Coat of Arms - Track by Track

 
Mark Abrahams and Andy Powell talked through the whole album, track by track. It was published as an audio file in late 2020.
Yours truly transcribed the whole story and was allowed to publish it here. Thanks Andy and Mark!


Preamble:

Andy: "Hello this is Andy Powell and..."

Mark: "... This is Mark Abrahams..."

Andy: "... of Wishbone Ash. We're going to give you a track-by-track breakdown of the new album Coat of Arms."

Select which track's story to read from the tabs below.

 

Drive

Mark: "So, the next song, Drive, was a riff that I originally came up with and made a demo of. A riff that's from two separate guitar parts, where only when both parts are played together the entire thing really works, I think. If you listen to the melody part on its own it really is much of anything without the very simple chord pattern, quite a high chord pattern behind it, but the two just blend together and come up with this riff which is how the track starts. I think it's quite an interesting riff."

Andy: "When you first played it to me, I didn't realise it was two guitars. I thought it was one homogenous thing that you put together. It's a kind of thing that we've done in the past, I think myself and Laurie Wisefield, for example. Songs like Silver Shoes, even Blowin' Free; you got two guitar players playing. People think we are a twin lead guitar band, which we are. We do single string lead parts that sound almost like horn parts. We do that a lot, melodic lines. We also do a lot of chord things where we're playing different inversions, which is what this is."

Mark: "I think there's quite a lot of it on Illuminations too. I think that's where I probably got the sound for the chords. Definitely from Illuminations."

"Andy: "In order to do that you want an overdriven sound, but with a lot of clarity. Which we're both good at doing, aren't we? Whether we're playing a Gibson guitar or a Fender."

Mark: "Yes, it's quite a cleanly played riff, which as a whole, sounds really quite big. I think it would sound big on stage."

Andy: "Huge on stage."

Mark: Laughs.

Andy: "Yes, Mark played me that and I got massively inspired by that because I felt we needed another rocker now. So, we got into playing that and Aynsley worked the drums. We had Daniel Vetter on bass coming up with some lines. And then I added a couple of parts to it, didn't I?"

Mark: "The first change especially. That made to the key change for the solo. "

Andy: "Then the lyric. What the hell is this song about? It sounds like a road song, that kind of song you would put on in a car. So, I started writing the lyrics about a... I'd taken a test drive in a Tesla car. I thought: 'A self-driving car, I mean it's bonkers to me.' I mean the guy was just demonstrating how you can take your hands off the wheel and let the car drive you home after a long night of clubbing. I thought: 'What a great thing, just stagger out of a bar and get into your self-driving car. Push your button and Drive, take me home.' I think my wife Pauline got involved in finishing up the lyric with me. She's dabbled with Wishbone Ash lyrics in the past. She co-wrote, well actually, she wrote the lyric to the song Lorelei, which is a much loved song back in the day. (That's another song title from the album.) Then we brought it to the band and Joe came up with this almost 50's chorus. He said: 'Can't you make the chorus a bit more melodic?' And you and I were stumbling around trying to make it and we ended up with, it's almost like a 50's chord progression."

Mark: "On the chorus it sounds really like a 50's, 60's with a Burns guitar."

Andy: "It's retro."

Mark: "Yes, definitely."

Andy: "At first I was thinking. 'Ah that's a bit too poppish, but when I started working on it, once we laid down the backing track in Lancashire in the studio with the guys. Then took it back to New York and came up with the melody. It was Tom Greenwood who said: 'Why don't you make it more of a vocal harmonized thing? A bit more of a softer vocal approach on the chorus. A harder vocal approach on the verse.' That's basically a rock'n'roll song, a great riff about being in a self-driving car. And also, a little bit of a relationship song as well. Trying to get through and when all else fails you just jump in your car. We are a car culture. We spend a lot of time in cars, so it's our car song."

 

 

 

Transcribed/written by: Rainer Frilund - Last update: Apr, 2021