Written by TonyLaSelva (Ugly Melon)
I ended chapter 3 of My Rock and Roll Journey talking about Ugly Melon’s upcoming record release party at The Opera House in Toronto in May. After some deliberation, I’ve decided to save that topic for Chapter 5 (after the concert).
This chapter will be about the ‘making of’ Ugly Melon’s debut album…
I wanted to give Hard Rock Daddy readers and our fans a behind-the-scenes look at our songwriting process, how these particular tracks landed on the album, and the meaning behind the lyrics.
All the tracks included on our debut album were written over about a 2-year period. Lu Cachie (guitar) and I hadn’t worked together in years, but once we got going, it was as if the taps had been turned on and we couldn’t turn them off. It felt as though we had been suppressing all of this musical energy and creativity until our eventual reunion.
Our process is pretty simple. Lu sends me a song or riff, usually recorded on his phone using an acoustic guitar. I download it onto my computer and go from there. When I think I have something, I send it over to Lu to get his thoughts, and we go back and forth until the track is complete and we both think that it’s ready. We then send the rough track to our engineer (Dusty), and he prepares the bed tracks. Once he’s ready for us, we go into the studio and record all of our parts. Pretty simple. Today’s recording process is so much easier (and way cheaper) than the days of 2-inch tape, that’s for sure.
We had about 11 tracks completed when we were ready to pick the songs for our debut album. A few of the tracks had some similar messages, so we decided to save them for the second album. We had six tracks already chosen, and then decided to add a cover of “The Rose” (by Bette Midler), an idea that came from our friend (and Publisher/Editor of Hard Rock Daddy) Adam Waldman.
Each of the original tracks on the album are very personal. There is a lot going on in the lyrics.
Some themes are obvious, like “60 Days” (which is about losing my father-in-law). He was diagnosed with lung cancer, and died almost exactly 60 days later. I wrote the song at his bedside the night before he died.
“Where Did I Go Wrong” is pretty straight forward. It’s about realizing that a lot of the pain and struggle that we go through is often times self-inflicted. Your life is a bit of a mess. You know you did it to yourself, but you’re not quite sure how.
“Hands On The Wheel” is a warning. Stay focused on the things that are important in your life, otherwise you’ll be left trying to pick up the pieces.
“Leave It All Behind” is about moving forward from a painful situation, but at the same time, coming to terms with the fact that it’s easier said than done.
“Dead Or Alive” and “Darkest Days” are connected. They tell the story of someone giving a warning. You don’t want to see my “darkest side.” And, if you push too hard, you’ll end up wanted…“dead or alive.” When I wrote these songs, I was going through an intense personal time in my life. There were so many emotions and complicated thoughts going through my mind. The timing was perfect. I never could’ve written those lyrics even five years ago. It was truly cathartic. I guess everything happens for a reason.
The only cover on the album (“The Rose”) is a song about hope. It brings all of the struggles of the other songs full circle. No matter how difficult your situation may be, never give up hope. Stay positive, and the sun will shine (even after the most terrible storm).
I’m looking forward to writing Chapter 5 of My Rock and Roll Journey. In that chapter, I’ll be sharing the story about the reunion of our childhood band, the rehearsals for the album release party, and of course, the show itself. Stay tuned!…
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