United Dictators of Mars: The Music of Tom Mody & Jeffrey Harris







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Tom Mody :::.::::..:..:.:.
Tom Mody
Fighting 50

The People Exchange
Music: Mody Lyricss: Harris

album cover art for Tom Mody's album Fighting 50
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We take this life for granted entangled in the meaningless.
Forever thinking happiness but do we recognize.
Something we are missing been there all along.
Right in front of us. Hidden from our eyes.
The skin of my brother. The sin of another.
Stealing the future. Leaving remains.
 Seeking the living. Focused in the selfish cause.
Cheating age and death by jumping the God damned fence.

Open your eyes to the people exchange.
Live each day as if it may be your last
There is hope for the sick and the weak.

The window is closing. The time is growing ever short.
The clock is ticking, tick away for opportunity.
Counting on chance. Mastering the strategy.
Meditating the will to live.
Moving with precision. Timing must be accurate.
Open the portal the madness must begin.
One will fall. One will rise.
Someone’s benefit is someone’s demise.

We welcome you to the people exchange.
Here there’s no guilt- only something to gain. 
There is hope for the people in pain.

Feel the Pressure. Feed the pain.
Bearing down on you It’s in your veins.
Feed the pleasure. Feel inane.
Clearing your conscience Just imagine it won’t be in vein.

Humor me- if you will. Thinking outside the box.
Thinking parallel.  Sad story-  is it true?
This person who lost their mind it could be you.
So you see- the exchange.
These people walk amid us. You just never know.
You can’t rid the afterthought now inside your head.
Could it be reality or is it madness instead.

Tom Mody song liner notesI have never re-recorded, re-mixed and re-mastered a song more than this track. Back around 2011 and 2012 I started to get very progressively expiremental in my writing with Matt Zaia and Jeff was really not inspired with the direction. Much of that music ended up on my album "Resonant Aggressor" in 2014. But at some point in 2013 Jeff challenged me to writed some power groove metal tracks to try and catch his interest and The People Exchange came from that challenge. The writing of the song is a bit tricky. It's not necessarily hard to play but hard to remember the sequence of phrasings, particularly in the intro. But as a stright ahead track it had a great consistency in groove. Jeff came over regularly in 2013 to work on his lyric arrangements and at some point in the process was pointing out places in the song he wanted accented with his phrasing. When I made the couple of adjustments he suggested I realized there was an interesting opportunity to expand on that as an approach for the whole track. So at the expense of the groove of the song I chopped it up pretty good to power accent with his vocals in many spots. I felt we were trying something rather unique. But heading into 2014 we turned our attention to recording some songs with Alan LoPresti which became I Storm tracks and with Jeff's otherwise busy schedule he really didn't return to the studio until some point in 2015. I had tinkered with the music recording of the song many times in that hiatus. The fact was I could not capture both the warmth and punch needed for the track. Both guitar and bass were recorded many many times in all manner of expirementation but the fact is, I don't have great gear for that ultimate metal tone. My metal guitar tone can be described as unique at best but I ran every plugin for direct sound and attempted to mic cabinets which never works well in my studio. Eventually I got something acceptable when Jeff was ready to try and final track the song. Over a few months he'd come in periodically and get some stuff done and eventaully I could see it was shaping up to be a pinnacle track for him. I didn't want the guitar to be a let down. Plus we had decided it would go on the solo album I was recording and production sounds for that were at my best ever. I asked Alan LoPresti if I could come cut tracks at his studio using his "Fractal" amp modeler and I was able to get the full warmth I wanted but when I returned to mix at my studio it was still missing an edge so I layered 2 more guitar tracks with some amp "plug-in" software and seemed to have eventaully gotten the right mix with 4 rhythm tracks of different settings. It's not ideal and I'm still somewhat critical of the tone comparative to the industry standard metal sound but with some good mastering on the track the 3 year project shines quite nicely. The guitar lick between the first chorus and second verse is one of my all time favorites. It is lyrically somewhat dark in Jeff's story of people stealing minds. As Christians we had a lengthy discussion of using "God damned" in the track. Jeff felt it was not used in vain but more of a literal damning and I eventually saw his point. You don't realize how powerful a phrase that can be unti you try to replace it with something else. The track was practically neutered without it.

