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August 2, 2010 - Week 6
"Lion In Disguise"
What's that you say? You want a song you can rock to? You want a song to thrash to? You want a song you can rage to? You want a song you can get down to? Look no further... this week's track, "Lion In Disguise," is the solution to your rock needs.By SeanIt was really fun to write the lyrics for Lion In Disguise. I get a kick out of reversing traditional roles, and after hearing a rough mix of the song, I was dead set on writing lyrics about women being the hunters and men being the hunted. I started writing couplets in my notebook and in a few days I had a full page of lust-laden 2-liners that would eventually get rearranged and become the verses of the song. Usually I have all of a song's lyrics written before Pat starts recording vocals, but for this song, I didn't come up with lyrics for the chorus until Pat finished recording the verses. Pat and Michael were waiting on chorus lyrics from me so they could continue recording, so I frantically started writing down catchy phrases in hopes that some of them could be turned into lyrics. "I want a lover, the crazier the better" was one of the first phrases I wrote down and I immediately started playing around with other phrases that would rhyme with it and still have the same attitude as the rest of the song. Whereas the lyrics for the verses took days to come up with, the chorus came together in about 10 minutes. Funny how that works sometimes..."Lion In Disguise" by The Theory of Funkativity Verse: See her sizing up her meal So keep those claws away from me Asked her not to bite So her daddy couldn't hear me Had to close my eyes When she sank her teeth in me Like a lion in disguise She put the fear of God in me I knew she was mine When I leaned in to kiss her I told her only I could keep her Warm in the winter She made me feel right and I know that I'll miss her I should've thought twice before I stuck it to her sister My friends they warned me 'bout her But did I did I listen I never thought I'd become Another woman's victim Chorus: I want a lover The crazier the better Send her here, send her to me I want a lover Baby now or never Come over and party with me I want a lover The crazier the better Send her here, send her to me I want a lover Baby now or never Come over and party with me My friends they warned me 'bout her But did I did I listen I never thought I'd become Another woman's victim Verse: I feel it in my toes and I feel it in my fingers Body like a temple Making me believe her I know just how to hold her I know just how to please her Her hands on my neck She's making me shiver She's begging me for service And she knows that I deliver She wants to take me home cause I'm a real selfless giver Keep touching on me girl Cause you're giving me a fever With a shotgun at my back I aint never gonna leave her I aint a coward but She filled me full of terror When she pinned me to the ground and said There'd be no room for error Chorus: I want a lover The crazier the better Send her here, send her to me I want a lover Baby now or never Come over and party with me I want a lover The crazier the better Send her here, send her to me I want a lover Baby now or never Come over and party with me I aint a coward She just filled me full of terror When she pinned me to the ground and said There'd be no room for error Chorus: I want a lover The crazier the better Send her here, send her to me I want a lover Baby now or never Come over and party with me I want a lover The crazier the better Send her here, send her to me I want a lover Baby now or never Come over and party with me This is something I could get used toBy MichaelI set out to create our grittiest song to date. I wanted something hard, funky, and upbeat since a lot of our recent songs have been more melodic. "Lion In Disguise" began with the verse guitar riff. The part is as much about the texture as it is the notes and rhythm: each note is picked on a downward stroke and then muted just before the next note hits by releasing with the fretted finger. I think it's an interesting sound, kind of dirty and full of attitude. The verse bass line is built around an upward slide a la Come Together but with a rap edge. It's a smooth and wide-reaching riff... the complete opposite of the guitar line. Half way through the verse a pair of guitars chime in for a punchy accent. They help catapult through the final stretch into the chorus. My goal for the chorus was hugeness through simplicity. All of the instruments perform the same single-note riff except for a brief divergence at the end of each phrase where the bass performs another upward slide. At that moment, one of the guitars lands half way up the neck on a chord while the other guitar hits the upper strings at the bottom of the neck. Along with the bass, this creates a low-medium-high effect into which the chorus catapults to conclude each phrase. Overall, the part is extremely simple from an instrumental standpoint, and that leaves room for the guitars' distortion to fill things out. It's a raging wall of sound.By MichaelI've never been completely satisfied with my recorded guitar tone. Electric guitar translates to a mix in completely unexpected ways. It's so difficult to capture that thunderous live sound of a guitar played through a stack. When you think of the sound of a guitar you think of the way the instrument resonates in a room, the massive rumble from the amp... not the sound you hear when you place your ear right next to the speaker. Unfortunately none of those things sound friendly in a full mix. Room tone turns to mush when other instruments are introduced and the low rumble muddies up the bass guitar. Any recording will involve a ton of compromises, but recording the guitar is nothing but a series of sacrifices. I record almost everything with my Telecaster through a '77 Marshall JMP head and a 4x12 cab with Alnico Blue speakers. I use an SM57 positioned directly at the center of the cone pointing straight ahead and I supplement that with a condenser in the same position. Sometimes I use a U87, other times a C414. I mix the two signals more or less evenly. For parts when the guitar isn't layered I place a third condenser between 10 and 20 feet away to capture some room tone. "Lion In Disguise" features my three primary tones: the clean tone during the verse, the crunchy distortion tone during the chorus (courtesy of a Boss Blues Driver pedal) and the smooth lead tone during the bridge (a Big Muff Pi into a DS-2). All three get similar mix treatment I start with a Sonnox EQ and apply a high pass filter up to around 125Hz and a low shelf cut of a couple dBs at 250Hz. These are major cuts, but they're necessary because my amp puts out enough lows to cripple the bass in the mix. Next is a dip around 1khz to smooth out the harshness of the close miking. I feel this helps the guitar sound less synthetic and more like its "live" self. Last on the EQ front is wide dip around 4khz to carve out space for the vocals. After EQing I finish things off with a tiny, tiny bit of compression. I drive my amp as loud as it will go without overly distorting, so the signal already has plenty of tube compression. I use the Waves Renaissance Axx compressor with a slow attack to preserve the guitar's punch. I'd say I'm getting more color from the plugin than actual compression.