Category Archives: Songwriting Wisdom, AKA The BRAMBLE PATCH

Bramble Patch: Answer to the Question: “Is wanting to be a songwriter crazy?”

Answer: Of course!

PAUL SIMON, “STILL CRAZY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS”
Live



Dear American Songwriter:

Everyone tells me I am crazy to want to be a songwriter. Are they right?

Is wanting to be a songwriter crazy?

T
ommy B.
Electra, Texas
USA


Hi Tommy:

Yes. They are right. Wanting to be a songwriter in this day and age is undeniably crazy. Maybe crazier than ever.

Unless you’re still a kid. But for adults with bills to pay, and families to support, then yes. Crazy. In terms of making money. It will cost more money than it will earn at first, if not forever.

Way less crazy would be to get any real job – waiting tables, walking dogs, walking dogs around tables, washing dogs,- anything for which you can make money. That would be the decidedly less crazy course of action.

Why?

Let’s be realistic: How many songwriters starting today can make a living in this profession?

The answer: Approximately 0.000002%. Which is less than 1 %.

Those are not good odds!

So, yes, you have to be crazy to be a songwriter now.

Does this mean you should stop writing songs?

What? Are you crazy? Of course not!

Being a songwriter in these modern times is doing it despite the world telling you that it is crazy. But what does the world know about songwriting? They think it is fun. And not like a real job. And of course, they are right! But it is real work.

Does the world even need any new songs? As Bob Dylan told us in these pages, no. The worlds has enough songs to last us.

“Unless,” Dylan added, “someone comes along with a pure heart and something to say.”

Which brings us to the late great Michael Smith, who did have a pure heart and a lot to say. He wrote “The Dutchman” and “Spoon River” and other miracle songs. Yet this man who brought so much beauty to the world with his songs felt uninvited as a songwriter in modern times.

“The world doesn’t want you to write songs. It wants you to pay the bills.”

Which is true. It’s why merging these two disparate ideas – `songwriter’ and `modern times’ – we form  a perfect recipe for cognitive dissonance. Also known as crazy.

Unless songwriting is truly your true passion, and is a genuine calling, something that is part of your essential being, then this is the wrong direction for you. And it’s important in life, when you find yourself heading in the wrong direction, to turn around ! It is not too late. Save yourself!

But if songwriting for you is a true calling, an essential part of your soul and sinew, the way you define yourself and make sense of the world, then it is already too late for you. You are already crazy, and there’s no saving you anymore. You’re a songwriter for life. And beyond. 



“I have often wondered if, actually, being an artist in any way is kind of a sign of dysfunction…
I think it’s a loony kind of thing to want to do. 

-David Bowie, March 1988

DAVID BOWIE, BLACKSTAR, HIS FINAL ALBUM.



So, yes, you have to be crazy to be a songwriter now. One has to consider art a true calling, have a benefactor of some sort, have other sources of income, be independently wealthy, or be okay living in a tent under the overpass while writing songs for your next album.

That being said, being an artist at all in modern times, in which art and beauty are forever being threatened by chaos and urban decay, can make you crazy. Being a musician in a world of dissonance, like a pacifist in a world of war, is also crazy-making.

And crazy, after all, is not always terrible. As all my fellow crazy songwriters already know. Many of our greatest songwriters, including from Lorenz Hart through Paul Simon and beyond, have declared they are crazy, are still crazy after all these years.

But songwriters – and all artists – despite the odds against them of achieving enough success to keep from going under, can do many things the non-crazy, gainfully employed at regular jobs cannot.

Of these, the most weighty one is they can change the world. They can make an impact. They are creators whose work becomes part of the human journey of our time, and beyond.

One song can reach a million hearts in a day. And then more. Unlike most human creations, it is impervious to time. It is imperishable.

And as my fellow crazy songwriting and making music comes with a multitude of non-financial motivations. It starts with the joy of music itself. Carole King, who has written many if the world’s most beloved songs, and is a songwriter with great worldly success, told us that if she were starting out today, she would still write songs, but would get a day job.

