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







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Jeffrey Harris and Tom Mody 2011 >::..:.::..:::
United Dictators of Mars
Alternate Dimension

October 44th
Music: Mody/Harris, Words: Harris

United Dictators of Mars - Questions for God
..::.::| LYRICS |.::...:.

It started on 13 November. Clearly a day not to remember. 317 days into year 42.

Children awoke without freedom of choice. Barely adults and placed in harms way.
Labeled expendible by a circle of strangers. Knowing that soon they'd travel abroad.
Tears and fears raced across their faces as they said their goodbye's
Their school of thought would soon be replaced by kill or be killed, and all else erased.
Forty-four days from the start of October the dreams of furthering eductaion now seem lost,
out of reach, forgotten.

Who has the right to play God and assign us. What in the world were they thinking.
Why would anyone wish to expend our youth. How the hell do they come up with these theories.
Why must war cost us our youth.

On that same day dads culd be drafted completely established in family and career.
Torn from their world of
love and devotion plucket from their life of security like a slap to the face.
We need more claimed the leaders was it neccesity, power or just frankly numbers of men as statistics.
Stop the madness.

Forever asleep from fighting from freedoms. Adulthood prevented by mortal annihilation.
Labled expendible by a hoard of strangers. Their coming home by way of sarcophagus.


::.::| LINER NOTES |.::...:.

Tom Mody song liner notesOne night during a recording session for "Questions for God" my daughter came down to the studio to inform me that my sister was pregnant and her due date was October 44th. Jeff and I laughed of couse, and immediately thought that would be a cool song title. But we didn't use it during QFG and I was purposely not going to write anything for it as much as I really wanted to because I knew Jeff needed some inspired ideas to work with. With a title like October 44th there are just so any ways to create a story. But during the writing of this album Jeff came in one night and said he had October 44th lyrics and they were literally October 44th based. I'll let him explain from there. This is the only song we sat down and worked out musically together. He sang a melody and actually directed me to the chords he wanted played. He had a beuutiful melody in his natural voice on all the scratch tracks. I wrote the final arrangement and recorded it and the song sat for about a year until we got around to doing vocals. When he started singing he completely changed his voice away from a clean natural tone to a dead on impersonation of Bruce Dickenson of Iron Maiden- I mean it was dead on. I love Bruce but I was deflated because he had such a beautiful voice on his scratch tracks from the previous year. He thought they were too "soft" but the truth is they were no more soft than say No Shadow or Selfless. So I badgered him a lot through out the recording of this song and he smoothed much of his "Bruce" voice out which I assume he would have on his own anyway and I'm quite comfortbale with the song now. The talking broadway-ish chorus still isn't my favorite choice of arrangement but I'm good with it as something different which was his original point. It's a good lesson in how to work in a band or with a partner. There are choices and interpretations that you'll never agree on but if you trust the guys you work with then the end result becomes what the song is. It may not be what you would have done but you forget that over time and the song becomes and is as it sounds. What you hear is October 44th and I don't hear my preferences any more so I judge it now on the quality of the performance and not the performance choices. It's good and different. Musically I also appreciate the arrangement because I came up with an interesting one. The intro works the same way as Grand Canyon being it's only place in the song but once the verse comes in I build to a prechorus and chorus as is standard but then I bring it back in the opposite direction going from chorus to prechorus to verse- then doing an end chorus. The transition to the end chorus was tricky. I don't know what I did. I played a piece with it's own timing or feel, played another guitar piece that didn't seem to blend then added a keyboard in another timing that kind of tricks you into thinking it all works and is complicated genius musicianship but in really it's chaos cancelling itself out.


Jeffrey Harris song liner notes

As Tom has alluded to, his daughter had come down stairs one evening and without breaking stride the words “October 44th” just rolled off her tongue as if it were a real date in the month. Tom and I chuckled but then thought it might be kind of neat to perhaps make a song title out of this jocularity. I went home and decided to do some research sometime after this. What I did was subtract 31 from 44 since October has 31 actual days and the fictitious date of the 44th is the key. Conclusion, we end up with 13 days past 31 October in reality which would actually be 13 November. After deciding to use this as the base theory, I tasked myself to research event history for the date of 13 November. What I finally settled on basing the story around was the actual day in history (13 November 1942) where FDR signed into law a bill that lowered the minimum draft age from 21 to 18. Not your average love song… Anyhow, I really enjoy the dual attack writing process where Tom and I get together and write a song real time. I also enjoy the idea of humming or singing a vocal melody and Tom writing around it. So yeah, I’ve always been a fan of the Steve Harris writing style where Bruce Dickenson tells Steve’s story with the most narrative conviction of anyone I can think of…he gets the point across. That is what I believed this story needed as the thought of the idea with regard to 18 year olds going to war to die but not being able to legally consume alcohol is to this day, in my opinion, a bone of contention. But I digress (a little). Tom was a fan of my vocal melody from scratch but with passing of time I became disenchanted with it and divorced myself from what I heard as “wimpy” sounding melody and went for the Dickenson approach. In hindsight, I may have overdone it a bit by being BD but I must admit it was real fun and sounded cool. Tom & I differ in our opinions about it but I won’t go as far as saying he was right although originality is important in being a writer and I am not BD therefore I half agree with him on the premise of principle. And by the way, I thank him for the compliment…edit here Tom.


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