Saturday, 22 December 2007

Mark Kelley's Alluring Martha

Credits for Alluring Martha:Mark Kelley: lead and most backing vocals, all guitars

Mark Mikel: bass, keys, some backing vocals

Dan Chalmers: drums

The Scandia String Quartet: strings

Mark Mikel "We used to rehearse/record demos in Mark Kelley's basement on Monday nights from sometime in 2002 to sometime in 2004. It would start at 7pm and go past midnight or 1am. Tabner would always leave at 10pm no matter what was going on and Davey was quite often MIA. (sidenote: After 3D, Davey wanted to quit the band but we wouldn't let him. We just told him he could participate when he wanted - no pressure- no obligations and he agreed. So that's why he's missing on much of Happy Birthday and Buzz for Aldrin.)So at 10 on Monday nights it was usually Mark, Dan and me. The remaining three of us loved creating together so much that we'd go until we dropped. Chalmers who'd have to wake at 5:30am for work would drop first- but he'd still hang there- sleeping sitting up with a beer in his hand.One Monday night MK introduced his rough idea for Alluring Martha. It was acoustic guitar based so MK led us through it on his acoustic, Scott on electric guitar, Me on bass and Chalmy on drums. It seemed like it was in an odd time signature but it wasn't. It took us awhile to grasp the timing but oddly enough it was in 4/4. Something about Mark's feel put the accents in weird spots causing a timing illusion- it's fucking brilliant actually. Chalmy and I had our own time signatures in our heads while Mark was playing it properly. We were all hearing the "one" beat in different places...until the chorus where it seemed obviously 4/4 and we came together.Tabner had some interesting guitar lines happening but they were never captured because he left before we started actually recording. Many contributions he came up with for many songs were lost for that reason.By the end of the night we managed a backing demo track. I added a string/mellotron part (in my weird timing) and that was it. There were no lyrics or vocal melody yet. We left with the understanding that Mark would finish it. And finish it he did.When we returned next week. Mark had added tons of harmony guitar lines and vocals with harmonies. It was so fucking cool. It was one of the best demos we ever did. It was the best thing I've heard Mark come up with to date. I couldn't believe how awesome it was.When we taped it properly in my studio for the upcoming album Happy Birthday, we wanted to be careful to duplicate it exactly. Therefore the three of us did exactly what we did before as closely as possible. This time, however, I understood the 4/4 timing because I'd scored the string parts. That scoring forced me to realize what the heck was going on by breaking everything down. I tried to get it into Chalmers' brain but it only screwed him up. He had to keep hearing it his own way. We've never played the song live because unless MK is playing acoustic guitar, Dan cannot grasp what to play.But it's the quintessential Mark Kelley song in my mind. I love it and was thrilled when it was picked for Monclovia.

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