She wasn’t certain, she said, she’d be able to figure out how to make a living as a songwriter in today’s business. Yet she would want to keep writing songs.

Why?

“Because the reward,” she said, “is in the doing.”

Is Carole King crazy? Crazy wise, perhaps.

The doing is the process of songwriting. No matter what kind of song you write, or if you work and work and get nothing, it’s not like time spent in a coal mine digging, or in a factory laboring, or an Amazon warehouse. You’ve been inside song – inside words and music. Which is a great place to be.

Merry Christmas
Bowie & Bing Crosby
in Best Christmas Duet Ever



Artists through the eons have had to balance the dream of a life in art with the reality of life in the world. Even the greatest artists known to man, such as Michelangelo, had to accept the indignity of creating his masterpieces only when financed by patrons. Painting the frescoes on the ceiling and wall of the Sistine Chapel, which he accomplished in long, laborious and painful sessions lying on his back between 1502 and 1508, was not a job he wanted to do. He wanted to sculpt marble. But Pope Julius II wanted him, and he could not say no to The Vatican or to regular employment.

And though it wasn’t the work he wanted, he invested himself into its creation with an intensity which seemed linked to some madness. There is a prevalent theory about him that he had Asperger’s disorder, a form of high-functioning autism. It might have triggered the intensity of his ambition to create true masterpieces – even at The Sistine, where he didn’t want to be, he spent years, literally, to create a work far greater, more complex than anyone requested or required. It took him six years to complete.

Yet these efforts, even if they belong to a madman, did result in one of the world’s greatest masterpiece, his sprawling Sistine Chapel epic, which has lasted through five centuries.

On that ceiling, and in all his work, he created a bridge of transcendence. It is art for the ages, which speaks to our ancient souls and connects us to that which is beyond words – our innate aesthetic love of timeless beauty – which we need to survive and flourish.

Yet we also need bread. Some butter is nice, roo, but extra. Our fundamental mission in this lifetime is survival. That we survive, and help others do so. So as to get through each day with enough food, shelter, safety and sustenance to endure the everyday challenges of existence.

Michelangelo: The Creation of Adam
FROM MICHELANGELO’S SISTINE CHAPEL FRESCOES

To do this by making art is not a rational move. Prehistoric man understood this. There was no cave-painting being done during hunting season. Human survival does eclipse art. As  David Bowie, one of the greatest songwriters of our time, said, it is the act of a lunatic.

“I have often wondered if, actually, being an artist in any way,” Bowie said in 1988 on the Charlie Rose TV show, “is a kind of a sign of dysfunction. It’s an extraordinary thing to want to do, to express yourself in such rarefied terms. I think it’s a loony kind of thing to want to do.”

Loony! This from a man who wrote remarkable songs through every year of his adult life.

Was he a lunatic? If so, a very great one.

David Bowie, “Always Crashing in the Same Car” Live

DAVID BOWIE ON THE DYSFUNCTION OF DOING ART

David Bowie on Charlie Rose

“The saner and more rational approach to life,” said Bowie, “is to survive steadfastly and create a protective home and create a warm, loving environment for one’s family, and get food for them. That’s about it. Anything else is extra.”  

Yet did Bowie ever stop writing songs? No. Like Michelangelo, who worked into the last week of his life, at the age of 88, Bowie persisted too. In the last year of his life, in pain and knowing he was not long for this world, he chose writing a song as his lack act on earth. That song and the rest formed Blackstar, his final masterpiece.

Blackstar was released on Bowiie 69th birthday, January 8, 2016. He died of liver cancer two days after its release on January 10, 2016.

