Among Other News, Bob on the Ceiling Released From Its Analog Prison 

posted March 2, 2023

I hadn’t played guitar in almost a month. I don’t need it in the studio these days because all we’ve been doing is adding background vocals. My daughter’s been playing the parlor Gibson constantly, learning the part to a song by the Goo Goo Dolls that I never knew the title of, even though it colonized the airwaves in the mid-90s. Back then we experienced it as a harsh imposition in our van Moby, a signal to change the channel immediately.

Dave Chalfant and David Nields were the main drivers, though about halfway through our heaviest touring years, Katryna stepped up to be relief, though she never learned to back up the van when the trailer was attached. Sometimes I think that the fact I never had to drive (I was excluded due to my spaciness) was one of the main reasons why I was willing to go on touring after the others were getting the wee-est bit road-weary.

I’ve been listening to two of our albums these days, the first and the most recent. Mostly I’m listening to the rough mixes of Circle of Days, the newest one, the one that still needs final mixes, mastering, an album cover, and a marketing plan, not to mention some funds to complete all of the above. The album seems to have cohered over the past 3 weeks. When Lila and I drove down to New York in mid-January, there were all sorts of issues with the tracks. Nothing felt right. But Lila heard potential. “Mom, this is the one,” she keeps saying. “These songs could be at the end of TV shows over the credits.”

Which is akin to telling us in the 90s that we had a video in rotation at MTV.

Katryna and I went back to the studio, told Dave to add this, subtract that, and Dave in turn said, How about this, what if we…? and we layered a bunch of vocals, added the inimitable keyboard gifts from Kit Karlson, (musician extraordinaire who produced our 2014 release XVII) and voila, we seem to be done. Even though Circle of Days was supposed to have 12 tracks and we only have eleven, which is the topic for another post. Or maybe I’ll write about it now.

We wanted a twelfth song because twelve months–– “Circle of Days” being a Celtic term for the year’s cycle––but also Katryna thought we should put a cover (non original, e.g. a bona fide hit) on it. She has smart reasons for this. Some other songwriters who shall remain nameless have “broken” on Spotify because they’ve covered some famous song. If, let’s suppose, you are searching for the song “Torn Between Two Lovers,” say, and up come two or three versions by various artists, you might not remember that the original artist was Maureen McGovern. You might instead click on the version by, I don’t know, New Kids on the Block, and then who knows? You might like it even better than poor old Maureen’s.

So we set about trying to think of an awesome cover that:

1. we all three wanted to learn

2. you, e.g. our normal, deeply awesome, long-time listener, would love, and that went along well with our general, pardon the word, brand, and

3. new people who didn’t know that we were their favorite band would go searching for and, once stumbling upon us, would raise their hands to the heavens praising the Divine One for allowing them to finally commune with yours truly.

Here’s what we auditioned:

-”Torn Between Two Lovers” (just kidding)

-A song by Oasis, not sure if it was “Wonderwall” or the other one with the Pachelbel chorus

-”Don’t’ Think Twice, It’s Alright”

-”When Will I Be Loved”

But even though any of those would have been grand in a vacuum, we were not in a vacuum. Our album has a very specific flavor to it. You’ll see on June 16 when it’s released. And we ended up simply not having time to do any of the above (minus “Torn Between Two Lovers,” since no one thought of that until me a few minutes ago writing this post). Plus, we have big plans, should we make enough money selling “Circle of Days”,” to record an entire album of covers! But I digress. Back to the story.

“Wouldn’t it be great,” we mused recently, in a business meeting with Patty, our long-time manager whose dog Elphie we take turns taking care of when Patty goes off on her many intercontinental trips, “Wouldn’t it be great if we happened to have a recording of us singing a song from the 90s that was a big hit then but was still timely today and that people would vaguely remember and maybe search for on Spotify?”

And then one of us, let’s say, for kicks, that it was me, though it was more likely Katryna, went, “Wait. We have that. ‘Black Boys on Mopeds,’ from Sinead O’Connor’s multi-platinum album I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got.”

“No you don’t,” said Patty. “Bob on the Ceiling isn’t on Spotify. It cost too much to put it up. We’d have to pay royalties.”

“But Patty,” we begged. “Please? And are you telling us that Bob on the Ceiling, the album on which our cover of ‘Black Boys on Mopeds’ resides, is not yet available to stream? Our poor fans!”

Patty said, “Yes, that is what I am telling you.” And then without pausing to feed Elphie another treat, she started pounding on her keyboard, found out that the total number of royalties we’d likely have to pay would be in the double digits, as in $11, and said, “Oh, OK. Let’s release Bob on March 4. Tell the fans. And make your NorthWest Park show that you happen to have on March 4 the release party.”

Are you following so far? Well, even though we jumped up and down for joy and called Dave to say we were going to have a “Streaming Bob” release party at our gig at the Northwest Park Nature Center in Windsor CT (our old stomping grounds) on March 4, we didn’t follow for much longer and pretty soon we forgot all about Bob altogether, being immersed in making Circle of Days and all.

But Patty didn’t forget! Bob on the Ceiling will be up any minute now (Patty says March 3, which is TOMORROW! I keep refreshing my browser anyway.) When it does hit the ole streaming services (Apple Music, Spotify, etc) we’ll get back on our Insta page and trumpet the news some more.

The whole entire point of this post was for me to tell you about my tired hands and sore back and raspy voice from having practiced “Be Nice to Me,” “If This Were a Movie,” “Ash Wednesday” and “Memory Leaves Town” today with Katryna. Katryna said, “You must be tired because you are playing all the songs at like half speed.” But I’ve run out of time and now I feel awesome and I can’t wait for our show on Saturday at NORTHWEST PARK! So come! We’re singing almost every single song from Bob, plus some new ones from Circle of Days, plus all the in-between ones you love.

The end.

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