PETER GALPERIN
Tomorrow Seems Like Yesterday
(Jetty Records)

 

Never one to turn away from a valiant fight, NYC-based maestro Peter Galperin turns to face the strange on his 2020 CD Tomorrow Seems Like Yesterday. Singing his catchy melodies and laced narratives more like a manifesto than a pure pop outing, Peter takes on the pathos of the Trump era head-on with his new single and album leadoff track, "Nature Of Your Kind", a sing-along song that is both disconcerting and hummable. Released on the 20th anniversary of the maddening election of 2000, and now, basking in the dizzying 20/20 hindsight of this 20th year of the 2000's, the seven tracks on Tomorrow Seems Like Yesterday serves as a mirror reflection of what we are all going through culminating as the relentless 2020 pandemic ravages America. As the composer croons on "Never Too Young", he embraces the tortures of the time-fleeting imagery reflected in the ironic album title itself. Internet distress is downloaded on the self-evident "Digital Friend", while Peter has clearly had his fill of the endless deluge of misinformation on "Don't Need To Know". Tomorrow Seems Like Yesterday is equally enhanced by the songwriter's ever improving Broadway production skills, as featured on "As Good As It Gets" and the scenic rock energy of the album-closing "Won't Let Go". Featuring Peter backed up by a range of fine players and with every track here each expertly recorded at Virtue & Vice Studios in Brooklyn N.Y., Tomorrow Seems Like Yesterday puts 2020 America under the looking glass and the results are as disturbing as they are entertaining. www.PeterGalperin.com

 





mwe3.com presents a new interview with
PETER GALPERIN


mwe3: I hope you are doing well during this pandemic crisis. What’s the latest and greatest news from NYC? I remember 9/11 when they closed the LIE into the city. I guess this is somewhat different. NYC was always so dense. Caught many a flu there. They can mutate y’know?

Peter Galperin: The city is unlike any time I’ve ever experienced here. 9/11 was a stunning eye-opener and a very real look behind the illusion of security that we’ve taken for granted as Americans. I remember looking up into the sky the day after 9/11 as a formation of F-15 fighter jets flew overhead and thinking what a horrendous and misguided waste of taxpayer dollars. Just the day before our country was brought to its knees by a ragtag group of dudes with boxcutters. 9/11 revealed the absolute lunacy of our military spending in modern warfare.

The coronavirus crisis is similar in that it’s revealing the sad and dangerous hubris of the Trump administration for the umpteenth time. The feeling in NYC is one of fear and confusion. At least in the 9/11 crisis Bush had a story and he was sticking with it. Trump by contrast changes his story daily, even hourly. He gives the country nothing in the way of comfort, guidance or leadership. So we don’t know what we should be doing i.e., wear a face mask or not wear a face mask, how long this will last, lock down until May 1, June 1, next fall or even how will we know when it’s safe to go out... will there be a vaccine, will there be widespread testing? People of my generation, born in the mid 1950s to late-60s, have seen the complete disintegration of the American soul, as we’ve watched our country’s leadership stumble through one crisis after another… Katrina, Sandy, mass shootings, periodic Wall Street meltdowns, etc... But this is the lowest level of governmental incompetence and failure that we have ever experienced.

mwe3: Your 2020 album Tomorrow Seems Like Yesterday starts off with a song about President Donald Trump called “Nature Of Your Kind”. I thought you had summed him up on that This Burning Sun track “The King Of You And Me” but I guess even in this pre-2020 election period, Trump is pretty much an endless source of musical materials. I guess “Nature Of Your Kind” was written even in late 2019, before the pandemic era we’re currently in?

Peter Galperin: Yes, please don’t let me write another song about that bumbling idiot. I first wrote “Nature Of Your Kind” in Spring 2019 thinking that it was finished, and then Trump would do some new half-assed thing or make yet another totally stupid claim and I would think “oh I have to include that in the song,” so I’d write another line or two. And that kept happening over and over again, because as far as stupid, obnoxious behavior - Trump is the gift that keeps on giving. I was adding new lyrics right up until the recording session in January 2020. And some of the news clips used in the video happened only days before the final edit.

mwe3: I really like the way the horns kick in on “Nature Of Your Kind”. Tell us about the horn section on that track. It makes it seem like a roaring 20’s sound. No pun intended. This era kind of gives a new meaning to the phrase ‘The Roaring 20’s” doesn’t it? Who said the track might be about an ex-Girlfriend? Hahaha, now that is hysterical!

