Notes from the Studio – 11/11-11/29/10

When the idea to do a blog for “Nine Lives” began it was thought the co-writers on the project, Paul Sanchez and Colman deKay would be posting regularly.

As it turns out, they are both way too busy controlling the joyous musical chaos that comes with writing, producing, recording and performing on a major musical production as this.  So they have entrusted me with the task of transcribing their Facebook posts over the past few weeks and posting them here.

Thanks for the trust and the opportunity, gentlemen.

So here in their own words is a run down of the recording of “Nine Lives – The Musical.”
Steve Moran, a.k.a. LBI Fester


Paul Sanchez: Truly one of the greatest thrills of my professional career was working with Irma Thomas and hearing that wonderful voice, which has welcomed me home for all of my life, singing the song Colman and I had written just for her.

Did yesterday really happen?

Irma Thomas, the legendary Soul Queen of New Orleans sang a song for Nine Lives followed by Harry Shearer, a visit from Mayor Landrieu,(who didn’t sing but we are still trying to convince him to do so), Tanya Boutté, (niece of John Boutté), beautiful ten-year-old Tionne Johnson and, as Coleman said, “the cherry on top of the cherries,” sweet Margie Perez to finish the day, Oh Yeah.

Colman deKay: After over 20 years of amazing New Orleans moments, I’m in the middle of The Moment That Cannot Be Topped. Been down here two weeks recording a monster album (thanks, Pepsi; THANKS, Threadheads) of songs from Nine Lives, the musical Paul Sanchez and I are writing. The carnival’s Wurlitzer hasn’t stopped whirling for a second!

One moment, Shamarr Allen launches a brass band into orbit, the next, Irma Thomas levitates Piety Studios with her sweet, soaring voice, then Harry Shearer channels a wine-soaked Bing Crosby and mad genius Matt Perrine conjures up a piece of 21st-century Mozartean chamber music that includes a four-part counterpoint section that Paul and I are still catching our breathes from.

After lunch, Mayor Landrieu (!) drops by to give his regards and tell us that what he really wants to do is sing on Broadway, then 10-year-old Tione Johnson and grown-up Tanya Boutté tear our hearts out with their simple, open, honest interpretations of a pair of songs we wrote for a character as a dreamy child and, later, a life-challenged woman.

Meanwhile, Paul rehearses a KILLER ad hoc rock band to the most aggressive performance since Pete Townshend quit windmilling.

I’ve been touched and awed in a thousand ways these last few days. This town … these people … that giant beating heart … DAMN, it’s glorious!


Paul Sanchez: Yesterday, Shamarr Allen ran the session at Piety. He produced the To Be Continued Brass Band playing a song Colman and I wrote for them called To Be Continued. Shamarr is such a talent; it was a joy to watch him do what he will be doing for years, making music. I am loving Nine Lives, it’s given me another life.


Paul Sanchez: Yesterday at Piety, an old friend from my rock days came by to sing a couple of duets with Harry Shearer. Kevin Griffin from Better Than Ezra lent his beautiful tenor voice to the character of Billy Grace. We were knocked out at how beautifully he sang, Kevin was mostly tickled that he was dueting with Harry and chuckled every time their voices came in together on the playback.


Paul Sanchez: (Making a) morning television appearance on Channel 8 and then a day at Piety to work on Nine Lives, a nice relaxing day in the studio of cleaning tracks and making them mix ready.


Paul Sanchez:  Nine Lives is coming to life and it’s a beautiful thing.  (I am) out of the studio playing The Royal Historic Collections Concerts in the Courtyard tonight. Sitting in with my friend, Michelle Shocked, at Chickie-Wah-Wah’s on Saturday. Then back to Piety on Sunday to have Michelle record a verse for the song Jo-Ann.  A perfectly dreamy few weeks of my life.


Paul Sanchez: We cut a rock song for Nine Lives yesterday so I called my favorite people to rock with and turned them loose. Mary Lasseigne on bass, Alex McMurray, Sonia Tetlow and Mike Mayeux on guitars, Russ Broussard on bass, Rob Savoy and my brother, John (Sanchez), singing background and, man, did they stomp!

In Nine Lives, Alex plays Tim, ironically enough a gung ho kick ass cop. He sings lead and plays lead guitar on a kick ’em in the teeth rocker called Jump Out Boys. He also sings a hip hop duet with a young dead girl named Marie, (played by John Boutté’s niece Arsene deLay), called You and Me. I was so pleased to have Alex on Nine Lives, besides being one of my favorite song writers, singers and guitar players; I just dig the guy’s company. He makes me laugh.


Paul Sanchez: Another day in Piety working on Nine Lives. (We were) tracking George Porter Jr., Walter “Wolfman” Washington and Johnny Vicacovich on a track, Bonerama on another and Susan Cowsill on another. I guess you can call it work but it’s a dream.

And so it goes at Piety as the Nine Lives productions rock and rolls on, I hope to get the opportunity to serve as Paul and Colman’s blog proxy again and bring you more updates as they become available.

Steve Moran, a.k.a. LBI Fester

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