in 2010, singer-songwriter / pop legend Walter Egan released
a well received album called Queens English, recorded
with The Malibooz, his pop-rock band with fellow guitarist and songwriter
John Zambetti. A few years later, in 2014
is back in the solo artist spotlight with a most welcome CD of new
songs called Myth America. From his 2014 interview
with mwe3.com, Walter Egan explains, 'I think our country, and
probably the world, is in some very tenuous times these days. Perhaps
the somewhat somber nature of Myth America is a product of these times,
its hard to say. A songwriter sees the world, digests it and
then attaches it to a catchy tune. All artists are a product of their
times in one way or another. I didnt write these songs, do this
album as some kind of diatribe though. Myth America is very much my
personal journey living in the now (and then).' In the spirit
of The Malibooz, Walters Myth America features a broad
range of sweeping 21st century pop-rock anthems infused with a solid
Americana music edge. Recorded in Tennessee, Myth America represents
the best aspects of Walters pop-rock approach, packed with a
few solid sonic surprises. Featuring Walter performing a number of
fretboard instruments, backed up by drumming ace Ron Krasinski,
Myth America sounds very much on par with the classic pop-rock
realm inhabited by legends like Roger McGuinn, Warren Zevon and Tom
Petty while the lead off track Faith Comes Crashin Down
sounds true enough to be a track on Roger McGuinns 2004 Limited
Edition CD. (Listen up Roger!) An eclectic pop spin start to finish,
Myth America is tastefully written, produced and recorded with
Walter Egans pop-centric imagination front and center. www.WalterEgan.com
mwe3.com presents an interview
What was your inspiration and musical goal for the Myth America
CD? Is the lead off track Faith Comes Crashing Down
symptomatic of song of the worlds problems in 2014? Seems like
a rousing a way to start off the CD.
WALTER EGAN: Myth America is the fruition of a few
years recording and song writing. As with all my albums the goal was
really only to present my current take on my life and the world as
it is or as I see it, from my American point of view. The project
is the result of 8 and 16 track recordings done in my home studio
with my longtime drummer, Ron Krasinski, who is one of the best for
my money. The recordings were given life when Mike Somavilla heard
them last August 2013 and thought they needed to be released. I had
given him approximately 35 songs which he passed on to Dean Sciarra
of Classic Music Vault Records. From the 35, Dean and I eventually
settled upon the 13 on the CD. The sequencing was largely driven by
Deans input. He believes Faith... is the strongest
song and so wanted it to be first. It is really a song by someone
(me) who has been raised a Catholic responding to the scandals in
the church which have been surfacing. I might have chosen a song with
less controversial content but I am happy with the album as constituted
now. Thinking about it I think that you are right and the words could
apply in a more general way to the larger world picture.
mwe3: Things mellow out with track two Cool Crazy,
which has one of the greatest hooks Ive heard in a long while!
Is that track sort of a longing to go back to our childhood and the
innocence of the 1950s and early 1960s? What is the San Vicente
EGAN: Ha! You have been listening to the words. As the man known
for Magnet and Steel I felt no qualms about bringing back
the feel of my hit for a new century. The content is a bit tongue
in cheek, as I am wont to do... and is really about an enduring love
and a reflection upon the craziest place we ever made whoopie
as Bob Eubanks used to phrase it (with a leer) on the Newlywed Game.
San Vicente median is a fairly wide strip of grass between the two
directions of the Boulevard of the same name. To be precise it is
an area just north west of Wilshire in West L.A. where San Vicente
veers off to the north. I dont think I need to go into more
detail than that except to say, yes, we were crazy back then. It is
a few blocks east of the locale where much of the sad O.J. Simpson
story played itself out, not that that has any connection to the story
in the song. Another keen aspect for you writers out there, is the
usage of the word metaphor in a simile ...come
upon us, like a metaphor, for a love song. These are the things
about song writing that get me up in the morning ready to write again!
(cheap thrills, eh?)
mwe3: Track 3 on Myth America What Lurks Inside
A Heart goes back to the refrain Is it science or art?
Is that a jibe at the relentless pace of technology and forcing people
to almost become machine like these days? Another myth of America?
Great track and a blistering guitar solo before the last part... Life,
the joy and strife, So Brief...
