Secret Season | Love Is the Only Game in Town

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Love Is the Only Game in Town

by Secret Season

This album features twelve quality tracks with imaginitive lyrics and a nice variety of musical styles. . Musical influences include Tom Waits, Syd Barrett, Brian Eno, The Grateful Dead, Bjork, The Beatles and Nico. Instruments used include voice, electric and acoustic guitars, bass, mountain dulcimer, keyboards, synthesizer and musical saw.
Genre: Rock: Adult Alternative Pop/Rock
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Love Is the Only Game in Town
2:28 $1.00
2. She Is so Mysterious
2:39 $0.99
3. Show Me What You’ve Got
4:11 $0.99
4. When I Saw Jesus
3:25 $0.99
5. Linen White
3:55 $0.99
6. Flow
3:17 $0.99
7. Exhibit A
3:45 $0.99
8. Mean Streak
2:53 $0.99
9. When You’re Gone
3:24 $0.99
10. I Wanna Be with You
3:58 $0.99
11. She’s a Spy
2:36 $0.99
12. Shine On
3:46 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
“love is the only game in town” features a total of 12 tracks, with imaginative lyrics and a nice variety of musical styles. Musical influences include Tom Waits, Syd Barrett, Brian Eno, The Grateful Dead, Bjork, David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and The Velvet Underground and Nico. Instruments used include voice, electric and acoustic guitars, bass, mountain dulcimer, keyboards, synthesizer and musical saw.
All letters for all tracks as well as the title of “love is the only game in town” are lower case as are all lyrics in the CD booklet. We just wanted it that way.
Work on this CD began back in August 2014 after I returned from a trip to the U.S. to see family and friends. I jumped right into recording a track about a place where a friend and I had stayed in the mountains, a track that would not make the final cuts. Sometimes you just need to get through a track you won’t use in order to get to one you will. In my case, getting through that first track was a warm-up for the next ten or eleven I recorded between September 2014 and January 2015. That was quite a creative flurry for me, I don’t think I had ever written and recorded so many tracks for that many songs over a 6-month period, not to mention recording a very nice song by Isa called “show me what you’ve got”, track number 3 on “love is the only game in town” . In case that doesn’t seem like a lot, just remember that I am also a full-time teacher. So is Isabelle.
“love is the only game in town”, the title track, was recorded next. I really got into the drums and the whole thing, actually. Steve Train, a good musician and a friend of mine, suggested taking the bass out of the vocals and I liked the way it sounded. Steve also suggested looping the cat calls throughout the entire song, and not just at the end as I had originally intended. 2 for 2.
And then we added Isa’s backing vocals, which were just what the doctor ordered.
Kevin Lipnicki, a good friend and former bandmate, kept telling me to get the beat on the chord change right. I’m glad he did because he knows what he’s talking about when it comes to percussion.
Speaking of Kevin, track number 4 “when I saw jesus” was inspired by an Alan Watts lecture and I think Kevin had brought me a cassette of the lecture he had recorded on WFMU in New Jersey, where Kevin is from.
I remember listening to more of those lectures alone and with friends. Once I missed an exit on my way to New York while listening to an Alan Watts lecture.
Anyway, Watts said something in one of those lectures about Jesus not wanting to be put on a pedestal but that’s exactly what we did, and that was the seed of inspiration for that song.
My mother called me in early February 2015 and told me she had pancreatic cancer and that she wanted to remain her positive self as long as possible. My mother was a big music fan so I sent her some of the initial “love is the only game in town” mixes and she called me back to tell me how much she liked the CD. I was in the middle of giving a presentation about Syd Barrett during a class I teach at HEC and though the ringer and buzzer were off, my phone lit up and I could see it was her calling. She left a very joyful, supportive message and from then on we talked about how the CD was coming along during every conversation we had before she was no longer able to talk on the phone.
