“I’m only half an hour into it so I’m not yet able to put together, but it’s obviously a massive undertaking,” says Mr. Besser. “I would say editing was the most challenging part. I do like to work on my music. I haven’t done that for 30 years but I do like to take a step back and see how the song was done.”
But editing involves a lot of thinking and planning. “I didn’t want to do the vocals first,” says Mr. Besser, “so we just kept in touch, and he sent me the tape with just the instrumental version. So this was more like an audition.”
For every note written, though, the band gets to hear the singer’s voice.
“There is a certain magic that can happen with a singer in a room,” says Mr. Besser, “but that didn’t happen here. It’s an intimate place, and so every aspect of the band was brought out in a personal way. I’d never heard anyone sing like that, and he didn’t get his vocal energy mixed up. For me, it was a perfect match.”
“It might sound too melodramatic, but this was the first time I’ve seen a band live,” adds Mr. Besser. “There were four of them in a small hotel room. They came through with a great show. We played about four more songs on tour that week, and I really think the songs have grown in power because of the time they spent together. I never thought these songs would have been as well-crafted as they have been, but they were. There are no better guitar riffs or vocal licks than on ‘Achilles,’ and ‘I Will Come’ is just insane. You could see these guys really connect on some of the tunes. It might get a little bit old-fashioned at times, but you hear these guys get into the songs in a way that’s not usually a given. To make our sound sing and roll, we have to play some of our best material, but to really nail it we have to play it together, and that’s where we’re at.”
What’s your biggest regret?
“I think for the last few performances, I was too jittery,” says Mr. Besser. “I don’t know if that shows on a tape or a set-list or if it’s something I’m doing wrong,
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