NYC breeds a different kind of rocker. From Lou Reed to Television, New York Dolls to Kiss, there is a sonic thread that runs through all of them. That thread continues with Lorne Behrman. Behrman just released his second full-length record, Blue Love, and continues to show that not only is he carrying on the tradition of NYC rock & roll, but also evolving it into a vital part of modern music.
Please press the PLAY icon below for the MisplacedStraws Conversation with Lorne Behrman –
On if he continues to pay homage to classic records with his album cover – Oh, that’s a great question. So for this record, I guess there is an homage to Blue Note Records and that kind of world. I always loved those records in the sixties and I thought it was kind of cool. This album has some jazzy elements, not necessarily jazz, but I thought it’d be just a cool approach, to honor that particular music that means so much to me. So yeah, that was a, that’s a great question.
On what producer Matt Chiaravalle brought to the record – Matt’s a perfectionist. Obviously, I’m not the best singer. But he really went for as good as we can get it. He brought a certain a certain crispness to the record, clarity. I wanted a production. I wanted it to be an album that sounded both intimate and pristine. He pushes me as a musician, he has a great ear, and, as a guitar player, he really pushes me to become a better and better guitar player to come to the sessions with parts for the songs that are meaningful as opposed to just kind of, “Let’s see what happens”, and to nail them, like really nail them. This record I worked it, it’s a step higher in the kind of musicianship and he also brings like a lot of these on all the releases I’ve done, they’re intimate. They’re personal topics. He creates an atmosphere that you feel safe and comfortable to explore things that you may feel squeamish around other people. You may feel self-conscious about singing. It’s fun to work with him. His tastes are so expansive. For me, I got something about Blue Note Records, 60s soul, girl group music, punk rock, and Steely Dan, all that music, to me they all like they can all fit together and he could see that so that’s another thing.
On if he came in with the idea of creating complex, cinematic arrangements – Oh, man, that’s such a great question. All that stuff you’re saying I was thinking about that music. Pet Sounds, girl groups, my wife sings on the album and she comes from a soul background, she’s a woman of color and she grew up on Motown and all that stuff. It’s hard to explain, I came in with all the guitar parts, everything written, I could play everything to a metronome and I had ideas of things I wanted. But I’d also say that with this album, unlike previous albums, I think the guys I was working with really inspired me. For example, our keyboard player Steve Mosto, he’s a great vocalist, just a phenomenal singer. Years ago, he was on Mary Tyler Moore Records, he put out an album as a band. He’s just phenomenal. I think it was like Hall & Oates-type stuff that he did in the 80s. He really helped with the backups. He kind of helped give ideas and my wife had ideas, you know, I think we all kind of had ideas. I knew I wanted other voices to be involved, and Steve Mosto really helped with that. So did my wife and then Matt always helps with that. How do these bedfellows kind of work together, and to make it cohesive and he is very good at that. His mixing, not to get too nerdy, but his mixing is so perfect. He knows how to mix things to sound so cohesive So different styles that seem totally worlds apart really kind of fit together in a very organic way So I think I would say that it was that particular sound was a kind of a collaboration in a sense, between Matt, Steve, and Danielle (McCullough) and myself. I knew I wanted to bring those flavors into it. I knew because that’s music that I love.
On if songwriting serves as a therapy for him – That’s a great question, Jeff. It does. When I write a song a lot of times what comes to mind is, “Now I don’t have to feel that feeling anymore”. I wrote that song, and it’s weird. It’s almost like as soon as it comes out and it’s released, I’ll be able to not feel that feeling anymore. So I can get all those songs. They all have certain feelings that I just didn’t want to feel anymore. Then like new feelings pop up and then I’m like, “Okay, I don’t want to feel that anymore. How do I address that? Well, I’m going to write a song”.
On where his lyrical inspiration comes from – I try on this record, I wanted to not only write about myself, and it’s fun to write about but I challenged myself. It was like, “I wonder if I could be a storyteller and tell other stories than myself and if it would be as compelling.” I guess the rule would be that I have to feel it. You see a movie or you hear a song and it makes you cry, it’s like you maybe didn’t live through that narrative, but somehow that connects with you. So, a song like “Barbara” was really influenced by, “Panic in Needle Park”, the 70s movie with Al Pacino and stuff. Then the idea of couples that get together and they both have toxic addictions, so it was written about that. I felt that, but I also wanted to convey something that’s cinematic and like “The Bellevue Song”. I’ve been to Bellevue. I know people have been to Bellevue and both of those songs you just mentioned there, there’s a New York City experience that I’m sure it’s still out there, that you can have. You fall down, an angel picks you up, you fall down, you end up in a shitty motel, you end up in the hospital, something happens, it passes, and I just wanted to convey that kind of transience. The album title Blue Love, is about holding two emotions, on one hand, you’re holding love, on the other hand, it’s like this blue, this sadness and desperation and you can hold these both of these things. You can hold pain. You can hold joy almost simultaneously. To me, the heart of New York, that’s what it feels like.
On if it’s a struggle to always find hope in his lyrics – That’s a great question. That’s a really good question, man. I can get really dark and depressed, and I could go full-on. I think I put those lights, those glimmers of light in there for myself. When I hear music that’s just about being down, I feel it so much that I need some redemption, so I put it in there. There are songs that don’t make albums that I kind of toss away that are “Poor me, I’m so upset, blah, blah, blah”. But, that’s not my terrain. I want to leave people with hope, and, I want to give myself hope like, “Hey, these characters, they’re going to make it out, you’re going to make it out”, so there’s always redemption, I guess, in my song.
On writing so people can relate, even if they haven’t experienced it – That’s a big comment. I feel like the music that I come from, the lineage I come from, and the world they come from, I’ve always had to say when I’d be out with people, I’m like, “Oh, you may, you may not get it because it comes from Johnny Thunders or all these specific references”. I want to make music this time that people could, I want to be like anyone could feel it. I wanted people who like middle-of-the-road music to be able to feel just as great. There’s so many great movies that are pieces of art and they speak to that, but they speak to the masses. So that was my hope that this would be an album that would be like, you don’t have to have like a degree in New York City rock and roll music to appreciate and to feel it.
On if he’s looking to tour outside of NYC with this release – I would love that. That’s something if anyone listening wants to help out or has ideas, the truth is that it’s hard to build something. Even though I’ve been in a lot of bands, it’s like I’m always starting. When you start over, you kind of start over. My life is such that like I can go on the road and I’ve gone on the road and I want to go on the road and I want to share this music with people. It’s just kind of like finding the infrastructure, people that can help book the shows, and then just getting the music out there. People in other cities hearing it. I say in my mind, I’m like, “Look, if I have the demand and the infrastructure, I’ll go anywhere”. I need people, Connecticut or wherever they are, Westchester to say, “We want you to come here”. I’ll be there in a second.
On what he sees in his future – I would like to do tours. I’d like to get this to a point where it’s self-supporting. I could keep putting out records and not break my bank paying for it. I have a third record almost written. It took me a long time to figure out what I’m good at in music. I came up as a lead guitarist and I never sang. I never really wrote songs. I just wrote parts of music or I wrote a few songs, but I wasn’t a singer or lyricist and now I’m finding it. So I would like to write with people. For me, for my records, I love writing by myself because I spent 30-something years collaborating with people, I want to have this real estate or this is my voice, but I’d love to write with people for their projects or for other projects. There’s so many artists out there that move me I’d love to work with and play on people’s albums, provided they like what I do. The aesthetic I know isn’t for everyone, but yeah, just keep growing, and keep getting better as a songwriter.