Singled Out: Al Krause's Five Minutes

Al Krause

Al Krause just released his new album "Tale To Tell" and to celebrate we asked him to tell us the story behind the song "Five Minutes". Here is the story:

I started writing songs as a kid… more like poems at that time… love and happiness… girls and sex… heart break, sadness, suicide… you know… the thoughts that every normal teenage kid has after he finds his father dying on the floor and can't do anything to save his life… and I could see him say good bye, with a glazed look in his eyes… so yea… then my dog had cancer and they killed her about 8 weeks later, but really who gives a sh*t about that with the image of your dying father is burned so deep within your memories and you blame yourself cause as hard and as hard and as hard as you tried to save him with all those bullsh*t boy scout life saving techniques, you failed… and watched him slip away… every single time you closed your eyes… but you eventually get over something like that… I think… cause everyone dies, you can't change that, and every one lies, and that's a fact, and in the midnight sky, there's a vampire bat… sucking my soul dry… and that's a fact… life is full of pain and pleasure, one man's junk is another man's treasure, what's the matter, what's the measure… when you feel pain, I feel pleasure… see, it's sh*t like that, that you scribble down as part of your own personal therapy, when you're a kid and you think your cranial fluid in dripping from your ears and you can actually feel your brain settling inside the base of your skull… but seriously… Yikes… right? Guess I was kind of messed up for a while…

But about my purpose here… Like I said, historically my inspiration for songs came from life's experiences, relationships, places, dreams, nightmares, and more. And so I wrote haphazardly whenever inspiration struck… watching an unforgettable sunset, hearing a word or phrase, catching a glimpse of lingerie… but now for about the past 18 months, I have been a member of a song writing group where we are given phrases each week to write songs about. Each of the eight songs on this record is a product of that song writing group. I mostly write lyrics, and "melodies" which are only melodies in the techno-loop-alt-indie-EDM(?) world (if that place actually exists), but for this project, I hooked up with Tony Lucca and Jason Spiewak to tweak the lyrics and rearrange the music. We spent a handful of days in Nashville on two separate occasions tweaking the lyrics to better fit the music that Tony was composing on his acoustic guitar in a hotel room on the West End. It was an incredibly cool experience for me and when we were done, we had the basics down for each song, but Tony needed to put the finishing musical touches on the each after we left. In the months that followed, Tony would send acoustic versions of each song to me and we'd discuss and revise, making minor and major changes along the way. Sometime early in that process Tony and Jason identified a variety of different artists who would sing each of the songs. I'd listen to samples of their stuff and give my two cents worth of opinion on who I thought would work well for each song… a real collaborative effort. When we were all done, Tony and his cohorts, turned my lyrics and songs into some really beautiful music… and that's what we're talking about here… something beautiful and inspiring… Tony sings vocals on four of the songs - State of Emergency, Yes I Do, Tale to Tell and Five Minutes, Michael Pearsall has the vocals on Upswing, Dan and Nate Monea harmonize the lyrics on Count Me In, Matt Duke sings Nervous Energy and Paul Pfau provides the vocals for Everyday Miracles. Each of the performers brings something different to project. Pearsall brings the sound of hope to a dying town, Pfau croons the upbeat verses of how amazing everyday life can be, Duke sings in such a way that you think you're inside his head listening to his own very personal thoughts and Lucca takes it from an energetic rock vocal in SOE to the heart-wrenching and somber sounds of 5M, with YID and T2T both falling somewhere in between.

The writing group phrase that we were given for the week of September 21, 2015 was "Five Minutes" and although the subject matter of the song is incredibly painful for me… Tony Lucca turned it into an amazingly beautiful composition… we originally had this song slated for a female vocal, but after I listened to Tony's acoustic version with a close friend, it was more than apparent that emotion pouring through his vocals captured the frail state that I was in. We kind of thought that having a female vocal on this song we might lose that fragile state of mind, but hearing a male voice, Tony's voice, so vulnerable and exposed just really drove it all home for me. The lyrics are about the last 5 minutes that I spent with my father after he had a massive heart attack and I found him lying on the floor… I was 14… and no matter what I did, how hard I tried… I failed… and he was gone… and I can still hear the paramedic saying to my frantically crying mother…. There's no response ma'am…

In order to help further understand the inspiration of the song, to add a bit more flavor… and a little deeper look into workings within my life… I thought that I'd let you know that my father (Earle Edward Krause)… was the greatest man that I have ever personally known (who would have done, and actually did everything that he could ever possibly do to make a better life for his family… he was an amazing man… he was a master carpenter, an artist, a musician, a cowboy, a dairy farmer, a bar owner, a machinist, a dear friend to so many… my personal role model and most importantly… my dad… there were no athletes… no movie stars… no rock 'n rollers… no one of any celebrity consequence who I would have ever even given the slightest thought to being considered a "role model" for me… it was only him… he was my hero)… Earle Edward Krause was not the only son of his parents, but his brother died as an infant… and my father's father (grandpa Krause, died many years before I was born of a massive heart attack as he was crossing the street in Chicago one evening on his way home from work) was the only son of his parents… so the "Krause" name was handed down to my brother, Marc and me… and Marc has two wonderful children, both daughters and I have two amazing children, both daughters… and so the Krause name (at least within my family tree) ends with me…

But the legacy of songs and music and every other artistic creation possible live on and on and on and on…. And so the story of "5 Minutes" will carry the legacy of the final moments of Earle Edward Krause on forevermore… and so I need to say thank you to Tony Lucca and Jason Spiewak for helping me take my simple song and lyrics and creating such a beautiful message and touching legacy for the greatest man that I ever knew…

So as we approach Veteran's day, I think it's only appropriate to pick this song to discuss as, my father was a veteran of both World War II and the Korean War. During World War II he was shot and taken as a POW during the Battle of the Bulge in France as the war was drawing to an end and in that same battle my Uncle Henry (my mother's brother) was shot and killed…
A toast and tip of the cap to all Veterans on this upcoming and most memorable day…

Thanks for reading, and thanks for listening… Have a great day!

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself as you preview the new album right here!


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