Peter Beckett, Ronn Moss talk about new songs
By Peter Lindblad
|Player - Too Many Reasons 2013|
Too Many Reasons is the new album from ‘70s soft-rock sensation Player, known best for their smash hit “Baby Come Back.” Featuring original members Ronn Moss and Peter Beckett, Player has been chomping at the bit to put this record out.
And the time is finally here.
“It was supposed to come out in November,” explains Beckett. “I had it finished. I handed the finished thing in, in July of last year, and it was supposed to come out in November. And as with everything, it’s hurry up and wait; it didn’t come out because they held it back because of the Christmas rush. And they said we’ll have a much better chance if we put it out after Christmas. So, I think it was the right move.”
Now that is has, being released in North America on Feb. 26 via Frontiers Records, Beckett and Moss are more than eager to discuss it. They went through some of its tracks in a recent interview:
Why did you want to do an acoustic version of “Baby Come Back” for this record?
Peter Beckett: That song had been … that’s one of the songs that I went in and did a while ago. And I actually did it as a demo, an acoustic demo, with a little bit of electric guitar and stuff on there, and Frontiers wanted a bonus track. And they said, “Just do something acoustically.” So I said, “I’ve got this version of ‘Baby Come Back’ that is semi-acoustic, and it’s been sitting here a few years. You can use that.” And they heard it and they loved it, so they put it on there. In fact, I think they actually said, “We like it so much we want another bonus track (laughs) and we’re going to make it part of the album.” So we had to find yet another bonus track. So that’s the story of the acoustic “Baby Come Back.”
Tell us about how some of the songs on this record came about, starting with “Man on Fire.”
PB: Okay. Well, truthfully, that was one of the latest songs. When we had most of the songs accepted by the record label, they said, “We want you to do a couple of rockers.” Our guitarist, Rob Math, who’s … well, he’s younger than us. He’s kind of a serious heavy-metal guitarist, actually. He’s quite amazing. And he had this track, which he brought to me at my studio at home, and he had a handful of songs. I said, “That track I consider a good hard rock track.” And myself and Steve Plunkett [of the ‘80s metal band Autograph], we edited it, changed parts, wrote the lyrics, wrote the melodies and sent it to Frontiers, and they said, “Perfect. Now we need another one (laughs).” I went in and did one by myself, but Ronn hadn’t heard that song until it was finished, and we were actually rehearsing in Ronn’s garage at the house with the band, and we just started playing it, didn’t we Ronn? And it was like instantly Ronnie loved it, and the band loved it.
“The Sins of Yesterday” and “My Addiction” – are they related somehow?
PB: Related to each other? No. They’re all coming from life stories, you know. They’re all little stories on their own, positive or negative, because everything comes from more truth. Some are … Ronnie can explain “My Addiction” if he wants.
Ronn Moss: “My Addiction” is from when I saw my wife … That’s my tribute to her. I dedicate that to her.
PB: And “The Sins of Yesterday,” I think speaks for itself. It’s a really weird thing explaining your songs to people, unless you’ve written about something political and then you can say whatever you want, but when you’re writing songs about your life, you’ve really got to leave it up to the listener to pick up on what you intended.
“Life in Color” and “Nothin’ Like You”
PB: “Nothin’ Like You” again is one of the older songs that I wrote with Steve Plunkett. Steve Plunkett was from the band Autograph. He was in a heavy-metal hair band, and he had a bunch of hits on his own. We’ve written together for a long time, but “Nothin’ Like You” … I don’t even remember what it was written about, ‘cause it was a while ago. “Life in Color” is a brand new song, and basically, particularly as you can hear in the words, I went through a big divorce – so did Ronn a while back, before me – and you live with that for years after and there’s something that’s always eating at you about it, you know. And my life changed about two years ago. I met somebody who changed my life for the better and made me positive again, and she just said, “You only live once. You can’t be miserable. You’ve got to live your life in color.” And that’s where that came from. It just puts a positive message out there.
Lyrically, do you have a different perspective on things – I suppose you can’t help but have a different perspective on things the older you get – but does that come through in your lyrics?
PB: Yeah, you know, somebody just said in an interview the other day – and it was a written interview, somebody from Germany – and he said, “What do you think Player has to offer?” or “Does Player have anything to offer these days?” And I said, “What we have to offer now is experience.” We’ve lived. We’re older now. We’ve got a lot of experience and that’s going to come through, probably more so than 30 years ago.
Ronn, do these songs kind of capture how you’re feeling?
PB: We’ve known each other a long time. You know, we’ve known each other since the beginning of Player, and pretty much, even when we weren’t in contact a whole lot, we were still in contact for the past 20 years or so. We’ve been constantly in contact, and we’ve done a lot of stuff together and we’ve worked on a lot of stuff together. One of the songs Ronn does on this album is a song called “Kites.”
RM: “Kites” is really sort of an ethereal-flavored song that came from one of my solo albums, and it came from a song in the ‘60s done by Simon Dupree, who had a No. 1 record with it in England when I was a kid. Well, interestingly enough, when we signed … when we met the guys from Frontiers Records, based in Italy, who were going to distribute our records, we started talking about this band …
PB: Simon Dupree and the Big Sound.
RM: Anyway, we did this song called “Kites” by this guy Simon Dupree, and this guy raised his hand, and we go, “Are you Simon Dupree?” And he goes, “Yeah.” (laughs)
PB: We’re sitting there with three of the executives from the label, and we said, “We’d like to put this song on there. It’s a beautifully produced song, you know, and Ronn does a great job on it and it’s called ‘Kites.’ It was a hit in England by this guy, Simon Dupree and the Big Sound,” and he puts his hand up like this, and we go, “No.” And he says, “Yep, that was me.” And he’s going to be our executive.
RM: Talking about my relationship to all the lyrics, Pete has always written very wonderfully crafted lyrics around amazing, memorable songs. He never writes to make a couple of hits on the album … so we had a lot of material to work from. I identified with pretty much all of it, as well. It’s become part of our thing. And so I live through it, just like everybody, but we’re always starting new. This band has always started new; everything’s fresh from the start, like erasing everything on a chalkboard, like a kid, starting over. It’s always cool to start over. And that’s what this has been. It’s been a rebirth for all of us.
You guys are planning on touring?
PB: Yep, they’re talking. They’re trying to get us to Europe, because our record label is based out of Europe. We have a shed tour that our manager is trying to put together in the summer with several other ‘70s artists … Bobby Kimball, Toto. I don’t know who’s actually going to end up on the final bill … Christopher Cross, and people like us, and the Little River Band … I’m not sure. People like us from the late ‘70s and so far, we’re looking at about a month, between May and August. Not sure if it’ll be a month in succession, but it’s about a month’s worth of gigs and that’ll continue if it goes well in America.