The original track has about three or four crescendos of drama in it, and you guys made it a little more atmospheric. Many listeners will expect to hear certain things with this album — it’s in our collective DNA — but you used it as a bed to take Dark Side somewhere else.
You’re right. I remember we were trying to get some of that drama out of it. It’s hard to get that across without being badly bombastic. And you don’t always know if songs are gonna work once you take the bombast out of them. You don’t ever know if the bombast is all there is. It’s a dilemma. But we found that it still worked. Some of those chord changes . . . I mean, wow. I think Steven [Drozd] played the solo on “Us and Them” almost note for note.
I like how you start the record by taking “Breathe” in a completely different direction. There’s certainly a chance that some listeners don’t know that song as well as we do, so it’s possible someone could think it’s an original work of yours.
A lot of times when people are hearing it, they’ll think, “Hey, I know this song,” or “It sounds like a song I know.” And that’s not bad. It happens a lot. I mean, we don’t play Dark Side of the Moon material every night; we’ve only done it a couple of times. Sometimes I think people expect that it’s just going to sound like Pink Floyd. There are numbers where people are like, “I don’t know this song; is it Pink Floyd?” and you’re like, “Oh, it is, but we’ve f---ed with it quite a bit.”
Well, you could call it Pink Lips, then.
[laughs] It’s always fun when people don’t know what it is at first, and then about a minute into it they go, “Ohhh!!”
Is that the definition of a successful cover song — one that’s not just done note for note?
Well, I think we got lucky: We didn’t have that much time to do the record or too much time to think about it. What we did do worked out quite well. “Breathe,” as you mentioned, and “Us and Them,” as I mentioned — we’d go, “Wow! We didn’t even think that was going to work.” But they worked really well. You just have to retain your confidence and power through it.
Now, one track we did that I happen to think is strange is “Money.” When you’re starting out, you wonder what you can do with it. In this case, I think we changed it enough.
To me, it’s like a Neil Young Trans-era version.
[laughs] I’d say that’s a good thing!
Yeah, I like it. “Sample and Hold”-style — I’m down with that.
Nice. I think the worst thing would’ve been to just play the album the way Pink Floyd did. Some musicians love doing things like that, but you have to find your own versions of these songs. Sometimes the way we did those songs revealed another attitude or meaning in them. It wasn’t that the meaning changed, but maybe the way that we embraced the themes did. To me, the biggest theme is “All you touch and all you see / Is all your life will ever be” [from “Breathe”]. On the one hand, it’s very bleak, end of the day, “Here’s what your f---ing life is going to be” kind of stuff. But if you look at it another way, the song’s concept is really a great, optimistic discovery.
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