WALTER EGAN: Thank you for your kind words, Robert. This
tune is a reflection on two fairly horrible incidents that happened
around the same time. Primarily it concerns the suicide of a good
friend and tangentially it brings in thoughts of what could make that
maniac kill all those kids in Sandy Hook Elementary. I fear my phrase
science or art fails to get to the real question, that
being nature or nurture. I know we can never really understand
what makes our fellow men and women do what they ultimately have to
do. I just wonder is it something we are born with or something we
pick up along the way.
Track four Dyin For Love is a driving rocker with
a bit of a social commentary. Is love dead in the 21st century? Now
is the new age of lovers dismay Have some forgotten
how to love in the age of the internet and microwave radiation everywhere?
Do you think if it was released today, the Beatles song
All You Need Is Love would stand a chance in 2014? lol
WALTER EGAN: As to the Beatles standing a chance today, Id
like to think yes, but I wonder what format they would fit into. As
to their sentiment in that tune, I also fear that its innocence might
get fairly swallowed up by our ironic and cynical age. Dyin
For Love is a song that I wrote in 1988 when the AIDS crisis
was rearing its ugly head... but I felt it still had relevance today.
For the new recording I changed it from a shuffle to a straight ahead
rocker. The genesis of this number was a random guitar figure that
my young son played on a guitar which I had in open tuning for him
to fool around with. I guess I should really add his name to the writing
mwe3: How about track five, Her Smile? Is seems
a rather sedate kind of love song compared to Dyin For
Love. Is Her Smile the flip side of Dyin
WALTER EGAN: When Im not doing music I substitute teach
in a high school here in Cool Springs/Franklin, Tennessee. Some days
I really enjoy my job there and some days not so much. I was having
one of those latter kind of days... perhaps my lyrics here indulge
in a bit of hyperbole; it probably wasnt the worst day ever
, but I wasnt enjoying it. Out of the blue a particularly sweet
and nice young lady turned my day around with her very sweet smile
there, ladies and gentlemen, you have a song!
mwe3: Track six Nothing Can Save Us Now is a bit
of social commentary again. Is that a look into the divided nature
of the American Myth in 2014? Where has my friend gone, Whats
right whens love gone wrong...
WALTER EGAN; I love the feel of this track and its concise
delivery. It is a relic of my separation from my future former wife.
I think it pretty much says what it means without much explanation.
mwe3: Is Lili Lovin a straight ahead
love song? It has a big of a reggae feel. Sounds like a break from
the heavier subject songs on the CD.
EGAN: Some songs are rooted in true life experiences and some
are just made up out of whole cloth, this is one of them. Since being
introduced to reggae in 1971 by my old friend Chris Darrow, I have
loved playing around with the genre... after all I was born
wait for it
wait for it
Jamaica, New York!
This song grew out of the music and described a fairly lustful approach
to the topic of romance. Definitely a break from the heaviness in
mwe3: Is Stop Bein You another kind of social
commentary song? Is this the age of people adopting different personalities?
Multiple facebook accounts? lol You cant escape whats
true, youll never stop being you
I love the
line With a single slip, you may lose it all! So
WALTER EGAN: Songs are inspired from many different sources.
Stop Being You, I can reveal here for the first time,
was written during the presidential campaign of 2012 as a reaction
to the candidacy of Mitt Romney as he continually showed different
faces to different audiences. I am not so naïve to think he is
the only politician to use this tactic either. But I think it could
easily apply to a broader look at us all as we try to become whom
we must be.
If theres a single off Myth America I would hope its
Time The Master. Even with all these bells and whistles,
it all comes down to being human after all right? The song has a bit
of a Roy Orbison feel to it. Very melodic with a tear-jerker of a
chorus Days go long, but all too soon theyre gone...
WALTER EGAN: In the landscape of Myth America this
tune marks the beginning of an elegiac and introspective state. Hey,
its no secret that we are all getting older with every breath
and at some point, if we live long enough, we come to a place where
we know that the end is closer than the beginning. These next four
songs are my take on being such an old fart and the mystery of time.
One day you look at yourself in the mirror and notice that you are
not the kid you think you are. Another aspect is that perhaps the
inner you doesnt feel much older than you did, say, in your
twenties. I know this is the case for yours truly. I guess you might
say that this song is a cousin of Time Waits For No One.
