Singled Out: Roma! The Band
"Queenie" was the first song we wrote with our producer, David Barratt. The girls and I showed up for rehearsal one day, and David said: "We're going to write a song." He called out three chords, and told the girls to play any melody they wanted. Same for the drums.
To everyone's amazement, we had a seriously catchy riff on our hands within a matter of minutes. I remember thinking it sounded like one of my favorite Velvet Underground songs.
Then David turned to me and went: "What's your favorite poem?"
"Of all time?" I asked.
"Of all time," he answered. "Without thinking."
"The Wild Party," I said, without thinking. "It's a sleazy epic poem from the twenties by this guy named Joseph Moncure March. And it made Burroughs want to be a writer."
"From the twenties?" David asked. "Perfect! Then it's public domain. Let me take a look at it."
A quick Google search later, and he had the entire poem pulled up on his iPhone. He smiled. "The opening lines sound like a song," he said. "Look!"
"Queenie was a blonde, and her age stood still, And she danced twice a day in vaudeville."
He was right!
"Use these lines as a jumping off point for your lyrics," he said. "Go!"
All it took was a little nip and tuck here and there, and pretty soon I had the verses and the choruses down cold. I'll never forget the first time we played "Queenie" all the way through. It felt magical – almost like we'd channeled something. And none of us could stop smiling.
David looked at his watch. "You guys did that in 45 minutes," he deadpanned as only the British know how. "Now that wasn't so painful, was it?"
"The Wild Orgy": While most of our songs are written before we record them, "The Wild Orgy" was written in the studio. I use the word "studio" loosely, since our producer David Barratt actually recorded "The Wild Orgy" on his portable rig in my East Village apartment.
A reprise of the title track from The Wild Party, the song is built on a chorus of moans, gasps and pillow talk that borrows heavily from the "I'll have what she's having" scene in When Harry Met Sally. It was this orgasmic chorus that proved the most difficult to record.
Not on account of the performances – the girls did a stellar job of moaning and groaning – but because the apartment wasn't giving David the room sound that he wanted. After trying several different microphone placements in the bedroom, the kitchen and the living room, we settled on the bathroom – which hasn't been renovated since the thirties, and appears to have been designed for Warwick Davis and his family in Willow.
Given that two of us are six feet tall, I still can't figure out the physics of how we all fit in there to record. I think three of us piled up in the miniature bathtub, while the other two shared the toilet. Between running out of oxygen and the less than sensuous setting, it was tough for us to get in the mood.
But where there's a will, there's a way. Eventually we eked out a perfect take, and David freed us from the confines of my bathroom. So while "The Wild Orgy" may conjure up images of boudoirs and bordellos for the average listener, all it makes me think of is how small my bathroom is!
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album and check out their new video right here!