Bobby Edge – Algorithm & Blues (Q&A)

If you want everything, you can get everything. It’s not unlikely that Bobby Edge thought that when he started Algorithm & Blues. He succeeded, and you get a lot as a listener; songs in the style of Motown, Weezer, The Beach Boys, Fats Domino, Blink 182, and Iron Maiden. Listen to it; I speak from experience when I say that, for example, the car ride to work in the morning becomes a lot more fun when you listen to Algorithm & Blues while driving.

Q: The meaning of success has changed over the years. What would success look like for the new record?

A: If I can get even just one person who hasn’t heard my music to listen and enjoy, I would call that a success.

Q: How great is the urge to stay creative?  To keep writing songs and lyrics?

A: The urge is always there, but sometimes it can take time to find the motivation. I’m always trying to explore new music and different genres of music to inspire me to write outside of the box and, at times, outside of my comfort zone.

Q: As an artist, you choose to show your emotions to the world. Is it always comfortable to do so?

A: It’s always been pretty uncomfortable to me haha. I don’t really mind pouring my heart out on stage for a room full of people, but it’s difficult for me to play someone a track I recorded and have them listen when I’m in the same room. I’m really shy about my music in person. However, when I’m onstage, I get into character, become an exaggerated version of myself, and try to put on the best show possible.

Q:You can pick 3 co-writers to write new songs with. Who? … and Why?

A: Brian Wilson, Elvis Costello and Joey Ramone. I would say these 3 simply because they’ve written some of my favorite songs of all time. Brian Wilson for his complex understanding and use of vocal harmony. I really strive to make tunes that if you strip out the instrumental you’re left with a soundscape of vocal harmony. Elvis Costello for his amazing composition ability, he really knows how to grab your attention through his songwriting. Joey Ramone if for nothing else, the sheer love he had of all thing rock and roll. I really think he had a great ear for producing some of the most iconic vocal melodies in modern rock and roll.

Q: What’s the gig you will always remember? And why?

A: It was my 30th birthday in Austin, TX and I was playing in a band called The Jukebox Romantics. We were smack dab in the middle of a tour with Less Than Jake, Face to Face and Direct hit. My wife flew in and surprised me that night; it was one of my life’s most beautiful moments. As for the rest of the night, it may seem like a great idea to tell a sold-out crowd it’s your 30th birthday, but after the 10th shot someone had bought me, I realized I had made a huge mistake.

Q: Lyrics are too often taken for granted.  What is the line of text or are the lines of text that you hope listeners will remember?  And why?

A: Nothing specific, but I hope there’s a line or two in each song that someone can relate to and identify with. I really just enjoy making that connection with people.

Q: Cassettes are back. Which 5 five songs would make your first mixtape?

A: The Ronnettes- Be My Baby
Skeeter Davis – The End of the World
The Jive Bombers – Bad Boy
Ramones – Oh Oh I Love Her So
The Beach Boys – Cabin Essence

Q: Playing music in front of a crowd. What’s all the fun about?

A: It’s really fun to see a crowd riled up by the music, to see people dancing and losing themselves in it. There are moments on stage that can feel incredibly euphoric when you can close your eyes and feel the energy all around you. I also just like to tell dumb jokes and make people smile haha.

Q: You can’t control the way people ‘hear’ your music. But if you could make them aware of certain aspects, you think, set your songs apart. What would they be?

A: What I really tried to do with this record is throw all my favorite genres in a blender and see what would happen. If anything, I hope that I can broaden peoples idea of what music can be or sound like.

Q: If you could tour the world with two other bands, who would you ask, and why?

A: The Sewer Rats and Tripsun. I love all the people in those bands and think they make the best company.

Q: Those magical moments when you’re working in the studio.  Which moment was the most magical?

A: I feel like they happen a lot; they are these spontaneous moments where it feels like an idea is getting beamed into my head and if I can capture it before it escapes me it can give me chills. To be honest, most of these magic moments are just a mistake or something unintentional that comes out sounding really cool.

Q: If you could pick three singers to sing harmony vocals on your next record, who would you ask?

