"You Can't Escape Life"
(Love Muffin Records)
I am Adam Rich, a 33 year old male from Cleveland, Ohio. I’ve been into music since I was a kid. I released 2 full length cassettes and a 4-song cassette in college. I released my first CD Foundation in 2002, and my current CD You Can’t Escape Life in 2006.
All the songs on You Can’t Escape Life were recorded between 2003 and 2005. Mixing was done mid 2005, and it was sent off to be duplicated in late 2005. Release date was January 24th, 2006.
I used mainly one guitar and one bass – My sunburst Fender Strat which I have had since I was 23, and my “foto flame” Fender Jazz bass which I have had since I was 21. The drums used were a Ludwig Rocker kit which my parents bought me for my 16th birthday Also used sparingly was a black Fender Espirit guitar. I got it in 12th grade. The guitar now no longer works. I have yet to take it to get it checked out.
The idea for the title came about when my mother, who is getting older and getting more health problems, was having a bad day. I said to her “mom, you can’t just escape life”. I shortened it to You Can’t Escape Life, and there it was. The cover was done by an artist friend of my collaborator Jared Levengood who I met in college around 1994. The inside photo of me and my car was taken in 12th grade. The photos under the CD are from recording the CD as well as from college. Recording was done in my basement. Mixing and mastering was done by Jared on his computer. The inserts and CD’s were replicated/printed professionally as opposed to my last CD which was an entirely 100% D.I.Y. effort with the CD’s being burned in my basement and the inserts printed on my computer. I knew I wanted this one professionally done.
Frizzhead – I wanted instrumentals to open and close the CD, sort of like bookends. The first one would be something short and start out calm but then bust into it, while the last one would be a balls out song. This idea reminded me of the Who’s “Baba O’Reilly” and was played using my thumb and first finger. There were some tough finger stretches (at one point my fingers are 6 frets apart) and I decided to lay each finger down on a separate track one at a time, which I actually found tougher. The name Frizzhead is something my ex girlfriend would call my hair because it was so long and frizzy.
Perfect – An ode of thanks specifically to my parents and my girlfriend at the time, but I guess it could be directed at anyone. I’ve been making my own recordings since I was in high school. I never got a full time “proper” job after college, just a part time job so I could concentrate on music. Thus, I am always low on money. With family and even at times the girlfriend telling me “you need a backup plan” or “maybe it’s time to give up your dream of being a musician”, this song is my way of thanking them for putting up with me. Heavily influenced by Social Distortion and the Ramones. The solo was actually planned out, a rare thing for me. The idea came to me fairly quick, as did the lyrics. My friend Derek did guest vocals. He has that raspy punk voice I was looking for. Jared, my main collaborator for the CD, played drums. I handled guitar and bass.
YCEL – The title track to the CD. The lyrics were written sporadically over 2 years or so. A verse here, a verse there. All based on things and observations that happened around me. “A little girl missing found dead in a field in our own neighborhood” was a reference to the murder of Shakira Johnson that was on the news for a couple weeks straight. The lemonade stand reference was something else I saw on the news. Joey Ramone, Dee Dee Ramone and Johnny Cash all died during this time period, so I included it. My girlfriend at the time lived an hour away and did drive to see me because my car was a piece of crap and shook ferociously when I tried to take it on the freeway. And yes, my father routinely tells me “don’t get old, it’s not much fun.” The original demo had lots more distorted slide guitar outbursts in it. I was going for a Ben Harper feel – he uses a Weisenborn (?) slide guitar with heavy distortion. For vocals on this one, I got one of my longtime friends Alex Alvarez. He sung in a local band when I was in high school. When my college band played CBGB’s on a cold wintry Tuesday night, his band ended up being booked that night also. I’ve always wanted to get him to sing on one of my songs. He reminds me of Tom Waits, vocal-wise. The clapping and group choruses at the end were done by myself, Alex, Jared and my father. The inspiration for that came from a White Lion song. They were one of my favorite 80’s hair metal bands when I was in high school. I played guitar and bass on this one, Alex sang, and Jared played drums.
