A ROCK OPERA
for a media-haunted world
A Rock Opera that explores the impact of mass media, social media and the digital information age on the quality of our lives.
It asks and attempts to answer the age old philosopher's question:
" WHAT IS GOOD AND WHAT IS NOT?"
This whole project began with a self-dare. One of my favorite books, one I have read over a dozen times, is "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" by Robert Pirsig. It is subtitled "An Inquiry Into Values," and explores the relationship between people, technology and quality. Written in 1974, it could not have contemplated the technology we live with today, but the principles are the same.
The self-dare was challenging myself to create music with a lyrical narrative that explores these same relationships in our modern world. At many times in the process, I threw up my hands and thought I would never get there. But then other books started to influence and enhance my thinking about "What is Good and What is Not." There were many books involved and I will talk about them at another time. Suffice it to say, examining our new digital world in this context became so important to me, I decided, no matter what I would find a way to get it done.
For the soundtrack recording the partners wanted to record more organically than they had in the past. This meant going into the big room at East-West Studios in Hollywood, CA and recording the backing tracks “live”. To do this, Kurt Barabas on bass and Steve Rogers on vocals and piano then needed to fill out the band. They brought in Bruce Watson to handle guitars of all types and Denny Fongheiser on drums and percussion. Bruce is the lead guitarist with Foreigner and showed up for the sessions with an army of guitars and amps and a boatload of enthusiasm. Denny has spent many years as the drummer for Heart and many other artists including Roger Waters, John Paul Jones, Bruce Cockburn, Al Stewart, Peter Frampton, and Tracy Chapman. Denny was also the drummer on the theme song for the hit TV show “Friends.” Denny was also selected by Rogers and Barabas to be the producer of the soundtrack recording. Recording the backing tracks live at the same studio where Frank Sinatra and Nirvana once recorded was thrilling. Rogers notes “Our previous recordings were done one track and instrument at a time, but our dream was to go back to the future and record live, the way it used to be done.” The live backing tracks and guitar overdubs were recorded over 13 days at East-West. For the composers, to have 100 minutes of music go from nothing to virtually complete in such a short time was the dream come true and the only way they will ever record again!
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