Isabelle and I flew in from France at the beginning of June and were honored that my mother, who had an extremely low tolerance for sound at that point, was very keen on the idea of Isabelle and I playing acoustic sets at her bedside. She was still in her own bed at that point. At the end of the booklet for « love is the only game in town », on the page featuring Isabelle, Benny and myself, as well as Jean-Yves Allanic and Gilles Poirier, two good friends who decided to sit in on the photo shoot, there is a dedication albeit hard to see, to my mother. Constance Louise Phillips Moogalian died on June 20th, 2015.
Towards the end of July Isa and I decided to get back into recording mode and we got some good stuff down that she had written, in particular “she’s a spy”, track 11 on « love is the only game in town ». What a fun song to record. That’s often the case with Isa’s songs: they are fun, original and give me the chance to approach instrumentation and arrangements differently. We also worked on backing vocals on different tracks and laid down some serious groundwork for other tracks, including track 9 entitled “when you’re gone” that we had started on back in December 2015.
Then we decided to take a break in mid-August and spend a few days in Amsterdam. It was great. Beautiful summer weather. Benny, our west highland terrier, was 15 at the time and he really enjoyed the park we went to every day. It was just what we all needed. We felt relaxed.
And then we took the train back to Paris.
Before I got shot on the train I was reading an article online that predicted the Green Bay Packers would win Super Bowl 50. I thought maybe the article was right but felt that the Packers should have won it all the previous season. Aaron Rogers’ leg injury had kept them out of Super Bowl 49 altogether. That was my take anyway.
As I was reading the article about the Packers I noticed a suitcase on wheels being pulled into the restroom. I didn’t have time to see who was doing the pulling.
I went back to the article started to think that maybe the Packers did have a chance to win it all this year. Man they are good. When they are firing on all pistons they are unstoppable.
I remember briefly wondering what it’s like to live in Wisconsin.
About 15 minutes elapsed between the suitcase on wheels and life in Wisconsin.
Then it happened: the shooter, the first guy who grabbed him by the throat, then me grabbing his AK-47 and running away with it, not realizing the shooter also had a 9mm Lugar he would end up shooting me with. He also had a razor knife, lots of ammo and even gasoline.
Then Spencer Stone tackled the guy. Then the shooter was hogtied. Then Isa told Spencer I needed medical attention. Thanks Isa. Spencer kept me from bleeding to death. Thanks Spencer.
I started to fade at one point and I think I saw the beginning of the movie of my life, the one they say people see when they die. I saw horizontal lines behind a long, foggy oval window. The lines turned into the white aluminum siding on the very first house I ever lived in. Everything was in black and white just like our TV at the time. To my right, my mother was humming as she did the dishes. My mother was also wearing a pair of black cat eyeglasses. She was happy. It was quiet. All I could hear was her humming. My mother had a great singing voice and you could tell even when she was just humming.
Then I woke myself up after I spoke to myself and said that if I didn’t wake up now I never would.
In the hospital I remember thinking I might never be able to play the guitar again due to the nerve damage I had suffered, but thankfully I have recovered enough to play, though without the same dexterity as before. Most of the problems come from my left index and thumb. And then there’s the left arm. I have received excellent medical attention and hopefully I will recover more over the next year or so. At the hospital I felt relieved that 99% of the guitar tracks for « love is the only game in town » had already been recorded before the train.
After a few months of therapy I found myself back working hard on the mixes. There was a lot to do. Isa got a lot done in a short period of time. Very efficient. As the months went by things really began to take shape and then we were in the home stretch, no more tracks to add but countless little adjustments to make. This final phase has always been the most challenging to me since I find myself staying up late and getting up early to get everything done, trying to deal with a swarm of details in an obsessive mindset while running on fumes.
In mid-February we were getting close to the finish line and had a little photo shoot featuring Isabelle, myself and Benny, who had turned 16 on December 21st, 2015 . Little did we realize that Benny would die from stomach cancer just a few weeks later. We knew about his condition, but he had been doing so well and his passing in March came as a shock. We were devastated. He was a friend, a mentor and by far the most mature of the three of us. Needless to say, it is fitting that we are all on the cover of « love is the only game in town ».