Peter Galperin: The horns really bring the song to life. Three terrific musicians - Brad Madsen on tube, Alex Jeun on trombone, and Ben Hankle on trumpet - that my drummer Patrick Carmichael introduced to me. They worked with my rudimentary charts and turned the song into a true party. I’d like to sing it someday while dancing on Trump’s grave. Maybe we are in a repeat of ‘The Roaring 20’s’ combined with the depressed 30’s… now that’s a mashup! But someone much wiser than me once said that those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it. And Trump certainly doesn’t know a thing about history. Side note; I didn’t tell the horn players anything about the song prior to their recording session and at the end of the session after they had listened to the playback multiple times, I think it was Brad Madsen who said “Peter, I hope that song wasn’t written about an ex-girlfriend!” He was relieved when I told him who the song was about.

mwe3: I really like the band you assembled on Tomorrow Seems Like Yesterday. How many players on this album have you worked with your earlier albums? I remember Andrew Schlesinger and pedal steel ace Smith Curry from your earlier albums. I’m not familiar with backing vocalist Kelsey Madsen but she has a cool and unique voice.

Peter Galperin: The core band was Patrick Carmichael on drums and Leo Smith on bass. Both of them are wonderful musicians who have been playing live shows with me for several years, so they know my repertoire and musical style well. Andrew Schlesinger and I go back decades and have worked on many music projects together and I got to know Smith Curry a few years back when I was recording in Nashville. When I find talented musicians who are simpatico with me I rarely let go of them. Kelsey Madsen was a new find. I met her at a NY club called the Harlem Flophouse. It’s a historic inn and music venue located in a renovated brownstone, and she was the singer in the house band that my bass player Leo also plays in. Her amazing voice reminds me a bit of Nancy Sinatra, but with more vibrato.

mwe3: Also I forgot that you were such a great harmonica player and a whistler although I think you played those instruments on your earlier albums. Also are you playing electric guitar or mostly acoustic guitars on Tomorrow Seems Like Yesterday album? You’re also play keyboards like the mellotron, which track is the Tron sound on?

Peter Galperin: I started off with one harmonica ten years ago, and now I’ve got about 20! So many different keys, and then there’s natural and diatonic and major and minor, so I’m still learning. But I’m playing more and more harmonica in my solo acoustic shows because it gives me a way to do instrumental solo breaks. Whistling is something I’ve been doing since forever, but sometimes it’s hard to pull off live, so the harmonica gives me another dependable musical option. Interesting side note – my harmonicas are made by either Hohner or Lee Oskar, and I recently found out that Mr. Oskar, who was the great harmonica player in the seminal 1960’s band War, now lives in my hometown of Everett, Washington. I need to meet him someday! Do you know him?

Throughout Tomorrow Seems Like Yesterday, I’m either playing on my wonderful new Taylor 814CE acoustic, my older trusted Gretsch 5122 hollow body or my sound engineer, Anthony “Rocky” Gallo's vintage Telecaster. The other string instrument that I loved playing a lot on this CD was my Kentucky KM500 mandolin. It has a lively, percussive quality to it that brightens up any track it’s used on, and it’s really fun to play.

One of the reasons I chose to record at Virtue and Vice Studio in Brooklyn was their great collection of vintage keyboards. I get to play a grand piano on “Don’t Need to Know”, a little Hammond B3 organ on “Never Too Young,” “Another Drink” and “Won’t Let Go”, and a vintage Mellotron on “As Good As It Gets” and “Digital Friend.” Andrew Schlesinger also played some Wurlitzer electric piano and additional Hammond B3 parts on several of the songs.

mwe3: Tell us something about the way you recorded the new album. How many guitar tracks did you lay down on a track? What were the sessions like and when were the songs written and recorded?

Peter Galperin: I wanted this CD to be as live sounding as possible, so we recorded all of the songs as a three-piece band playing together in one room - drums, bass, acoustic or electric guitar - with a scratch vocal track. We started recording just before Christmas, and finished up in early March, just before the lock down order. March 13 was our last mixing session and the last time I took a subway anywhere in NYC.

