Former member of English pop group The Mighty Lemon Drops, Dave Newton has spent the last few years producing albums for a wide range of LA-based bands from unconventional acts like The Happy Hollows and Death to Anders to popsters and danceables like The Little Ones and The Blood Arm.
The results have been pretty fantastic.
Recently, he's come back to making his own music with new group Dave Newton & The Mighty Angels, so we asked him to give us background into each song off the recently-released album.
Here he is in his own words (w/ the songs to stream).
"Paint The Town"
This is probably my favorite song I have written in a long time, probably since “Laughter” period Mighty Lemon Drops. (I know, that's a long time ha ha !). I wanted the song to evoke a kind of Smiths-y poetic reflection of a night-out on the provincial town, maybe even somewhere like Wolverhampton where I grew up. (By the way try running a Google Image Search on “Wolverhampton at night”… Oh, man!) The main riff is a total New Order homage (take from the best I say!) and the solo is a definite nods to Altered Images (I am a shameless plagiarist!). I also love gang/group chanting/backing vocals, and nobody (not including my boys The Little Ones of course) does that better than British Sea Power, another of my faves and a definite influence!
This was one of the first songs I put together last year. The Mighty Lemon Drops as a band was a little unorthodox in that Paul our singer didn't write, it was myself (& initially bassist & co-founder Tony on the first two albums) that wrote the songs. I hadn't really done anything of my own musically since the last Lemon Drops album in 1992, concentrating on making other folks records (and having a great time of course) and I kind of used the fact that I didn't have a vocalist as a bit of a crutch.
Now I am no hippy, but I did sort of have a life changing experience a little while back (I had a mild stroke in April 2010, which I have pretty much fully recovered from) and all these songs just started “appearing” I guess after that ! (crazy eh ?!) I had asked Nick Amoroso to come & play drums on a few song ideas I had, and I knocked this song out the night before… It's working title was actually “C86 Jam” ha ha ! At the time, I was recording Sarah Negahdari's solo record (Pisces) and asked her if she would sing on it ! She did and she also made a great video for the song too ! Then Chuck P played it on his KCRW show and it felt like that scene out of “That Thing You Do.” Ha ha… It really did feel good to have created something of my own again!!
"Everything Is Just So"
I LOVE mid-period Jesus & Mary Chain ! I know everyone is all about “Psychocandy” (which I love too) but my fave JAMC tune is probably “April Skies”, & I was thinking of the feel of that song when I put this ditty together. I am also a sucker for any recording that has a tremelo-guitar in-time with the song (classic example “How Soon Is Now” by The Smiths), so that's in here too ! I don't think it takes too many chords to make a song effective. I remember years back I was recording a band who shall remain nameless (they were part of that I.P.O / Poptopia scene) and all their songs had sixty-five chord changes before the first chorus yet amounted to nothing (to my ears at least!)!
Anyway they were talking about how they had gone to see Jason Faulkener & how he had to open for this “awful” band called Mercury Rev (who I loved!) and that M.R.'s opening song “had the SAME two chords all the way through … ugh” etc … & I realized that they were probably referring to the incredible “Holes” from “Deserters Songs”, to my ears a beautiful, incredible song that proves that you can evoke more with two chords than you can with twenty... there certainly is no accounting for taste sometimes. Ha ha.
The missus and I have a little get-away place out in the desert near Joshua Tree (and by no small coincidence minutes from the famed Pappy & Harriet's saloon/venue). It is small but it has amazing views, and I have a little recording set-up there. (I have recorded bits for The Blood Arm, Kissing Tigers and Everybody Was In The French Resistance...Now out there!) This track was pretty much conceived and recorded one weekend in the desert. On the intro I use my Sitar-Guitar which I found at a guitar show in Pomona I went to with Joey from the Henry Clay People. Short but (bitter) sweet! My mate Keith (from Twinstar) said he thinks this song sounds like The Clientele … which is amazing as I have barely heard them!
"My First Band"
My other personal fave of the bunch ! It's quite liberating yet at the same time it feels odd for me to be writing lyrics from a first-person narrative perspective: most of the Lemon Drops lyrics were purposely kept shrouded in a sea of vague-ness… actually looking back some of the lyrics probably weren't that amazing really but I like to think that we made up for it with the melodies. Ha ha! The chord progression/jangle-factor on this track was inspired by THE song of the UK summer of 1977 the amazing “Do Anything You Wanna Do” by Eddie & The Hot Rods, with some Gary Glitter thrown on there for good measure ! The song quite literally tells the story of my school punk band The Lowest Class playing our first gig. (We changed our name to the inferior Urban Kids days before for some reason!) As the song says it was a gateway to a lifetime of disappointment. Ha!