Singled Out: LoNero's Little Bastard
This song was awesome to write. At the time I was very much into James Dean and his movies (still am). He lived his life his way and he lived it fast and died just as fast. I wanted to write a song that told how he lived but of course with no lyrics. Not very easy to do. I started with the title, "Little Bastard". That was the name of his Porsche Spyder. On the back of the car he had the words painted on it. Imagine in 1955 Hollywood when everyone was prim and proper, here comes this Porsche ripping around corners with a young James Dean behind the wheel and the words "Little Bastard" emblazoned on it. Today that seems tame but in those days it would have been tantamount to sticking the middle finger up at society.
I start the song with a harmonized riff that's high energy. This goes on for 8 measures. Then I wrote the rhythm for the verse. I knew I wanted a verse where the rhythm is nonstop and energetic but I didn't necessarily want a melody on top of it that was just as chaotic. So the melody on top is more open. To me the melody represents James Dean's rebelliousness and the rhythm is his life. Very fast and very chaotic.
Next comes the chorus. This I knew I wanted to be flowing. Almost like flying. I could have done the typical instrumental thing which is to play fast and nonsensical but I want the listener to travel along with the song not be left at the roadside scratching their head. For me this kind of chorus is more fun to play and more enjoyable to listen to. You can hum it and to me that's very important.
Next I go back to the verse but instead of it being a carbon copy of the first I shortened it and played a variation on it. This leads into the chorus again which is close to the first chorus in terms of phrasing.
The solo is next. I definitely wanted a solo that was chaotic and sounded like it could fall apart at any moment. When I recorded this solo it was pretty much spur of the moment improvised. I left all the string noises in it and finger slides. To me that's what creates excitement in a song. When you take a song and engineer it to the point where it sounds spotless and perfect then it has no life and just sounds blah. The end of the solo is an ascending tremolo picking riff that leads back into the intro riff.
At the end I recap the main melody with slight variations and an ascending riff that leads back into the chorus for twice as long as the previous choruses.
This sets up the end of the song that ends abruptly. I wanted the end to represent how James Dean's life ended. Fast but on his terms.
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album right here!