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By Martin Popoff
"I just approached it from what I thought that era would be like," continues Blackie on this retro vision. "And an interesting twist that it took, I don't know if you can hear it or not, a lot of this record was recorded digitally, about half and half. That ended up giving it, just by virtue of the technology, it took it out of the '70s and brought it up to a contemporary sound. And when I was mixing it I decided that - and I didn't know any of this when I started mixing it - at this point I'm not a fan of the digital process. For me it ended up kind of like what Ringo used to say, 'there's nothing like a good mistake.' It ended up working out for me, but it was like wrestling a demon-possessed alligator the whole way. Getting it to do what I originally wanted it to do was very, very tough and I'm not sure I would ever do another one again like this. Maybe this is something that only the cook is going to hear. What it did by virtue of default is that it made it more contemporary, which is something I was not going for to begin with."
Lyrically, Blackie covers familiar ground, but from a more personal standpoint, looking back on the baggage his upbringing has caused. "Probably the direction that people are going to latch onto is that they'll look at the album cover and the album title and then songs like 'Charisma' and 'Locomotive Man'. Those represent the darker content on the record. I mean, 'Charisma' was written from the point of view of thinking of world leaders. But when we think of charisma traditionally, we think of people that we admire, actors or athletes or whatever. But there's also a darker side of charisma, for example people who have the ability to form cults. One line there is about Napoleon. Next to the lyrics, bracketed, is the person I was thinking of in a couple of lines. So just looking at the dark side of people's personalities, that really is magnetic to all of us, that has the ability to hypnotize us. Whether it repulses us or not, we're still intrigued by it. And charisma in this case is not just who I was thinking about. Really it was written in the first person point of view of charisma as a thing, charisma actually talking and he talks about the influence he's had, the ability to weave himself in and out of individuals. So the individuals come and go, but charisma is constant."
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