I started writing these songs in 1995, I think...
I was in graduate school in Albany, NY and it was a really nice day out. I brought a bottle of white wine and my guitar out to the porch and started strumming some chords. I ended up writing a song called "Dull" which is not on the CD. It's a good song, but for whatever reason, I didn't record it.
I thought it was a pretty decent song (I've written some really bad ones in the past) so I decided to try my hand at writing a few more. And they were pretty good. I still have a binder with all of the lyrics and the chords for the songs I wrote over the 15 months while living at 612 (and then 610) Morris Street. In fact, the original working title of the CD was "612 Morris Street," but as the recording process started to take shape it became clear that the songs took on a different form from what they had been back in Albany. In Albany, the songs were all written on an acoustic guitar. But the recording process saw a lot of electric guitars - most of the guitars you hear on the songs were recorded with an Epiphone Les Paul Custom that I bought at Alto Music in Airmont, New York some years ago. It was a used guitar, but it was set up brilliantly - a real player's guitar with upgraded Gibson pickups and Grover tuners. I played it almost exclusively through a Marshall combo which is essentially a JCM 800, though I did use a Tech 21 amp for the solos. There's also a real Gibson Les Paul on there, as well as a Gibson SG and a Fender HSS Stratocaster (for all you gear heads out there).
But anyway, I digress...
What are the songs about? I wasn't really sure myself, to be perfectly honest with you. After recording started, I began to take a closer look at the lyrics. I've never tried to write a song about a specific topic. Usually, the song title comes first, then the lyrics, and then the music. When I start writing words, they just begin to flow, like a river... with no rhyme or reason or great thought put into the content. But when it is done, I suppose there is some meaning to be found... I didn't know it at the time, but "The Darkest Side" is about how two people can bring out the worst in each other. "Job" is plainly about looking for a job. "Montreal 330" is about my fascination for the city of Montreal where I had spent many weekends in my twenties. When you drive north on the New York State Thruway there are these huge green signs with the cities up ahead and how many miles away they are. Montreal is listed on many of these signs and while I don't think there is actually a sign that reads "Montreal 330," it sounded like a catchy title. And yeah, there is a Janine... from Albany... and we never went to the mall. I was too shy to ask her... Same goes for the girl on the bus in "Past This." Too shy... Maybe the songs are more autobiographical than I want to admit.
The songs came out pretty well on "Now We're Speaking French..." The last CD I put out, a band called OTHRS back in 2006... well, I am proud of it, but there are things I wish I paid more attention to. On this new disc by my new band, FASTER THAN LIGHT, there are only two things that gnaw at me a little bit... but I can live with them... and again, I am really proud of what I created. I was once told that the hardest thing to do in the music industry was to write a song that people like. I think I've got a bunch of them here. I think I took my guitar playing to a different level as well... I'm not going to be on the cover of Guitar World or anything, but it is an honest effort and I think you will agree. Besides, first and foremost I am a songwriter. And these songs tell tales... some real, some fantasy, some a mix of both... interpret the songs anyhow you want... maybe you can tell me what some of them really mean...
If you made it down to here then I am truly humbled. I've got friends in bands across the world and they all declare that their bands are original - no one sounds like them! Well, I've been told that my songs sound like a mix of the Gin Blossoms, Pearl Jam, and the Lemonheads... even the Foo Fighters... Truthfully, those guys are on a way different level than I will ever be. But it is flattering. Evan Dando of the Lemonheads is probably, well definitely, my single greatest influence as far as my songwriting goes. So maybe there's something to that comparison. I do think if you like early 1990s alternative with a little bit of a hard rock edge, lyrics that are not so serious, and songs that are just plain fun, then you will find some stuff on here that will get you off.
I sincerely hope you take a chance on FASTER THAN LIGHT - NOW WE'RE SPEAKING FRENCH... and I will thank you in advance, whether you purchase the music or not, for taking a look at this long drawn-out manifesto and maybe checking out a track or two.
Faster Than Light is:
Keith Lenn – guitar
Doug Maresca – drums
Ken Reedy – vocals
David Greenberg – bass