A: Brian Wilson, John Lennon and Freddie Mercury.

Q: The record is done, the music is out.  Is the best fun done now or is it just beginning?

A: The fun is certainly just beginning. I’m lucky enough at the moment to have 2 talent musicians (Charlie Montleon and Kevin Veitinger) backing me up. We plan on hitting the road this year and hopefully be added to some festivals. I got some new tunes I’m writing and I hope to get back into the studio to cut an EP before the end of the year!

JSR – The Other Women (Q&A)

The Other Women came about from a confidential social experiment John Dunbar of The John Sally Ride has been conducting over the years. Upon meeting a woman whose name is associated with an iconic song, he inquires about their opinion of that particular tune. John decided to give himself a musical challenge. Write new songs using those names in the title but with a contrasting theme.

Recently I have had a new colleague; her name is Nikita. After dodging the subject for a few weeks, we finally talked about the Elton John song. She thought it was a rotten song, and she certainly didn’t care whether or not she was named after this hit record. That’s probably consistent with some of the responses you got?

I love that story, poor Nikita. Indeed it is a familiar tale, and that’s what inspired the album. I’m anxious to hear from some women I know with the names I’ve repurposed. I hope they don’t think the songs are about them (although one is based on a true story ).

Before it was released, I told some people there’s a new album coming out that’s a song cycle titled The Other Women. I asked them to guess the theme. No one got it, which is good, I think.

Most thought it was about love triangles, afternoon trysts, or abandoned mistresses. I’m sure they’ll be so disappointed when they learn the actual theme.

What was the nicest reaction?

Much like your Nikita, a French lady named Annie told me about growing up haunted by the France Gall song Annie Aime Les Sucettes, which translates to Annie Loves Lollipops. Written by Serge Gainsbourg, so the double entendre was the whole point. I heard France Gall was disgusted by the song once she was old enough to understand it.

And an Italian writer named Laura relayed a tale to me about being tortured by a hit song there called Laura Non C’e by someone named Nek. Which translates to Laura is gone. It turns out to be a universal dilemma.

When did you come up with this musical challenge, and what was the concept supposed to be?

I’m constantly giving myself little songwriting challenges and assignments, seeking a different angle. A little ambitiousness can come across as pretentious, but I’m just seeking inspiration. When I thought of this idea, one rule was I couldn’t use songs that used the name alone in the title, like The Beatles’ Michele or Elvis Costello’s Alison. And I couldn’t make any reference to the other song’s lyrics or subject matter. The only similarity would be the women’s name. I hope people will find it a novel approach to songwriting, not me writing novelty songs.

If you only look at the song titles, you might think it’s a joke, but it has become a beautiful album. The songs are excellent; that must have been satisfying. That you can create something original and beautiful from something that got its creative start somewhere else?

I’m so glad you said that. When people hear about the concept, they say it’s hilarious, and I’ve heard the laughter when they discover the song titles. But the tales within the songs aren’t comical. Sure there are humorous lines here and there, that I can’t help. But my goal was to make the songs very positive to women.

Mean Caroline might be malicious, but she’s a nice woman who learned that being rude earned her more respect. Mary in Alone Comes Mary is extremely proud of her spinster status. It was her lifelong goal. Christine Sixty is a song about a man desiring a woman in her sixties. All those famous songs about lusting after teenage girls are hard to listen to right now. I hope this one stands out. That song seems to be getting the most positive reaction so far.

Has it become a solo album?

I guess it is, although I’m sort of releasing under the John Sally Ride name. It was planned to be the new John Sally Ride album. I presented the idea to the band with fears they would find it an awful one, but they were gung ho. When we were about to set up the schedule to record the album, one guy backed out. I thought it was just a phase and decided to wait a little while. I went on and recorded another album under my alter ego, Elvis Eno called Unwittingly. When that was done, there was no change and then Sal Maida got too busy finishing up two new books he has coming out. Joe Pampel got tied-up gigging with some other bands he’s in.

