When you form a band, each individual member brings something to the table. Rick and Conrad were veterans of the Ottawa music scene, having played in several bands (in addition to Lost Colt, Conrad is also the drummer of record for Ottawa's awesome Big Soul Project, which among other achievements played the main stage of Ottawa's Bluesfest in 2010) and contributed to numerous recordings (Rick's resumé includes albums with Lot 49, Naked I and Adam West). As noted last week, Bruce showed up with a long resumé as a solo recording artist and musician. Dan, meanwhile, had played a grand total of one gig with the RadMen (more on them next week), and...hmmm....
"I knew nothing about being in a band," Dan says. "I showed up in Ottawa with a stack of cassettes full of demos I'd made in my parents' basement using a Casio keyboard and a cheap karaoke machine with a double tape deck. But the big problem was I didn't know how to communicate how my songs should sound...because I didn't have much sense myself. All my demos were layered mono recordings so if they were going to be listenable at all I had to keep them simple, so I never gave much thought to arrangements."
Quick musical chemistry with Rick and Conrad (and, from 2008 to 2010, Marc Fonda) helped: Dan would introduce a song by playing a couple of verses, then count the guys in and within a few takes they usually had something to work with.
But then there was "Ocean Wind." "Rick was convinced it was a great song, but the arrangement was going nowhere. And I was at the stage where I was just sick of playing it."
When Bruce joined the band, Rick and Dan each gave him a CD full of demos to study up on. "I was trying to figure out how I might fit in," he says. "'Ocean Wind' was the first tune of Dan's that hooked me. In my mind, I could hear a low guitar framing the melody, and siren voices. I came to practice one day saying 'We’ve got to do Ocean Wind, I’ve spent all week working out the guitar part.'”
Home run. "Bruce had this idea, like 'Ocean Wind' should be like a Roy Orbison song in a David Lynch movie, or something," Dan says, "so he showed up one day with different backing vocal ideas and a new lick for the guitar solo and we played it and I was like, 'this is why I need to be in a band.'"
With the arrangement conundrum finally solved, Dan could focus on why he wrote the song in the first place. "It's basically a sketch of one of my favourite places, Old Orchard Beach in Maine. When my brother and I were kids that was our family vacation spot, pretty much every year from 1986 until I left home. The lyrics are on the nose, you're walking on the beach, but it's my beach, my happy place. So I love that we're playing the song, and playing it well."
"Ocean Wind" is the second of six tracks on Lost Colt's EP, Who is Lost Colt. You can hear the EP in its entirety at reverbnation.com/lostcolt, or you can purchase MP3 versions of the songs at reverbnation.com/store/index/artist_1870878 .
Next week: "Counting Up."
This note was cross-posted to the "Country Music Nation" Facebook group and to mycountryspace.com