This puts him second to the great Lenny Wilkens who claims 1, wins.
For Scialfa, inspiration in this case has been found not just down a Memphis road, but also throughout a soulful album. Musically speaking, Play It As It Lays -- produced by Scialfa, longtime friend and collaborator Steve Jordan and Ron Aniello Guster, Barenaked Ladies -- artfully travels down some familiar Memphis roads as well as along other trails blazed in our finer Southern musical capitals.
Those women always had a long list of complaints and they could belt them all out in a very beautiful and powerful way. The acclaimed 23rd Street Lullaby would not follow for another decade. So my free time from the E-Street Band, I tried to give to my family and raising the kids.
I finally got this team together when I was finishing up 23rd Street Lullaby. This is much easier.
You have those sorts of guys in the studio all at once, and you just want to keep writing because whatever you write is realized so quickly.
The guys played so beautifully and really understood the genre I was working in, and tapped right into the groove. Some of these songs we took from the original tape of us teaching the players the songs. Everyone was in on the idea of the musical direction for the record, which made it kind of effortless and a lot of fun.
I invited Ron up for a day to see how we got along, and we ended up getting so much done. And when Steve was available again, he came in and we all three worked together. It ended up being a great team.
I was really excited when we caught what we set out to do. I was trying to expand myself musically, emotionally, vocally, and the way the guys played the music made that possible. The thing is people are complex and long-term relationships are full of complexities.
Play It As It Lays: Elvis when he was young was -- and is -- for me a powerful symbol of American hopefulness and that idea you can rebirth yourself. It was the name of a song on one of my original demos that I took around to Atlantic Records way back then.
I always liked that title, and this time I thought I should write a new song using it. I had this nice little riff I wrote on the piano and I started with that. That was an old song I had lying around that I never found the right place for before.
But then when I started this record, I knew this was going to be a good fit because these songs are a little tougher. Everyone played it so well. Steve Jordan is so great.
The song itself is about the natural conflicts of real and longstanding relationship. Those women always had a long list of complaints and they could belt them out in a very beautiful and powerful way.
What happened is that we went in to record this very serious song and I had all the musicians at the house and the song was just boring me to death. This song also gave me a chance to be light and have some fun and experiment with some of those out harmonies like Prince does. This is a song of betrayal that came when I was writing on piano.
You feel betrayed by that failure and by working so hard for the things that never come. Yet the person in the song eventually looks this failure right in the face. She makes an affirmative choice and instead of feeling victimized, she takes some strength from it.
This one is definitely adult entertainment. I had to get drunk to sing that one. We used to take the kids there every summer when they were really young because they had this thing called a Robosaurus, a gigantic monstrosity three stories high on wheels that eats cars and shoots flames out of its mouth.
The last time we were there, they brought Shirley Muldowney out. This was like her last race and I was really inspired by her and wrote down all these lyrics on beer napkins.
I stuffed them in my pocket and forgot about it. Then when I was doing my record, I was cleaning out some drawers and found them and remembered I wanted to do something with them.
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