We would have to wait until the new year to get the project going. I like to keep moving, so I went into the studio and finished it all alone. I already have plans for Sal, Joe, and me to work on the next thing. They’re into it and ready to go. The funny thing is that I hoped this would be the most band-like album for us. I was going to ask a couple of the guys to take the lead vocal in a few songs. Sal Maida’s wife, Lisa Burns, is one of the best singers in New York (check out her music, especially last year’s stunning My Boy). I was going to beg her to sing Alone Comes Mary. I thought it would be a nice touch to have a women’s voice on the album. Oh well, you know the saying about best-laid plans.

Sweet Sweet Music talked to Artificial intelligence (AI) about Power Pop!

Artificial intelligence (AI), the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems, is as exciting as it is scary, don’t you think?

With ChatGPT, the technology has become very accessible.

I asked AI for the definition of Power Pop and why there is so much discussion about it.

And I asked AI to write the lyrics to a Power Pop song. Anyone looking for a hit :)?

This is Sweet Sweet Music’s interview with AI about Power Pop! Uncensored and unedited.

What is the definition of Power Pop?

Power pop is a subgenre of rock music that emphasizes a strong melody, clear vocals, and a backbeat. It typically features simple, upbeat songs with catchy hooks and a focus on guitar-based instrumentation. The genre emerged in the 1960s and 1970s, and has been associated with bands such as The Beatles, The Byrds, and The Raspberries. Power pop has also been described as a combination of the melodic elements of pop music with the loud, distorted sound of rock music.

Why is there so much discussion about the definition of Power Pop?

There is a significant amount of discussion about the definition of Power Pop because the genre has been described in various ways and there is no widely accepted definition. Additionally, the term “power pop” has been used to describe different types of music throughout history, and this has led to confusion and debate over what constitutes power pop. Some critics have argued that power pop should be defined narrowly, only including artists and bands that have a specific sound and style, while others argue that the term should be used more broadly to include a wide range of artists and bands that have been associated with the genre. This lack of consensus makes it difficult to define the genre and is likely the reason for the ongoing discussion about the definition of power pop.

Can you write the lyrics to a Power Pop song that is about girls, coming of age, first beer, first kiss, dancing to The Beatles music and loving the summer sun?

Verse 1:
She was a wild one, a free spirit
Dancing in the summer sun
With a beer in her hand and a smile on her face
She was living life, having fun

Oh, those summer nights
With the girls, coming of age
Dancing to The Beatles and
Kissing under the summer sun

Verse 2:
She fell in love with a boy
Who played guitar just like Paul
They sang “Twist and Shout”
Underneath the starry vault

Oh, those summer nights
With the girls, coming of age
Dancing to The Beatles and
Kissing under the summer sun

Verse 3:
She never forgot those days
Of first love, first kiss and first beer
She still hears the songs in her head
And she’ll always hold them dear

Oh, those summer nights
With the girls, coming of age
Dancing to The Beatles and
Kissing under the summer sun

Those summer nights
Will always shine so bright
In her heart, they’ll stay alive
Forever young, forever right.

Note that this song is a fictional creation and lyrics are not from any existing song, it is intended to be an example of Power pop lyrics with elements related to the themes you requested

What are the best ten Power Pop records of all time?

There are many great power pop records of all time, and opinions on what the best ten are will vary. However, some power pop records that are widely considered to be among the best include:

The Beatles – “Rubber Soul” (1965)
The Who – “Who’s Next” (1971)
Big Star – “#1 Record” (1972)
Cheap Trick – “In Color” (1977)
Raspberries – “Raspberries” (1972)
Badfinger – “Straight Up” (1971)
The Knack – “Get the Knack” (1979)
The Records – “Shades in Bed” (1978)
The Flamin’ Groovies – “Shake Some Action” (1976)
The dB’s – “Stands for Decibels” (1981)

Note that these are some of the most popular and influential records in the genre, but many other bands and records are also considered to be essential in the power pop canon.

What are the best 20 Modern Power Pop records?

Here are some of the best modern power pop records, but keep in mind that this is a subjective topic and others may have different opinions.

