Finding Beauty in Chaos
The reason why this musical vehicle we have created is called BEAUTY IN CHAOS is simplistic; yet not so. The vision of a beautiful flower growing in the middle of an abandoned burnt-out building replays over and over in my head when I look to describe the why. Assembling, or in some cases, disassembling beautiful soundscapes, melodies and chords, while injecting harsh bursts of sonics … or visa versa. Light in the dark, dark in the light is the contrast that helps in realizing the goal of creating something musical that is also very visual and cinematic.
1. ROAD TO ROSARIO
(Aston / Ciravolo)
This song was going to be the album’s opener even before it had a name. When I listened back to the music I wrote for this song, it struck me with the feeling of ‘driving down the road’ and the opening bass line seemed the perfect way to start this record.
I had toured and recorded with Gene Loves Jezebel throughout the last 20 years, writing the album’s ‘Love Lies Bleeding’ and ‘Exploding Girl’ with Michael Aston. I felt his voice would be perfect on this track. He picked up on the same vibe of the song. “on the road … to Rosario” were the lyrics he came up with after listening to the music.
(Nyte / Ciravolo)
I sat down with the intention of writing something that encompasses all the elements of what I dreamed this record could be … a mixture of beautiful textures with an interjection of a bit of chaos and brashness. I loved the music on this track when I sent it to Ashton … but his lyrics, his voice and his melodies tied all these elements together. But more importantly, collaborating with Ashton gave me the confidence that I could make this record happen. I think this song “Storm” is the obvious choice for the debut single and video, and since I am the ‘curator’ of BEAUTY IN CHAOS; the only choice!
Ashton corroborates “Musically and lyrically “Storm” feels at home somewhere between my last solo album and The Awakening album I’m currently completing, so the artistic synergy was perfect. It was frankly amazing to receive a song that felt like it was made for my voice and instantly inspired lyrics and vocal melodies we are both proud of. Michael has a wonderful sense of mood and melody and his songs are a lush landscape for me to add what I do best, in a very fluid, natural way. “Storm” is a song about seeking a light in the proverbial dark, destructive and tediously distracting world we find ourselves in. “And the storm can wait, wait outside for another sacrifice”.
3. Man of Faith
(Hussey / Ciravolor)
What can I say? To understand the impact of what this song means to me and how it came together, you would have to know how much THE MISSION and THE CURE’s records occupy and continue to consume a lot of time on my turntable. To have these two icons perform on the same song… MY song is still quite surreal! And to call them my friends? Truly a Blessing.
Wayne explains, “Michael persuaded our mutual friend, Simon Gallup, my 2nd ever favourite bass player, to play bass on Man Of Faith. Simon and I had been threatening to make music together for years and, and like most good ideas born out of a shared bottle or three, just one of those things we hadn’t yet gotten around to doing. It’s taken Michael to make it happen. And who’s not to say there won’t be more music by the three of us in the future.
I don’t like to explain what the words mean to me, I prefer the listener to make up their own mind. Yeah, I know, it’s a cop-out. That’s because quite often I don’t really know what I mean anyway when writing the song. With this one, I had the opening line and once that came the rest followed fairly easily. In my minds eye it does tell a story, a sordid little tale really, and maybe not all that it seems on the surface. Just don’t believe everything I say. Yeah, I know you don’t anyway!”
4. 20th CENTURY BOY
Simply one of the greatest rock n’ roll guitar riffs ever! I cut my teeth on glam … Slade, NY Dolls, Bowie … and T. Rex. I also became a big MINISTRY fan. Their 1992 Lollapalooza show was one of the first ‘dates’ I had with my wife , Tish.
Fast forward 25 years and Al’s now a close friend. I’m having flashbacks as he’s sitting in our studio singing and blowing harp on this rendition of 20th Century Boy. The icing on the cake for this moment is having my two beautiful daughters and my wife perform the hand claps ala the original recording. My partner in chaos, Michael Rozon and Al hit it off so well that Michael recorded and mixed MINISTRY’s AmeriKKKant album. Life is funny, isn’t it? …
5. Drifting Away
(Zander, Ciravolo, Christian, Matchinga)
While I was dealing with some musical frustration during the recording of Human Drama’s album ‘Broken Songs’, my friend Michael Rozon turned and said “why don’t you just do your own album?” I really wanted to get the record going so I reached back into my archives since I always loved this song “Drifting Away” I wrote when I was in a band in the ‘90’s called TWIST IN VAIN.
