The ten songs on Love and Passion are inspired by and dedicated to real people whom I have met all over the world. Thugh I wrote and played all these songs myself the album would be very different without these individuals. Here are their stories:
The Ballad of Timothy Mann
I met Tim on a trip through New Zealand. During a longer stay at a hostel I suddenly found a guitar in the common room that had not been there before. Of course my curiosity was piqued. There also appeared a manual, mobile espresso machine in the kitchen. What traveler would bring such enticing equipment to a hostel? It turned out that at least the guitar belonged to this new stranger in the hostel: Tim. Since we shared a passion for music we started to exchange stories and I learned that he is an Alaskan teacher who works on a tiny island in the Bering Sea. He had been traveling a lot and his songs were woven into one big, gripping and in fact very entertaining and often funny story.
As he played some of his songs to us in the hostel I thought it would be nice to be able to play my own songs with just a guitar. I had just finished Blood and Souls but those songs are not appropriate for acoustic instruments and so Tim was actually the one responsible for my starting to work on Love and Passion in the first place. Of course this song is dedicated to him. The inspiration came from one other place: Tenacious D‘s The Ballad of Hollywood Jack and the Rage Cage which sends shivers down my spine each time I hear it. For me it is one of the greatest demonstrations of Jack Black’s skills as a singer.
This is the story of a dream made true
about a man who learned what commitment can do
Tim never loved his job in the dark
where the icy wind would weary his heart
he dreaded the cold and he hated the snow
so one day he decided that he had to gu
“fuck it!”, Timmy said
quit his job, took his pride and the few things he had
and so he took the chance
and left to chase his dreams
born into the world just like and you
Timmy would work as hard as he could
with a guitar on his back he would travel the world
writing stories about life, of love and of hurt
to master the craft he honed his skill
hour upon hour with tireless will
and in the end Tim had taken on life unbent
he left everything behind and gained peace of mind
this is the ballad of Timothy Mann
hear this in times when you dobt that you can
no matter what – do it now, don’t ask when
remember the ballad of Timothy Mann
Would it not be funny to write a song that features a color and a corresponding rhyme in every pair of lines? … is what I thought one day under the shower, where this song was born. It tells the absolutely 100% true story of my girlfriend and me. But there is also some inspiration by the character of Ramona Flowers from Scott Pilgrim vs the World in here. Needless to say that my girlfriend is even more awesome than Ramona.
For the music I deliberately wanted something simple after writing some of the more complicated songs on this album. And so it was. This song is dedicated to those colorful, strong girls.
She was a beauty, her name was Violet
she was engaged to a drunken pilot
her skin was fair, her hair colored green
her face that of an elven queen
one day her man turned all black
she knew then he would never come back
her eyes, of the purest brown
now shining, head no more bent down
paint on your canvas, don’t leave it white
do whatever you feel is right
but baby please don’t blue
because blue just doesn’t suit you
the shirt I wore on that day was yellow
she said: “you seem a nice fellow”
I was afraid I might turn red
so I kissed her on the cheek instead
we lived a dream all sweet and pink
you know how life goes by in a blink
life’s too short to see all in grey
Let’s just be happy – what do you say?
This is probably the most elaborate song I have written to date. The music constantly changes which allows for a lot of variety. The inspiration came from Queen‘s composition Love of my Life. At the time I was also rediscovering Extreme‘s classic More than Words.
The sun has left, her light is fading
swallowed by the sea
you shiver for the warmth has gone
tonight the sky will bleed
you see the trees in autumn
bent down by vicious storms
see great oaks yield to coldness
their leaves now feeding worms
why care about the cold spell? forget about the rain!
you just need to remember how to make summer come back again
but the icy grip of winter won’t spare you any pain
if you don’t remember how to make summer come back again
what you once had was precious
the brightest light of all
from out of nowhere once it came
but now it seems to fall
all you do is wonder
“who could be at fault?”
and while you’re contemplating
you miss this simple thought
Like a Queen
This song is dedicated to my girlfriend, it is entirely hers and hers alone. The idea caught me over a nice cup of ice cream but it took quite a while to find the right music for it. A lot of work on this took place at the beautiful Rosetta Roastery in Cape Town, South Africa. The parts I wrote there did not end up in the song. But those ultimately determined which parts did – which is what matters.