Regardless of Bowie’s statements about the innate and rarefied lunacy of artists, like Michelangelo, he owned the madness which drove him. He never was disengaged from his art. Because he knew that his songs connected him to the transcendent source, the river of creativity which runs through all ages of man.
https://f532cc4eb555cd9cb6a258df813d5911.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.htmlhttps://www.youtube.com/embed/y-JqH1M4Ya8?feature=oembed&enablejsapi=1&origin=https:%2F%2Famericansongwriter.comDAVID BOWIE, “LAZARUS”
FROM BLACKSTAR

Lazarus
By David Bowie


Look up here, I’m in heaven
I’ve got scars that can’t be seen
I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen
Everybody knows me now

Look up here, man, I’m in danger
I’ve got nothing left to lose
I’m so high it makes my brain whirl
Dropped my cell phone down below
Ain’t that just like me?

By the time I got to New York,
I was living like a king
There I’d used up all my money
I was looking for your ass
This way or no way
You know, I’ll be free
Just like that bluebird
Now, ain’t that just like me?
Oh, I’ll be free

Just like that bluebird
Oh, I’ll be free
Ain’t that just like me?

End of Part One.

Part Two:

Jordan Peterson on Art,
Transcendence
and the Meaning of Song

After being lionized by millions, demonized by progressives, Jordan Peterson nearly lost it all after suffering deadly effects from prescription drugs.
JORDAN PETERSON. MANKIND NEEDS TRANSCENDENCE, HE SAYS,
“BECAUSE YOU ARE FINITE AND LIMITED AND BOUND BY YOUR IGNORANCE.”

As author, professor, psychologist and controversial Internet phenomenon, Jordan Peterson has written, humans need a connection to that river. Without awareness of the transcendent world, our lives do not resonate as they could. They become pointless.



JORDAN PETERSON:  A real piece of art is a window into the transcendent, and you need that in your life, because you are finite and limited and bound by your ignorance. Unless you can make a connection to the transcendent, you will not have the strength to prevail when the challenges of life become daunting. You need to establish a link with what is beyond you, like a man overboard in high seas requires a life preserver, and the invitation of beauty into your life is one means by which that may be accomplished.

Art is the bedrock of culture itself. It is the foundation of the process by which we unite ourselves psychologically, and come to establish productive peace with others.  

Mankind needs transcendence, he says,
“because you are finite and limited and

bound by your ignorance.”

That edge, where artists are always transforming chaos into order, can be a very rough and dangerous place. Living there, an artist constantly risks falling fully into the chaos, instead of transforming it. But artists have always lived there, on the border of human understanding. 

Art bears the same relationship to society that the dream bears to mental life. You are very creative when you are dreaming. That is why, when you remember a dream, you think, “Where in the world did that come from?” It is very strange and incomprehensible that something can happen in your head, and you have no idea how it got there or what it means. It is a miracle: nature’s voice manifesting itself in your psyche. And it happens every night.”

REVIEW: Claudia Russell

ClaudiaRussell_Changing

Claudia Russell 

All Our Luck Is Changing

Produced by Peter Case

Radio Rhythm Records

By PAUL ZOLLO

This is beautiful.  At the exact time our society gets obsessed with musical artists as provocateurs or contest-winners, we also get music from people like Claudia Russell, a  gifted songwriter with a gorgeous singing voice. And it reminds us why songs matter. When they’re good, they are really good. They speak to our hearts and our minds at the same time, uplifting our spirits while engaging our thoughts, and giving us something solid to hold onto even in the whirlwind of modern times. She’s that kind of songwriter, whose work does all that and more.  This is an inspired chain of songs, and is elegantly produced by the great singer-songwriter (and Bluerailroad columnist) Peter Case, a guy who obviously knows a lot about songs and how best to render them. In Claudia, he’s  found a brilliant and poignant connection, and the result is an album of much grace and joy.

Sweetness abounds. On top of the great songwriting and excellent musicianship throughout, there’s the overriding effect of sweetness, that deriving from the singular spirit that lives in her voice.  Whether singing a sad song or a happy one,  that voice shines through with great purity. There’s no affectations or contrivances, it’s a voice of great and poignant purity. It brings to mind the gentle embrace of the McGarrigles voices in harmony or alone, that gentle, reedy quality , that sound of a voice that isn’t singing beyond  you to an arena of thousands, but directly to you, like a friend talking to you and you only.

