Following up 2008’s “Daylight Kissing Night”, a best-of collection of songs culled from Marsland’s previous solo releases and his band Cockeyed Ghost’s four full-lengths, Marsland is ready to unleash a double album, “Go West”, his first new studio record since 2004’s “You Don’t Know Me”.
“When my last studio album came out in 2004, it was a low point. Nobody really wanted to hear it and I was burnt out from too much touring,” he says, discussing his enthusiasm for ‘Go West’. “Now things are totally different.”
“Albums to me are like children, and you’re responsible for them,” he continues, “some grow up to be mechanics and you don’t have to worry about them. Others are special, and you have to send them to medical school. ‘Go West’ is one of those.”
But, “Go West” would surely test Marsland’s commitment to the craft.
During the writing and recording of “Go West”, MarslandÂ¹s brother passed away unexpectedly, his sister-in-law was a victim in the Binghamton massacre, and his musical equipment was stolen in a home invasion.
“In between [my brother’s death and my sister-in-law’s murder], right in the middle of the recording, thieves broke into my house and stole most of my best gear: my Telecaster, my desktop, my synth, and most of the recording stuff. Gone. The recording files had been backed up but I had to borrow gear and buy a new interface. I was flat broke and I needed that gear to be able to work. It was pretty devastating.
“But I knew I had to keep going and finish this album.”
Through this journey, Marsland was able to let go in the recording process. His work as a session musician with members of the Beach Boys, 2008 Tony Award winner Stew and the legendary ’60s Wrecking Crew had sharpened his musical skills. The goal was simple; make a record that he was happy with, and not nit-pick over everything. Get in, find the soul of the song, get it on tape, and move on.
“These are among the best songs I’ve ever written, it’s easily the best vocals I’ve ever done, and it’s the best I’ve ever played. I think it’s both a personal album and one that’s about everyone’s experience,” comments Marsland without hesitation.
“The best part of it is, we didn’t spend years and years trying to make a masterpiece. The band and I just sat down and did it step by step, half-spontaneous and half-planned, and it came out great. Some of the tracks I did more on my own and others were more with the band (including soul legend Evie Sands, who does a memorable, funky vocal turn on “Two Children in a Bed”). We didn’t dick around with it forever. It doesn’t have this ‘under glass’ quality. It’s a rock ‘n’ roll album in terms of attitude.”
On discussing the music on the album, Marsland quickly says that, “The music is pop, but these are songs about sexual abuse, mental illness, moral ambiguity, and peoples’ interior lives. There’s this prejudice that a pop song isn’t capable of depth. Screw that. I’ve lived enough to write about these things and I think they resonate better with a good melody. I’m going to do it.
“I got to try a disco song, a funk song, a Krautrock thingÅ the double album format let me experiment a little, and having a larger story to tell kept it all in focus. It’s the most I’ve ever enjoyed doing an album. The music just came out.”
Unapologetic and true to himself, Marsland made “Go West” for him, and his fans that have stuck by him through thick and thin. Yes, he ultimately hopes new fans, critics, and others will listen and agree with him, and take something away from the album. But, if they don’t, he feels happy sleeping at night knowing that he made something that he can be very proud of.
Now the only thing left to do is tour relentlessly to spread the word of “Go West”.
9/30/09 – Cyber Cafe West – Binghamton, NY
10/01/09 – Fat Baby – New York, NY
10/03/09 – AndymanÂ¹s Treehouse – Columbus, OH
10/04/09 – The Barking Spider – Cleveland, OH
10/07/09 – Wooley BullyÂ¹s – New Brighton, PA
10/09/09 – LynaghÂ¹s Pub – Lexington, KY
10/10/09 – Locals Only – Indianapolis, IN
10/12/09 – The Elbo Room – Chicago, IL
10/20/09 – El Cid – Los Angeles, CA
10/30/09 – BrennanÂ¹s – Marnia Del Rey, CA
11/14/09 – Dry River – Tucson, AZ