Zen Fuse Box is proud to announce the release of our third full-length album, entitled Sound Revival. After two CD's of original music, we thought we would record a short EP of cover tunes to bridge the gap until our next album. The original plan was for each member of the band to bring two songs to the table for us to cover and then release a short 6-song EP of those covers. Of course, over time and over several beers, the ideas for cover tunes kept coming and before we knew it we had a full-length CD on our hands! The tracks are:
Right Reverend Rich Revisited: Not a cover tune, but a look back to the Right Reverend Rich character that we debuted on Dogs in Helicopters. The Rev continues to preach against the sins of rock and roll music, with Steve accompanying him on piano. Clearly, we didn't heed the Rev's warnings, as we continue on to:
That's Not My Name: This one, originally by The Ting Tings in 2008, wasn't planned for recording, and it just randomly came up at a session and fell together rather quickly. Pete is on lead and backing vocals, Rich is on guitars, and Steve is on bass and vocals. We challenge anyone to decipher the R-rated backing vocals that are mixed just low enough to drive you crazy if you try. The song also features Rich and Steve happily tapping away on beer bottles on the outro, which seemed like a fantastic idea at the time.
Lara's Theme: Also known as Somewhere My Love, from the 1965 movie "Dr. Zhivago." This song was brought in by Pete, who sang it with one of his previous bands. This one became a mini-epic of three sections. The first is Pete's voicemail message to Steve, suggesting his idea for an arrangement of the song. Of course, Steve saved the voicemail and arranged some lush strings to accompany Pete's scratch guide track. Section two is how Steve and Rich realized what we thought Pete's arrangement idea to be, and then section three takes the tune in a punk direction, with an obligatory cha-cha-cha ending.
Lose Yourself to Dance: Daft Punk first did this one in 2013. This is another tune that Pete brought to the table, and Rich and Steve spent a good long time thinking it wasn't something we could pull off. After a few sessions of avoiding the topic, we finally buckled down and recorded an acoustic version and an electric version, which we melded together for one big ZFB dance party. The acoustic section features Steve on 6-string acoustic guitar and Rich on 12-string, along with Peter's vocals. Pete continues on lead vocals on the electric section, with Rich transitioning to electric guitar and Steve to bass, triangle and synths. There are also a series of drum loops and random samples and sounds. If you listen really closely you can hear our friend Alan Stegeman play a few trumpet notes towards the end.
You Don't Know How it Feels: Originally performed by Tom Petty in 1994, this is a song brought to the group by Steve, who handles the lead vocal, bass, and acoustic guitar. Rich adds some tasty electric guitar, and Pete plays harmonica and sings backgrounds. Of interest to ZFB fanatics, the bass part on this song at times is a direct quote of the bass line on our song Like This, which appeared on our debut album Zero Down Time.
All About That Bass: Meghan Trainor first recorded this in 2014. This one features Steve on vocals and ukulele. Apparently the other two guys went on a beer run. We kind of like the obvious and silly joke that our bass player sings a song about the bass which has no bass on it. Yes, that's the intellectual humor we love. The track is rounded out with some tropical bird noises, which we included for reasons.
Waiting Line at the Zero Down Time Tavern: The title is a nod back to our debut album, and the track is basically an audio snapshot into the absurdity that of which a ZFB recording session usually consists.
Honky Tonk Women: The Rolling Stones' hit from 1969 has been a ZFB staple since our early days as the Meare's Pond Quartet. We added a bit of a country music vibe to it, and brought in the Unsupervised Daughters Choir (our 5 daughters) to help us create the saloon atmosphere at the end of the track. Alan Stegeman was hanging around the studio when this was recorded, and contributes some maracas.
Norwegian Wood: This 1965 Beatles song was suggested by Steve. Of all of our covers, this one just might be the one that most differs from the original in mood. Set over a loop of Indian percussion and a Jane's Addiction-inspired bass line, Rich delivers some ethereal delay-heavy guitar, and Pete contributes a memorable lead vocal. Of note is the special guest performance by our friend Alan Stegeman on flugelhorn, which starts off the track and is featured heavily throughout.
In the Evening: This 1979 Led Zeppelin tune that Rich suggested was probably the most challenging of the bunch for us to finish. We actually came close to a prior finished version that we completely abandoned because it wasn't coming together. The second time around worked nicely for us. We are particularly fond of the intro section of harmonicas and ebow, which set the mood for an impressive jam that lasts about seven minutes. At the end, you can hear Rich banging on a cookie sheet at the end. Rich's original idea was that the percussion consist of pots, pans and kitchen utensils, but that idea was shelved. The cookie sheet lives on, however.
At the Hop: Pete brought in the idea for this 1957 Danny and the Juniors tune, and it became a studio party to record. Besides the drum loops and Steve on bass and Rich on guitars, this track has multiple, multiple vocal overdubs by all three of us, plus the return of the Unsupervised Daughters Choir.
Words: Considering we all went to high school in the 1980's, it is surprising that this is the only 80's tune to make the list. Steve suggested this Missing Persons song, and in 80's fashion, it is synth-heavy and slightly less guitar-focused than our other songs. The Unsupervised Daughters Choir makes an appearance on backing vocals.
Price Tag: Steve handles the lead vocals and bass on this Jessie J tune from 2011. Rich is on guitars, and Pete plays harmonica and does the rap in the middle section. Pete had never heard the original, so his reading of the rap lyrics was spontaneous, just the way we like it.
Dear Prudence: This 1968 Beatles tune is a bass showcase for Steve, who recorded several overdubbed bass parts. Other than the percussion loops, all of the melodic parts are performed on bass. Steve actually recorded this several years ago for his own amusement, but it seemed to fit in well with the concept of the album, and it leads nicely into the closing track, which is:
Absolute Beginners: We had a recording session in January, 2016, shortly after David Bowie had passed. We felt compelled to pay tribute in our own way by tackling one of his songs. Pete suggested this one, from 1986, which Rich and Steve didn't remember ever having heard. Rather than try and learn the song properly, we crafted an arrangement around Peter's vocals, basically taking our best guess as to what the chords were based on what Peter was singing. Of course, we didn't guess correctly, but we feel we were still right in our choices. We humbly hope that David Bowie would have appreciated the approach.