Add to that songs of great depth and detail, and with a sweet nostalgic longing for a happy and simpler world (“Pirate Girls”), and a spirit of real affirmation. Whereas many write vague and empty songs, songs with hardly any nouns even, songs with lyrics that suggest but don’t don’t show anything, unrelated to real life, she writes richly detailed and dimensional songs that are like little movies, each with a vivid sense of place so that the listener doesn’t take in the song from a distance, but from its heart. This is the essence of great songwriting.

The title itself and title song, “All Our Luck Is Changing” is one of the greatest songs ever about the persistent optimism of the human spirit. It’s about the reason people go to Vegas so often, as depicted in this song, trying to extricate themselves from normal life with hope for miracles.   It’s part of the human equation, that in the chaotic midst of being human in modern times, we cling to hope for change always – and often a big, profound change, the perpetual openness to the possibility of a big win that leads people in America to say everyday, “but if I were to win the lottery…”

It’s also the reason people often become songwriters.  As Paul Simon wrote in “Train In The Distance,” “the thought that life can be better is woven indelibly into our hearts and our brains.”

She wrote the title song and several others with her partner in life and music, Bruce Kaplan, who is also a gifted mandolinist and guitarist. Together they paint a delightfully detailed picture, as poignant in its reflection of of early 1960s America as the old postcards she collects: She’s a little girl driving to lucky town in a blue Falcon with a dad who looks like Andy Griffith, on their first family vacation, her little sister still unborn so she’s got no one to tease.  And then comes a keenly cinematic moment which speaks as much about the actual memory as the ways in which we remember our pasts, preserved both in our minds but altered by our old photographs, and in this instance, Super-8  film.  The past becomes an amalgam of remembered experience and  captured myth, colored by the technology of the times which both preserves and transforms reality, and resounds  with the magic newness of childhood, the discovery of being human:

My mom is shooting Super 8s of gap-toothed little me

I’m chubby but I don’t know it yet, I’m happy just to be

Splashing towards the camera and waving like a fool

And jumping off the high dive at the Stardust Hotel pool.

All our luck is changing

Stars are rearranging…”

From “All Our Luck Is Changing”

By Claudia Russell & Bruce Kaplan.

Peter’s production throughout is just right, sensitively framing but never overwhelming them so that the stories are heard, and Claudia’s beautiful voice shines.  Using a handful of fine musicians – especially Carl Byron on organ, piano and accordion, Debra Dobkin on drums and percussion,and  the vivid violin and viola playing of Tom Tally – he brings the best out of each song, evoking an organic, timeless spirit. Its  an  elegant and textural journey through a chain of beautiful songs.

“Hey Hey,” which she wrote herself, is about that place where too many words get in the way, so grand and dramatic is the sweep of life and time, that the songwriter stands back and takes it in with few words. “Charleston” sounds like an old folk standard though it’s not, it’s a new one by Claudia which matches an exultant tune with a great sense of place, enlivened by Case’s harmonica and Claudia’s spirited vocal. Bruce Kaplan’s mandolin playing is especially nice on this one, happily coloring this “hotter than peaches in the noonday sun” tale.

“I Remember The Wind,” written by Claudia, is a sultry and cinematic song. Like the title song, it’s also a song about remembering, about that human intersection of actuality and myth. It’s got a great bluesy and brassy, melancholy but strident melody that would be perfect for Lady Day. Etched with a lovely sense of place and time, and beautifully rendered with  details like the “stale coffee and cinnamon gum/ and cold pick-up truck wine,” it resounds like a modern standard. Case wisely picked up on its timeless spirit, and enlisted Mike Fortunato to play haunting trumpet throughout the track with an eloquent solo that cuts right to the heart.

