Saturday, June 06, 2009

Out of the Grey...Into The Fire

Out of the Grey into the fire... or hey, did anyone happen to get the license number on that truck? Release October 95 It's all about logistics. You've got to somehow feed the baby, get her to stop crying and put her down for her nap in time for the interview while you have to keep running out of the room to check on the other kid every time he bangs his head on a table or chokes on a grape because it all absolutely has to be under control before your session in the studio this afternoon and did you, by the way, manage to take some introspective hours to get that lyric crafted and whoops! the baby's crying again so let the answering machine pick up that call, and say, you really need to find some quality time to spend alone with your spouse before that grueling two-month burn on the road starts but you remembered to pick out the photos you liked, I'm sure, because if you didn't they'll probably use those dorky ones and hey, do you feel a little tense this morning 'cause you sure look a little tense this morning. . . Question: The above paragraph best describes: a) The plotline for yet another charmingly abrasive FOX sitcom b) What really goes on during those White House staff meetings c) The reason dinosaurs became extinct d) A day in the life of a pop star (check one) "To record our fourth album at all was a bit of a miracle," says Out of the Grey's guitarist Scott Denté as he reflexively doles out another round of blueberries to daughter Corinna, 11 months, and son Julian, 3 years. "But the fact that it came out somewhat coherent and that the record company wanted to release it made it feel like a major accomplishment to us. It's been a crazy year. . ." Gravity, the latest offering from husband and wife duo Scott and Christine Denté winds up sounding in some ways like a chronicle of their recent existence. While it furthers the musical sophistication and lyrical intelligence of previous Out of the Grey projects, Gravity has, at the same time, a certain aura of earthiness and immediacy that seems to spring from the ups and downs of daily life. "We're in such a mad dash ahead that we find ourselves playing catch-up most of the time," says Christine. "The trick we've been trying to learn is how to be thankful and focused right in the middle of that mad dash. There are definite expressions of those whirlwind emotions scattered through this record. It's a state of being we've come to regard as 'the happy struggle'." Pausing to fetch some juice from the refrigerator for Julian, Christine continues. "I love where we are and what we're doing, both as parents and as musicians, but I often find myself wishing that I had more time to do the reading and the introspection and the praying--the things that I need to draw substance from when it's time to sit down and write a song. With this record we're so busy being Out of the Grey that it's difficult to find time to grow Out of the Grey." "With our first record," Scott adds, adjusting the baby's high chair tray, "we had all the time in the world because nobody even knew who we were. Once you put out that first, though, you've only got a few months to come up with the next one. A lot of artists stumble at that point and really have nothing to say after that first record because of the pressure of people saying, 'Oh, hurry up and be great again!' It took us awhile to become semi-comfortable creating music within that context." So how does a Denté deal with the mounting frenzy of priorities and responsibilities, and the constant tension between the dreams and the realities of life as they pile up all around? Exactly! They write a poignantly autobiographical smash hit song about it. "The season of life we're in is encapsulated in the song "So We Never Got To Paris,'" Christine explains. "You take some of your dreams, you weigh them with where you're at right now, and you say 'This one can go.' So we never got to Paris. Big Deal. We've got everything we need right here. There are only so many things that you can do or accomplish in a given year or even in a given lifetime. Choose what's most important and don't lose time crying over the rest. Your satisfaction and contentment have to be found where you are right now or you'll never find them anywhere." Having spoken as long as the demands of motherhood will allow, Christine leaves the room to nurse Corinna. Scott, meanwhile, wanders over to the espresso machine and returns to the table nursing a third cup of coffee. Pegged by some as an 'alternative pop' act after the release of their first album, Out of the Grey has finally (after four years in the business) all but managed to shed that label as they've focused more and more on expressing creativity in the context of craft as opposed to expressing creativity in the context of a vacuum. "We're not as interested as we once were," says Scott between sips, "in being different just for the sake of being different. Or, as our producer Charlie Peacock would put it, we're not trying to deny the song where it wants to go just for the sake of being odd. Of course, we still throw a few musical curves here and there, but we're no longer so blatant as to try to hit the batter with them." Christine returns to the kitchen (after settling Corinna into her crib for a nap) and deftly sums up her previous line of thought. "We make time for our