one to turn away from a valiant fight, NYC-based maestro Peter
Galperin turns to face the strange on his 2020 CD Tomorrow
Seems Like Yesterday. Singing his catchy melodies and
laced narratives more like a manifesto than a pure pop outing, Peter
takes on the pathos of the Trump era head-on with his new single and
album leadoff track, "Nature Of Your Kind", a sing-along
song that is both disconcerting and hummable. Released on the 20th
anniversary of the maddening election of 2000, and now, basking in
the dizzying 20/20 hindsight of this 20th year of the 2000's, the
seven tracks on Tomorrow Seems Like Yesterday serves as a mirror
reflection of what we are all going through – culminating as
the relentless 2020 pandemic ravages America. As the composer croons
on "Never Too Young", he embraces the tortures of the time-fleeting
imagery reflected in the ironic album title itself. Internet distress
is downloaded on the self-evident "Digital Friend", while
Peter has clearly had his fill of the endless deluge of misinformation
on "Don't Need To Know". Tomorrow Seems Like Yesterday
is equally enhanced by the songwriter's ever improving Broadway
production skills, as featured on "As Good As It Gets" and
the scenic rock energy of the album-closing "Won't Let Go".
Featuring Peter backed up by a range of fine players and with every
track here each expertly recorded at Virtue & Vice Studios in
Brooklyn N.Y., Tomorrow Seems Like Yesterday puts 2020 America
under the looking glass and the results are as disturbing as they
are entertaining. www.PeterGalperin.com
mwe3.com presents a new interview with
I hope you are doing well during this pandemic crisis. Whats
the latest and greatest news from NYC? I remember 9/11 when they closed
the LIE into the city. I guess this is somewhat different. NYC was
always so dense. Caught many a flu there. They can mutate yknow?
Peter Galperin: The city is unlike any time Ive ever
experienced here. 9/11 was a stunning eye-opener and a very real look
behind the illusion of security that weve taken for granted
as Americans. I remember looking up into the sky the day after 9/11
as a formation of F-15 fighter jets flew overhead and thinking what
a horrendous and misguided waste of taxpayer dollars. Just the day
before our country was brought to its knees by a ragtag group of dudes
with boxcutters. 9/11 revealed the absolute lunacy of our military
spending in modern warfare.
The coronavirus crisis is similar in that its revealing the
sad and dangerous hubris of the Trump administration for the umpteenth
time. The feeling in NYC is one of fear and confusion. At least in
the 9/11 crisis Bush had a story and he was sticking with it. Trump
by contrast changes his story daily, even hourly. He gives the country
nothing in the way of comfort, guidance or leadership. So we dont
know what we should be doing i.e., wear a face mask or not wear a
face mask, how long this will last, lock down until May 1, June 1,
next fall or even how will we know when its safe to go out...
will there be a vaccine, will there be widespread testing? People
of my generation, born in the mid 1950s to late-60s, have seen the
complete disintegration of the American soul, as weve watched
our countrys leadership stumble through one crisis after another
Katrina, Sandy, mass shootings, periodic Wall Street meltdowns, etc...
But this is the lowest level of governmental incompetence and failure
that we have ever experienced.
mwe3: Your 2020 album Tomorrow Seems Like Yesterday starts
off with a song about President Donald Trump called Nature Of
Your Kind. I thought you had summed him up on that This Burning
Sun track The King Of You And Me but I guess even
in this pre-2020 election period, Trump is pretty much an endless
source of musical materials. I guess Nature Of Your Kind
was written even in late 2019, before the pandemic era were
Galperin: Yes, please dont let me write another song about
that bumbling idiot. I first wrote Nature Of Your Kind
in Spring 2019 thinking that it was finished, and then Trump would
do some new half-assed thing or make yet another totally stupid claim
and I would think oh I have to include that in the song,
so Id write another line or two. And that kept happening over
and over again, because as far as stupid, obnoxious behavior - Trump
is the gift that keeps on giving. I was adding new lyrics right up
until the recording session in January 2020. And some of the news
clips used in the video happened only days before the final edit.
mwe3: I really like the way the horns kick in on Nature
Of Your Kind. Tell us about the horn section on that track.
