A few words about Colorado from Matt & The Rentals
|Single by The Rentals|
A couple of months ago one of my oldest friends asked me if The Rentals would like to contribute a song to a compilation that he was about to put together.
In a brief conversation about what kind of songs he was looking for he threw out a couple key words like “cold, travel, winter” and “adventure” …and we both kind of laughed and felt slightly ridiculous.
I told him that unfortunately we didn’t have anything that I thought would be appropriate and in any case we were deep in pre-production for The Rentals new album and we were just about to go into a proper studio.
I wanted us to stay focused on the big picture.
But, this old friend of mine, who is a bear of a man, can be quite persistent.
Even so, against his enthusiasm and charm I continued to decline the invitation.
A week or two later our manager suggested this song “Colorado”.
Colorado was a song that I used to play on my solo tours usually when I was by myself with a few acoustic guitars and a small audience sitting on a sea of dirty pillows.
You know, some songs come fast, some songs come real slow, but truthfully in the end you don’t care how they come …just as long as they keep coming.
Colorado, as I remember, was written in about 10 to 15 minutes.
Cut to: what seems like five or six million years ago
Some friends of mine were throwing a “bon voyage” concert for a girl named Sloan. She had come to Los Angeles looking something …something that always seemed to be ever so slightly out of her grasp.
So, I wrote this for a girl, whom I barely knew, who was simply searching for the elusive something.
The following morning Sloan set off on her journey.
Colorado was intended to be just a song for that evening, a farewell song, a good luck song, a take care of yourself type song.
That was all.
End of flashback.
Somewhere along the way it occurred to me that maybe we could use this opportunity with Colorado as a test run for our new album. I began to think that this might possibly be the best way to get our collective feet wet.
And by the way, it is god damned hot out here in LA at the moment and we’re long overdue to jump in the pool.
We converted my last home into a studio and started recording the synths, strings, acoustic guitars and vocals.
Then something unexpected happened while recording Colorado …maybe because it was a “one off”, maybe because it was a “throw away”, maybe because it was not “attached to the big picture” …for whatever reason. There was a great sense of levity while we were working on this song.
There was something altogether more careless, joyous and even silly during this recording.
I guess, most of the time, I think about albums as being, more or less, like films. The records that I seem to find myself involved with usually have common themes and characters that run throughout all of the songs and tie together each verse and chorus into some kind of unified story.
That might sound awfully lofty, pretentious and stupid, but it is what it is.
Someone in the band once joked around with me saying that I would probably prefer that our album would be sung in a different language, complete with subtitles and that it would only be released in art house movie theatres.
Yes, maybe so.
Any way Colorado was liberated from all of that nonsense.
Never can I remember a time for The Rentals where we had more effortless fun during a recording session.
We were liberated from our everyday way of working. We let go and simply enjoyed ourselves.
As I mentioned earlier there was a feeling of carelessness. I guess what I really meant by that is that we felt more open to let loose and experiment in a bolder way than we ever had before.
Once we took the song out of my house and moved into King Size Studios we started layering drum grooves upon drum grooves, pianos upon melotrons and a toy omni-chord upon a partridge in a pear tree.
My only fear is that perhaps we tried to squeeze our entire new album into three minutes and thirty seconds, but it’s far too late to worry about that now.
While we were doing all this there were a couple cinematographers running around filming things like a vicious drum stick duel on the cement floor of the studio.
Did I tell you that we’re making a movie? ….well, I think that’s a story for another day.
The good news is that, this song, Colorado has energized all of us involved with The Rentals.
And I believe that means that we’ll be releasing much more new music much sooner then we have recently believed was possible.
Well, I hope you all have had a lovely summer.
We look forward to seeing you sometime soon.
Matt and The Rentals