“North Star Steady” is a love song that Becky wrote during a bout of insomnia, purposefully set to a minimalist keyboard line so that she could focus more on the vocals. This worked live, but when listening in the studio, the song felt incomplete. As Dave, Becky, and recording engineer Salmak Khaledi ate pizza and listened to the take for the third time, Salmak suddenly leapt up and ran over to the Moog. Within minutes, he was playing a killer groove that had all of us dancing. We recorded it then and there.
The “magic of the studio” is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot, but it’s SO TRUE. Salmak breathed new life into these songs, not just through his bass line but through all of his production choices and mixing edits. We can’t wait to visit Magnetic Pink Studios again!
The BPRS only exists because of Susan “George” Schorn, an amazing writer, karate master, self-defense instructor, and activist based out of Texas. Back in 2012, she enthusiastically agreed to read at our former concert series, Readin’ N Rhythm, which sent Becky into a huge panic. A writer for McSweeney’s and all-around badass, reading at our dinky little show? How could we possibly give her the proper welcome? Reciting a bio from Wikipedia and saying “Thanks, George!” didn’t feel anywhere near enough.
Becky and Dave wanted to create something unexpected, something that challenged stereotypes and norms in the same way George did, while also honoring the various aspects of her personality. Their friend and saxophonist Ben Jaffe was always down for some weird improv, so the three got together the night before and ran through a piece featuring Becky, in cartoonish, stylized voices, reading from various texts – a page of the local police blotter, the dream sequence in a sci-fi novel, excerpts from the poem-story The Wild Party, a random sheet torn from a newspaper.
Becky had never performed as a front person before, so when the time came, she tried to hide in the bathroom. But Ben and Dave convinced her to come out and practically shoved her onstage where they erupted into the most bizarre six-minute intro of all time. Two audience members definitely left, but George loved it, and that’s all that mattered.
“Two Deer Stake Out My Tree” hearkens these strange origins while also combining two true encounters – one in the woods, another in a Lower East Side nightclub – that demonstrate the power behind feminine anger. Becky hopes she isn’t on the receiving end of this anger next time, but hey, it was good fodder for the song.
Renee Ashley (pictured) is a phenomenal poet, one who breaks rules, challenges conventions, and leaves her readers changed. Becky discovered the poem “[you]” shortly after her mother passed away; its words both comforted and haunted her. Rumi’s poem about wine also resonated with Becky during this time and so she put them together, turning “You, Ruminating” into a place to explore and transform her grief.
Dave’s drum beat, often referenced as a “backwards beat” because of its unusual rhythm and how challenging it is for non-drummers to count (Becky can attest to this), was inspired by Scott Benedict’s line from the Pere Ubu song “Electricity.” As he worked on fitting the beat to Ashley’s poem, he tried to imagine how Will Calhoun of Living Colour would play it. Many other bands – Jethro Tull, the Pixies – have tried to claim this drum line, but Dave doesn’t believe in ownership of music like this. Instead, he offers this song as an homage to all of his favorite drummers.