Tango Down guitarist Scott Miller explains each track on new album ‘Bulletproof’
Two days ago, Tango Down‘s guitarist Scott Miller went through the group’s recently released new album Bulletproof track by track providing insight on each song. The following message was posted on Tango Down‘s Facebook page (with slight edits):
“How does one have an album called Bulletproof and with a straight face claim it’s an album where every song is about relationships. Of all things. Well Tango Down lead guitarist sits with you the reader to break it down.
1. “Punching Bag”: The label wanted a new set opening song, so we could retire “Crying To Me” which has been our set opener since 2010. So I wanted to write a song with a mean nasty gritty groove. Nice low down and dirty. When I wrote it, I played it over and over and over a million times. Trying to get it just “right”, and its a slide song, not played with a slide. So my finger being the “slide”, because I didn’t want it bright like when you play with a slide bar, so I used my finger instead. So when I was done, I wore off the skin on my index finger. I couldn’t play guitar for a week after I was done getting it right. So I bleed for the listener. Actual full on blood here people. There are photos. I kind of needed the pics when the label was asking me why I was inactive for a week. The message of the song is finally having enough of the troublemakers in your life, turning around and putting them in their place. Push me, I punch back. This was one of the first songs I got to collaborate with some new writing partners on. This song went through a few hands in the lyric dept. I know sometimes too many cooks ruin the soup, but this time it proves to work. Shawn Pelata, John Kivel and Pete Newdeck helped deliver on this song. Good form men! Of course, Chas [West] stepped up to the plate on this song. The bridge is a little tip of the hat to Thin Lizzy. So yes, you are not imagining that.
2. “Give Me A Reason”: I was going for a “Ladies Night In Buffalo” (David Lee Roth type feel) when I originally started writing it. But the back and forth with Jace Pawlak who I collaborated it with, it ended up taking a new life of its own. John and I argue over the message behind the song. You can take it about being between a guy and his girl. You can also take it from a person questioning their faith. Funny story, at first, some people were not “sold” on the song. John pushed for it to be on the album, and said it will be one of the stand outs, and to trust him. Flash fwd to Rock N Skull. This girl comes up to us at our meet and greet asking us for a copy of the song (which had yet to be recorded) and said the song made her cry. Literally bawling in the front row. In fact, she was still visibly emotional, and she had to have it. As a musician and song writer, you always want to spark emotion and have your art touch someone. I never thought I’d ever make someone cry though. Strange, but cool at the same time. So I guess everyone can agree it making the album was the right call. Certainly a song that will be cemented in future live sets. Chas really brings the emotion to this song that it was needing.
3. “Bulletproof”: We reached out to Jace to help come up with this one for us. John Kivel had explained what he was calling the album, what the story behind the concept was and all that stuff. When he sent over the demo, my first thoughts were Kingdom Come. So I was all over it. We were really making a effort to make this the best Tango Down album yet. As well as do new things we hadn’t tried before. When we started the mixing process, I decided to go back in and recut the solo. Not that the solo I did was bad. I just felt I could do even better once I heard the early mixes Ty Sims was sending over. What he was doing with the mix inspired me to kick it up a notch. This song is about paying no mind to the shit talkers and green eyed monsters that have something to say about who you are, what you do and where you are going. Tell them to “Take Another Shot!” Because you’re Bulletproof baby.
4. “Carry On”: Started out where I wanted to write a Judas Priest type song, but then it took a left turn into a Van Halen drop D sound. In the end, it’s text book me. Has all the elements of what I like to do in a song guitar wise. I like to collaborate with outside writers. I’m just always selective of who I write with. I want that chemistry. I want someone I can feed off of and back and forth with. Jace has always been that guy. This time though we tried bringing in some new people. On this song, John Kivel suggested I send it to Pete Newdeck. I said, “Why not?” He came back with “Carry On”, and we all loved it. This is about finally coming to that realization where you deserve better. Obviously a song that is about telling that particular person in your life to take a hike!! Instant set list mainstay song from here on out. Chas really sells this song and I love how he takes the song out .
5. “When We Were Young”: Simply put…..feel good anthem! Like the lyrics say. “Music is My Time Machine and it takes me back”. I gave it a little Tom Cochrane “Life Is A Highway.” In the beginning, I felt it fit the song and vibe. Song has some Bon Jovi flavor to it as well. The song is self explanatory in regards to topic. Thinking back to those friendships that were unbreakable bonds and you could do no wrong or be told you can’t live your life at the edge of your seat. The best relationship song on the album possibly. Friendship and youth.
6. “Going Under”: Arena hands in the air rocker. Demo was very Journey esque. We did our best to keep it 99% close to that as no need to mess with a great song. I just added my little flavor to it. A song about how love can just pull you under even though you have those doubts.
7. “Superstar”: My fave song on the album!!! This is about trying to walk in someone else’s shoes. Thinking celebrity life may not be what you think it’s all cracked up to be. Grass isn’t always greener. Like the saying goes, money can’t always buy happiness.
8. “Edge Of Goodbye”: THE BIG BALLAD!! This is all about the song. I just played along with it. There was no real place for a “solo”, so I got to ride out the song with a big arena solo. It ended up working that way. Message is self explanatory. Being at the end of a relationship, you’ve given your all, but it’s time to say goodbye.
9. “Anything Can Change”: This song I co-wrote with Jason and was intended to go on his recent ‘Promise‘ CD (plug plug). It’s a happy dappy feel good song. Original demo had a Cars meets the first Poison. I was trying to be Elliot Easton on it. Again, it morphs as we take it through the process. The sound may have slightly changed, but the message was always there. It’s about never being too late to make a change in your life, who you are or who you have a relationship with. Life, Love, Job, ANYTHING CAN CHANGE.
10. “Broken Heart”: Last song does not mean worst song. We started with a punch and wanted to end with a bang. A song about mid life crisis? Consequences of poor decisions? Bottom line, careful what you wish for. Normally, I want a gritty guitar solo. But I knew a lot of eyes would be on me on this song. So I stepped a little outside of my comfort zone. Tried some new things and a slightly different approach. Hopefully will be well received as much as I am proud of it
Shout outs to all my song writing partners, Ty Sims and Erik Johnson for their hard work helping this album sound glorious. Our label and everyone that has been involved one way or another with this album. At the end of the day, we don’t think we made a good album, or even a great album. We made the BEST album of our career thus far as a band. Everyone stepped up on this one. Johnny says this one may actually be tough to beat. I say, Nah….I got this. We’re just getting started…..”