage during the solo to give Mike the spotlight for once. We’ve even been known to re-fill a drink during Mike’s time in the limelight. We would love it if the term Jump Gig took off and became part of the rock and roll vernacular. And you can bet we’ll do everything we can to make it so.

Behind The Songs - Caida

Many of the songs that make up Third World Sun’s first CD took a circuitous route to get to where they are today. Indeed most of them even continue to evolve since we recorded them as we continue to play them live. I wanted to document how these songs came about before I forget and it all just becomes a blur. - Carhart

Stream Caida from Soundcloud 

Caida (Johnson, Driml, Carhart, Carhart, Rodriguez)

At the time, Lori and I were living in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood. The little church down the street was all Hispanic and Lori wanted to connect to that community. So she came up with the lyrics to what she was then calling Fall (as in Holy Spirit, fall on us). But she translated the title to Caida (which apparently means “to fall” but in sort of a bad way). After Launch Pad recorded it, we discovered that our translation wasn’t exactly what Lori had been going for but we decided to stick with the title anyway. After all, we all fall. And God is still God. The song itself was written around Scott’s opening guitar riff. I think I provided the chord progression for the chorus. The bass line at the beginning was based on a drum beat that then-drummer David Rodriguez provided. I don’t think I would have played it that way if not for those drums. Mike doesn’t play it the same way, but the bass line from that still persists (so we credit David on the song as well). This is probably our most progressive song structure. We do two verses and two choruses and then we go into some sort of classic/vintage rock extended outro segment (chord progression provided by Scott, I believe). The Third World Sun version actually speeds up during this section. As for the lyrics, they’re pure Lori. But when I sing them now, I sort of feel like she was unknowingly writing them prophetically for me. Lori used to take care of her bi-polar mother. So, yes, I’m sure she felt at times that life had hit her like a bus. But after her passing, faced with raising our daughter without her, those words meant more to me than they probably ever could have to her. When I sing Caida, I feel like I’m singing a song that Lori left behind for me to sing.

Behind The Songs - Vino

Many of the songs that make up Third World Sun’s first CD took a circuitous route to get to where they are today. Indeed most of them even continue to evolve since we recorded them as we continue to play them live. Because of this, I wanted to document how these songs came about before I forget and it all just becomes a blur. - Carhart

Stream "Vino" from SoundCloud 

Vino (Johnson, Driml, Carhart, Carhart)

I think it was over the holiday break. And I think we were between guitarists. And Lori was feeling creative. So there was this brief period where she started improvising melodies and lyrics over Apple Loops in garage band. She’d have me record her melodies over the pre-recorded loop and then she’d put them on her iPod and go running to it. This is where Vino got its genesis. After the break and when Launch Pad resumed, I discected the loop a little. It was only two notes. I had no idea which two so I just picked two… C and F. I started playing those two notes on the bass back and forth and Lori ported her melody over to that. From there, it got more fleshed out. The bass line got more peppy. The guitar, more poppy. It’s still basically only two chords, but we play around it more. On the Launch Pad version, Lori did some improvising that we don’t do in TWS. On the CD, I actually deliver some of the lines the way she did to pay tribute to her version of the song. Also, on the TWS recording, I played my Ibanez fretless bass, which I don’t typically switch to live. The song has morphed some away from the Launch Pad version but the lyrics and melody are still 100% Lori.

Behind The Songs - Has Beens

Many of the songs that make up Third World Sun’s first CD took a circuitous route to get to where they are today. Indeed most of them even continue to evolve since we recorded them as we continue to play them live. Because of this, I wanted to document how these songs came about before I forget and it all just becomes a blur. - Carhart 

Stream "Has Beens" from Soundcloud 

Has Beens (Johnson, Driml, Carhart, Carhart)