Vultures – this is one of the two songs written by Jared. He had the full lyrics and music all ready. He played guitar, drums and sang. I played bass and provided the guitar solos. The solos were done completely on the spot except for the main chorus melody line which took a short while to finalize. The beginning sounds like mexican/mariachi music you would hear at the beginning of a Robert Rodriguez or Quinten Tarantino movie. This was harder to pull off live since there was no second guitar player.
Glittery Eyes – One of the first two songs written (the other being Perfect) when I was starting to write songs for the new CD. Based on the true story of the girl who lived next door to me from ages 6-11, she did move to Arizona when her mom died and came back to visit in 2001. It was the first time I’d seen her or talked to her since she moved away. We were both 27 at the time, so it had been roughly 16 years. She had glitter on her eyelids and eyelashes, hence the title. I was going for a rock feel, something similar to John Cougar Mellencamp or Tom Petty. I ended up laying down some slide guitar parts and overdubs in the verses that gave it a hint of alt-country feel to it. The person that was going to sing this originally sent me a demo, revamped some of the lyrics, and then backed out but let me use the revisions. The second person I had in mind couldn’t do it. Jared recommended another old college friend Andy Elias, and that’s who ended up doing it. I played guitar, drums and bass. The first half of the solo was planned out in the original demo while the second part was written during recording. As of this writing, the girl plans to visit again in the summer of 2008. This is probably the second most emotional song I’ve written, lyrically.
Go Away Mr. Telemarketer – Don’t you hate when you are sitting down to dinner and riiiiiiiing its an annoying telemarketer trying to sell you something you don’t really want? One afternoon my phone rang and I randomly sang “go away, mr. telemarketer” with a melody. I quickly picked up my guitar and hashed out the chorus both vocally and musically. Since the subject was somewhat humorous, I thought of Reel Big Fish. I wanted to make the choruses uptempo punky but make the verses reggae. Jared came up with the idea of a middle part with various different telemarketers that builds to a point of frustrated anger. We came up with about a dozen different voices/products and narrowed it down to 6 or 7. Jared did the voices for all of them and I did the responses. I even left in the 1 or 2 times I stuttered. People have told me the phone ringing sounds so real that they will go answer their phone. I played guitar, bass and drums. Vocals were provided by yet another college friend Brian May. No, not the Brian May from Queen.
Whirling Dirvish – another Joe Satriani inspired instrumental. Uptempo guitars, driving bass. Not much to explain for this one. The idea just sort of came to me. The title is a holdover from high school. I had wanted use that as a title for a song but never wrote a song for it. I played everything.
Meteorology – the second of Jared’s two songs. He wanted me to do the guitar lead and sing one line in the chorus, “Is the car gonna drive by swallowed up by the blue sky.’ He had me say it and scream it, and then mixed them together. I accidentally switched the titles on the CD listing of both of his songs. So Vultures is really Meteorology and Meteorology is really Vultures. This song has a 90’s alternative/indie rock feel. Jared played guitar, drums and sang. I played lead guitar and bass. I like the slashing, offbeat E chord I put in the chorus. Most of the leads weren’t exactly totally planned out but weren’t spontaneous either. Somewhere in the middle.
Big Blue – This is one of the last remaining songs that I wrote in high school that I wanted to put on a future CD. It is highly inspired by Joe Satriani’s CD Flying In a Blue Dream”, specifically one of the few tapping songs called “Day At The Beach (New Rays From An Ancient Sun)”. I wrote it in 11th or 12th grade (1991 or 1992). This was my first attempt at writing a tapping song. Tapping is when you play by tapping your fingers on the fretboard instead of strumming.
Huh? – A properly recorded cut of the song that first appeared on my first actual release, a poorly recorded 4 song cassette from 1992. The melody is basically the same, the solos were improvised on the spot and the recording quality is much, much better.