The final vocals, instrumental solos, keyboards, and horns were all added as overdubs. There was usually a live main guitar track (acoustic or electric), and a secondary electric guitar overdub track, and in some songs a third guitar or mandolin overdub track that would punch up the choruses. One of my favorite sounds that we came up with was in “Digital Friend” where four stacked whistling harmony parts were combined with the several mellotron tracks to give a very light, slightly out of tune keyboard pad to the choruses.

These songs were mostly written in 2019. “Another Drink,” “As Good As It Gets,” and “Won’t Let Go” were all written for the new musical that I’ve been working on. The Last of the Mannahattas is still in the early development phase, but I’ve written about 25 songs for it so far. We’ll just have to wait and see which ones make it through to the final production, but I really liked these three songs and thought that they could stand on their own outside of the musical story framework. I also felt that they worked for my voice and singing style.

mwe3: After the Trump track, “Never Too Young” injects some humor into this mostly serious time in history. This song also introduces the mention of the title of the album Tomorrow Seems Like Yesterday as one of this song’s lyrics. Do you miss your youth even more as we age or are kids these days growing up way too fast? Also, is that your guitar solo in that track or is it Smith? Sounds more like an electric lead rather than a pedal steel but it sounds great.

Peter Galperin: That’s definitely Smith Curry in the soaring lead solo on “Never Too Young.” He’s playing a pedal steel guitar throughout the song, including all of those cool, spacey little sounds during the verses. Smith has a very melodic sensibility in his playing, and always plays just the right note at just the right time. He’s a highly sought-after Nashville session player and I’m lucky to be able to include him on my project.

I’m not particularly nostalgic, and try to live mostly in the present. I think the idea/theme behind the title Tomorrow Seems Like Yesterday is that the future is never quite what we imagine it to be, and the past is never quite what we remember. “Never Too Young” is sung by a character who seems a bit surprised that the aging process is happening to him. By the end of the song he realizes that every moment matters.

mwe3: Speaking about the pitfalls of the internet, “Digital Friend” brings that topic of internet friends to the fore. People are eschewing real life thanks to the web. I really like Kelsey’s backing vocals. She sounds like Norma Tanega! Also there is an electric lead guitar solo on “Digital Friend”, double tracked?

Peter Galperin: I’ll have to google Tanega. Yes, the idea of the perfectly curated instagram life is ultimately a sad existence. We all find ourselves looking at online images that seem so much more interesting, enticing, or alluring (“…it might just be the lighting”) than real life.

So the idea that the character in this song ends up having a conversation with his online friend, who may or may not be real, struck me as both funny and poignant. Kelsey sings with the perfect amount of detachment and compassion to make this dream within a dream almost become... real. The solo on “Digital Friend” is two acoustic guitars played an octave apart, plus a little glockenspiel chime on top for good measure.

mwe3: Is “Don’t Need To Know” an internet era song? It sounds very fatalistic. How do you know what you don’t need to know? Is it possible to tune out the world these days? Your harmonica solo on that track is great. Tell us what brand and key and is the song Dylan-esque? I guess the Phil Ochs style is still prevalent in your songwriting. Phil would very much appreciate your views.

Peter Galperin: In the key of 'B' on a Hohner harmonica, with hints of Dylan and Ochs. Sounds like a nice vintage! While “Don’t Need To Know” does reflect on the overwhelming amount of information that we willingly or unwillingly absorb everyday, it also pushes back against the idea that through constant self-improvement you can become the best version of yourself. We are always being encouraged, pressured in fact, to better ourselves... to learn a new language in your sleep, travel the seven continents before you turn fifty, see the ice caps before they melt, etc, etc... The protagonist in this song accepts the fact that he “…might never learn the names of all the flowers, or be able to identify every bird,” which are probably things he’d like to learn, but is too tired or lazy to embark upon. In other words, he acknowledges his shortcomings, his limitations, and is comfortable with the way he is. And part of that comfort comes from knowing “…what he doesn’t need to know.” I guess I’m rehashing what Mick Jagger already said years ago, “… and a man comes on to tell me how white my shirts should be.” Mick knew not to let someone else determine his happiness or satisfaction in life.

mwe3: Is “Another Drink” the most lighthearted track on the album? Yet, the lyrics are kind of depressing. The song’s bridge is great. “I wasn’t born yesterday, but the future could still be mine.” Classic!