In Launch Pad’s most formative time, when Lori and I were still leading worship at our church and we were trying to put together a band for this outside project we wanted to create, Lori asked a neighbor kid’s father if he thought his son might want to play in our band. Well, apparently the kid’s dad did ask him. We could hear him in the backyard laughing with his friends and siblings, saying, “Man, I don’t wanna play with no has beens.” Ah. If only we had ever been… And that’s how Has Beens came about. It was one of our first songs. It was mostly my piece. The lyrics are all mine and most of the chords as well (Lori may have improved a few of them). The song meant to be humorous, as is evidenced by the final verse (“at least in our heads, that’s how it goes”). Lori initially liked the song but as we continued to write new material, she tired of it. I think she wanted more worshipful stuff and Has Beens just wasn’t all that “spiritual” to her. We actually had a disagreement about retiring the song from the Launch Pad repertoire (along with another song called Little Miss Sunshine that did not make it onto the TWS CD). Scott and Mike both liked the song and argued to keep it as well. But Lori won out, mostly because I preferred to sleep in my bed over the couch, and we stopped doing it in Launch Pad. After she passed away and we started Third World Sun, we decided the fastest way to get back up and playing was to revive and retool songs we were already familiar with. So we revived Has Beens and we’ve been playing it ever since. For the record though, we’ve still never been.

Behind The Songs - Shades of Grey

Many of the songs that make up Third World Sun’s first CD took a circuitous route to get to where they are today. Indeed most of them even continue to evolve since we recorded them as we continue to play them live. Because of this, I wanted to document how these songs came about before I forget and it all just becomes a blur. - Carhart 

Stream "Shades of Grey" from Soundcloud 

Shades of Grey (Johnson, Driml, Carhart, Carhart)

A shortage of material was never a problem in Launch Pad or in Third World Sun. Before we were writing much as a band, however, most of the songs in Launch Pad were either written by me or by Lori or by both of us together and all of them were credited to both of us. When Scott joined, he brought a song with him that he wanted to do. Lori and I realized that we needed to be willing to allow other band members to write songs if we wanted to keep our players happy. So Scott brought Shades of Grey in pretty much complete. Lori contributed the background harmonies in the chorus and a surf-style keyboard in the Launch Pad version (that we do without in the TWS version). My main contribution at the time was that I changed the title from “Shades of Gray” to “Shades of Grey,” thinking “grey” was maybe a little more sophisticated. As the song evolved under the band, and particularly in the TWS version, the rhythm section became a little more bouncy and funky under Mike and me. The harmonies I do live are based on Lori’s harmonies. With Scott’s blessing, we now credit the song to the entire band the same way we do with songs Lori and I wrote together.

Behind The Songs - Up And Away

Many of the songs that make up Third World Sun’s first CD took a circuitous route to get to where they are today. Indeed most of them even continue to evolve since we recorded them as we continue to play them live. Because of this, I wanted to document how these songs came about before I forget and it all just becomes a blur. - Carhart 

Stream "Up And Away" from Soundcloud 

Up And Away (Johnson, Driml, Carhart)

In the same vein as Bring It On, I was listening to Delirious? on one of my workout runs. Lori and I had together written many slower worshipful songs together. But for some reason, I was feeling challenged to see if I could write a slow Delirious?-style worship song. I was thinking, lyrically, that it would sorta be the definitive worship song in that it would essentially teach someone how to just let go of all of their worldly baggage and just focus on God and worship Him. I could imagine a person just coming through the front doors of a church with a pack on and bags of luggage in each hand and, as the song took over, the pack would fall away and the bags of luggage would drop to the floor as the person lifted his or her hands up to worship. That was my vision. And that’s really what the song’s about. As I was running along, I could even envision myself, like Superman, lifting up, up and away, up into the sky. I worked really hard on it. Every lyric and every chord and progression was painstakingly mine. I brought it to Lori and played it for her. And she actually liked it a lot. But she basically said, “We have enough slow worship songs like that right now.” And she unceremoniously shelved it. It was never used in Launch Pad and that’s why I don’t share the writing credit with her. When we started TWS, I remembered it and dusted it back off for the guys. Naturally (and similarly to Don’t Hold Back), the guys had a little bit different take and so it became this up-beat rock song (and hitting that low F on the bass as we go into the chorus even makes it feel heavy). All the chords are the same though. All the lyrics are the same. It really did become like Superman. It’s a worship song disguised as a rock song in the same way that Superman is often disguised as Clark Kent. And for that reason, like Bring It On, it also gets a great response in secular environments as well as in more worshipful settings.