Tuesday, December 1, 2009

N I G H T L I G H T S... Read all about it!

01. Heart of Gold
02. Changing Lanes
03. Pretty Petty
04. Over You
05. She Always Leaves
06. Castaway (punk version)
07. I Live A Lie
08. Behind The Scenes
09. Downtown
10. Let A Lion
11. Battlescars (acoustic)
12. Coldest of Calendars (piano version)
13. Getting There Is Getting By (acoustic)
14. A Trip To The Other Side
15. Icicles
16. All Hopped Up On Jingle Bells
17. Don't Try This At Home (acoustic)
18. Greenlight (acoustic)
19. Pretty Petty (2005)
20. Punish Or PJ

Below you can read a track by track synopsis of our release Night Lights: A Collection of Previously Unreleased Songs!

1. The music and basic melody for "Heart Of Gold" was written while I was in Texas working with Barely Blind on songs that would later become their EP, My Life With A Giant. I was in the hall of their practice space with my trusty little voice recorder, which was sitting on a pile of boxes. Within two minutes of the original idea, I had written the melodies for the verse and pre-chorus. I wrote most of the lyrics while making my way from Texas to New York City, hence the references to Brookyln, the L Train, and the Roosevelt stop. "Heart Of Gold" was recorded the following spring at the Hazlett Theater on the North side of Pittsburgh. We also filmed a concert of ours in the same venue with the plan to release it on DVD. That along with footage from the past few years is in production, we're hoping to have something ready to release for the Spring.

Us performing "Heart Of Gold" at the Hazlett Theater.

2. "Changing Lanes," like most of these B-sides, was recorded at Innovation Studios in Steubenville, OH under mastermind Mike Ofca. I wrote the basic ideas for this song and "Green Light" both in the same night, which must have been a joyous day in my life for both songs are incredibly upbeat. This was the only new song recorded after Action with Paul. To this day, "Changing Lanes" is one of my favorite songs of ours. We recorded this song for Geppetto's Secret, which was a sort of prequel to Pinocchio that never quite made it.

3. Maybe someday "Pretty Petty" will make it onto one of our albums. I'm not sure why it didn't make the cut on either 37 Everywhere or Just Say Yes. Is it too late to change my vote? I'm pretty happy about the 2Pac reference.

4. "Over You" was recorded in the same session as "Pretty Petty" and a demo version of "The Hit," which was the only song to actually make it onto Just Say Yes. There is nothing I would change about the first three tracks of this album, but in my opinion, "Over You" is a true B-side. I would love to hear what YOU think!

5. Now I gotta find your ass. "She Always Leaves" might be the most pop-punk song of all-time. Recorded by Vince Ratti of Zolof The Rock and Roll Destroyer at The Skylight Studio in Fairless Hills, PA, "She Always Leaves" sings about wet paper sticking together. My favorite thing about this song is the mid-song 2 BPM tempo change... can you find it?

6. We also recorded this punk version of "Castaway" with Vince in the same session as "She Always Leaves." This was after the recording of Just Say Yes - some have asked if we changed the song to ballad form after originally formulating it in punk rock fashion - no, we did not.

7. Now we get into the Salad Days sessions. In 2005, thanks to some wonderful string pullin', we spent two weeks at Salad Days Studio in (I believe) Beltsville, MD. Engineer Oliver Chapoy's internship was at it's end. Studio owner Brian McTernan let him have the studio for a few weeks to test out his skills. We became the guinea pigs. Guinea pigs that threw 13 songs together and hauled crass on down to Maryland. Most of the songs from this session ended up on 37 Everywhere. I'm glad that "I Live A Lie" finally gets to see the (night) light of day. That's your boy Greg Wood singing the second verse.

8. I regret that "Behind The Scenes," also recorded at Salad Days, never made it onto an album outside of demo fashion. Don't mind the Lord Of The Rings reference, I was going through a phase.

9. Chris wrote the lyrics to "Downtown" and I think they are pretty intense. This is our first song that sings about monkeys. This song is so Bad Religion. It was also part of the Salad Days session.

10. I don't even remember writing "Let A Lion," but I remember recently recording a poem from Whistle Pig over top of the music. Let a lion defuse what the prey gets confused. Yep, another Salad Days guy.

11. Back to Innovation Studios for the acoustic version of "Battlescars" I'm not exactly sure when we did these Action jams. I remember it being cold. I remember how good the drums sounded for two microphones. This song was once part of our 7" TDR Records release, which was a split acoustic 7" record with Over It. Good band!

12. We need to do more piano songs like this version of "Coldest of Calendars." I added the line "It just takes a little time" after the first chorus. I wish it had been like this on the album recording.

13. The acoustic version of "Getting There Is Getting By" was done in the same session as tracks 12 and 13. We slightly changed the lyrics to this one. That's always fun.

14. We debated adding this one to the Night Lights collection. It is the only song that wasn't recorded in a studio. It was put down on my Boss 8-track inside the apartment we lived in while recording 37EV in New York City. The song is about our friend John "Beatz" Holohan, who died in a tragic van accident on Halloween 2005. He was the drummer of Bayside and a great friend to everyone who knew him. I fell asleep the previous night, which was my 25th birthday, to Bayside "Blame It On Bad Luck" on repeat. I'll never forget Nightbeast calling me at 7 AM to tell me the horrible news. Chris and I got together and wrote this song later that week.

