channeling the rich sonic palette of george martin

Es­ti­mated reading time is 8 min­utes.

THIS IS PART 3 of an on­going con­ver­sa­tion with or about Lawrence Bray con­cerning his ca­reer as a solo artist and as a member of the group Around Town. The group has a new record Out Of Con­trol and both it and its ac­com­pa­nying video gave me great joy to par­tic­i­pate within. Here I have a few words with Michael God­frey, the writer, arranger, and pro­ducer of Out Of Con­trol, who chan­nels the rich sonic palette of George Martin.

So, here is Mike and me con­versing; this should shine a wee light on the pre­vious two pieces on Lawrence, “around town and out of con­trol with lawrence bray” and “what do mick jagger and lawrence bray have in common?” If you have not read those two, read them “around town” first and then come back here . . .


NU: Mike, this is your baby as much as anyone’s, so con­grat­u­la­tions on some fine work. And thanks for restoring a wee bit of hope in this old phau­rght in the pos­si­bility of rock and roll having a place in the present and fu­ture. So, some ques­tions: Any di­rect, ob­vious in­spi­ra­tion for the song?

MG: The whole mood and feel of the song was in­spired by the Bea­tles. Lyri­cally it tells the tale of the Svengali-like hold that Charles Manson had over his fe­male followers.


NU: I just went to Google to find the lyrics to Out Of Con­trol and they are not avail­able. Can you please send me a set of the cor­rect lyrics as they are sung on the recording? (To my readers: You can find the lyrics at the end of this piece with the video so that you can sing along and mem­o­rize at the same time). Any ob­scure in­flu­ence that we should know about in writing it?

MG: The song started with the guitar riff. I was jam­ming one day and a friend of mine, Frank Parr, said he thought I should de­velop the riff into a song with an up­dated ‘60s feel.

NU: The riff works great but it was the bass line that hooked my attention.

MG: The bass-line is the guitar riff an oc­tave lower with some Mc­Cart­neyesque bass fills. And the line “He’s lost in space and in time” is a nod to Dr. Who.

NU: While Dr. Who seems to have been a cul­tural phe­nom­enon there and a rather large cult phe­nom­enon here, it never caught my at­ten­tion. Want to ex­plain how “He’s lost in space and in time” is Dr. Who-ish?

MG: Dr. Who is the last of the Time Lords, an alien race who have the ability to travel through space and time.

NU: Whose idea was it for the nifty Six­ties touches, like the soul horns, the elec­tric sitar, and the Penny Lane horn flourish at the end?

MG: Mine. I was trying to channel the rich sonic palette that George Martin brought to the Bea­tles record­ings. I wanted the track to sound like it had the vibe of ‘66 era Bea­tles. We used a Rick­en­backer bass to get that Mc­Cartney Pa­per­back Writer tone.

NU: The Beatles/Martin sound and feel is great and I think you achieved your goal with taste and vigor! I am rarely ac­cused of con­ser­vatism in much of any­thing, but I am al­ways ac­cused of being “stuck in the Six­ties.” Not that I mind: I think there were so many doors opened in 1966-67 that we only got to step through and peek around be­fore the artist’s at­ten­tion went elsewhere.

For in­stance, a door was opened by the Byrds with Eight Miles High with McGuinn’s bril­liant in­cor­po­ra­tion of one little phrase on John Coltrane’s IndiaHe turned it into one of the most out­standing guitar parts in all of modern music. And ba­si­cally, the in­no­va­tion and ex­plo­ration was left there. The Byrds only hinted at that di­rec­tion on the album that fol­lowed FIFTH DIMENSION. And someone named it raga rock in­stead of jazz rock or, better, Coltrane rock.

So, there was a door opened into a new di­men­sion, a step or two taken in, and then the Byrds walked out and no­body re­ally took the time to go back to that room and see what else was in it.

When fu­sion came along a few years later, it was led by jazz mu­si­cians and took a com­pletely dif­ferent di­rec­tion. (Or opened other doors to other dimensions.)

So, that is one ex­ample of av­enues for fur­ther ex­plo­ration and de­vel­op­ment and I am ram­bling. Back to ba­sics: here’s hoping Mc­Cartney hears the record and gets back to where he once be­longed. So, who placed the track with the movie producers?

MG: Tran­scen­dental Records.

NU: Will you be working more with Around Town and/or Mr. Bray in the future?

MG: Yes. We are working on an album and have al­ready recorded the follow up single.

NU: Here in the (former) colonies and (barely) United States, Charlie Manson goes be­yond mere cult murder figure: he is a sort of man­i­fes­ta­tion of an­cient evils to some of us con­scious during 1969. Any re­luc­tance at having Out Of Con­trol as­so­ci­ated with the movie? Any feed­back on that yet?

