In retrospect, it was kind of inevitable, wasn't it?
Consider the facts: Kay Hanley, long time Phoenix darling, writes a song called "Cellars by Starlight," inspired by the Phoenix's indestructible local-music column of the same name. A ploy for us to cover her in the column, yes?
Ah, but no: turns out it was a ploy for her to write the column.
This week, Hanley -- who previously wrote for us about getting conned by JT LeRoy -- reconnects with her old pal Gary Cherone for the benefit of our readers. This on the occasion of Mr. More Than Words's reunion gig tomorrow night with the other guys in Extreme, including the one who manages Godsmack and the guy who plays with Perry Farrell.
One thing you may have noticed about Kay: once she starts talking, it's impossible to stop her. She is also not afraid to embarass her friends. Which makes her the perfect interviewer. She sent us so much Q&A that even the over-run has over-run. So we decided to to do things: one, we're posting a big chunk of the conversation an mp3, and two, we've excerpted yet another piece of the transcript below that talks about Wayne & Wax's -- and of course Frankie J's -- favorite Extreme song.
DOWNLOAD: Kay Hanley interviews Gary Cherone (mp3)
OH, RIGHT, AND IN CASE YOU FORGOT . . . WATCH: Extreme, "More Than Words" (youTube)
KAY HANLEY: So when you guys do those iconic songs, "More than Words," which was a number one hit -- that’s unbelievable, that you had a number one hit, incredible. So when you guys reach those iconic songs, will you be playing those exactly the way you used to, will it be you and Nuno, sitting down, acoustically on that song? Or are you going to switch things up, change the arrangements? What’s the plan?
GARY CHERONE: We're planning to do a Dylanesque version where people have no idea of what that song is until half way through it.
Are you serious? You are not serious!
No. No. (Laughs.)
Hold on . . . Mike [Eisenstein, Kay's husband] has just -- what was it you said, honey? Mke says that song is still so huge, he just taught it to one of his guitar students last week.
And that guy Frankie J. did a big cover of it that was on MTV all the time. So you make some pretty nice dollars off that right?
We’ve made a little cash on that. Actually his manager, Frankie, called me and said: 'Paul, bless me! I said, 'Yeah, OK, do it, that’s OK.'
That’s so funny.
For me, there was a time in those days that I would dream to change an arrangement, do it another way, because it was so boring. At this point, there is nothing wrong with giving people what they want. I love doing "More Than Words" just acoustically. I love it.
It’s just such an incredible – \nit’s almost a perfect song. As if it’s one of the… I just I didn’t even planned \nto talk about the song but since we are in the topic… Was that song easy --one \nof the easy ones-- to write? What was the story behind that song?
We were just living at home, \nsleeping in the coach for a year, two years, and those were the clubs-days in \nBoston and we were writing every day, that was just another song, but when we \ndid write it, uhm, what I remember of it is that I was inspired about the music \nand it just didn’t remind me chorus lines… but it did reminded me of what The \nBeatles would do with ‘If I fell.’
It was just one of my favorite \nBeatles’ song and we wanted to do it that way. So when we wrote it I remember we \nwere sitting at the porch, and we wanted to do it that night or the night after \nat The Channel, to surprise Paul and Pat. So we felt we had to keep it acoustic. \nAnd people always compared it to…, for me it was always very Beatleized –to me. \n
I totally agree with that.
But it was… and then we actually \ndid it in the club, we got a reaction right away. So we knew it was something. \nWe knew it was something.
Was it one of those songs that \njust wrote itself? Like once you started to writing it, the song just, and ten \nminutes later… look at the song
Oh yeah. Yes. I remember writing \nthe first phrase and then it run out. We kept until late night, and back in the \nbedroom… it flow. At least that song flowed… some of the songs don’t flow like \nthat. But that one flowed. You know, you know Kate.",1]
It’s just such an incredible – it’s almost a perfect song. I didn’t even plan to talk about the song but since we are on the topic, was that song easy to write? What was the story behind that song?
We were just living at home, sleeping on the couch for a year, two years, and those were the club-days in Boston and we were writing every day. That was just another song, but what I remember of it is that I was inspired about the music and it just didn’t remind me of the chorus lines, but it did remind me of what the Beatles would do with ‘If I fell.’
It was just one of my favorite Beatles songs and we wanted to do it that way. So when we wrote it I remember we were sitting at the porch, and we wanted to do it that night or the night after at the Channel, to surprise Paul and Pat. So we felt we had to keep it acoustic. And people always compared it to -- for me, it was always very Beatle-ized.
And then we actually did it in the club, and we got a reaction right away. So we knew it was something.
A lot of times is like, when you look back over the course of your career and dozens of hundreds of songs that you’ve written, the best ones invariably are the ones that wrote themselves in ten minutes, at least you know, like in a --
Yeah, you’re right. You are inspired, you are not thinking. You don’t want to be interrupted. It dumps you out because then you chase that feeling. And sometimes you abandon some songs that just don't come that way. Because you go: "This ain’t working," you know.