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Studio Report: "Second Hand Life"

Love Is Life
I asked my friend, Tor Talle, to write an up-tempo rocker track. Tor is a Norwegian guitarist/songwriter who wrote a lot of songs for commercials and movies. He also has his own project called Northern Light. After I worked on it awhile I realized it needed something more… so I sent it to Deanna Johnston who I met and sang with when I was in LA last year. She's known to many as one of the stars of the reality TV show "Rockstar: INXS." She added the big chorus and refined my lyrical ideas and made the song jump! It's just a great piece of commercial rock with a big melodic rock sound and a catchy melody that you can't get out of your head!

Got Me Where You Want Me
Martin Briley and I have been friends a long time. He's written for dozens of artists including Celine Dion, Michael Bolton, Kenny Loggins, Pat Benatar, Gregg Allman. I have many of his demos from over the years and wanted to do one of his songs! He originally wrote this song for Taylor Hicks who won last year's "American Idol." People who do not live in the USA should know that "American Idol" is one of the Top 10 TV shows in America. Taylor went a different route, musically, so this track then became available to me. It's familiar sounding but unique in it's own content. It's also one that we can do a nice job with acoustically. It's about someone who wasn't planning on falling in love, but just could not stop! Sound familiar?

Second Hand Life
This is a song that came out of the Deep Purple sessions with Jim Peterik in Roger Glover's studio. Jim was brought in to commercialize the band in the same way that Def Leppard and Aerosmith were reviving themselves at the time. Peterik is an amazing writer, as witnessed by his hit band Survivor. Just as an aside, the title was inspired by this booklet that writer/producer Desmond Child gave me when he was living in a commune here in the States. The song talks about how most people live a second hand life that sets out to please our parents, so we often never become ourselves. We end up trying to be what society and parents want us to be so we really are never free to be ourselves!!! It's as if our lives are being passed down like an old pair of shoes. This song rebels against this concept as if to say "cut the strings…be who you want to be." A very strong statement!

In Your Eyes
People have described this song to me by saying it's hauntingly beautiful. It came out of a session with Karl Cochran. We were working on a completely different song and getting nowhere. I started playing a bass pattern and Karl started playing the guitar melody and after that it fell together like magic! I felt it was a very special song and agonized a bit over the lyrics. I needed some help so I went outside of myself and asked Jaime Kyle for input. Jaime wrote "Stranded" for Heart and has written many other hit songs with well-known songwriters so I had a feeling she would come up with some good colorful images and she did! I took these images and finished off the lyrics. It's a love song about finding everything in someone else. As the old adage goes, "The eyes are the windows to the soul." Need I say more?

Blood Red Sky
I describe this song as a "Romeo and Juliet" story, set within the framework of Middle Eastern scales. A story of two lovers, who, because of the past situations could never be together…a tragedy of love! My time spent on tour in Turkey with Cem Koksal was a life changing experience and I wanted to bring some of that into the song. Karl came up with this Arabian flavored riff and I added a big melodic chorus. I was inspired by the colors of the Mediterranean, especially the dusk and dawn! A beautiful blood red sky as the sun came up and down! The crescent moon is a symbol of Turkey, but was always shining in the midnight sky over the sea….very awesome! The lyrics tell the story!

Stroke of Midnight
This was written for Deep Purple, complete with Blackmore's great riffs. We recorded this song when I was in the band working on the follow up to "Slaves and Masters." Purple re-did it as "One Man's Meat." I have Ritchie's blessing do it the way we did it originally and my version is pretty close. It centers around a classic bluesy riff and lyrically is about a dancer who leads two lives---a private life and a life on stage as every man's fantasy. There's a real person underneath that image people see and we want to know who she really is! Jim Peterik is also credited as songwriter.

Over The Top
It's a pure bluesy rocker with a great riff. The song is about a personal relationship between two people and one person is always exaggerating situations hence the title, "Over The Top." My friend Steve Johnstad (who is sometimes known as Zeus) co-wrote it with Karl and I. He's worked with House of Lords, EZO and Loudness out of Japan, Le Roux and others. It's a great groove and really rocks!

We nearly did this song when I was with Deep Purple. It was written many years ago when touring with the JLT band. We played it live in some cities and there actually may be a recording of it out there from a radio broadcast. On this album, I re-did it in a similar style but with a bigger groove. It's the only track on this disc that I wrote myself from start to finish.

Sweet Obsession
This came out of the sessions I did with Jack Ponti ("Keep Tonight" from "Sunstorm") when we were writing for Bon Jovi in the 80s. It's a solid song, one I always wanted to do. The German band, Bonfire, had a hit with it in Europe and it was a popular MTV video. It's another relationship song about someone who can't help his or her desire for someone else but likes the helpless feeling!

Love Is On Our Side
Although I did a great song with Brazen Abbot by the same name, this is not the same song! Titles come and go with writers and this is a good example! I co-wrote this with Aleks DeCarvalho in the 90's. I had not worked with or talked to Aleks for many years but we recently re-connected and will write material for TV and films. This is a mid-tempo ballad with a statement and its message is still true and applicable today. It's a plea for world peace and social harmony and to not to lose your faith…we can change the world. I know it seems a bit altruistic but at least we have to dream like John Lennon inferred in his song, "Imagine." I believe this dream is still within reach!

Two Lights (European exclusive bonus track)
This is another track I wrote with Aleks DeCarvalho. It's a cross between rhythm and blues and melodic rock. If it was produced differently it could be an Adult Contemporary radio hit. My personal assistant, who has been a fan since my Fandango days, says it's one of her favorite songs from these sessions, so we'll probably end up putting this on the USA-version of the album. It tells a tale of love and loneliness…something to which we can all relate!

Off The Hook (Japanese bonus track)
This is a real burning rock tune about a girl who is wild and a bit reckless so the expression "off the hook" fits here as the title. With all the melodic rock on this disc we felt we needed to have a real fast paced rocker just in case some critics thought we could not rock…LOL! Karl shreds on the guitar and there's a pounding double bass drum coming from Michael Cartellone (Damn Yankees, Lynard Skynyrd). It's a real up-tempo barnburner and was written by myself, Karl Cochran and my longtime friend and collaborator, Bobby Held. Great to play live!