If you look back through the Ripps catalog, it's really extraordinary how many of our CDs are thematically related to travel. For me, songwriting is a visual process, so I suppose that it has always been easy for me to realize my music through something that is exhilarating, like exploring new places.
People have frequently remarked that our albums are like a travelogue of my life, and it's never been more true than in the case of "Cote D'Azur". I have always loved Italy, but my passion for the south coast of France really delevoped slowly, and took me by surprise, culminating in what could be the most passionate title track in the history of the Ripps.
I've told this story at our concerts. We were in Nice, and suddenly this infomercial-type show comes on about the history of St. Tropez. It turned out to be a fascinating history lesson about the french pop culture of the 70's, and I was hooked.
The short story is that all the American pop hits of the era were re-created in music videos starring Bridgete Bardot, the 60's sex icon. And that's when I realized how intertwined our cultures really are, and at that moment I realized how deeply I had fallen in love with the south coast of France.
That gave me this colossal idea: why no tie in my 1960 Fender Stratocaster to the deal, and write a 60's surf-pop love song to both? The actual title comes from a totally off the hook restaurant in Villefranche, but it's not there anymore. Had the best seafood salad on the coast...
Definitely got this one just hanging around and listening to what's going on in the neighborhood. Love the port in Antibes...
For me, songs evaluate to true or false. They either reach some place inside you that is real, and connect to real emotions, or they don't. I don't know what it is about this song, but it has had a pretty remarkable effect upon some of our biggest fans, and there's no greater reward for a songwriter to know that...
It's also one of my favorite Jeff Kashiwa solos, and one of my favorite guitar solos. Although it's not really a solo- it's just another melody from my trusty old '60 strat.
I'm pretty amazed at how this one came out. It's like a Rubik's cube. The idea was in my head for months, and when I was fooling around with it on guitar, I could never pin down the key, since the key changes every other bar or so. I was literally thinking, "better stop here and do a turnaround before I change keys again", and I tried to trust where it was going. I tried not to analyze it, and instead, just worked it like a train of thought exercise. I'm glad it found its way to the end.
This is really an example of jumping off a cliff, and trusting it. I'm thankful that I don't have to play this melody live-Bill has to count it. The whole thing is in 5. I really studied the flamenco stuff, though- i't s for real. Surprisingly, a lot of our fans love this exotic harmonic minor stuff- my wife loves it.
Thanks to Jim Rosenberg over at Epiphone for sending me a beautiful Broadway hollowbody arch top. Written and played on this guitar...by the way, Provence (the destination) is 5 stars.
Featuring our pal Jeff Kashiwa. I got the idea for this song in Cannes, walking along the boardwalk.
Love the freak-out on the telecaster at the end. Actually, I backed off a little bit. It was wilder. The trumpet is actually played by synth guitar.
My wife Yare wrote the hook. She's a fabulous songwriter. It's actually a vocal song with lyrics, so it was a challenge to make the melody work with the guitar, but I did my best. I just kept the production simple and let the melody do the work.
That's kind of the record in a nutshell. Of all my work, this is the most transparent of what's going on in my head. Hope you enjoy it!