Jeffrey Harris song liner notesGosh, 3 years in the making of this so I’ll try and give insight to the best of my recollection. At some point in time I became burnt out from the progressiveness of Tom’s musical direction and admitted this to him constructively as he and I have been writing music together for so long that we can be honest with each other and no feelings are hurt. Anyhow, as Tom was putting music in front of me, I was becoming increasingly disinterested. Not that it was bad, rather, just wasn’t my cup of tea and I wanted a change. Call it fate or what have you but I believe right around the same time, Tom had been introduced to an area musician that had been in the professional session world as a guitarist and as it turned out, has incredible recording skills. His name is Alan LoPresti. An incredible human being. I believe Tom was looking for some insight to further develop his recording skills/sounds and another musician friend of ours that Tom was also working with at the time, Matt Zaia told Tom of his acquaintance with said Al LoPresti. So one thing led to another and low and behold they are introduced. I was unaware of this at first. At some point Tom mentioned this to me and of course I remembered the name from many moons ago when I became strictly a vocalist (see ‘Time Travel’ and read the relative story) where a band named Unity was notably the top act of the battle of bands where I first sang at an event without a guitar in front of me. We were introduced and then that was the first and last time we crossed paths until (?2013? help me out here Tom). At this point I’m struggling to keep afloat with a killer cover band called PISTnBROKE with some great musicians but some unfortunate life circumstances were making it difficult for this band to continue. So one day Tom throws this song at me with a pitch that I don’t recall exactly but it was along the lines of recording this song that Al tossed to him/us. This music immediately inspired me and I was ‘in’. So one thing leading to another, I’m re-introduced to one Alan LoPresti nearly 30 years later. I do know that I looked up to him as a guitar hero 30 years earlier but had no idea what he had been up to. Tom flipped me a couple CD’s to take home and listen to and I was absolutely blown away. Okay, so this guy is the shit! So we agree to take on this endeavor and we end up writing/recording this very cool song which will have its own liner notes when the time comes. But somewhere in the middle of this I think is where I approached Tom and told him to give me something “in your face” with a 2/4ish time signature that I can sing melodically over. What we ended up with is TPE. The initial music Tom presented to me moved me as soon as I heard it. There was a concept I had been thinking about for quite some time that had come to me in a twisted dream that I put pen to paper upon awakening just jotting down what this crazy dream was about. So through much consideration, I wrote, morphed and edited a rough draft about the possibility of a theory where what if there are some that are sick, elderly and dying that are able to ‘switch bodies’ if you will, with someone young, vibrant and unknowing. To take it further, what if this has been happening all along right under our noses and we have never known? The end result is the person that trades places with the unknowing subject is now in a body well aware of its hosts life with a full life to look forward to while the unfortunate subject is now very confused or just plain unaware, in pain and withers away. So now when you read the lyrics, you will understand the twisted story. When I presented this concept to Tom, he had many good questions and I tried to answer them to the best of my knowledge. Apparently he bought it. There was basically only one selling point that I had to cross with him. There is a line in the song that reads ‘Cheating age and death by jumping the God damned fence’. Initially, one would interpret this as blasphemy at first glance.
Not so. Tom and I are usually very careful about this because of our faith. Therefore, I had to explain my interpretation of this line to Tom for its true meaning. If one reads carefully, notice there are 2 letters at the end of the word ‘damn’…the letters ’ed’ = ’damned’. Metaphorically speaking, the person choosing to ‘steal’ the life of another is choosing to cross a line that God has made clear to be sinful. Now that we have todays lesson out of the way, let’s move on to the vocal melody. I wanted to do something different with my voice and structure than anything I have ever done. While I have been dubbed by some as man of a thousand voices (among other names I’ve been called), this is one that I don’t believe I have ever used and it was refreshing. So the verses just began to flow and become fluid. Next came the chorus. I stated to Tom that I wanted this chorus to be big…larger than life. So we doubled every line and I came up with harmonies that I absolutely fell in love with—all doubled. Tom added some spice to it to give it that larger than life feel I was looking for which just inspired the hell out of me.
Throughout the song we collaborated with each other making suggestions about the music, lyrical content and vocal melodies. During the 3 year course of all this, mind you, Tom and I were learning much from our working with Alan LoPresti. In mid 2013 I had begun a cover band with Al which also included John Natoli and had begun writing songs with Al in the studio.
(AUTHORS NOTE: In the beginning sessions, I was nervous as hell to be recording with such a talented person that pays careful attention to authenticity and detail.) I tend to believe that things happen for a reason. So because my time with Tom became sparse in the studio for whatever life circumstances (and I am very sorry Tom), it afforded us time to hone our skills that much more. Not speaking for Tom but I attribute much of my experience with Al as one of the greatest learning experiences of my musical career. The knowledge, talent and dedication to excellence that guy possesses is second to no one. It has made me a better musician. Not to take away the many years of experiences with Tom that have also contributed to my musical career path. So 3 years later you get to hear a final version of something that was meant to be heard in this form through all the experiences, edits, transformations, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, etc upgrades of Cubase record ability, t-raxx mastering metamorphosis and anything I am leaving out of ‘oh so much’ that was part of the process during that time frame. It is my sincere hope that you enjoy the best damn metal tune that I have ever been able to be a part of in my opinion. As for the future, Tom and I have some very new twists up our sleeve that we have already begun that I am very excited about and hope to have out WELL before a 3 year period.




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