I sent the “Drifting” demo to Robin Zander and he liked it and agreed to be part of Beauty In Chaos. He started writing some new lyrics and making a very cool arrangement change.. really claiming the song as his own sound with his artistic talent.
He was in town a few weeks later as CHEAP TRICK was performing at the Hollywood Bowl. He came to our SAINTinLA studio the day after the show and in ONLY 3 takes, nailed it. “In Color”, “Heaven Tonight” and “Live at Budokan” where massive records I loved during my late teens and to have Robin Zander sitting on the coach next to me in the control room asking me ‘what do you think?’ Well, it is certainly mind-blowing ☺ In the final hour, I was blessed to have Michael Anthony to drop in and add his trademark Van Halenesq harmonies to this track. Though sharing with stage countless times, this is the first time these two rock icons have been performing on a song together. Truly, Beauty in Chaos is a blessing.
6. Memory Of Love
(Indovina / Ciravolo)
One of the two ‘contrived’ songs on this album. Absolutely, I don’t mean that in a negative way. I sat down to write something that, to me, had the sound and feel of early HUMAN DRAMA, which obviously I was a big part of. Loud, heavily effected guitar lines, jangly acoustic sounds and a driving beat. It has been a long time since Johnny and I collaborated on a song, so working together on this one was very special. I think we nailed it, but I guess I’ll see what the Human Drama faithful think and feel about it ☺
Also, I was really thrilled to have my former GLJ cohort, Pando playing bass on this song. I’ve always loved working with him.
As far was what this song is about, Johnny adds “Memory Of Love is the story of a journey over many years in life. The character in the story is attempting to hold on to what has been his strength throughout the journey, that he suddenly feels is fading. Hope, is suddenly becoming unjustifiable at this point, yet the journey must continue ...”
7. Look Up
This is the ‘other’ contrived song on the record! Once I setup my turntable I immediately listened to my late ‘80s 4AD and Shoegaze vinyl. Cocteau Twins, Lush, Slowdive, and of course My Bloody Valentine. Inspired, I picked up my guitar and run it thru an excessive amount of delay and reverb. Once I hit on that main riff, I knew it would be a perfect song for my wife to sing. I thought she delivered a melodic and lyric homerun!
Tish elaborated with this statement. ‘When you randomly meet someone and instantly know that you want to create a history with them, that is what I call magic. Everyone’s family history is different but I wanted to change what I had grown up in and create a loving home life including dogs, cats and kids. I aspired to show my two daughters what a beautiful, loving family life can be and I believe my husband and I did that. My fear is now, with the advent of cell phones, that people are so busy looking down at their phones they are missing life. See the moon outside my window? See the stars up in the sky? There is magic in the air – don’t miss that magic, that chance in life to randomly meet someone that you want to create a history with and LOOK UP’
8. Un-Natural Disaster
(Pinnick / Ice-T / Ciravolo)
FBIC is genuinely a diverse record and this song, “Un-Natural Disaster” certainly pushes the most sonic boundaries. This sonicfest features one of the heaviest tracks on the album completely propelled by the locked in grove of dUG Pinnick and my long-time friend, Pete Parada from The Offspring. It also features some of my favorite guitar textures hidden in the underlying parts that most listeners would think are synths. That is the beauty. And, of course being from New Orleans, dUg’s lyrics hit so close to home, reminding me of Hurricane Katrina and how much was lost for so many that I love after growing up there. That is the chaos.
Then there’s ICE-T. We had this slamming breakdown section that just needed something special. My friends Vince and Ernie C. from Body Count played the song to ICE, who graciously agreed to add a part.
He puts an explanation point to this ‘story’ like only Ice-T can.
“Hell from the heavens as the body count grows
Watch news at eleven for the final death toll… “
9. THE LONG GOODBYE
(Hussey / Ciravolo)
Produced by Michael Rozon
I had written the music to this one prior to Mr. Hussey agreeing to being involved, but once he graciously said yes, this song was an obvious choice with its unintentional Mission-esque 12string electrics throughout. Beautiful harmonies by Ashton Nyte and the lovely Ms. Evi Vine add to the song’s pleading desperation. My wife’s moving bass line drives this one as the guitars dance around it.
So what does Wayne say? “ This is one of those songs where, really, I just strung a bunch of words together that, to my mind, sounded good. Whether it means anything I really don’t know. Sometimes I write in this way and it can take the meaning of a song a year or two to reveal itself to me. If ever. Superficially this song is about the loss of innocence. But I feel there’s something deeper there with this one, I just don’t know what it is yet.”
