Dan P. and the Bricks - "Watch Where You Walk" Liner Notes
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All about "Watch Where You Walk," and some background on the Bricks from Dan P.
(The long-winded Internet liner notes that you might put on line but not on the actual record)

First and foremost, the Bricks are buddies.  Old friends that finally decided to play some consistent music together after years of strumming songs at parties and beach bonfires.  The joy that I feel when we're all in the same room together making noise is something that is difficult to put into words.  To play music with them is to know your place on the planet.  To feel the groove, sometimes so deep you can't see out, and then to look up around the room and see my tightest friends- some of the best souls to walk the planet, is something that I will always cherish and will always be reminded of when I see the word BRICK.  Thank you to all the Bricks who poured their hearts, hard work and humor into this record.

Getting eleven, no.. twelve adults to record on a record takes a bit of wrangling. Out of necessity, the album was recorded in a couple different locations, in many different sessions.  We recorded the rhythm tracks in LA at Tomas Kalnoky's studio.  We are forever grateful to Tomas for his generous loaning of space, not to mention all the nice gear and microphones we were lucky enough to record on.  Apart from two songs with keyboard overdubs, all the rhythm tracks were recorded at the same time.. meaning all the drums, bass, keys, and two guitars were all recorded live in the same big room.  Zero guitar overdubs. As a placeholder for the horn section, to keep us on track and not drop any parts, Matt Knobbe played tenor sax along with us.

The engineering was professionally and gracefully performed by Michael Rozon, who came into a foreign studio without a tour guide, and wired the entire place and got things rocking without a grumble or a humph.  He worked crazy late nights to get the recording right and his positive and encouraging attitude was a joy to have involved in the project. Thanks Michael.

Chris Murray diplomatically produced this record and gave suggestions here and there that made the songs stronger than they were when we brought them in.  Chris squeezed better performances out of us than I believed we were capable of.  He brought in a great organ amp, and a crazy old re verb unit that helped give the album a distinctive sound.  Along with Michael Rozon, he worked crazy late nights (beyond when all Bricks would have thrown in the towel!) and helped make the album better.  Thanks Chris.

All the stuff in LA was recorded on pro tools, and then I brought the session home to Santa Cruz and bounced mixes to Logic and recorded all the horns and vocals at Bertland studios in Santa Cruz.  That last sentence made it sound so easy and seamless.  It was not easy, or seamless.  In fact, it would not have been possible without the help of not one, but two tech support buddies.

The first being Rick Johnson from Mustard Plug, who endured many long phone calls where he walked me through Logic and Pro Tools.  I definitely would not have been able to pull off recording the horns without his help.

The second being Keith Thompson from the Groggs.  For the bargain price of a couple al pastor burritos from Morenos, he set me up with all the necessary tools on my computer to make it happen.

Also, big thank you's to Skylar Sourez for stepping in at the final hour and coming up with super awesome mics to record the horns with.

It should also mentioned here that we invaded Matt and Liz's house on the west side for a solid two weeks.  We made a lot of noise, and used their bathroom quite a bit.  Thanks for that.  It made a huge difference being able to record somewhere that was so comfortable and so welcoming.

We are also very grateful to Nick Bianchini for jumping into the bricks fold on trumpet at the last minute when it seemed like Eric might be out of the country for the entire session.  You rocked it!

And, what a treat to have Shannon Toombs sing on "One Reason."  Your voice and lyrics brought an unexpected sweetness to the album.

Huge thank you's go out to Jason Flowers and Rudy Ramos for wrestling all of us Bricks into so many great photos.

I can't thank Mike Park enough for all he's done to help me out through the years.  He continues to release my records without question.  I am really grateful to have such an amazing outlet for releasing my music.

Finally, I'd like to mention here that after recording and mixing, we had blown the Bricks bank.  We'd spent every dime of the money we had managed to save from not splitting up any money for two years, and I had dug deep past any reasonable comfort zone into my personal savings.   All that financial stress was immediately wiped clean when an extremely generous street show onlooker made a huge donation.  Thank you to Bob Logan and Logan Research from all of the Bricks!

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Watch Where You Walk- watch where you walk because you might step on my heart i really think it's best if you watch your step cause you might just fall on my heart you're so tough this can't be possible I'm so scared you'll drop me soon you're so tough and i'm so impossible i know you'll drop me soon so 
watch where you walk because you might step on my heart i really think it's best if you watch your step cause you might just fall on my heart i'm so weak this can't be possible i'm so scared you'll drop me soon i'm so weak and i'm so impossible i know you'll drop me soon

This is one of the oldest songs on the record.  I wrote it maybe thirteen or fourteen years ago, and intended it to be an MU330 song, but it never seemed to click at practice.  It's weird how sometimes the same song presented to a different set of musicians can produce such different results.  This one is an essential part of the Bricks street show, and one of my favorites to play.  The shout choruses and the tambo make the street show come to life!

