Wizard of Northland
After years of battling it out on the Big Time Rock Scene (highlights: touring with Brian Setzer, being 'discovered' by Gene Simmons, playing on The Rupaul Show), it was time to leave Los Angeles. We bought my wife's childhood home just outside Cleveland, Ohio, where I set up a small studio, and began work on what I intended to be the Indie Rock version of 'the great American novel'. After it was done, I realised that it just didn't work. It didn't sound right, and nobody who heard it understood it. It was a mess. I was depressed and burned out, and stopped playing music for a while. During this period, my wife Judyth, a very spiritual person and gifted artist, became a local celebrity for what I call her 'Angel Work'; psychic readings where she seemed to be contacting peoples Guardian Angels and departed loved ones. For about a year, our lives revolved around Angels, and although I sometimes missed making music, I felt like I was not capable of doing anything original and worthwhile. All that changed one day, driving home from work. I was thinking about what I wanted to do with my life, and I said, out loud, to my own Angels, or whoever was listening 'I want to write some really great songs. Songs that people would love. Songs that would touch people, the way my favorite songs touch me.' Wow, it was like a prayer (I am not what you would call a praying kind of guy), and I felt like something inside me changed that day. About a week later, I woke up with the faintest echo of a song in my head. I spent the hour before work trying to capture on guitar, and with my own voice, what I was hearing. The result was 'The Angel Song'. Over the next few months, the other songs on the record came along in much the same way. When I started recording, I knew that the hardest part would be to capture the magic of what I had heard in my imagination. Because I work alone, with no outside, objective opinions, I decided that the best way to determine what was 'good' was to go only with first and second takes, especially for the lead vocals. This approach fit my lifestyle very well, because, in addition to our work, we have two small children, and I didn't have time for endless experiments, trying to get everything 'just right'. Many vocal tracks were recorded while I was holding our youngest, Aurora, who would fall asleep in my arms while I was singing. One of my favorite parts of the record is Genna, coming in to say hello, right at the beginning of 'The Angel Song'. As I finished each batch of songs, I was so excited with the way they sounded that I started sending them out to friends, and local college stations. What a thrill it was to hear such positive reactions to my work, and to even hear 'Thank God For You Know What' on the radio. I'm proud to share 'The Wizard of Northland' with you. I hope you enjoy it. Junkyard Todd Lakewood, Ohio January, 2004.