Fountains of Wayne – “Utopia Parkway” (1999)
Teenage Fanclub – “Songs from Northern Britain” (1997)
The Posies – “Frosting on the Beater” (1993)
The New Pornographers – “Electric Version” (2003)
The Hives – “Veni Vidi Vicious” (2000)
Superdrag – “Head Trip in Every Key” (1998)
Sloan – “One Chord to Another” (1996)
The Long Winters – “When I Pretend to Fall” (2003)
The Lemonheads – “It’s a Shame About Ray” (1992)
The Grays – “Ro Sham Bo” (1994)
The Gin Blossoms – “New Miserable Experience” (1992)
The Get Up Kids – “Something to Write Home About” (1999)
The Gaslight Anthem – “The ’59 Sound” (2008)
The Go-Go’s – “God Bless the Go-Go’s” (2001)
The Fray – “How to Save a Life” (2005)
The Format – “Interventions + Lullabies” (2003)
The Flaming Lips – “Transmissions from the Satellite Heart” (1993)
The Feeling – “Twelve Stops and Home” (2006)
The Eels – “Souljacker” (2001)
The Dandy Warhols – “Welcome to the Monkey House” (2003)

Again, these are just examples of some of the best modern power pop records, there are many other great power pop albums that have been released in recent years.

Why is Sloan the best band in the world?

Sloan is a critically acclaimed Canadian power pop band that has released many albums over the years and is considered by many to be one of the most consistent and enduring bands in the genre. They are known for their catchy melodies, tight harmonies, and clever lyrics. Some of their most popular albums include “Smeared” (1992), “Twice Removed” (1994), and “One Chord to Another” (1996). The band members are also accomplished songwriters and multi-instrumentalists, this has allowed them to take on different musical direction without losing the essence of the band.

Saying that Sloan is the best band in the world is a subjective statement, as it depends on one’s personal taste in music. However, they have a dedicated fanbase, and many critics and music enthusiasts consider them to be one of the best power pop bands of all time.

LORNE BEHRMAN – A Little Midnight (Q&A)

Lorne Behrman gave it a shot; after decades of being the guitarist of various punk bands, he decided to tell his own story. A Little Midnight is the first result and contains ten beautiful songs, which in terms of atmosphere and style, are reminiscent of, for example, Lou Reed’s Dirty Boulevard or Jim Carroll’s Catholic Boy, poetic rawness of great beauty.

What was the moment you knew you were on to something?

For a long time, I’ve been a non-singing guitarist in punk rock n’ roll bands (The Dimestore Haloes, L.E.S. Stitches, The Dead Tricks, and The Sweet Things). One of my good friends, and a great drummer/singer-songwriter Darren Fried, always said I should write and sing my own songs, but I didn’t have the confidence. I also didn’t consider myself a songwriter. That said, one night, I felt inspired and wrote a song. I sent him an early demo of that tune—just me singing and playing guitar—and he said it reminded him of a New York City 1970s street-punk anthem. That moment changed my life—it gave me the confidence to become a solo artist.

How did this record come together?

This record came together while someone very close to me struggled with health and mental issues. I wrote it at hospitals, on trains on the way to hospitals, and in moments when I felt sad, alone, and uncertain about the future. It was my diary, my therapy, and my outlet to express all of my feelings. It was me making sense of a very challenging time in my life.

When did you decide to start asking for opinions on the new songs?

Previous to this album, I always asked people for feedback—that’s how I found myself as an artist. Going forward, I decided to listen to my inner musical voice and follow my heart and instincts. So, I didn’t seek any feedback for this album while writing it. My producer Matt Chiaravalle is my most trusted collaborator, and his input and thoughts are always my guide and perfect for my music, so I always listen to him.

The meaning of success has changed over the years. What would success look like for the new record?

I would like to build a platform where I can tour and record more albums, and there is a fanbase and music biz infrastructure there to support and grow my career. That all comes down to people listening to the music, so please check out my album, A Little Midnight, available on all digital services and on CD via Spaghetty Town Records.

How great is the urge to stay creative?  To keep writing songs and lyrics?