MG: I don’t have any re­luc­tance about the song being in the movie be­cause of the his­tor­ical Bea­tles Helter Skelter con­nec­tion with the whole sad story. The song cer­tainly isn’t glo­ri­fying the sit­u­a­tion. Hope­fully the movie will just give the band some ad­di­tional exposure. 

NU: Back in 1969, once the news of the Tate/LaBianca mas­sacres and the ar­rest of Manson spread here in the states, it had re­ally odd ef­fects. I used to hitch­hike every­where and after Manson, no­body stopped to pick up strangers on the road any­more. And if you hap­pened to have re­ally long hair and a beard, you needed to se­ri­ously con­sider a new look.

If you have never read the Ed Sanders book The Family, I rec­om­mend it highly. But find the orig­inal edi­tion from Dutton or the pa­per­back from Avon. The Da Capo’s re­vised edi­tion from 2002 was heavily edited and rewritten and has nowhere near the im­pact of the original.

LIFE cover 02-17-1967 New York counter culture leader Ed Sanders.

Ed Sanders was an es­tab­lished and rather revered figure in the Six­ties un­der­ground: by the time he was en­listed to write the true ac­count of Charles Manson, he had al­ready pub­lished two vol­umes of beat po­etry (1961 and ’66); had been jailed for protesting the launch of nu­clear sub­marines (1961); founded the in-your-face journal Fuck You/A Mag­a­zine of the Arts and be­come the pro­pri­etor of the Peace Eye Book­store, a “bo­hemian” hang-out on New York’s Lower East Side (1962); and co-founded the sub­ver­sive rock & roll band the Fugs (1964). That bas­tion of middle class re­spectability Life Mag­a­zine even gave him a cover for a fea­ture on “the other cul­ture” in America (1967). He was just the man to show how poor Charlie was just a cover-up for an­other heinous COINTELPRO operation . . .

And if you do get any neg­a­tive feed­back on the song being used in the sound­track, please make me aware of it.

Now, about a vinyl re­lease: I have begun harping on Lawrence and now I can plead with you to please please me and others and press a 45 rpm vinyl single! With only one song per side—as Grom­mett in­tended sin­gles to be—and ab­solutely in­clude a pic­ture sleeve. Per­haps a photo of the five gor­geous dancers in the video for us aging dreamers. So what are the chances of a 45 happening?

MG: We will def­i­nitely pro­duce a lim­ited edi­tion 7” single. I’ll have to ask the dancers about the cover!

NU: Ex­cel­lent! Need­less to say, I will sug­gest a vinyl 12” LP be pressed when the time comes. Fi­nally, Mr. G, please add any­thing to the con­ver­sa­tion that you want us to know.

MG: I’d just like to say thank you very much for your kind words. It’s al­ways nice when someone to­tally gets the con­cept and ap­pre­ci­ates the music.

NU: My pleasure . . .

BroadJam has a page de­voted to songs written by Michael God­frey and recorded by var­ious artists. It in­cludes Out Of Con­trol and twelve others. As this ar­ticle is fo­cused on one song, I will say no more than there are other good songs and record­ings there. You can also help Mike by signing up and rating his songs! Below are the lyrics as Mike sent them to me:

She’s so out of control.
She’s been selling her soul
to the man she met from Mississippi
long brown beard and wearing hippy clothes.
She’s buying every line.
He feeds her one at a time.
He’s got her believing
that he’s the second coming of Christ.

She don’t know
he’s out of control.

He’s so out of his mind.
He’s lost in space and in time.
Says he was sent to save us
from all the mortal dan­gers in life.
She’s got flowers in her hair.
She fol­lows him everywhere.
She’s his first disciple
says he was sent to die for us all.

He don’t know
she’s out of control.
She don’t know
he’s out of control.

And she can’t come home from wher­ever she’s gone
‘cause she’s been away for far too long.
And she’s not even sure what planet she’s on.

He’s so out of control.
She’s so out of control.
He’s so out of control.
She’s so out of control . . .

An­other place to find the Out Of Con­trol video is on Sound­Cloud, where it is starting to at­tract lis­teners’ at­ten­tion. There are now more than a hun­dred com­ments to read, al­most every one pos­i­tive! So listen to the band and her Mr. God­frey chan­neling the rich sonic palette of George Martin into Out Of Con­trol.


From Tran­scen­dental Records web­site: “From the humble acorn mighty oaks grow. We are an acorn of a label but we are being fed and wa­tered, loved and nour­ished, and one day . . . well, you never know.” More info on Mike (and his search for the rich sonic palette of George Martin), Around Town, and Tran­scen­dental Records may be found by in­quiring at [email protected].


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