[Photo By: Charles Epting]
We here at AP know you internet denizens love lists. And we know that folks in bands have other interests beyond cranking out decibels. So here’s Friday Fives, a column that solicits a list of five subjects from a number of various rockers.
This week, Finch guitarist, Randy Strohmeyer shares the five most challlenging parts to re-learn for the What It Is To Burn X Tour.
With certain things, people say "It's like riding a bike.” Playing music is like riding a bicycle, but it's more like riding a bicycle in the Tour de France rather than a casual neighborhood stroll; you'll never forget how to play guitar, but you can struggle to make it up hills you used to go up with ease. These are the five parts I struggled with most to re-learn for our What It Is To Burn 10th anniversary tour that starts on March 7 in Chicago.
1. The intro to “Post Script”
This song is not technically the most difficult to play. The problem is getting it to sound right; everything has to be even, so I downpick it all. Downpicking that fast sucks. I know James Hetfield from Metallica downpicks everything, and kudos to him for that, but the intro alone strains my hand if I don’t focus. I used to play it sloppily; getting it clean was a difficult task but well worth it. We sound so much better now than we used to.
2. The outro of “Letters To You”
We used to never do the full harmonies with this live. When we wrote the song, I was the only one in the band besides Nate [Barcalow, vocalist] who would do harmonies, so the three-part vocals were never even attempted. When Daniel [Wonacott, bassist] joined, we would each do backing vocals on occasion, but we never attempted such tight harmony. Multiple people have accused us of sounding like the studio version live, so I guess we’re doing them pretty good now, but I’m always so worried I’m going to be out of tune and send the whole song to Hell when all three of us are singing.
3. The breakdown to “Project Mayhem”
When we wrote this song, it was a two-minute ditty, and then producer Mark Trombino re-arranged it to become the song most people recognize as the studio version. Live, we used to keep it as the short song, but now we do the full song. Effectively, there was no “re-learning”–I had to learn a second version of a song. Getting the right tone for that buzzing sound was a bitch, too.
4. The ending of “Grey Matter”
Daryl Palumbo sang the studio version of this with Nate. There’s this rumor that Daryl was Nate’s vocal coach on the album (which is not true), but Daryl is a great vocalist. Now, Nate sings Daryl’s parts at the beginning and I sing Daryl’s parts on the end of this, and some of “Project Mayhem.” Learning a vocal part I never did—and trying to replace Daryl—was quite the challenge.
This song was on our first EP but not on our first album, so we hadn’t played it in years. It’s another example of having to learn the parts from scratch again. When Finch broke up, we all went different ways, but I spent the past few years filling in on guitar for XO, the Turner twins from Say Anything’s band, and listening to My Bloody Valentine. My ability to play shoegaze didn’t come in handy when it came to learning our earliest and most pop-punkish music for this March tour.