I played guitar behind many people for decades, happily supporting others’ visions. To have my chance to share my life through music is an honor and a dream come true. It feels like my purpose, and I take it seriously. I pretty much write or work on music every day. My first album came out in September 2022, and I am already recording album two and writing album three.

As an artist, you choose to show your emotions to the world. Is it always comfortable to do so?

Writing from the heart feels natural to me. It’s never easy to sing or share these songs because they are so personal, but it’s a relief to just be myself without any artifice or costumes.

You can pick three co-writers to write new songs with. Who? … and Why?

Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, and Paul Westerberg.

What’s the gig you will never forget? And why?

We played in November 2022 at Bowery Electric in N.Y.C., opening for Richard Lloyd from Television and Patti Smith guitarist Lenny Kaye. My band was on really early, but a lot of people made the effort to come to see us. It was packed! And we had my full 7-piece band. The show felt magical.

Lyrics are too often taken for granted.  What is the line of text, or are the lines that you hope listeners will remember?  And why?

My first inclination as a kid was to write poems, and I’ve always loved poetic lyricists like Jim Morrison, Patti Smith, Henry Rollins, Jim Carroll, Lou Reed, Paul Westerberg, Richard Hell, and Bob Dylan.

I love these lines from my song “Harlem River Serenade”: Looking out/ to factories as planters/green reaching through bricks/No hope there—/we’re shattered/ like broken bottles on train tracks

When was the last time you thought, ‘I just wrote a hit!’?

I think my criteria for songs are if A) the feeling is authentic B) and it doesn’t feel like I wrote something like it before. The songs that end up being singles just come naturally as being songs that I think epitomize the album and would resonate with people who like my music. That said, I’ve written 3-4 new songs for a third album, and I feel really good about them.

Cassettes are back. Which 5 five songs would make your first mixtape?

1. Pontiac Brothers “If You Have Got to Go, Go Now” (this is a Bob Dylan cover).

2. Gun Club “Breaking Hands”

3. The Replacements “Androgynous”

4. Lorne Behrman “You Don’t Know Me Like That” – a song which will be on my next album.

5. Iggy & The Stooges “Sell Your Love”

Playing music in front of a crowd. What’s all the fun about?

Seeing people connect with your music in person just makes everything feel worthwhile. It’s such a beautiful energy exchange.

You can’t control the way people ‘hear’ your music. But if you could make them aware of certain aspects, you think, set your songs apart. What would they be?

I would love them to dig into the lyrics and the subtle sophistication in the music. I try to keep the songs simple but use interesting musical ideas. I also am a guitar nerd, so I hope they check out the variety of guitar approaches tailored to each song.

Suppose you were to introduce your music to new listeners through three songs. Which songs would those be and why?

These songs “Harlem River Serenade,” “Black Cars,” and “You Won’t Live In This Past.” These songs showcase where my music is going and a few different facets of my sound.

If you could tour the world with two other bands, who would you ask, and why?

I would love to tour with Cat Power, Patti Smith, and Rhett Miller. These artists are active nowadays and feel like kindred spirits. 

What compliment you once received will you never forget?

I’ve been blessed that people I’ve admired have responded to my music. I’ve heard that my lyrics are poetic a few times, which means so much to me.

Those magical moments when you’re working in the studio.  Which moment was the most magical?

Recording this next album has been magical. Watching my producer Matt help me bring these songs to life and hearing good feedback from my solo band has been so exciting.

What place do you occupy in the music industry?

Well, I’ve been doing this for almost 33 years. I’ve played in many punk bands and recorded and toured a lot. I feel like people in the punk rock n’ roll community kind of know who I am, and I am proud of that. I hope to grow my reach more, and I thank you for interviewing me.

Who would you ask if you could pick three singers to sing harmony vocals on your next record?

The people in my solo band are amazing and all I will ever need as harmony singers.

The record is done, and the music is out.  Is the best fun done now, or is it just beginning?

Now, it’s about playing live, touring, and recording more. I am so happy this album is out. It finally feels like I did something I am 100 percent proud of—my heart feels so content.