Her backpack she has left at home
today she’s traveling light
the wind is blowing through her skirt
this is the time to be all right
last night she’s been feeling down
but then she had a dream
to take life in her own hands
and start the day with some ice cream
she’s got ice cream, she’s got ice cream
feeling like a queen ’cause she has got chocolate ice cream
indulging in the biggest cups
for her this is the joy supreme
she has it all but then it’s gone
if only she had more to share
when she has had her icy treat
there’s nothing else that she would need
nothing but the one she’d kiss
someone to share her ice cream with
Of all the tracks on this album Wolfslayers is the one I wrote first and long before I ever thought of making this album. In fact I wrote it even before Blood and Souls. Wolfslayers is a very important song for me as it is the origin of my quest for a vocal coach who could help me sing a straight note. Number seven of those coaches was Angelika, the angel this song is dedicated to. It turned out that, of course, anyone can sing; but I just needed someone to show me how to do it. The biggest obstacle for me was confidence. Which is strange because I usually do not lack that. Angelika taught me many things in a short amount of time. My respect for her made me push myself and it is ultimately the reason I found the confidence to sing in public. This whole album would not be without Angelika Norwidat.
The lyrics reflect that, funnily, even though I wrote them long before I had met Angelika.
Oh, little boy, there’s a wolf up ahead
terror, fear paralyzing, driving you mad
oh little boy, you’re alone in the dark
it’s up to you, what will you do? could it be so hard?
hey little girl, it is time to raise your sword
make up your mind, take a deep breath, all fears overboard
hey little girl, you know the time has come
for your dreams to come true this has to be done
fate is yours to decide
it’s your choice to face it or hide
fate is yours to decide
so stand your ground and fight
I am your fears, controlling your fate
I am your doubts, now you hesitate
I am comfort, sucking you in
I’m resignation, you can never win
so little boy, there’s a wolf to be slain
don’t let horror consume you again and again
so little girl, will you be brave?
do you choose to be free or again be a slave?
Part two of this songs music is much older than part one and I guess it was inspired by Zakk Wylde’s early works on Book of Shadows and surely by some Blind Guardian tracks. The first part never really fit until I completely rewrote it after finally deciding on lyrics for the track. In a way it does reflect my situation at the time and the refrain certainly tells of a newfound, simple spirituality.
He’s been away for far too long
lost his way, walks on and on and on
his heart is crying out, spirit left behind
the sparkle in his eyes is almost gone
far too long
no calm, no rest, no sleep, no dream
nothing’s left of who he’s been
come home my son, back to your love
and play and hear and feel
relax, give in, breathe, let go
feel the warmth of passion ease your soul
relax, give in, breathe, let go
feel the warmth of passion feed your soul
Drop the Pen
Inspiration for this one came straight from the Die Ärzte DVD Unplugged – Rock’n’Roll Realschule. It was fun to write and I still enjoy playing it live.
Well my friend, you caught the blues
all ambition on the loose
you’re sad, depressed, a mess
your muse has left, gone to Hawaii
desperation grabs your mind
behind your cloudy eyes you find
when misery is your daily grind
it’s time to say goodbye
drop your pen I say
the paper will stay white today
it’s true, you had to try
but your creativity’s run dry
drop your pen I say
the paper will stay white today
your juice needs a refill
so go out for a proper thrill
there you sit, want to create
no longer procrastinate
today you will not tolerate
distraction from your art
but silence’s spreading in your head
the search for genious drives you mad
I think you should go back to bed
today you’re no Mozart
An avocado salad, a plate of gnocchi in gorgonzola sauce, a steak and a semifreddo wrote this instrumental. I just moved my fingers. This one is inspired by one magnificent meal at 95 Keerom in Cape Town, Sout Africa.
This song is dedicated to its owner Chef Giorgio Nava who, with his great team, makes possible daily what so many restaurants fail at most of the time
Is ambition worth missing a kiss? How important is true love in our lives? Should we not more often stop and become truly aware and just enjoy and savour the Now? For a long time I was afraid this song would not come together. Then I sat down with a Kyoto Iced Yirgacheffe at Rosetta Roastery and captured the interlude and once more everything was just simple and beautiful.
The love we share
we feel it is rare
we both know we should care
so let us not wait
for a better day
when right now we can dream away
I want to caress your face
I want to melt in your embrace
don’t you think we have missed to many a kiss?
so let us take a vow to always love right here, right now
time won’t stand still
I don’t know where this path is gonna take us
but I still think we should dare
I’ll take you to a hidden place
and love you in so many ways
Blood and Souls Acoustic Suite
When I started arranging parts of Blood and Souls for the piano I was just curious how it would work. What seemed a fun project turned into a serious obsession. I was surprised how many beautiful melodies can be found in the brütality of Blood and Souls. I really love how the background voices turned out. From the beginning it was clear to me that it would need to be a cello that would play the solo from Addicted to Creation. I am very proud of this piece.
I wrote and played this song in loving memory of my father, Hartmut.
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