We had reached an impasse.
We were playing so many shows we didn’t have time to record. And when we were recording it was taking forever. We were over-analyzing.
Then Dutch, my best friend & guitarist for 12 years, quit. So, I got a new girlfriend, a 1962 Kay Swingmaster hollowbody electric guitar, and Rich, Jon, Steve and I started meeting up at Jon Niemann's (our foundation for the last 7 years) Melbourne Studios once a week with no agenda. We just made art. Someone would come up with a part. And then we’d all join in and throw out ideas. Within a couple hours we’d have a song. We wrote about 10 of them.
Then the tour schedule got crazy busy again. Hundreds of shows. No time for our weekly free form sessions. And then Steve, our bass player and spiritual guide for 6 years, left the band.
So we were just sitting on all this new material not to mention all the hundreds of songs I’ve written in the past 15 years that are buried on various hard drives, sepulchers & on my phone and elsewhere in the ether.
Late night after a show Rich & I were winding down with a drink at my place. And I played him an old song I wrote in 2005, “Bombed In Chicago.” He loved it and was like, “We’re recording that next week.”
So we did. And then we did a couple more tunes I’d written more recently. Pretty much fully realized demos. We brought in some heavyweights to round out the band. Jason Chesney on bass and Josh Norton on electric lead guitar.
At the time of this writing the 5 of us are approximately 200 shows deep. 200+ shows. 3-4 hours each. Sometimes 2 a day. It’s a thing. I think it’s called rock n’ roll.
So finally, one weekend we didn’t have any shows for the 1st time in like 2 years. We met up on Friday night and arranged a few songs. There was no real agenda. Except to just get some stuff down. Inject new life and material in to our live set. Saturday morning serendipity rang. I texted an old friend, Nick Burns, at 9:30am, and by 11am I was at his studio picking up $6000+ worth of microphones. We essentially built a studio within a studio at Jon’s and we got 4 songs done that day. After recording all day Saturday, that night we still had no agenda except to meet again on Sunday. We brainstormed up some more tunes. And banged ‘em out. 5 more songs on Sunday.
After a bit more time working with these tracks Jon Niemann, Rich “never tardy for the party” Berardi, Jason “J-Sonic” Chesney, “Emperor” Josh Norton and I, Paul “Cupcake” Chesne, humbly present to you this collection of songs.
Downright Up & Left.
released February 13, 2014
Keyboards: Jon Niemann
Bass: Jason Chesney
Guitar: Josh Norton
Drums: Rich Berardi
Vocals & Acoustic Guitar: PC
Mixed & Mastered by Stuart Brantley at Rodeo Punk Music
Engineered by Rich Berardi at Melbourne Studios & Soup Kitchen Recording Compound
Svengali: Steve Tegel
Cover design: Katie Stratton