By the way, I love Roy Orbison and I only wish he were still around
to pitch it to... but time moves on
mwe3: Like A Nail When Its Bent is kind of
country inspired. Is that the side of life that makes you want to
just give up? I Cant figure out what its all
EGAN: Again the realization that you are not so young as you used
to be, is the inspiration for this number, with a small dose of self-pity
thrown in for good measure. I just thought that the bent nail was
a wonderful metaphor.
mwe3: Track 11 Cant Cry No More is another
love gone wrong track. Theres some cool guitars sounds on that.
I guess theres always room for another love gone wrong song!
WALTER EGAN: Yes, the self-pity section keeps on going here
doesnt it. This is another song from my separation/divorce times.
I was touched just today when I received a message from a girl who
had my new album. She said this section of the CD made her cry and
she wanted to make sure I was not sinking in despair. I assured her
that I was not, although the emotions behind these heartbreak songs
was most definitely real, writing a song about them helps one to purge
his demons and get them out of himself. Writing songs is a superb
form of therapy.
mwe3: Track 12 Gone Away is another great single
type track with a Byrds-like melody. Again, Rons drumming work
is great on this song! How does Piscataway fit into that song? The
alienation of post Bush 21st century America? How can we get back
both our confidence and our common sense?
WALTER EGAN: Again a song about life from the point of view
of someone realizing that he is getting older. I like your deeper
reading of the meaning however, and I might just have to adopt it.
This does have the positive spin of making the most of what time is
left and I always thought it should be the last song on the album
Piscataway might just be the capital of Myth America, and as
such must remain a "mythtery"...
mwe3: Anyway, Myth America closes out with a bang on
Yeah. Is Yeah the light at the end of the
proverbial tunnel? Great album closer! Were you going for the jugular?
EGAN: However... Dean at the label wanted to finish the disc with
a bang, hence Yeah as the last song. I thought this would
make a great opening track, but I think it does work well after all
the self-reflection of the previous four tunes. It is a fun, happy
rocker and I think in the over all picture of Myth America
leaves the listener with a hopeful assertion of positivity. Maybe
I was going more for the conjugal than the jugular, but whatever works
mwe3: What guitars are you playing mostly on the new CD? You
play all the guitars as well right? What new developments are there
for you in the guitar world these days?
WALTER EGAN: Not too many big guitar changes Robert. I am still
loving my 68 Strat with the Seymore Duncan pickups and that
is the primary electric on the tracks. I play a Squier bass that is
an amalgam of a P and a Jazz bass; I have my 1974 Martin
D-35 in action along with a newer Martin DCX1E with Fishman electronics.
I also have an Epiphone John Lennon acoustic with that
little pickup near the neck... I love the way this guitar looks and
I also used my Squier Jagmaster with flat wound strings on one or
A refection on guitars: I am amazed that companies like Fender are
issuing guitars like the Kurt Cobain Mustang and Jazzmaster for outrageous
prices. I find that ironic, since Kurt probably got the Mustang because
it was affordable. It is my theory that the cheap Squiers and Epiphones
of today could be the expensive reissues of the future if only someone
with a powerful enough charisma plays them.
mwe3: Where and when was Myth America mostly written
and recorded and being that you play most of the instruments what
was it like working with drummer Ron Krasinksi?
EGAN: I may have touched on this, but the songs were mostly written
in the last few years, since my last release Raw Elegant in
2010, although some were older, reworked and brought up to date in
new recordings The recordings cover that same since 2010
label. Working with Ron Krasinski is always a joy. He is the consummate
professional who was classically trained and has been playing since
he was very young. He has a truly professional approach to his craft
and always makes things better by his participation. On top of that
he is one of the funniest people you will ever have the pleasure of
mwe3: That is some very cool cover art for Myth America.
Its very Americana in a way. What inspired it
and who made the painting? How does it reflect the music?
WALTER EGAN: Thanks, that is a painting which I did a few years
back from a slide of a vacation with my parents when I was 8 or 9.