It makes it seem like a roaring 20s sound. No pun intended.
This era kind of gives a new meaning to the phrase The Roaring
20s doesnt it? Who said the track might be about
an ex-Girlfriend? Hahaha, now that is hysterical!
Peter Galperin: The horns really bring the song to life. Three
terrific musicians - Brad Madsen on tube, Alex Jeun on trombone, and
Ben Hankle on trumpet - that my drummer Patrick Carmichael introduced
to me. They worked with my rudimentary charts and turned the song
into a true party. Id like to sing it someday while dancing
on Trumps grave. Maybe we are in a repeat of The Roaring
20s combined with the depressed 30s
a mashup! But someone much wiser than me once said that those who
dont know history are doomed to repeat it. And Trump certainly
doesnt know a thing about history. Side note; I didnt
tell the horn players anything about the song prior to their recording
session and at the end of the session after they had listened to the
playback multiple times, I think it was Brad Madsen who said Peter,
I hope that song wasnt written about an ex-girlfriend!
He was relieved when I told him who the song was about.
mwe3: I really like the band you assembled on Tomorrow Seems
Like Yesterday. How many players on this album have you worked
with your earlier albums? I remember Andrew Schlesinger and pedal
steel ace Smith Curry from your earlier albums. Im not familiar
with backing vocalist Kelsey Madsen but she has a cool and unique
Galperin: The core band was Patrick Carmichael on drums and Leo
Smith on bass. Both of them are wonderful musicians who have been
playing live shows with me for several years, so they know my repertoire
and musical style well. Andrew Schlesinger and I go back decades and
have worked on many music projects together and I got to know Smith
Curry a few years back when I was recording in Nashville. When I find
talented musicians who are simpatico with me I rarely let go of them.
Kelsey Madsen was a new find. I met her at a NY club called the Harlem
Flophouse. Its a historic inn and music venue located in a renovated
brownstone, and she was the singer in the house band that my bass
player Leo also plays in. Her amazing voice reminds me a bit of Nancy
Sinatra, but with more vibrato.
mwe3: Also I forgot that you were such a great harmonica player
and a whistler although I think you played those instruments on your
earlier albums. Also are you playing electric guitar or mostly acoustic
guitars on Tomorrow Seems Like Yesterday album? Youre
also play keyboards like the mellotron, which track is the Tron sound
Peter Galperin: I started off with one harmonica ten years
ago, and now Ive got about 20! So many different keys, and then
theres natural and diatonic and major and minor, so Im
still learning. But Im playing more and more harmonica in my
solo acoustic shows because it gives me a way to do instrumental solo
breaks. Whistling is something Ive been doing since forever,
but sometimes its hard to pull off live, so the harmonica gives
me another dependable musical option. Interesting side note
my harmonicas are made by either Hohner or Lee Oskar, and I recently
found out that Mr. Oskar, who was the great harmonica player in the
seminal 1960s band War, now lives in my hometown of Everett,
Washington. I need to meet him someday! Do you know him?
Throughout Tomorrow Seems Like Yesterday, Im either playing
on my wonderful new Taylor 814CE acoustic, my older trusted Gretsch
5122 hollow body or my sound engineer, Anthony Rocky Gallo's
vintage Telecaster. The other string instrument that I loved playing
a lot on this CD was my Kentucky KM500 mandolin. It has a lively,
percussive quality to it that brightens up any track its used
on, and its really fun to play.
One of the reasons I chose to record at Virtue
and Vice Studio in Brooklyn was their great collection of vintage
keyboards. I get to play a grand piano on Dont Need to
Know, a little Hammond B3 organ on Never Too Young,
Another Drink and Wont Let Go, and a
vintage Mellotron on As Good As It Gets and Digital
Friend. Andrew Schlesinger also played some Wurlitzer electric
piano and additional Hammond B3 parts on several of the songs.
Tell us something about the way you recorded the new album. How many
guitar tracks did you lay down on a track? What were the sessions
like and when were the songs written and recorded?