This is a masterpiece. Though everything she’s  done solo or with others has been great, sparked by the singular charm of her sweet voice and pure spirit, this is the best yet. With Peter Case at the helm and a new batch of beautifully realized songs, this is everything that is great about her and more. Her singing has never been more poignant or confidant, and these songs  come to life with an effortless spirit of genuine soul. This is heartwarming stuff, both inspirational and comforting at a time we need inspiration and comfort more then ever.  Listen to this – you’ll believe that it’s true – our luck is changing, stars are rearranging.  I think a change is finally gonna come.

bluerailroad header

Read Peter Case’s column “Show Biz”:

https://bluerailroad.wordpress.com/xii-peter-cases-column/

BLUERAILROAD * OCTOBER, 2010

Guy Erez:

A Life in Music

                             Guy Erez                                                                                                                                                                                                                   [photo by Jessica Shokrian]

  

 

 

 By PAUL ZOLLO

  

HE CONTAINS MULTITUDES. Multitudes of music, that is. A hit songwriter, renowned producer, virtuoso bassist, current member of The Alan Parsons Project, recording engineer, teacher, former soldier in the Israeli army, he defies definition. A musical force of nature, he is Guy Erez.

  

Born in the northern Israeli city of Kiryat Shmona, he moved south with his family to Be’er Sheva when he was very young. Israeli pop music was the soundtrack of his childhood until he was 8 years old, and got his first taste of American music. Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water was one of the first, and he knew it mattered. Not only did it introduce him to the power of American music, it also helped familiarize him with English, which all Israeli children start studying in the 4th grade. “I remember hearing that,” he said, “and going to a dictionary or asking my parents what certain words meant. I knew it was important and I was hearing something great.”

  

From there he graduated to ELO, Supertramp and other groups. But Queen was the band that most entranced him. “It was the most amazing thing I had ever heard in my life,” he remembered. Next came the Beatles, when he was about 11, and it’s then he first picked up a guitar and by ear learned all the Beatles songs he could. A guitar teacher gave him tapes of songs to study,  from which he learned songcraft. He was already deeply inside music, and he was in love: “It was joyful, it was amazing fun, and I was figuring out all the songs I loved. I was the happiest kid in Israel.”       

As much as he loved Beatles, Pink Floyd blew his mind: “That’s where I felt I belonged. It has this extra dimension , this soundscape, I could listen to Pink Floyd right when I come home from school to the moment I went to sleep. All day long.”

  
 
 
 

 

 
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 He was also exposed then to heavier rock, like Led Zeppelin, which he loved, as well as the pristine artistry he discovered in the music of ECM recording artists such as Keith Jarrett and Jan Garbarek. It was not only the fluid purity of the music that drew him in, but also the immaculate sonic beauty of the recordings. It was then that he had the revelation that great music on record consists not only of vivid composition and great musicianship, but also a mastery of the art and science of recording. “There was something about listening to it in headphones,” he said, “That whole experience. It was very important to me and I could see myself living this kind of life. It was the first manifestation of what my career is now. I just wanted to make music all the time.”

 

 Unlike his friends, Guy heard an element in this music they didn’t. “I remember gravitating towards the sound of bass, and in Queen’s stuff really listening to the bass-lines, and pointing them out to my friends and they’d look at me like `What are you talking about?’ My ear gravitated towards hearing the vocal lines and the bass. I cannot explain why that is.”

  

And so his first chance to get his hands on a bass – at high school – was a momentous occasion. The school owned one electric bass, and the first time he picked it up he somehow knew how to play it. It was natural, it was inevitable, and it was his destiny. Overnight he became the official bassist for the school, playing in every show, every concert, every musical event. Though he had yet to learn to read music, he had an amazing ear, and could easily figure out even the most complex music. Later on in his teens, already virtuosic on the bass, he took some lessons, always envisioning a life in music.

 But duty called. Like every young man and woman in Israel, at 18 his time came to serve in the army, forcing him to stop in his musical tracks for three years while serving out his military stint. Because he was in fine physical shape, he was chosen to be a frontline soldier. Trained to be a fighter, he was fortunate to stay out of combat during his three year stint, though he had to patrol the border and venture into Lebanon. It was a hard time for this young man who had never been away from home before, and longed to carry a bass, not an AK-47.  

