So, my friends, after a long wait I was able to sit down with 3 out of the 4 members of Rotary for an impromptu album listen session. Chilling with me on this adventure with Bob & Jack Todaro and Dan Matthews. A few hot dogs and beers later, we all sat outside with some cigars and popped the album into the mp3 player and began this listening session.
Demon Moon Album Fun Facts
Rotary recorded Demon Moon at Rotary Records… no relation.
The album has alot of geek Easter eggs within the songs they put on the project. Everything from “Lost” to “The Darker Tower Saga”.
Band member Dan Matthews is a practicing mime… just joking. Dan is the silent giant who doesn’t speak much, but when he does its very impactful.
The project was titled Demon Moon due to the darker lyrical feel portrayed in the songs. I would of preferred they called it Demon Poon (Inside Joke).
The Songs on Demon Moon
While the majority of the songs were written by Bob and missing at the interview member, Andy Wakeman. there are some songs that have carried over from Bob’s previous bands and have had a face lift for the new project. Being their first big time studio produced project, they took a 9 month approach to make sure everything was carefully thought out and played out.
1. High Noon – You can hear the wild west influence in this song. Even when you listen carefully you can hear a western tale being woven through a rocking western style track that sounds like something from the Quick and the Dead. This song sets a tone. It lets you know that you will hear lyrics that match the song and not lyrics for the sake of lyrics.
Jack: the guitar parts have a eerie similarity to “Young Boy” off the “Flaming Pie” album. First time playing it was like hitting a wall of sound. It take us a while to piece it together. We ended up having to pull back when playing it. When you play it balls to the wall you may miss the dynamics. which is why you can’t go balls to the wall all the time through the song.
2. More Then I Can Stand – If you don’t listen closely you will miss alot of the witty lyricism that makes this band a joy to listen to. One of the things you may miss is the “Lost” influenced lyrics. I’m not going to point it out to you. Its your job to listen and find it. But trust me, you’ll chuckle once you get what this song is really about.
Bob: The length of the song is 3:17, which is known as the perfect length for a song that you are looking to get played. This song loosely follows the Jacob/Smoke Monster/Man in Black story line. Bases in good vs. evil not with old school nursery rhyme contradictory lyrics. “Picking up their swords and shot each other.” To be honest when I heard Jack first do the guitar piece for the song, it didn’t sound like it fits, but when it was pieced together it sounded perfect.
3. Runaway – One of my fav. songs because it has that bluesy, dive bar feel to it. Think the band from Swayze’s “Roadhouse”. The vibe makes you feel like drinking beer and starting a fight if there is no beer nuts to chew on. This song ranged so strongly with the group that it was chosen to be the first video that they filmed for the project.
Jack: Originally this was a keyboard based song…but while I was playing the part on the guitar, it almost had a Los Lonely Boys feel. As we kept working on the song it slowly started getting that Los Lonely Boys feel all around. Especially once Warren, The producer, started tweaking the harmonies of the chorus vocals.
4. Hold On – This song is one that shows off their cover band roots. Very Beatles sounding, but doesn’t have a Beatles rip off feel to it. The song can stand on its own musical merits. One of those, damn I messed up and need a good song to play for my girl songs.
Dan: This one is is alright because there are breaks that keep me from zoning out and a solo where i can take it up a notch.
Bob: This is the song where Jack and Dan really get to shine.
5. I’ll Never Learn – This song comes in with a very big stadium sound and fill. To me this song is one that really shows of the band’s ability and skill.
Jack: When we originally laid this song down, we played it balls to the wall. But Warren, the producer introduced some piano to the song. Overhauling it another top on top of the previous times we’ve done it. As I listen to it now…it has a rockabilly feel where it didn’t before.
6. Waking Up – To me…this is my personal fav. Due to the fact that I have sampled the original version of the song for a project i was working on. Revamped for this album, Bob stepped back from lead vocal to allow his brother, Jack to give it a different feel. Both songs are very solid album tracks and i think having Jack take the lead was a smart move on the band’s part.
Bob: Live this song can go on for a long time. This song had to be cut down and restructured. Probably the most expensive song to do. To be honest, the final version of the song didn’t get decided until we reached the studio. Having Jack taking the lead vocals instead of me gives the song a whole different feel. I think it’s great.