kids and we steal time with each other whenever we can, even if it's just in snatches of five or ten minutes before we go on stage, or in the bus after a show, or during a break in the studio. The truth is, children aren't convenient in the world of business, but our commitment to actively parent our kids every day is an area where we refuse to compromise. Occasionally that may mean your hair doesn't look too good when you come on stage because you didn't have the luxury of an extra fifteen minutes to work on it, and sometimes we're frazzled by the end of the night because we're tending to the kids and to the audience and to the press, but somehow or another it all gets done. . ." "And in a strange sort of way," Scott adds, "we even enjoy it. But that's probably related in some way to our shared coffee addiction." Which bring us to our next point. . . GRAVITY, LEVITY, BREVITY, BOXERS AND BRIEFS OR EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE BUT DIDN'T CARE ENOUGH TO ACTUALLY ASK UNTIL YOU WERE FINALLY FORCED TO BY A THIRD PARTY Wouldn't it be fun to have Out of the Grey's Scott and Christine Denté interview one another? After all, they know better than anyone what goes on inside one another's heads. They could dig up lots of interesting information that your run-of-the-mill journalist would never even think to ask about. What a personable touch that would add to a magazine feature! (Or so the theory went...) Christine: (hereafter referred to as Chris): Where does your love of coffee come from? Is it genetic, or is it learned behavior? Scott: (hereafter referred to as Scott): My love of coffee? What about your love of coffee? Chris: Just answer the question, please. Scott: I'm convinced that my love of coffee is learned behavior stemming from a genetic predisposition. I don't have a scripture to back that up but I'm pretty well convinced of it all the same. Chris: What do you want to be doing twenty years from now? Scott: You already know what we'll be doing twenty years from now. We'll have moved to Branson, Missouri, and set up our Out of the Grey dinner theater. Chris: Besides that. Scott: I could see myself still working in the music business in some capacity. Let's see. . .I'm a people person and I like to talk so what would that make me? Chris: An A&R guy? Scott: That's it, an A&R guy. I just need the leather couch, I've already got opinions. So let me ask you a question. Do you have any dreams outside of our current careers that you hope to someday pursue? Chris: Someday I'd like to be able to sleep for eight hours at a stretch, uninterrupted. Scott: (still referred to as Scott): I'm talking about realistic goals. Chris: So what about you, what's your big dream? Scott: I'd like to have the time to sit alone in a room for a year and create a guitar album. Chris: And you had the nerve to call my dreams farfetched? Okay, here's a question for you. Now that we have been Out of the Grey for four records, do you feel that our music and our lives are the original meaning of Out of the Grey itself or have we changed in any way or has the meaning of Out of the Grey changed in the last four years with us. Scott: You know what, you'll have to ask that again. I don't know what it means. Chris: Is Out of the Grey still the original Out of the Grey or. . . Scott: Or have we changed members? Chris:. . .or does our music still represent what we wanted to say in the first record or has the meaning of the name changed along with what we want to say or what we do now finishing our fourth record? Scott: Christine, that question should be taken outside and put out of its misery. Chris: Why do men so often try to skirt deeper issues and make jokes out of everything? Scott: Because we fear death. Okay, answer these quickly. Biscuits or cornbread? Chris: Cornbread. Scott: Chocolate chip or oatmeal? Chris: Cookies? Scott: Yes. Chris: Both. Scott: Boxers or briefs? Chris: Boxers are way too violent. I'd have to go with briefs. Your turn. If you were stuck in a prison cell and could have only one hobby to occupy your time, what would it be? Scott: Tunneling. So Christine, have you ever been to Paris? Chris: No, we never got to Paris. Scott: If you could go anywhere in the world you wanted, what two books would you take? Chris: Fodor's Guide to the World and. . . Scott: No, wait. I misstated the question. If you could go back to any time in your life and observe yourself. . .what would you wear? Chris: Rose-colored glasses. Okay, if you could go back now and talk to yourself when you were fourteen, what advice would you give yourself? You only have ten seconds, and the clock's running! Scott: Now? . . .Drink your milk, and. . . Chris: Time's up. Scott:. . .and buy stock in Microsoft! Chris: Too late. If you could pass on one personality trait to your daughter, what would it be? And vanity doesn't count. Scott: Is the ability to sleep with one's eyes open considered a personality trait? Chris: No. Did you ever own a black light? Scott: No. Chris: Strobelight? Scott: No. Chris: Fuzzy poster? Scott: Okay, so I had the one with the black panther. Anything else you want to know? Chris: No, that's it. The prosecution rest. Your witness. . . Douglas Kaine McKelvey, recently absolved of any wrongdoing in the Iran-Contra Affair, currently lives and writes in the general vicinity of Nashville, Tennessee. copyright 1995 Release Magazine