Fan- spin like a fan just pushing air around again if we could speak eye to eye maybe we'd start to understand nerves starting to break the same hot air recirculates spin like a fan spin like a fan i don't listen when i talk i think i talk just to be heard do you listen when i talk don't want to hear another word i think i need to say again i know i talk just to be heard i'm your biggest fan oh could you just say the word oh these summer nights the temperature drops when the fog rolls in and we open windows pull up the sheets and cool down again and we reconnect when the heat subsides i'm with you tonight spin like a fan

Fan originally appeared on Eat the Planet.  It was the first song I wrote during those writing sessions, and got the inspiration by looking up at the ceiling fan.  It truly is all about the arrangement on this one, since it's just the same five chords looped over and over.  This was one that I always felt could really benefit from a full band treatment, and it finally got it on this album.  A couple things that always catch my ear when listening to this version are things that happened during the recording process.  The first being when we were recording the horns, we decided to have just the trumpet and trombone play the melody the first time through, and then have the saxes fill it up on the second pass.  Satisfying.  The second one is something that Chris Murray thought of at the end of the tune.  It used to just fade out.  It was Chris' idea to have the band drop out and have the vocals finish by themselves.  Faaaaa-e ah-ahn!  Nice one Chris.

Footdown- down down put your foot down so hard to watch you getting shoved around down down down put your foot down lay it down rise above these clowns well here's a word for those who prey upon the weaker ones well it may pay for now but you're time come when the oppressed are backed up against the wall their inner strength will surface one for all when pressure builds too much to keep it bottled up when it's time to tell them that you've had enough the scales will tip you're next in line you'll know it's time to put your food down

Another song from Eat the Planet that finally got the full band treatment.  This is one that Chris Murray added quite a bit of input on in the studio.  In particular,  the catchy bass line that Matt and Brendon play together.  Chris also helped us clean up the end a bit.  I mixed the album in LA with Chris Murray and Michael Rozon, and the rest of the band hadn't heard the mixes yet.  We had a listening party at Matt Knobbe's house, and when this song came on, with the crazy effected verbed out drum effect intro, Larry our drummer literally rolled off the couch and did a summer sault!  Definitely my favorite moment of sharing the mixes with the band.

Set Sail-
it’s soon but i’ve set sail again the wind feels right this time the waves are small but they rock my boat just enough it’s soon but i’ve set sail again i’ve put my trust in the constellations the pinholes of hope that steer my boat i’ve put my heart in the hands of the man in the moon it’s soon but i’ve set sail again and if you get seasick i’ll drop anchor and hold you close and if you get sunstroke i’ll let you sit in the hull of my boat it’s soon but i’ve set sail again the moon feels right this time it’s big and it’s bright and it’s in line with the stars it’s soon but i’ve set sail again

This is one off my first solo album eyeballs.  It's about my mom having the guts to be able to fall in love again.  Set Sail is a song that I'd been jamming with friends at beach parties and informal get togethers since I moved to Santa Cruz over ten years ago.  The arrangement was always loose and laid back, and it will always remind me of good times and friends.  Chris Murray helped us tighten up the arrangement a bit and pushed us to get it right in possibly the most intense late night recording session I've ever been involved in.  We dug deep and I think learned a bit about ourselves.  The moment is NOW!!!

One Reason- just give me one reason why i would dance with you i've been standing here like there's glue on my shoes just holding up the wall in case it decides to fall down i would dance if there was no one around just give me one reason why you would dance with me my hair's a mess there's a bruise on my knee you seem so cool and my nerves are a wreck would you trip me up if I took the first step here comes your hand i'm out of my seat the room starts to spin and i step on your feet i knew it was over and i thought you'd let go but instead you  pulled closer and we danced soft and slow just give me one reason just give me one good reason and then the music changed and the band kicked it in and you grabbed my hand and we start to spin i'm a forest fire i'm a five alarm when i feel you're hand touching my arm and the world can see us but i don't care i can see you smiling i can smell your hair and you're eyes seem to scream but you're lips won't confess we're spinning and dancing till we're out of breath just give me one reason just give me one good reason

This is one that I wrote with my wife Shannon.  I wrote the first verse, and she wrote the second.  Another in-the-studio horn decision helped shape this one.  To mellow out the attack of the main melody, we dropped out all the horns except for the trombone and tenor sax, and it made a huge difference.  

Map of the Stars- map of the stars map of the stars gates that are robots keeping us out security guards driving around he's got a mansion we can't really see locked up and private where could he be will we catch a glimpse we're looking in from the street will he change his pants is it boxers or briefs map of the stars map of the stars mercury venus jupiter mars map of the stars map of the stars gates that are robots security guards map of the stars he's in the movies he's on tv i'm day to day government cheese he's making headlines he's up on top i'm in a bread line about to drop i would give anything i ate a hot dog for breakfast today he ate a sausage on a gold paper plate map of the stars map of the stars mercury venus jupiter mars map of the stars map of the stars cobblestone driveways and rent a cop cars map of the stars

I wrote this song after having a conversation with a friend who grew up in Bel Air, and he explained how weird it is that people would actually pay to ride around his neighborhood in a van on the "Map of the Stars" tours and snoop on his neighbors.  I remember not being too excited about this song after I recorded the demo, but when I worked it out with the band, it became one of my favorite Bricks songs.  The groove makes it for me on this one.