I sought emotional refuge in my work and threw myself back into the mixes and finally finished at the end of March. By that time I was pretty much going nuts. Fortunately, my cell phone plan allows me to call friends in the U.S. who let me talk their ears off again and again. At the bottom of the back cover of « love is the only game in town », you can see their names though they are not easy to read.
It says “Special thanks to Steve Train, Kevin Lipnicki and Dave Ellis for their valuable input.”
Kevin sent me the Mountain Dulcimer used on “Flow”. Thanks Kevin.
Dave filmed the sun coming through the trees as we drove back from the mountains listening to “she’s a spy” and the video kept floating in and out of my mind as I mixed that song. I don’t know the exact effect that had on the song but it sounds great. Dave also noticed a problem with the percussion in “when you’re gone” and it turned out I had muted the second half of one of the drum tracks.
“exhibit a” is a song I wrote about 23 years ago and I always wanted to do a multi-track version. When I first started living on the houseboat on the Seine I found a photo clipping of a man in a white suit and hat walking his black bulldog from a small airplane. It was sunny and I think he may have been wearing sunglasses. No name was given. The clipping itself was turning beige from ageing. I also found a photo of Lana Turner holding her arms in the air and pulling off a long black glove but I didn’t write a song about it.
“linen white” is a song about the origins of Halloween and how the dead were wrapped in sheets and taken out through a hole in the wall that was then sealed up. This was done in order to prevent a spirit from coming back to haunt the place. I wrote “linen white” in October 2014. The melody came to me as I was shaving one morning. I remember it was dark outside and I could see the moon through the bathroom window as I was shaving. I also remember thinking about a former bandmate named Christopher Furman and his daughter Violet. I imagined Christopher singing to her and I think that influenced the melody. I already knew the song would be about Halloween in some way.
In “she is so mysterious” I changed the words “you see”, which I thought were kind of corny, to “Lucy”. I accidentally sang “Lucy” one day and decided to keep it and it also made the lyrics a little more trippy because of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”. Later I started second guessing myself but when I saw a Luc Besson film called “Lucy”, that pretty much sealed the deal. I sent a copy of “she is so mysterious” to my old friend Mike Street and he said it reminded him of “They Love Each Other” by The Grateful Dead. It’s funny because I hadn’t noticed that before but now I do.
“i wanna be with you” was written on February 12th, 2015. One of my sculptures, “Blue Warrior”, was part of an exhibit at city hall in Boulogne Billancourt, France. It was opening night and some local politicians were present. We had been expecting the mayor himself, but the deputy mayor was there instead and so Isa and I were a little disappointed. We were also tired from all the standing around and waiting because the deputy mayor arrived an hour late. Then I was introduced to a sixteen-year-old painter who went on and on about how his painting represented the inner workings of love between a man and a woman. I remember thinking he was way too young to know anything about that and I started to imagine how Charles Bukowski would describe the growing irritation I was feeling as the young artist kept talking about his work. I imagined Bukowski typing after knocking off two Budweiser tall boys. When we went upstairs to see the painting, two security guards told us no one could enter that particular room until the designated time, which was in about an hour and a half. The artist kept talking and Bukowski kept typing. At one point he typed something about a slap in the face and I must admit I smiled though I certainly don’t condone that sort of thing. We went back downstairs and were informed that the deputy mayor was going have her photo taken with each artist and their work, beginning with the right side of the exhibit. There were sixty or so participants and many were chatty so I figured we were in for a long night and I wasn’t sure if Isa, Bukowski or myself had the patience for that. About fifteen minutes later I looked at Isa and said “let’s get the hell outta here” and we took the bus home. I headed straight for my home recording studio and out came “i wanna be with you”. One night on my way home from work, I watched a lot of old Jimi Hendrix videos and decided I would let loose a little with the guitar solo on that track.
There’s more to tell but I will leave off here for now. Maybe I’ll add more later. Thanks for reading.
Mark Moogalian



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