Singled Out: Hey Now, Morris Fader
So, I had been trying to write material for the new record and was coming up with songs, but it all sounded the same to me. Like I just kept rewriting the same songs over and over, and the songs weren't all that great to begin with. I mentioned something to my wife about it and she came up with this idea – step away from the piano (which is typically where I write most of my music) and try to write something on the guitar. That was all it took. I started with the chorus progression and then the verses came, and the lyrics pretty much wrote themselves. I remember it was a Sunday and I was really bummed that I had to go back to work the next day – as most people are on Sunday evenings! So the lyrics took on a sarcastic look at having to spend so much time doing something you really couldn't care less about. The song title is implied in the second verse by suggesting that the blues and alcohol are how we cope with this reality – like I said, very sarcastic!
The song took shape over the next couple of rehearsals. I did a demo that I sent to the rest of the band of me playing it on guitar – power chords and distortion. It wasn't until we started rehearsing it with me on the piano where I started getting the idea for the horns. The horn lines basically wrote themselves. We did another demo of it as the trio and I took that and sequenced the horn parts (it sounded ridiculous!) and wrote some charts which I sent to our horn section to study for the recording. We knew we wanted guitar on the tune as well. My friend Troy Gonyea is probably the best guitarist you could ever meet, and we were honored to get him to play on our record. I sent him all the demos that I had – the one with distortion and power chords and the one without guitar. We never rehearsed the song with him, he just showed up at the studio to lay down his parts. I was expecting something similar to the versions I had sent him, but he pulls out his slide and says that he wants to try something. So we start rolling and he lays down this slide track like he's been playing the song for 10 years. Upon hearing his slide and the horn parts, it suddenly sounded drastically different, but way better. We were thrilled. There's so much going on in the song that the piano part ended up being extremely simple. My goal was to stay out of everything's way!
And one last funny story I remember about this specific tune was that there's two separate lyric parts going on in the chorus. I remember driving to the studio with Pez discussing what we should do in the chorus – up to that point, we only had the background part established and we felt that the chorus should be a bit more distinct. So then we just started coming up with different rhymes that we could involve with lyrics about booze, and ultimately the line "So fill my glass up, I'm pretty hard up". The line in the final chorus – "High balls are back and better than ever" – is an inside joke with Pez and some friends of ours. We were pumped that it fit into one of the choruses!
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album right here!