Mess It Up- if we tried to be rain we'd turn to hail and if we were a train we'd derail and if we were a letter we'd get lost in the mail everything we try to do we fail let's mess it up let's mess it up when things get hard we make it worse nice and rough let's mess it up let's mess it up cause our mess is the best let's mess it up if we were a boat we'd have a broken sail and if we tried to sit still we'd start to flail and we were both thieves we'd surely be in jail everything we try to do we fail if we'd run a race we'd be slow like a snail if we were bare feet we'd find a rusty nail and if we tried to tell the truth well we'd be telling tall tales everything we try to do we fail

Mess It Up is probably the first song that I wrote with the Bricks specifically in mind.  Big horn melody, big sing along chorus.. It's got all the stuff that I imagine the "Bricks Sound" to be.  If there was one song that comes close to being a theme song, this would be it, and that's reinforced by the fact that we play it at LEAST twice every street show.

Heartbeat Survival- oh excuses run over hills from coast to coast through everyone and oh how they fly through the sky over clouds into the sun in the food we eat in the air we breathe every thought overwhelmed and undone heartbeat survival if we could turn our backs on the past and not just tread in the same tracks and oh to just let go of all false hopes for the future and watch the show we could be in the moment with our eyes wide open every thought a beautiful surprise heartbeat survival

Another song from Eat the Planet that finally got the full band treatment.  I love Matt Porter's guitar lines on this one, as well as AJ's sneaky keyboard intro. Some production decisions with the vocals went beyond my normal comfort zones.  Delays and reverbs were used liberally, and I let it happen, and I'm happy with the results.  Left to my own devices, I would have gone with a dryer vocal sound, but I love how it turned out.

Completely True- you and i completely i'll be what you need me to be oh you and i completely true you and i sweetly i'll see what you need me to see oh you and i completely true well i've crunched the numbers and done the math and i've calculated a perfect match and against all odds it's true it's you and when we get stuck on the small stuff you sit me down and start talking tough but your tenderness breaks through breaks through

This could possibly be my personal favorite on the album.  I love how the horns sound on this one.  We decided to only lay down alto, tenor and bari sax, and leave off the trumpet and trombone.  The horn sound turned out especially warm and reedy.  With all the space in the groove, the upright really gets a chance to shine and sound like an upright bass.  This is another example of the lead and background vocal being more effected than I would have chosen in the moment, but I'm psyched on the end result.

Connecting Four- connecting four on the dance floor connecting four up and down side by side and on an angle nobody knows your dancing code connecting four on the dance floor was it your eyes that drew me to you could have been your lips they're magnetic too but if i sat down and i told you the truth it'd have to be your connecting four moves could it have come from a different place like a meteor from outer space or did you dream it up all by yourself four connecting moves ahead of the human race the whole room is scratching their heads wishing your moves were theirs instead not content to just cut a rug well you totally shredded it and tore it up

This was the last song written before we went in to record the album.  The arrangement was still taking shape as we laid down the rhythm tracks.  The horn players hadn't learned it yet, and it was questionable as to whether it would make it on the album.  When we went to lay down the horns, we kept putting this one off because we expected it to be an extremely difficult one to get.  When we finally got around to it, it was all business.  It's crazy that it went down that way, because when I listen to the recording, the horns are killing it, and it sounds huge.  Sometimes a little pressure helps I guess.

Sweat For It- you've got to sweat for it to make it mean anything work for it if it's your dream and when it falls apart and you're back to the start pick yourself up and keep working hard sweat sweat sweat for it work work work for it keep your head up and don't you ever quit sweat sweat sweat for it

While we were in LA laying down the rhythm section parts, it was Brendon's dream to go one day before our recording session and work out with Richard Simmons.
Three times a week in LA, Richard teaches a workout class called "Richard Simmons Sweat!"   Basically, we blew it by not making the time, and it didn't work out with our recording schedule, but maybe someday we could get the whole band to work out with him.. maybe even film a video for Sweat For it!

Quit On Me- did you really think that you could just quit on me just like smoking just like biting on your nails oh please i'm so over being over i'll never need you back until you take me in your arms again i'm so over being over i'll never need you back until you say those words again again again did you really think i cared half as much as you when i knew from the start that you were so confused oh please oh please

This is an older song that never found it's way onto an album.  When we play this one at street shows, Matt Knobbe doubles up Porter's guitar melody on the melodica, but that evolved after the actual recording.  Bricks Fun Fact: The only evidence of melodica on the album is in one of the photos on the cover.