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SONGS FROM THE HUMAN ZOO

 

Anyone thinking ahead to 2020 thought, “Wow, this could be a milestone year.” This was earmarked as a year to change course, to right the ship, a year, just by the sheer number 2020, to look ahead to the future. Funny things always happen on the way to milestones though, the unexpected is never far behind. Much like many of you, I had dreams and goals for the year ahead, and again like many of you, a pause was necessitated.

A pause can often make one look back. Where have I been, what have I done, what was the value? This year will mark my 35th slinging 4 strings and I won’t lie, it’s been an up and down journey. Since the day I picked up a bass guitar my life has been irrevocably changed. Bass playing has guided my choices, taken me on adventures, and broken my heart — sometimes all at the same time. But this is what music does to a soul adrift. It lures it in directions, colors its opinions, captures the moments. Music, when it truly touches you, never leaves, its hold is unmatched. So in a year where I hoped to continue my journey forward with a batch of new songs, I’ve had to pause. During this pause though, my look back has brought some value, and that value I want to share.

Never more was musically driven change illustrated in my life than in the early to mid-nineties. A collective moment of youth, creativity and ambition spurred me forward, and with a brotherhood of fellow musicians, life was given fire. With the release of the digitally remastered Songs from the Human Zoo Virtual 7″ I present a moment in time that still resonates for me, as I hope it will resonate for you now. As they say, if you’ve never heard it before, it’s new to you.

It’s not just nostalgia and the current feeling of lost time that beckons me to offer something old as something new. It’s the prescient nature of the lyrics that truly caused me to consider this music right for the times. It was my privilege to create with someone I consider a great unsung lyricist. A writer of incredible depth and character that helped make this project something to be proud of. Given the difficult task of weaving meaning in and around bombastic bass driven music, the result is nothing short of inspirational. Some 27 years on, the stories that unfold in the songs could have been written yesterday. In Horizontal Closet my friend and collaborator, Rik Brescia, portrays a world of strife with poison oxygen and unnamed gunmen as he sings:

Everyday’s a war and everywhere there’s crime.
Everyday a mother loses more than just a child.
Everyday a monster is allowed to leave the scene.
Just another human interest story.
Who’s sorry?

Finally declaring through all this that:

Everyday above ground is a good day.

 

Social Disease sees Rik warning of a charlatan leader and the confusion he would cause, prophetically declaring:

Never before has this world scene
Such a charismatic crook like me
My picture’s up on the TV screen and the Senate resolved me clean . . .
But the one thing that you can’t see is I’m messin’ up this democracy!

 

While the lyrics tell the story, it’s the music that set the scene. I was lucky to be joined by a cast of fabulous drummers and guitarists that completed the vision. Although the cast rotated between incarnations both duos added their own unique stamps on each song. Horizontal Closets would feature the soaring guitar work of Joe Cseko and the inspired and dizzying technical prowess of drummer Lou Caldarola. While Social Disease leans on the immense groove of Tony Alves on drums and the prog-inspired rhythms of guitarist Andy Sorkin. It’s top-tier playing that needs to be heard to be appreciated. Each group continued the climb until the climb reached its zenith and then . . . well, it ended. My journey would call me elsewhere.

What I offer is a look back . . . but really it’s just a look back for me and any others that might have been involved. For most it’s just something new. I hope you enjoy it. I’ll be back with more Freebassing — hopefully in the not-so-distant future — but know this, my story isn’t over.

To be continued ;

Listen/Buy

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HEAR IT ON — BANDCAMP
 
Horizontal Closets performed by:

Chris Gramazio – Bass
Rik Brescia – Vocals
Joe Cseko – Guitar
Lou Caldarola – Drums

Social Disease performed by:

Chris Gramazio – Bass
Rik Brescia – Vocals
Andy Sorkin – Guitar
Tony Alves – Drums

All songs written, arranged & composed by Chris Gramazio
All lyrics by Rik Brescia

Original sound recording made at Sanctuary Studios, Wappingers Falls, NY

Songs Remastered by Chris Gramazio

Artwork and Virtual 7” Design by Chris Gramazio
 

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HEAR IT ON — PANDORASPOTIFYiTUNESAMAZON MUSICGOOGLE PLAYBANDCAMPTIDALYOUTUBE

Freebassing performed by:

Chris Gramazio – Bass

KC Barras – Drums & Guitars

Jesse Morrison – Synthesizer, Piano, Key Sounds

All songs written, arranged & composed by Chris Gramazio

Additional writing credits on all songs by KC Barras & Jesse Morrison

Produced by Chris Gramazio, Jesse Morrison & KC Barras

Recorded, Engineered, & Mixed by Jesse Morrison & KC Barras

Recorded at Studio at the Farm in lovely Gilbert, AZ –
www.studioatthefarm.com

Mastered by Michael Fossenkemper of Turtle Tone Studio –
www.turtletonestudio.com

Photography by Jared Platt – www.plattphotography.com

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