  Though listening to music provided an escape from the realities of a soldier’s life, being out in the field made it impossible to ever play his own music. But music was a lifeline he clung to. “It was an escape for me, then, a way to keep my sanity.” The time away from loved ones and from his beloved records and instruments was difficult. But even then he knew adversity leads to strength, and as hard as that time was, he emerged after three years as a stronger person, and a musician dedicated to success in his chosen field. “For me I’m not the type to be a soldier. It was very hard for me to get orders all the time and do stuff I didn’t want to do. But I knew these were the dues I had to pay and I did it. It was a dark time, but one needs to go through darkness, sometimes, to reach the light.”

 When his time in the military was over, he returned to music immediately, finding a bass teacher who filled in the gaps in his musical education, “the spark that got me on my journey,” as he put it. His teacher, astounded by Guy’s innate talent, taught him everything Guy needed to learn – technique, reading music, and playing bass in every genre, from jazz to metal to funk and beyond. Rather than be intimidated by how much there was to learn, Guy voraciously ate it all up and wanted more. “It was more than fun,” he remembered. “It was enlightenment for me. This is where I found my road.” Practicing around the clock, he studied everything he could get his hands on, expanding his proficiency on the instrument, and becoming a prodigious player.

 

Soon he was hooking up with Israeli bands and recording music. But he knew he wanted something more. When a friend told him about the Musician’s Institute in Hollywood, he recognized a rightness he couldn’t deny: “This was one of those moments in life – I looked at it and knew, this was it. I am going to study music in America.”  He told his parents, who were understandably apprehensive about their son going so far away from home. But they saw then the steely determination he brings to everything he does, and eventually gave in. “They tried to dissuade me,” he said, “which hurt, at the time. But now I can look back at that with a smile, because I knew I was going on this journey no matter what.”

 

Guy Onstage with Alan Parsons Project in Russia.

So he packed his bass and his suitcases, and set off for America. And he never looked back. Literally. His girlfriend remembers that when she, along with his parents and brothers, took him to the airport to fly to America, he said a quick goodbye, and with his bass on his shoulder ascended the escalator towards his destiny. And he never did look back. He was on his way.

 

The year was 1992. At the Musician’s Institute in Hollywood he fell in with the happy amalgamation of music and musicians. “I was like a kid in a candy shop,” he said. “I loved it.” He convinced his girlfriend (now his wife) to join him in his new American life, and she did. Guy absorbed the full gamut of musicianship, lovingly delving into every style of music he could, and playing with great teachers and students both. In fact, he was so adept at every kind of music – unlike those who found their singular path in only jazz or rock – that people had a hard time, as they still do, figuring out exactly where he fit. Truth was he could fit in pretty much anywhere, a fact that has forever colored his career. 

After a year, he graduated with honors, but was uncertain if he could make a living in music as he hoped. Answering an ad for a bassist in a rock band, he auditioned and won over many great musicians to get the gig, which required both bass playing and back-up vocals. He went home and learned some sixty songs, and quickly became a professional musician, gigging with this band on weekends, and teaching bass at MI during the week. When Ralph Humphrey, former drummer for Frank Zappa, heard him play, he invited Guy to join the faculty of the Los Angeles Music Academy (LAMA), which he did. It was there he got to play and hang with many stellar musicians, including legendary Weather Report bassist Alphonso Johnson.

 But as much as Guy enjoyed playing bass, he yearned for something more. The artist Goldo invited him to produce his new project, and introduced him to a recording innovation that would forever change the world of recording, Pro-Tools digital recording. Though Guy had felt intimidated by the complexities of analog recording studios, Pro-Tools made sense to him, and he quickly became an expert. He produced Goldo’s album as if he’d been producing for years, even writing some of the songs. They made one track just as a joke while having fun one night called “Boom Da Boom,” and much to their surprise, people loved it. Fox TV picked it up as the theme for their Tuesday night programming, and Disney grabbed it for their own version. Now Guy was a pro songwriter as well as a producer-engineer-bassist-guitarist, swiftly surmising that writing music, in addition to playing and recording it, was a profitable business.

