In the spring of 1988 I recorded the album ‘In a Blue Night’. Around that same time I was working with my band Petty Tyrant, rehearsing in my studio in MD. I think the intent was always to take the show on the road, but apart from a couple attempts at live performance – it never happened. I started laying tracks for what would become ‘Lost in Babylon’ in August 1988, finishing the album in August 1989. Our keyboard player Doug Ortega contributed as well to the finished version. During this time, I recorded nearly all of the Petty Tyrant rehearsals, some of which found their way onto the live collection ‘Blend with the Night’ in 1999.
As I’ve said before, I have a very selective memory. I think some may refer to that as ‘fried’, but… I only remember a couple times where the book I was reading affected the songs I was writing at the time. In the early 80’s I wrote several songs inspired by the author Carlos Castaneda – ‘Your World and Mine’, ‘Petty Tyrant’ etc. In 1989 I remember reading bits of the Bible. I’m not sure what prompted that. What I do know is after sharing an early copy of the album with someone I worked with, I was asked whether I was a religious man? Now this surprised me, as I did not see the album that way at all. Apocalyptic in parts maybe, but religious? No. At least not intentionally. The obvious song that could prompt such a comment is ‘I Talk to Jesus’ I suppose, which I consider more a song of desperation. I guess for some that could be a come to Jesus moment. So much for what I think. The original tape I gave folks had 8 tracks on it, with a medley of ‘Peace in the Valley, Amazing Grace, and Waiting for a Miracle’ as the last track. That could have contributed to the comment as well. Who knows. For this official release, I decided not to license the medley, but included two unreleased instrumentals recorded at the same time.
No matter the inspiration, I have always considered Babylon to be one of my better works. It also includes ‘Spin’, which is not only one of my favorite songs that I’ve written, but my favorite guitar solo as well. I remember being new to the Fender Stratocaster at the time. In addition to being inspired by the new sound it was giving me, it was also the first whammy bar I had ever played for any extended period, which was a bit of a challenge at first due to my ‘lefty-strung-righty’ playing style (I’ve pretty much always played stock right-handed guitars). As time has gone on, I now consider the upside down thing an advantage.
Apart from my earlier album ‘Abstract Attack’, Babylon is one of the rare times when I was able to play a real drumset and record it. For the most part I play electronic drums now, and though great, they’re not the same… It’s also apparent we were still enamored with the Phil Collins gated drum sound. Back then, with only 8 tracks to deal with, I tended to print any effect apart from reverb or delay on tape (My Ramsa board had two effects sends from what I remember). So the gate sound is printed on the stereo drum tracks, and applied to the entire kit. Apart from a little EQ, that’s how they sounded on the tape.
This is the first archival release I’ve done where I have been able to remix the tracks. I transferred the original 8 tracks a few years ago into Cubase at 96 KHZ/32 bit resolution. To my ears, and after comparing it to the 16 bit mixes I’ve been listening to for the past 28 years, it sounds great. I hope you like it too! Let me know what you think.