15. We hear "Play Icicles!" shouted out at every other show we play. Our response, "It's a Christmas song!" I remember finding out on a Thursday that we were picked to be part of the "A Santa Cause" punk rock Christmas compilation. We played that Friday and Saturday, I'm not sure where but I think Saturday was in Allentown with Ritter (PJ put a staple through his finger that night for fun). We rushed home Sunday to write a Christmas song that we would then record on Monday. "Icicles" was written in about 3 hours. We had zero ideas going into the practice space that day, which at the time was in McKees Rocks (we shared with A Week In July). Chris and Paul took the reins on "Icicles." I sat back and watched it come together, although I did contribute the confusing line, "I'm working on another list." People always ask me what I'm saying there, because it sounds like "I'm working on a nautilus." Aside from the "Carol of the Bells" riff, this song isn't very Christmasy sounding. I can't believe that Christmasy is a real word, at least according to my trusty spell check. Maybe it isn't that trusty. Anyhow, "Icicles" was also done at Innovation Studios.

I found this on YouTube. Someone made it with their own two hands.

16. When we had the chance again to write a Christmas song, we tried our hardest to make music that actually had elements of Christmas music. I think we did just that with "All Hopped Up On Jingle Bells." Twas recorded in November of 2007 at The Playhouse in Pittsburgh by Mike D. It took writing this paragraph to get him to finally decide on a name for his studio. I think Belan had written the basic idea for this song back when he was in his old, old, old band Chimney Sweepin' Jack. We wrote the lyrics together. I remember being happy about working in the thought of stealing fake reindeer. I've always wanted to steal all the fake deer from my town and put them on my back deck as a Christmas present for my mom. I would return them. I promise.

17. Once more we return to Innovation Studios for some 37 Everywhere acoustic songs. I've always been really happy with how "Don't Try This At Home" came out. It features John Lopez on the harmonica. He's clearly the man.

18. We never posted this version of "Green Light" until now. I'm not exactly sure why. I haven't even listened to it in years, but I know the gist of it. It's supposed to sound like we're at a party with our friends and everyone is singing along. Do we say something about a Sidekick phone in there? Probably a reference to Chris's longtime Sidekick 1. He finally got rid of it and got an iPhone for all of you who stalk Chris. We also did a piano version of "For The Second" time in this session, but I don't think it will ever see the light of day.

19. The 2005 version of "Pretty Petty" is much shorter and much more confusing! We always felt like the song needed more of a chorus, which is why it was revamped and re-recorded in 2007. This version, however, features Greg Wood on the lead guitar, opposed to the latter which has Belan (aka Snarl). We love having different guitarists. Yep, also recorded at Innovation Studios.

20. And finally, "Punish or PJ." We originally demoed this one during the Salad Days session (I love that there are two versions of this song) and used it as the soundtrack to our short film "Mr Shrimpley's Sandwich." I didn't have lyrics or melodies for the second verse, so I scribbled down the first thing I could think of (on a napkin I believe) and handed it to PJ and told him to go sing it. The lyrics came out like this...

She's got some sexy moves (yeah), that'll really get me in the mood (alright), she's got some killer curves, and I'd like to give her my ring.

I enjoy the implication that, to become engaged, a man must give a woman a ring from his own collection. This is the Just Say Yes album version of "Punish or Privilege," but we brought PJ in to track this now sweet alternate version. Versions, I love 'em.

Thanks for reading!


Steve Soboslai


tyler said...

"a trip to the other side" came on as soon as i started reading about it. which was sort of eerie.
"coldest of calendars" is amazing on the piano.
i absolutely love the cd! looooove it.

Keenan said...

Thanks for the insight into your music. I love hearing the tunes. I forgot how much I loved Changing Lanes until I heard it again on nigh lights. You guys kick ass.

Adam said...

I always thought you were saying "I'm working on a naughty list" which made good sense to me! -cruse

Joe said...

What a great read. Thanks Steve!

Mike said...

seriously I love this collection of songs. so good. I just listened to each song after reading the paragraph first to better get a grasp. Can not wait to get my christmas gift this year. comming back home for a few weeks and seeing my most inspirational band ( that sounds weird, but true) Pittsburgh

Lindsey said...

Mr. Shrimpley's Sandwich is the best youtube video of all time!

I am so glad that I sprung for the full version. It is absolutely amazing. Kudos, man. I love the piano version of "Coldest of Calendars," and the punk version of "Castaway" definitely put a smile on my face (the exact opposite of what the album version does! haha).

modernshorties said...

Thanks for the f-back!

Greg Poust said...

Thanks for the stories Steve! I always love it when bands talk about their songs and their meanings or at least stories about the songs. I think it makes me appreciate the songs even more. You should do this for every Punchline album. I am such a sucker for stuff like this. I am so the guy who listens to commentary on every DVD that I own, haha! Extra information is the best!

Dave Seidel said...

Hey Steve,

What's the line after "Now I gotta find your ass.." in "She Always Leaves"?


Tori said...

i LOVE "Over You" i listen to that song alot.

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An Unheard Lady GaGa Single was Discovered this morning with no traces of where it originated from.
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Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Anonymous said...

It was very interesting for me to read the post. Thanks for it. I like such topics and everything that is connected to this matter. I would like to read more soon.

Halley said...

I think the lyric is, "to get yelled at like I've done bad"

Dave Seidel said...

Ahh thanks Halley!

christopher said...

I love to hear about the origins of songs. Post more about your blog on facebook so I can read it :P