Peter Galperin: I wrote “Another Drink” from the point of view of an old man who is one of the characters from my new musical. But he could be anyone looking back and realizing that solid, long-lasting friendship is one of the great things about our lives. It’s a good time, party song and when I play it live in a club it usually becomes a sing-along... or a whistle-along. My favorite lyric is “I’m not dead yet, just in a general state of decline. But so is everybody else.” That’s fatalism with a smile! Hey Robert, we’re all in this thing together, and as Jim Morrison once said, “No one gets out alive.” Haha, now that’s depressing!

mwe3: What is the intention of “As Good As It Gets”? The bridge also introduces a contrary opinion that despite it’s as good as it gets, the damage we’ve done has made it much worse... yet, your sentiment is honorable and the guitar solo is excellent. Are you playing more guitar on this album than on your other albums?

Peter Galperin: “As Good As It Gets” is definitely two-sided. The phrase itself can mean either resignation or jubilation, depending on how you say it. There can be a weariness and inevitability implied (“…a story of tribulation…” and “…the loneliest of aches.”), but it can also convey joy and redemption (“…celebrate our victories…” and “…be kind to those in need…”). The bridge is the Greek chorus speaking up to point out the facts – how we treat our planet has serious repercussions that we are only now becoming aware of. Maybe too late?

I get to play a dueling guitar solo with myself – in honor of Badfinger and Thin Lizzy, and other bands from my youth that featured the two guitar solo approach. It’s a lost art! I do probably play more guitar on these songs then on previous recordings, and that’s probably because I’m relying less on other players, and trying to record with a more personalized sound and style.

mwe3: The album closes with “Wont’ Let Go”. Does it speak of the disillusioned looking up to you as socially sincere commentator? The bridge takes it to another level and you sing of you not telling your audience how bad things really are. Anyway, the song is a total masterpiece and is in some ways, the most Dylan and Petty inspired song on the album.

Peter Galperin: “Wont’ Let Go” was written to be the closing song of Act I in my new musical. It is sung by the mayor of what’s left of New York City 100 years from now, when sea level rise due to global warming has permanently flooded 75% of the city… and all coastal cities. NYC as we know it is gone, and all that is left are the highest points of land. The battered town is bracing for a coming superstorm that may wipe it out completely. The mayor, acknowledging that although he has done some terrible things as a politician, resulting directly in the dire situation that the town now finds itself in, tells us that he does feel a sense of burden and guilt. But his sincerity is lost in self-pitying narcissism as he sings “I can’t let these people down, when they’re looking up to me,” and pathetic attempts to portray himself as a dying hero... we are literally watching him try to rewrite history while he sings “I’m willing to pay the ultimate price, and take these secrets to my grave.” Another self-described great man bites the dust. Sound like anyone familiar?

Soundwise it is a very Petty-esque song... lots of chiming guitars, that vintage Tele I mentioned earlier and a big chorus hook. And yes, Dylan is always an inspiration lyrically.

mwe3: Tell us about your upcoming musical Last Of The Mannahattas and how the last three songs feature in the soundtrack? When is that coming and what's the plan for 2020?

Peter Galperin: Well I think I’ve told you quite a bit about the new show and how some of these songs might be featured in it. In my experience with my last show Bulldozer, show development takes on a life of it’s own, and often what I initially write gets radically changed, or even replaced during the creative phase... characters get added, or knocked off; scenes get replaced; endings change, etc. I like to let the story say what it needs to say, and for the audiences sake, try not get in the way of that.

As to when live productions will resume in clubs and theaters, that’s impossible to say today. We have a new normal that we are still figuring out. But hope does spring eternal as we are reminded daily of one of the greatest elements of the human condition. Like the song says “I won’t let go, while hope’s still in my heart, and faith’s still in my soul.”



 

 
   
Attention Artists and Record Companies: Have your CD reviewed by mwe3.com
Send to
: MWE3.com Reviews Editor Robert Silverstein
2351 West Atlantic Blvd. #667754
Pompano Beach, Florida 33066

E-mail: mwe3nyc@gmail.com
New York address (for legal matters only)
P.O. Box 222151, Great Neck, N.Y. 11022-2151

 
 
CD Reviews Feature Reviews & Features Archive Photo Archive Contact MWE3 Home
 

 

Copyright 1999-2020
MWE3.com - All Rights Reserved