Peter Galperin: I wanted this CD to be as live sounding
as possible, so we recorded all of the songs as a three-piece band
playing together in one room - drums, bass, acoustic or electric guitar
- with a scratch vocal track. We started recording just before Christmas,
and finished up in early March, just before the lock down order. March
13 was our last mixing session and the last time I took a subway anywhere
The final vocals, instrumental solos, keyboards, and horns were all
added as overdubs. There was usually a live main guitar track (acoustic
or electric), and a secondary electric guitar overdub track, and in
some songs a third guitar or mandolin overdub track that would punch
up the choruses. One of my favorite sounds that we came up with was
in Digital Friend where four stacked whistling harmony
parts were combined with the several mellotron tracks to give a very
light, slightly out of tune keyboard pad to the choruses.
These songs were mostly written in 2019. Another Drink,
As Good As It Gets, and Wont Let Go
were all written for the new musical that Ive been working on.
The Last of the Mannahattas is still in the early development
phase, but Ive written about 25 songs for it so far. Well
just have to wait and see which ones make it through to the final
production, but I really liked these three songs and thought that
they could stand on their own outside of the musical story framework.
I also felt that they worked for my voice and singing style.
mwe3: After the Trump track, Never Too Young injects
some humor into this mostly serious time in history. This song also
introduces the mention of the title of the album Tomorrow Seems
Like Yesterday as one of this songs lyrics. Do you miss
your youth even more as we age or are kids these days growing up way
too fast? Also, is that your guitar solo in that track or is it Smith?
Sounds more like an electric lead rather than a pedal steel but it
Peter Galperin: Thats definitely Smith Curry in the soaring
lead solo on Never Too Young. Hes playing a pedal
steel guitar throughout the song, including all of those cool, spacey
little sounds during the verses. Smith has a very melodic sensibility
in his playing, and always plays just the right note at just the right
time. Hes a highly sought-after Nashville session player and
Im lucky to be able to include him on my project.
Im not particularly nostalgic, and try to live mostly in the
present. I think the idea/theme behind the title Tomorrow Seems
Like Yesterday is that the future is never quite what we imagine
it to be, and the past is never quite what we remember. Never
Too Young is sung by a character who seems a bit surprised that
the aging process is happening to him. By the end of the song he realizes
that every moment matters.
Speaking about the pitfalls of the internet, Digital Friend
brings that topic of internet friends to the fore. People are eschewing
real life thanks to the web. I really like Kelseys backing vocals.
She sounds like Norma Tanega! Also there is an electric lead guitar
solo on Digital Friend, double tracked?
Peter Galperin: Ill have to google Tanega. Yes, the idea
of the perfectly curated instagram life is ultimately a sad existence.
We all find ourselves looking at online images that seem so much more
interesting, enticing, or alluring (
it might just be
the lighting) than real life.
So the idea that the character in this song ends up having a conversation
with his online friend, who may or may not be real, struck me as both
funny and poignant. Kelsey sings with the perfect amount of detachment
and compassion to make this dream within a dream almost become...
real. The solo on Digital Friend is two acoustic guitars
played an octave apart, plus a little glockenspiel chime on top for
mwe3: Is Dont Need To Know an internet era
song? It sounds very fatalistic. How do you know what you dont
need to know? Is it possible to tune out the world these days? Your
harmonica solo on that track is great. Tell us what brand and key
and is the song Dylan-esque? I guess the Phil Ochs style is still
prevalent in your songwriting. Phil would very much appreciate your
Peter Galperin: In the key of 'B' on a Hohner harmonica, with
hints of Dylan and Ochs. Sounds like a nice vintage! While Dont
Need To Know does reflect on the overwhelming amount of information
that we willingly or unwillingly absorb everyday, it also pushes back
against the idea that through constant self-improvement you can become
the best version of yourself. We are always being encouraged, pressured
in fact, to better ourselves... to learn a new language in your sleep,
travel the seven continents before you turn fifty, see the ice caps
before they melt, etc, etc... The protagonist in this song accepts
the fact that he
might never learn the names of all
the flowers, or be able to identify every bird, which are
probably things hed like to learn, but is too tired or lazy
to embark upon. In other words, he acknowledges his shortcomings,
his limitations, and is comfortable with the way he is. And part of
that comfort comes from knowing
what he doesnt
need to know. I guess Im rehashing what Mick Jagger
already said years ago,
and a man comes on to tell
me how white my shirts should be. Mick knew not to let someone
else determine his happiness or satisfaction in life.