10. BEAUTY LIES WITHIN
I set out to do something very sparse with this musical track beginning with Michael’s mallet driven tom tom as the foundation to build on. I think I did my best Mick Ronson inspired ‘Slaughter On 10th Avenue’ on this intro. This song is probably the most evocative of my guitar work on Human Drama’s ‘Broken Songs’ album.
Johnny adds …. ‘Temporary love, is still love. Broken love, is still love. Unconventional love, is still love. This song is a sad understanding that even in this day judgements occur that force some versions of love to have to remain hidden. This story is about two persons who share a secret and will always either physically, or just in thought for the rest of their lives. Their “chaos”, is their “power”.
“ we fly on tattered wings,
heal with crippled hands,
and close our eyes to caring
that they don’t understand”
11. BLOODLESS AND FRAGILE
(Nyte / Ciravolo)
I absolutely love this song. I use the word ‘cinematic’ considerably in describing this record and I think this track is a perfect example of that reasoning. At least to me it exudes and manifests an abundance of senses other than just listening to the sound … it feels cold and dark. When Ashton sung this … it was like there was ray of light with a consciousness of hope shown upon the landscape the music track created.
“Bloodless And Fragile” is the second song Michael and I wrote together. From the moment I heard the brooding, sitar drenched tones I was entranced. Another lush landscape for me weave lyrics and melodies through. It ended up being a song about angels. About a journey and about revelation. Michael’s music tends to evoke something almost Biblical in me. This song is no exception.
BLOODLESS AND FRAGILE
TAKE MY HAND AND WE WILL FLY AND WE WILL FLY
12. I Will Follow You
(Vine / Ciravolo)
When I first saw the video of Evi singing ‘Black Mountain Mist’ with the MISSION, I knew I had to have her as part of this record. I simply fell in love with her voice.. it reminded me of the early 4AD stuff, but with even more emotion. I was absolutely thrilled when Wayne made the introduction and vouched for me! This has become one of, if not, my absolute favorite song on this album. Lyrically and sonically, it's just such a perfect mesh.
Evi adds “ Love flows thru the writing, as soon as I heard the track I was hooked and know this was for me”. We had the music basically done, sans live drums. It was very hypnotic and cinematic with the loop Michael Rozon created. I had considered sending this song to two really ‘famous’ goth singers, but I found myself really intrigued and enticed the more I heard Evi’s voice. I am so happy that we went this route with Evi; these are definitely the words and melody that was meant for this piece of music.
“I felt so connected to the moment of the piece, it was such a respectful and harmonious experience to collaborate with Michael. Writing music should inspire and ignite a passion. When the nothingness is tearing up the earth … there is beauty in chaos" says Ms. Vine..
(Martin / Ciravolo)
The music that you hear in this track is exactly what ‘beauty in chaos’ was meant to be … from the thundering toms to the off-the-cuff intertwining guitar lines. In the ‘80s, I met Betsy and Kevin at the amazing underground gothic, dark wave Scream Club in Los Angeles. In the ‘90’s, I started playing with them and recording under the band name Kore, which later became Purr Machine. Betsy’s hypnotic voices, dances and moves, through every soundscape effortlessly.
Ms. Martin adds, “What Heliotrope means to me is observing beauty, the astonishing uniqueness and complication of every single creation. It is the preciousness of nature … even in a simple flower.”
14. Finding Beauty In Chaos
(Nyte / Ciravolo)
From the very beginning, I knew the closing song on this record had to be absolutely faithful, unique and fitting the imagery that sits in my head. And this last song would also be the ‘title’ track, the emotional ending of this story that we are telling. Ashton and I collaborated on two other songs and our musical partnership went very smoothly. I had faith that interpreting this musical direction with him would result in the ultimate crescendo, the perfect closer.
“Finding Beauty In Chaos” was the last song Michael and I wrote together for this album. It is fitting that it is the closing song and a true blessing that it is the title track. Unlike the other two, this one was born of an even more symbiotic nature. I think it started with a vocal sketch I had sent Michael, recorded on my iPhone after an epiphany of sorts. We then kept building, deconstructing and reconstructing until the song felt worthy of bearing the album’s title. I love the space and the power it yields, which is in no small part thanks to Michael Rozon’s wizardry. “Watching as the embers fall and sway, lose their way”.