 Though he was invited then to join a band, he declined, because he knew that he belonged in the studio, writing and recording his own music. Returning to Israel, he asked his father for a sizable loan. Though his dad was initially reluctant, when Guy made the case that he wanted to have a great studio, his dad, once again, agreed. With that money he bought and outfitted his first studio. And it was there that all his talent and all his enthusiasm coalesced: “Off I went like crazy, writing, playing. 14 hours a day. It was so inspiring to hear my music back right away.”

 

“Astonishing X Men” Written & Produced by Guy

 

Quickly he had a catalog of original songs, and his ebullient nature connected him to many people in an industry always impressed by authentic talent fused with genuine ambition. Within a few months, he landed four songs on a Jennifer Love-Hewitt album, including the hit single “Bare Naked.” With the artist Holly Palmer, he collaborated on the song “Just So You Know,” which was produced by the renowned Rob Cavallo. Though Cavallo recorded his own track for the song, when he listened back to Guy’s demo, he knew it couldn’t be beat, and used it as the foundation of the song. 

 

 

 

 And so Guy Erez, as easily as he established himself first as a bassist, a producer and a teacher, became a hit songwriter-producer. Soon his songs were being recorded by bands such as Swirl 360, artists such as Meredith Brooks, as well as being placed in TV shows and movies. Invited to submit tracks for Tom Green’s MTV comedy show, he impressed Green and the producers immediately, and was told, “Congratulations. You are now the composer of the ‘Tom Green Show.’”

During this time, he continued to write and produce songs, and formed a partnership with the songwriter-producer Emerson Swinford. Chrysalis Music caught wind of the music these two were cooking up, and signed them to a publishing deal. It enabled Guy to stop teaching and devote himself full-time to songwriting and production. He established himself as the guy people could come to at the last minute to solve their musical problems. When the Gipsy Kings, for example, needed someone to compile and produce a live album from concert tapes, Guy was invited, and in three weeks created the dynamic The Gipsy Kings Live In London.

 

“Shine,” written & produced by Guy, performed by Sarah Bettens.

Similarly, the producer of MTV’s “The Andy Dick Show” called and said, “Guy – we have a disaster. You have to come over and save us.” They needed music for the show, and Andy’s own attempts with friends had failed. Andy came over to Guy’s studio, Guy concocted a funky bass line and groove, and with Andy wrote the theme song in just over the hour. He and Andy also wrote other songs for the show.

 Presently Guy is relocating and expanding his studio, and has taken on a wealth of projects, each reflecting the unique diversity that is his signature. For the artist Randy Coleman, Guy produced the elegiac “Hey God,” which was featured on the soundtrack of the Oscar-winning film Crash. When Coleman was asked to open for The Who at the Hollywood Bowl, he enlisted Guy to play bass in the band. Guy also recently produced folk diva Manda Mosher’s acclaimed debut album Everything You Need, and with Ryan Cabrera he co-wrote and produced “Shine On,” the first single from his You Stand Watching album.

And he’s especially excited about the theme song he wrote for the brand new Avengers TV show, “Avengers Earth Mighty Heroes,” a joint venture between Marvel Comics and Disney TV, which will be broadcast in more than 100 countries.

And as if that weren’t enough for many people to do in one lifetime, he’s also become the new bassist for the Alan Parsons Project, with whom he’s toured around the world, with recent concerts in Paris, Prague, Moscow, St. Petersburg,  Israel and throughout America. It’s a dream gig for Guy, who as a kid in Israel idolized Alan Parsons. And the feelings, evidently, are mutual, as Parsons has already invited Guy to remain and be involved in future projects.

  

 
 
 

 

 

Guy Onstage with The Alan Parsons Project

  

These days those in the industry who were initially perplexed by his multitudes of musical expression now recognize what Guy Erez is all about. He’s a guy who can do it all, a man who has succeeded in manifesting the vision he first dreamt as a child in Israel, living his dream, a life in music.  n