Sunday, October 11, 2009

Profiles in Fandom and Collaboration #5: Brook Pridemore

I gotta admit something. The first time I met Brook Pridemore, I didn't really like him. The first time I heard his music I wasn't impressed.

Now, 2 or 3 years later, I don't know what the fuck I was thinking then. Now Brook Pridemore is not only one of my favorite performers, he is also one of my favorite people. His work ethic (he's on tour most of the year) and remarkable talent are incredibly inspiring to me as a fellow performer.

The music video I directed for him is one of the favorite things I've made:

Asking Brook to collaborate on the writing and recording of a song for this project was a no-brainer. And Brook was excited to do it. At first, he really wanted to do a gay disco song -- inspired, I'm pretty sure, by "Friends" by Ween. Of his many ideas for this fabled song, the only one I remember is "The Dancefloor (My 4th Addiction)." (Get it?)

We had one main songwriting session where Brook and I met up with Preston at the Brooklyn Tea Party, the sometime venue where Brook lives. We all goofed around and swapped instruments. Eventually, with Preston on piano, myself on bass, and Brook on drums, we worked out a chord progression for the gay disco song. Brook freestyled some lyrics over it. Then we never touched it again.

Brook had also gotten an idea to do a Folk Implosion rip-off -- a grunge throwback, a pastiche. So I got out the acoustic guitar, and I'm pretty sure I came up with the chords. Again, Brook freestyled some lyrics and the seed of the best song ever written -- "The Color Machine" -- was born. Later, Brook and I ironed out the lyrics in a long, painstaking session that took dozens upon dozens of seconds.

When it came time to record, Brook recruited his Crabs on Banjo bandmate Ariel Bitran to play electric guitar. Mere moments after first being introduced to "The Color Machine," Ariel came up with the scorching riff that is now the centerpiece of the song. We got Preston to play bass because... well, why not? And we got another of Brook's Crabs on Banjo bandmates, Brian Speaker to record the thing live at Brooklyn Tea Party.

We started recording about 45 minutes after we had all learned the song, and we didn't work out an ending, which is why the fade-out on this track is almost as long as the "Na na na" section of "Hey Jude". We actually probably had a better jam on the end of the previous take, but Brook's false ending (which he only did on the last take) was too wonderful to not have in the official version.

Go here to savor the mysterious lyrics and download an early demo version of "The Color Machine".

Also, you can hear the final version streaming on ENB's Myspace page.

1 comment:

  1. Brook Pridemore is a genius. His songwriting has improved over the years by an almost unattainable degree that comes from devoting one's entire life to the craft of songwriting.

    I am happy to hear your collaboration with him. I am proud of my friend Brooks profound influence on myself and others.

    Man among men!