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Story Behind The Song - Dragon's Kiss
07 September 2002
Story Behind The Song - Dragon's Kiss


DRAGON'S KISS

SATURATION POINT
The strangest part of this song has got to be the section where I'm playing these heavy metal power chords and overdubbed under it is a track of Jason's then girlfriend, Maija, playing Beethoven's 'Moonlight Sonata' on piano. I had heard her playing it one day and somehow I conjured up the strange idea of mixing it with heavy jamming. I could have done a whole song (or album!) like that. It was weird!

DRAGON MISTRESS
One of the earliest songs in rock in a 'drop D' tuning. Also one of the extremely few times I used a tremelo bar. I played the back half of this song on Jason's blue Hurricane guitar, because it was a much better guitar than my Hurricane (which was on the front cover pic). Anyway his guitar had a tremelo bar on it so I figured, "What the hell, let's yank on this thing!" I also used the bar on "Sword of the Warrior" from "Go Off!" but that's about it.

EVIL THRILL
Even though Jason wasn't credited for it on the jacket, he helped out in this tune. He played some tremelo stuff for me. This song was sounding great before we mixed it. There are just too many overdubs and mixing them all together on such a low budget like we had made the parts get kind of muddled together rather than making them sound big. Cool title, though.

NAMIDA
The word means 'tears' in Japanese. This was my first experience in synthesizers and samplers. The melody was inspired by some dramatic Chinese music that I was heavily into at the time. There are a lot of melodic concepts and arrangement ideas in this piece that are very typical of my playing.

ANVILS
There is a heavy riff in the middle of this song that I wish lasted forever! This song was originally a lot longer, but I edited out about 3 minutes of guitar soloing. I mean, enough is enough, isn't it?

JEWEL
Jason and I were in the Orange County airport waiting for a plane so we opened our guitar cases and wrote this in about 10 minutes right there at the gate in the airport. It was nothing unusual for us to just start playing anywhere. We really didn't care about what else was going on, if we wanted to jam, we just did. As we wrote this, we knew immediately that we both loved the piece so we began to fight over who was going to get the song on his solo album. This was right as we were both gathering material for our solo records, but we knew only one of us could get the song. Neither of us wanted to give it up! Eventually we decided to flip a coin and I won. Not to be outdone, Jason later called me up and said, "Dude, I've got a melody that's even better than Jewel for my record! Ha!" That melody was to become the intro to "Opus Pocus" on his "Perpetual Burn" album.

FORBIDDEN CITY
This is the song that most people come up to me saying they like. The main intro melody and riff has been around since I was in Hawaii. I wrote it when I was in a band called Vixen. We played it at some gigs, mostly keg parties, but people always seemed to come out of their stupors when we played it. I remembered the melody when I was writing for Dragon's Kiss. There is some gnarly drumming by Deen Castronovo on this tune. At the time, we were unable to 'punch in' the drummer if he made a mistake. Deen made very few mistakes, but in a 7 minute song like "Forbidden City" getting it perfect in one go is almost impossible. Deen did a take that we all thought was perfect, but after my very close scrutiny, I found a little section that was just a tiny bit out of time. I told him that it was close, but not 100% perfect. He was a sport and kept playing the song long into the night until finally we agreed it was done the best it could be. Mixing the song was excruciating, as we had to mix it in real time, all in one shot, because we had no automation and certainly no protools or anything like that. There are a LOT of things going on in that song! I still remember myself and Dino Alden (engineer) with all 4 of our hands spread out across the mixing board frantically trying to mix this fast paced nightmare song?

THUNDER MARCH
This tune is closely associated with my playing, maybe because I have recorded it so many times! I was happy to find out that it is a cell phone ring tone in Japan. I may have been a bit over ambitious to have put so much distorted guitar in what has 'ballad' written all over it, but I kind of always try to find the power in really melodic music.
 
 
 
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