MAKE YOU A BELIEVER
This was the song that the whole record was built on. It was the song that made
everyone excited and Rick I knew we had something special pretty much right away. Its
funny, as my good friend, the singer Stephanie Calvert, told me recently that she used
to sing it in church when she was younger – they used it as a praise song – which, in a
way, it is. I’ve heard it at sports games and anytime people need something uplifting. I
wanted something with that Rod Stewart & The Faces vibe meets Memphis – so that’s
what we were going for.
IF YOU’RE GONNA LOVE ME
Here is the more traditional 70’s FM rocker of the collection – I wanted to give a musical
nod to the bands I was listening to in the 70’s, like The Eagles, Bad Company and
Foreigner – they were a big part of my roots, as well. I was really into this movie called
‘Bagdad Café’, and it was part of the inspiration for the lyric, which was about regret,
nostalgia, ennui, big sky country, running away, and the limitations of welfare programs
…nothing, really. To this day it’s one of the songs I prefer to start the night with, as it
packs a punch and is good to build energy from.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO REMIND ME
The great lament. I remember when I was touring with the seminal Austin band, Arc
Angels, in ’92 – this was the song that guitarist Doyle Bramhall 2 always said was his
favorite. I think it might because of the echoes of some of our most beloved artists
seeping through it’s cracks. It continues to be one of the songs that other artists cover
the most by me. I wanted something to that would allow me to showcase the intense
emotion that we all experience over relationships gone bad, and this was what we came
up with. My dear old pal, Parthenon Huxley contributed the line ‘I don’t need you to
bring it home’, because for the life of me, I couldn’t think of a line there!
WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE
A song written straight from my youthful heart – directed specifically at all the people I
felt had wronged me in my younger years – whom I’ve since decided were heaven sent,
because without their derision and nay-saying, I would never have had the strength to
prove myself. As it stands, it was my attempt at writing something that would not have
sounded out of place on Beggars Banquet, one of my most cherished Stones records
(although there are more than one). It was like sticking the middle finger in their
proverbial faces, and I still feel a certain satisfaction singing those words!
WINDIN’ ME UP
This was my rocker version of an Al Green type song – Al Green being one of my
musical heroes – it was supposed to be kind of Al Green meets Gladys Knight and then
they both run off with the Pips, type of thing. It’s funny how when you try to emulate
something it can come out sounding so different, but there you are. It has that Memphis
phrasing that I was so enamoured with (still am) – and of all the crazy twists of fate –
the person I TRULY learned that from was Joe Cocker, after singing with him on the
Bodyguard soundtrack and touring with him for a couple of months.
I WANT TO BELIEVE
We wrote this song at my friend Stevie’s house in LA – Stevie had come up with this
beautiful chord progression that sounded melancholy but hopeful at the same time, and
as is often the case, the song felt like it wrote itself, like we were just the midwives for
the melody. The planet appeared infinitely less complicated during that time than it does
now, but the themes I’m talking about here are pretty universal – birth, death, love…the
usual suspects! This is one of those songs that makes people cry at shows –
sometimes even I do! Hard to sing when you’re crying, though, so I do try not to.
GOIN’ BACK AGAIN
I wanted a song that would give props to my hometown of Montreal, Canada, so I wrote
this one with Rod Stewart Band alumni Kevin Savigar and Robin LeMesurier. We spent
an afternoon or two at it, and I had a blast coming up with a way to convey what it felt
like growing up in 2 worlds, one French speaking and one English. My favourite line is
“It’s 11 months of winter and 1 month of pretty thin ice”, because, yes, it was THAT cold!
I really like how this song has matured live, and this re-recording of it has more of the
flavour that the song has morphed into, incorporating a little more of the Allman Bros
type of approach than the original had.
DO WHAT YA WANT
Rick and I wrote this in his writing room at Sunset Sound in Los Angeles – 1991 was a
super hot summer, and we would take breaks when we ran out of inspiration, and go
eat Thai food which was super trendy back then. I was back to exploring my favourite
themes of being true to oneself, standing up against oppression of any kind, girl power,
or more to the point, people power!!! It was amazing to hear horns on a song that I cowrote,
so that was a big thing for me at the time. We went straight ‘rock band’ with it on
this new recording, however, in the interest of making it sound a little more like it does
when we do it live now.
What I like best about this song are the dynamics, which are especially featured when
we do it live. We decided to re-record it more in that vein, as it’s just weightier and more
mighty slowed down a bit and attacked with heart and soul. I really love the way the
boys played it on this new version – it has such angst and drama this way. Let’s face it,
life can get a little dramatic on occasion, and it’s always good to have music you can
turn to that identifies those feelings and emotions. My life was pretty tumultuous at that
age, and I can really hear that reflected in the atmosphere of this song.
WHERE THERE’S A WILL
This is a foot stomper – a singalong type tune inspired by hearing Steven Tyler doing
one of his acoustic, tub thumpin’ scatty things, which he in turn picked up from the
Mississippi blues masters. All the music that influenced me came through my own
discovery of it – my folks listened pretty much exclusively to classical music, and I had
no older siblings – so I came to the Blues kind of backwards, through the white rockstars
of the 70’s and 80’s, rather than the other way around. This tune is one of my favorites
to do live.
This song was written at the Encino guest house/studio of REO Speedwagon’s Kevin
Cronin – the guy I wrote it with, Randy Cantor, was doing a lot of work in there. I wanted
something that really reminded me of the Faces at their sweaty, chugging, drunken,
smoky best – and this was it! Johnny Lee Schell smoked the guitar track on the original,
and I love the way the band plays it on this version – this song is so much fun to do live,
and it really is a kicker way to end the night. Rod Stewart at his cheeky best and
inimitable Steve Marriott were the true inspiration here.
One thought on “Racine :: Behind the Song”
As a drummer (and part-time bass player), I really dig the ones that rocks on your album (not saying the ballads aren’t good… I like ’em too… but prefer more energetic ones). Make You A Believer, If You’re Gonna Love Me, Who Do You Think You Are, Goin’ Back Again and Where There’s A Will. I’ll try to make it at L’Astral (Montreal) on January 26th. I only catch you once in show at Metropolis and also at the big summer show outside in ’92 (also in MTL) when you shared the stage with France D’Amour, Extrem, Steve Miller Band and Bryan Adams. What a show! Great idea to let us know a li’l more ’bout your songs. As I’m French-Canadian, sometimes I didn’t catch the idea behind the lyrics or misunderstand the true meaning of. Artists should do more of that. I miss the time where lyrics were written in albums (yes I still buy hard-copy albums, ‘not really into MP3 yet. Keep up your good work, you’re one of the most talented Canadian rock artists. Kisses from Montreal