It was late 1991. I was deep in composing new music for my then progressive-rock orchestral band, Fable. I had been turned on to pro-rock music when I was introduce to the European prog-rock band Marillion the year before. After having listened to their epic 1985 concept album, Misplaced Childhood. I found my muse. But it would be the life changing concert Marillion put on at The Palace in Los Angeles March 2, 1990 that would forever change the path I would undertake musically.
Although the concert featured new music from Marillion’s just released 1990 album, Seasons End, and included a new lead singer named, Steve Hogarth. The impact of that show was not wasted on me and it would set the bar for my future musical endeavors.
After taking in the new music and the performance by Marillion, I put on my writing cap and looked to create my own epic tune. One of the first experimented songs to come out of that experience was a little ditty in 7/8.
Having no formal musical training, or experience in meter and time signatures. I believed at the very least. I knew what sounded good, and I believed I had come up with a little lick that sounded interesting enough to pursue.
So I got to working. Switching on my then cutting edge Roland D-20 workstation. I would begin the process of trying to produce this newly discovered tune myself. My first hurdle was trying to figure out why my default 4/4 setting wasn’t working for my new song’s sequence. Everything was off. It wasn’t until hours later, going through various meter settings that I discover having my drum meter set to 7/8 (which seemed kinda odd), that I could finally sequence the parts to my new song correctly.
I had a cool lick and now I could add some poor sequenced drums, add some horrible guitar samples and at best a mediocre vocal track. But these things would help to bring to life a very interesting musical piece. I also came up with a melody that sounded a little like something former Marillion frontman Fish might sing. British accent and all.
Once all the parts were put together and recorded. I played the rough demo for then Fable guitarist Dave Perrigan. Dave and I had been collaborating on many of Fable’s songs since the band started. This would be the first tune penned by myself that was without any of Dave’s contributions. The song did not receive a warm reception. It was labeled “too keyboardy” by Dave. Although Fable’s then drummer Dave Scherer seemed to like the song, it would ultimately get shelved.
It would be a year later after Fable’s break-up, and Dave and I rejoining to start a Christian band that we would meet bassist Marc Miller and drummer Gary Zdenek. Together we would become the second incarnation of the band Fair Exchange. It was there that the song would finally see the light of day. For a time the song was simply known as the 7/8 tune. After improvising the lyrics ‘After The Rain‘, during a rehearsal, I saw a window for the song’s message. After Marc and Gary gave the song the progressive pop edge it needed. Dave couldn’t help but finally see the potential the song offered.
A few original elements remained in the song outside of the main chord progression. Such as the lyrics: “You’ve got a one-way ticket to paradise, but you can never find the time. You’d better take the time to listen. Before your lose your mind”. All other lyrics would be scrapped and be re-written by me, as well as a new melody for the song.
When all was said and done. The band knew they had something special. After we recorded a real demo of the song in our own studio we would call on close friend and videographer, Shawn Van Eeckhoutte. Shawn would be asked to use his incredible filming talents to produce a music video for the song now titled, ‘After The Rain‘.
It would be Gary Zdenek who would provide the video’s storyboard. It would be filmed on location in the city of Orange County, California. The video was shot in two sessions. The exteriors were shot in early January, as it had rained that month (how timely). Then six months later in June. Close-up’s of me singing my vocal parts shot in June required the use of a water hose to give the appearance of rain. The ‘After The Rain‘ video went on to win a few cool awards. more importantly, the song finally got to be heard. Not too bad.
So this week’s Flashback Friday takes a look back at the 7/8 song that almost wasn’t. The song that helped me discover that there was more to music than just 4/4.
Below is my original home recording and music video.
Filmed in 1993 on location in Orange County, California.
Director/Videographer: Shawn Van Eeckhoutte
Film Editor: Shawn Van Eeckhoutte
Storyboard and Art Direction: Gary Zdenek
Production Assistance: Mike Leszczynski
- After The Rain (Original Idea) Ed Melendez 3:37