Looking back to when the Making Friends record first came out, “The Answer is Still No” was more of a therapy session for me than a song. Between Tony’s vocal delivery, the lyrics, and the general kick-you-in-the-throat dynamic within the music, it was nearly impossible not to scream the words while breaking the steering wheel with each crack of the snare. It’s one of those melody driven songs that uses every chord in the bag, and you don’t know what hit you until half way through the next track.
Lyrically, Tony was always brilliant in keeping the words universal allowing for anyone to insert themselves into the situation. The words have meant different things to me at different points in my life. “Working out the problems that remain the same” - “one day you’ll regain your pride, and realize life is too short not to try.” The recording process was difficult given the circumstances. I remember aimlessly staring at the keys not remembering what I was doing and the engineer saying, “hey man, what’s up? you ready?” Tony’s words were always so honest, inviting everyone right in the door.
In a bit of fortune that day Adam, a friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in seven or eight years happened to be down the street tracking violin, so he came by and played on the song. It was a last minute decision, but having the strings come in for the second half of the track ended up being essential.
Tony was able to open my mind with his music and words; it was an honor to be able to pay him respect by showing how important of an influence he was on me - as a musician, and as a friend.
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