"Life is like a box of chocolates....you never know what you're going to get."
And so it was for this project. We never knew what we were going to get. Sometimes that's a bad thing, but sometimes it's a good thing. Or a great thing!
As we built the album, we sought world-class musicians who could deliver the kind of performances that make people do this:
It began with Christopher James Harrison, who provided two guitar solos for the epic track "Vikings." Now don't get me wrong here, I've known Christopher for a number of years. I've jammed with him at Woodspock
, a small music festival that we both attended and performed at a few times. So, I knew the guy could play and I expected a good performance. But I didn't get what I expected......I didn't get a good performance. What I got was a stunning
performance. Christopher did two solos in "Vikings" and they are polar opposites of each other, and they are both equally fantastic. Christopher really set the bar very high for the rest of the musicians who came after he did.
As is very typical with a project like this, the work was not done in a linear fashion. "Vikings" is the 4th track on the album, but it was the first track for which I sought outside assistance with instrumentation. And I wasn't necessarily planning for this album to become a collaborative album in totality. My original vision called for a couple of guests to play a couple of solos, just to spice things up an to avoid the very real possibility that after almost 80 minutes of music, as a soloist, I would probably start repeating myself. But after Christopher turned in his performances for "Vikings" I decided right there and then that I was going to assemble a world-class lineup of musicians and we'd get it all done over the internet.
It was around this time that I reached out to Brick Williams from the prog/metal band "Hourglass.
" They had just been awarded "Album of The Year" for 2009 by the progressive online magazine PerfectProg.com
, and it was a well-deserved award. I wanted the person who was responsible for the music that resulted in that award to play on our album! Brick Williams agreed to play some guitar solos for us and you'll hear the results of that on the track "Fly." And this is where the whole topic of Online Collaboration gets interesting.
Originally, Brick Williams had played guitar solos on two tracks, "Rome" and "Fly." But when Ryo Okumoto turned in his keyboards for the song "Rome" everything changed. We give Ryo 100% free reign to play whatever he thinks should be played. Well, Ryo heard something different in the bridge section of "Rome" and the result was a change in the song that was so dramatic, we had no choice but to drop the two solos that Brick had played for that track.