Is Another Drink the most lighthearted track on the album?
Yet, the lyrics are kind of depressing. The songs bridge is
great. I wasnt born yesterday, but the future could
still be mine. Classic!
Peter Galperin: I wrote Another Drink from the
point of view of an old man who is one of the characters from my new
musical. But he could be anyone looking back and realizing that solid,
long-lasting friendship is one of the great things about our lives.
Its a good time, party song and when I play it live in a club
it usually becomes a sing-along... or a whistle-along. My favorite
lyric is Im not dead yet, just in a general state of
decline. But so is everybody else. Thats fatalism
with a smile! Hey Robert, were all in this thing together, and
as Jim Morrison once said, No one gets out alive.
Haha, now thats depressing!
mwe3: What is the intention of As Good As It Gets?
The bridge also introduces a contrary opinion that despite its
as good as it gets, the damage weve done has made it much worse...
yet, your sentiment is honorable and the guitar solo is excellent.
Are you playing more guitar on this album than on your other albums?
Peter Galperin: As Good As It Gets is definitely
two-sided. The phrase itself can mean either resignation or jubilation,
depending on how you say it. There can be a weariness and inevitability
a story of tribulation
loneliest of aches.), but it can also convey joy and redemption
celebrate our victories
kind to those in need
). The bridge is the Greek chorus
speaking up to point out the facts how we treat our planet
has serious repercussions that we are only now becoming aware of.
Maybe too late?
I get to play a dueling guitar solo with myself in honor of
Badfinger and Thin Lizzy, and other bands from my youth that featured
the two guitar solo approach. Its a lost art! I do probably
play more guitar on these songs then on previous recordings, and thats
probably because Im relying less on other players, and trying
to record with a more personalized sound and style.
mwe3: The album closes with Wont Let Go.
Does it speak of the disillusioned looking up to you as socially sincere
commentator? The bridge takes it to another level and you sing of
you not telling your audience how bad things really are. Anyway, the
song is a total masterpiece and is in some ways, the most Dylan and
Petty inspired song on the album.
Galperin: Wont Let Go was written to be the
closing song of Act I in my new musical. It is sung by the mayor of
whats left of New York City 100 years from now, when sea level
rise due to global warming has permanently flooded 75% of the city
and all coastal cities. NYC as we know it is gone, and all that is
left are the highest points of land. The battered town is bracing
for a coming superstorm that may wipe it out completely. The mayor,
acknowledging that although he has done some terrible things as a
politician, resulting directly in the dire situation that the town
now finds itself in, tells us that he does feel a sense of burden
and guilt. But his sincerity is lost in self-pitying narcissism as
he sings I cant let these people down, when theyre
looking up to me, and pathetic attempts to portray himself
as a dying hero... we are literally watching him try to rewrite history
while he sings Im willing to pay the ultimate price,
and take these secrets to my grave. Another self-described
great man bites the dust. Sound like anyone familiar?
Soundwise it is a very Petty-esque song... lots of chiming guitars,
that vintage Tele I mentioned earlier and a big chorus hook. And yes,
Dylan is always an inspiration lyrically.
mwe3: Tell us about your upcoming musical Last Of The Mannahattas
and how the last three songs feature in the soundtrack? When is
that coming and what's the plan for 2020?
Peter Galperin: Well I think Ive told you quite a bit
about the new show and how some of these songs might be featured in
it. In my experience with my last show Bulldozer,
show development takes on a life of its own, and often what
I initially write gets radically changed, or even replaced during
the creative phase... characters get added, or knocked off; scenes
get replaced; endings change, etc. I like to let the story say what
it needs to say, and for the audiences sake, try not get in the way
As to when live productions will resume in clubs and theaters, thats
impossible to say today. We have a new normal that we are still figuring
out. But hope does spring eternal as we are reminded daily of one
of the greatest elements of the human condition. Like the song says
I wont let go, while hopes still in my heart, and
faiths still in my soul.