I was an art major at Georgetown University and have a BA in Fines
Arts. My concentration was metal sculpture. I have continued to express
myself in art as well as music and writing throughout my life. In
the 1990s I wrote a song called RnRIP in which I
recounted the sad demise of the martyrs of rock & roll. Since
then I have created a series of portraits of those rockers. Last week
I played at the opening of an exhibit of about 30 of those paintings
in Washington D.C. My artwork has appeared on Lindsey Buckinghams
Out Of The Cradle CD as well as Malibooz and Brooklyn Cowboys
mwe3: You said you kind of miss New York City, which is where
you and I are originally from. Is New York just a state of mind for
you these days? Do you ever write about leaving New York and can you
compare living in Franklin with living in Forest Hills? I still remember
the 1964 Worlds Fair like it was yesterday...
EGAN: That Worlds Fair pretty much coincided with my coming
of age and I had some wonderful and memorable times and dates there.
Of course, The Malibooz famously played there twice, at the N.Y. State
pavilion and the RCA Pavilion. Perhaps NYC is more of a state of mind
these days since the one I remember isnt really there anymore.
That said, I played Town Hall last week as part of the Beatles 50th
celebration and was as exhilarated as ever to be back in my home town.
The pizza still rules and my son now lives and works there. I remember
my mother thinking I was crazy to want to live anywhere else, but
as I have found out, there are many great places in this Myth
America. I have written a few songs about leaving, e.g. Goin
Home on my Walternative CD.
Living in Franklin TN as I have been now for almost 17 years is surely
different, but nice none the less. The stress level is so much lower
and the small town life can be very sweet. Of course, now my daughter
wants to move to LA and I feel the tug of that home town pulling me
again at times as well. I have never liver in one place for longer
than 18 years so... who knows?
mwe3: How much of Myth America was influenced by the
political uncertainty in the US today? Has outrage turned to apathy
in 21st century America? In a country where bells and whistles pass
for progress, have Americans just given up on trying to move evolution
WALTER EGAN: I think our country, and probably the world, is
in some very tenuous times these days. The political polarization
outstrips even that of the notoriously polarized late 1960s and quite
frankly I find rather obscene. The glut of information these days
hasnt made it any better since so much of it is so ultra partisan.
The wealth gap between rich and poor is appalling and getting worse.
Outrage might be apathetic at this point but people have to be able
to live and make a living and if they cant then I wouldnt
be surprised to see the level of rage rise. I like to hope that the
better natures will win out over the greed and alienation so rampant
the somewhat somber nature of Myth America is a product of
these times, its hard to say. A songwriter sees the world digests
it and then attaches it to a catchy tune. All artists are a product
of their times in one way or another.
I didnt write these songs, do this album as some kind of diatribe
though. Myth America is very much my personal journey living
in the now (and then).
mwe3: Whats new with The Malibooz these days? Have you
and John Zambetti decided on a follow up to the Queens English
CD from 2010? Hard to believe its been about 4 years since
that great album came out? Any fresh thoughts about making that great
EGAN: I will be joining the Malibooz for a show in Beverly Hills
at the Saban Theater Friday February 28 as we open for Ambrosia. We
continue to play on. John Zambetti and I will do QEII probably later
this year as we have been writing new songs for the CD for a while
Queens English was a really fun project as we paid homage
to the great Brits by whom we were inspired and got to make a record
with quite a few of them as well.
Making records, CDs, etc. is one of the most painstaking yet satisfying
endeavors I can think of, especially when it is done with people whom
you respect and enjoy making music with. Getting to record in Malibu
is icing on the cake!
mwe3: Whats next for you this year? Are you planning
new songs, writing plans, reissues, performances?
WALTER EGAN: I started writing songs when I was sixteen and
havent stopped yet, and have no plans to cease. I look at 2014
as a year full of promise, the promise of lots of gigging as I promote
this CD, as I elevate my painting profile and as the Malibooz reunite
for more gigs and recordings.
I was honored a few years back when the author Jeffrey Thomas wrote
me into one of his stories called Waltered States. It
is an hilarious tale included in his tome Nocturnal Emissions.
I returned the favor when I adapted his book The Health Agent
into a screenplay called Punktown The Black Blizzard.
I have a friend in the picture business who thinks it has a chance
and he is shopping it now in Hollywood. I hope that that also sees
the light of a dark theater in the not too distant future. I am also
a young artist and his band as they go into the studio for the first
time next month.
I persevere in my creative quest relishing every day as a new opportunity
to come up with something new.
Thanks for the interest and Ill see you in the crossword puzzles.
Thanks to Walter Egan @ www.WalterEgan.com