Brian Paone

Author // Musician

Filtering by Tag: Transpose

Transpose's "Retribution" turns 8 years old

My band, Transpose, released our second album, Retribution, eight years ago this month. It had been four years since our first album, and we had played enough shows within those four years where we really wore out that first album. It was time to not only have some new material to play live, but way past due to give the fans a new batch of songs.

This album was the most unique album I have ever been a part of. It is the only true concept album I have ever written. The songs can't be listened out of order; there are characters, dialogue, a plotline, a climax, and resolution. We began writing this album right around the time I was in the editing stages of my second novel, Welcome to Parkview, and there was a part of that novel (which was eventually removed and did not appear in the published version) that was about 20 pages long and told the story of a man who knew his wife was cheating on him, so he follows her and spies on her meeting some random man at a hotel. When he confronts her the next morning, she won't tell him what happened, so he burns the hotel where the affair happened to the ground, killing everyone inside, but ultimately forgiving his wife in the process.

I removed this part from the book and instead rewrote the 20 pages into lyrics, keeping some of the dialogue to be sung in the songs. We were really going for a true concept album like Pink Floyd's The Wall, Genesis' The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, or The Who's Quadrophenia. An album that is really just one long song; a story put to music.

It was also the first album, of the now 7 albums I have written, where the lyrics were written first, and THEN the band put music to what was happening in the story. Up until Retribution, every other albums' songs had been finished musically first, and I would come in and write the lyrics and vocal pattern around the preexisting music. This time, as a band, we had to verbalize what was going on in the "scene" and then write the music to that action.

In the studio, we added sound effects to accent what was happening in the scene: alarm clocks, sounds of people eating, a woman moaning, footsteps on stairs, firetrucks etc. It was a lot of fun to drop those into the songs throughout. This was also the most amount of keyboards I had written/played on an album since Drop Kick Jesus' album Splatterguts, which came out in 1998, so it was also a lot of fun to get behind the keyboard and compose again.

As soon as the album was finished, it marked the birth of a totally new live show for Transpose. Gone were the random order of songs from the first album. Our shows were now Retribution from start to finish, and then our encore; which consisted of about three songs from the first album, A Delicate Impact. We moved the songs from the first album to the end of the show and performed the new album in its entirety as the meat of the live shows. We toured pretty extensively on the Retribution album for two years.

I even made a film to go along with the album; a visually journey of the story as the album plays. That film can be found here on my site under the MEDIA tab or on YouTube. We would play the film at our merch table on a TV during the tours and shows.

I have been a part of 7 albums in my musical career total, and Retribution, still to this day, is the album I am most proud of than any other album I have written. I don't know what the future will bring in regards to how I will feel about future albums, but this one will always be super special to me. It was one of those albums where I felt everything just clicked the whole way through. And not just because it was the first time one of my stories had been turned into an album that I could sing every night on stage.

Oh, and we also recorded a cover of Digital Underground's "The Humpty Dance" during the recording sessions and added it as a hidden bonus track on the album. Ha!

(My band) Drop Kick Jesus' "Depress the Heart" album turns 18

Eighteen years ago this month, my second band, Drop Kick Jesus, released our second album, Depress The Heart. Grammy Award Winning Producer Neil Kernon recorded it in Haverhill, MA, and then mixed it in Tornillo, TX. We moved into both studios during the recording, and it was one of the best times in my musical career.

I was in a weird place during the writing of this album. I was very angry at a lot of things: myself, religion, the state of the world … and I think of the 6 albums I have been the lyricist for throughout my life, this album is the #1 album that shows that level of anger and frustration through my lyrics toward things I couldn’t control. This is also the last album I wrote where the lyrics weren’t cryptic or in story form. The 4 albums I wrote after this (the Grave Machine album, the 2 Transpose albums, and the latest Yellow #1 album) all were conceptual and thematic. Depress the Heart was the last album where I was writing individual songs, and the words I chose were very specific about what I was angry about. No reading between the lines.

The album is harsh, aggressive, in-your-face, and even after 18 years, it still sounds current and relative. I’m glad I was the front man for a band and an album that seems to have stood the test of time. Too bad this was our last album before we broke up. I think if there wasn’t so much in-band fighting after we got off tour for this album, we could have written a 3rd and even better album.

Transpose's "A Delicate Impact" Turns 11!

My band, Transpose, has an unorthodox beginning. Guitarist Joshua Givens and I started the band in Beverly, MA in 2005. We had written 5 songs before I moved to GA, and when I announced to him that I had to move and leave the band, Joshua decided to move with me, instead of finding a new singer. As soon as we reached GA, we immediately started looking for a bass player and drummer to finish the lineup. Joshua and I attended a concert to see a local band called Ashes of Osiris. Unbeknownst to us, this was Ashes of Osiris' final show. Joshua and I loved their rhythm section, and within 2 months, we had recruited half of Ashes of Osiris to join Transpose to complete the lineup. With Tim Sigler on bass and Jason Bonner on drums, we were ready to roll.

We used the 5 songs that Joshua and I had written in MA as a springboard for the new band, showing the songs to Tim and Jason,and then rewriting them as a "band." All 5 of those songs not only made the debut album, but also became fan favorites at our concerts: "Branches," "The Mourning Crash," "Insect Ways," "Helter Skelter Morning," and "This Rust." Once we perfected the 5 songs that had been brought from MA, we wrote a total of 6 more songs (and 2 covers; God Lives Underwater's "Miss You More Than Anything" and the Team America World Police theme song "America, Fuck Yeah!") to complete the track listing of what would become our debut album: A Delicate Impact.

We recorded the album on the weekends while I was in the police academy in GA. I would spend Monday - Friday at the academy and then Saturday and Sunday in the recording studio, just to do it all over again ... week after week. I also finished writing my first novel, Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts, during the recording process, AND my first child was born. Sept. 2007 was one of the busiest months I have ever lived in my life: graduated from the police academy, finished writing my first novel, recorded Transpose's debut album, had a baby, and Stephanie and I moved into our first house.

The front cover of the album was a real photograph of Joshua's girlfriend in a wedding dress that we bought from a thrift shop, tied up to the railroad tracks. Yes, this was an active rail, and we had to time the picture in-between trains coming through. I even called dispatch to let the police know if they got any weird calls of a girl tied to he tracks, that was me and we were okay.

When the album was released, we sent the first single, "Only the Dead Go Free," to radio stations and never expected the response it received. It was placed in rotation on a lot of stations in FL, and we would have people coming to the shows just to see us play that song. We played constantly to promote the album, touring for almost 2 years straight. Joshua left the band in 2009 and that pretty much ended the A Delicate Impact era. As soon as we inducted our next guitarist, TJ, into the band, that became the first step toward writing Retribution. Even after Josh left the band, we still played 8 of the 13 songs from the album on a consistent basis live. The only songs we retired, and still have never played live since 2009, are: "This Rust," "Pills & Places," "And The Noose Replied," "Insect Ways," and "Breaking Silhouettes."

What a crazy time it was recording this album in between attending a police academy, finishing a novel, having a baby, and buying a house... but if I had to list, in order, my favorite albums that I have ever been a part of (which is now up to 7), this album would certainly still be in the top 3.

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