Roddy and Mark share their inspiration for writing each song on Speak 4 Yourself:
Roddy: This song is “Set Your Mother on Fire” updated, and redone. This song, while a great tune, is a pain the butt, to sing and to play. We originally wrote this in my bedroom in the early ‘90s, and it’s gone through dozens of incarnations, but the lyrics and the general song have remained the same. It’s our attempt at a “political statement” yet the groove on the guitar is oh so right.
Mark: This is the oldest song on the album and thus it’s been tweaked and tweaked… probably to death. We just liked the original, bedroom, jambox recording so much that we’re trying to get it perfect.
Roddy: I love this song. I’m a KISS fan, although I don’t think I write in that vein. Mark and I are both big Tears For Fears fans. If ever a song existed that combined those two bands, it’s this one. I’m really proud of the bass line on this. Vocals are cool, guitar is cool. Just a really good song.
Mark: This song came together in the early days of “remote song writing” with Roddy and I separated by a 4 hour drive and trying to collaborate over the phone. I guess it was a sign of things to come as I took some words and a couple musical ideas from Roddy and ended up working most of it out on my own.
Roddy: Originally, I wrote this song for the Six Pack Of Monkeys sessions, it was called “Close My Eyes” which is recaptured in “Livin’”on this CD. Mark took the song and made it “his” and translated into a beautiful vocal song, changed some lyrics and made it his own. It’s a beautiful translation of a very good song, and Mark should take all the credit in the world for this one. A testament song of working together and taking something that was “okay” and making it awesome.
Mark: Again, took some musical seeds and grew something that seemed like it was coming from somewhere else. Thus, I can’t take credit for it… it was just there and took me to a dark place to find it (i.e. this tune is actually really depressing).
Roddy: What can I say, one of my favorites and one of the best songs on the CD. The starting bass line, while simple, is just so very perfect when you complement it with the awesome rhythm guitar. The guitar makes this song awesome. The drums, lead guitar, lyrics and vocals working together make it a masterpiece. Amazing tune.
Mark: I did nothing. Roddy said, “Play THIS”. I said, “derrr, OK”. Well, the tasty lead guitar is all mine.
Roddy: Such a fun song! I wrote this while living in New Jersey and this one goes out to anyone who’s in love and trying to keep it together. Cool bass line with these wonderful guitar riffs, and our attempt at a big bombastic rock and roll song. Fun to play, fun to sing.
Mark: Another one where I believe Roddy told me very specifically how he wanted the rhythm guitar to go. All I had to do was sprinkle some magic dust on it… a.k.a. the all important lead guitar fills and solos.
Read Your Mind
Roddy: In my opinion, the best song on the CD. I remember singing it to Mark, and he was like “yeah, that’s okay.” The lyrics are inspiring and I sang the song “dead pan” in the key, to give that dark and wonderful feeling. Mark took his guitar to a higher power in this song and again, in my opinion, we wrote one of the greatest rock songs ever.
Mark: This one stewed for quite a while as a ‘heavy acoustic’ style tune. Then, one night I, my freshly tweaked Barrington and some bourbon created the face melting lead guitar work you hear today. I was in what they call ‘The Zone’. All the lead work you hear is from that night.
Roddy: This song was honestly inspired by me sitting outside and watching the fire in a cold October evening. I sat out there and literally just watched the world go by, and bamm, wrote a hit song. Chorus is tough to sing, what you hear was several takes. I still have no idea what Mark is doing on the guitar, but it sounds great.
Mark: Some of Roddy’s best written, most creative lyrics in my opinion.
Roddy: What can I say, and “oldie but goodie” we did this originally in the mid to late ‘90s and we performed live many times. I dunno, our attempt to break out of ‘80s rock was this song, so this was our answer? Great tune, great bass line, about some girl?
Mark: If you say it over and over again it sounds redundant, but I swear it’s not: Remember Forever… Remember Forever… Remember Forever…
Roddy: This song was originally called “Chicago” and was inspired as I drove from Cleveland to Chicago fairly often for work “five hours to the left.” Mark suggested we change it to Cleveland to reflect where were from, changed a few lyrics, and Pow. While anyone listening to the song can interpret what this song is about for themselves, as they should and be inspired by that, in all honesty, this song is about Mark and I.
Mark: Yes, I think this was the first ‘new’ song that we put together after a long layoff following my ‘retirement’. At least it was the first new song that made us think, “Hey, we can still do this!”
Roddy: Affectionately, we referred to this song as “our retirement plan.” I had the main guitar riff stuck in my head which Mark performed perfectly, and as we put this together, I thought it was our most “commercial friendly” song. I’ve always believed this song would be a big hit, and I think it’s an awesome song.
Mark: Imagine a lead singer who doesn’t actually play guitar trying to explain some complicated guitar riff he has in his head. And then imagine that this lead singer has an arrangement in mind that seems to ignore the pesky 4-beats per measure tradition and you have to throw in a 2-beat measure here and there trying desperately to make things land on “1” again. Sometimes I feel like Dr. Frankenstein sewing parts together and trying to make them fit, but in the end, I really like how this one turned out.
Roddy: Thank God we remade this song from the original “Only” CD. I always believed this was a really cool tune, with fabulous guitars and a really cool melody with the lead vocals. I think we got it right this time, as I took out the “slappin’” bass line and replaced it with reality, and Mark did a wonderful, and new performance of a well written guitar part.
Mark: I literally dreamt the rhythm guitar riff on this song. I woke up, pulled out my guitar and figured it out as best I could remember from my dream. Then, many months later, Roddy came to me with this new song called “Troubled Child” and the dream riff fit.
Roddy: Just us stealing an idea from some heroes of ours: Tears For Fears. Our veiled attempt at “broken” into a song and certainly a tip of the hat to TFF with our own spin on our own song “Eyes” and the awesome vocals and lyrics of yours truly to make it our own.
Mark: This is what happens when you write parts for a song (Lost In Anywhere) that don’t really fit so guess what, you just wrote a new song!
Lost In Anywhere
Roddy: Perhaps the best “chorus” of any of the songs of the CD, this song is one of the darker tunes I wrote. I love the low register of the vocals and the simplicity of the bass line as Mark just rocks this song up. Yes, we did back masking on this song, not as fun without vinyl.