7. Time Machine – More of a intro then a actual song. But…it is a very stirring instrumental that could easily be on a movie sound track. The promise of this track was to set you up for the travel back to the 50’s and 60’s feel that comes with the next song.
8. Sally Baby – For those who remember, i want you to think back to “Happy Days”. Remember the old school bands that would preform. that’s what this song reminds me of. Like I should hear this playing while I’m at Johnny Rocket getting a burger, fries and shake.
Jack: The original build for the first song was a little hokey. Until one day we flip on this Pink Floyd sound and I started to solo over it. We called it Time Machine cause we wanted almost like the feeling that you were leaving that 70’s rock and hitting to that 50’s 60’s era.
Bob: We never had a name for the original song. Which was mostly saxaphone. Even the guitar parts were really sax parts. Which is what the song started as. So instead of taking my girl out…we were taking the sax out. (Interviewer’s note…the change from Sax to girl helps the song, thank you)
Dan: I love the tambarine part!!!
9. What You’re Dreaming Of – This has that Blues Traveler feel to it. a blues swing and a rocking back beat drives this song through your speakers. You can hear the labor of love in doing this song.
Dan: This song is fun to play live but tedious to record. Because it was tough to line everything up. Therefore we had to do things in sections. Thanks to Warren, the producer, things end up sounding good. This was also the first time playing with a click track which was an experience in itself.
10. White Lady – Do not let the light over tones of the vocals fool you. This is a dark song. Rotary skillfully bounces between the heavy guitar driven meat of the track and the light sing songy set up sections. The transitions in this song is one of those, let’s see how good the drummer is at tempo switching type of songs. Hats off to Dan for being up to the task.
Bob: This song is about a bride that was killed on her wedding day. The song’s tempo switches about 3 times during the song. The one song we didn’t use the click track, so it was done live. We weren’t sure it was gonna work out, but it ended up being fine.
Dan: I knew the parts where we had to speed up and slow down, so it wasn’t too crazy to keep tempo.
Jack: fun fact, every time I would put the wah all the way down, I was able to tone into a pop music channel, so if you listen closely you may hear some Britney Spears.
11. In flight – This song is video ready. Virtually bringing you along the tale of people dying to leave where they are from when the place isn’t that bad. You can tell this is a track that just begs for a treatment due to the larger then life musically arrangement.
Jack: It’s the longest solo on the album, you just don’t noticed it’s that long cause it’s diverse. In this one the chord progression changes which gives me a chance to do different things with it. Bob, helped me put it together a long time ago. This is one of those jam songs that when we play live it’s gone for maybe 8 – 9minutes at the most.
Bob: This song was inspired by people are unsettled with where they are. People who feel that they gotta leave.
12. Nobody Knows – This is another one that you shouldn’t let fool you with it’s uptempo vocal arrangement. The song is about secrets…not so nice secrets. but if you just listen to the song you would miss it due to the uplifting melody. Like i have said before, this group’s ability to craft witty songs that actually are interesting is a very big strong point.
Jack: It’s like riding through the Wethersfield Green. It has an old colonial theme. People waving at you and they may be a little off…and sometimes they really are.
13. Demon Moon – Title track and perfect Jam song. This tune was made for the live show. This is the one you playing driving down the street with the windows down and volume loud. This song becomes the group’s testament to their love and passion for the music that they play. Who would ever think a song about a witch hunt would be so rocking.
14. Moving On – A properly titled and fitting last track for the album. This is the bar is closing song. The lights are being turned off and you’re trying to get that last dance. I’ve heard alot of albums where the last song sounds like it was just the last song recorded not actually meant to go last. Rotary bucks that trend.
Bob: Demon Moon was written with Moving on as one song, but we couldn’t perform it as such because there are so many parts. The inspiration for the Demon Moon song comes from Book 4 in the Dark Towers Saga by Stephen King. The song is based a girl in a which hunt. The Moving On song is pretty much her out of body experience after she has died.
I can understand why this album took so long to do. When you listen to it, you can tell everything was well planned out. From order of songs to content. This was truly a labor of love. Its always good to hear music and talk to bands who actually enjoy what they are doing.
Videos from the Project
Rotary Around The Interwebs
Official Website: http://rotaryba
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And do yourself a favor and go support a great indie band that is providing you with great music. You can pick up the album at this sites.