Track By Tracks: Animals In Denial – Crash Course Volume II: Tickets To Dreamland (2024)

1. Inside Of Me:

I originally started writing about this girl and things didn’t work out before I finished it. To be fair there were two others about her that I did finish, but those are details for another time. Anywho, I listened to the music again and decided it was a declaration of dedication to “music” itself. A love letter to the Music as a very much alive entity and, in a way, getting down on one knee and proposing to the Music Force. So, when the chorus hits and the line “Why can’t you see, this thing that’s beating inside of me” I am offering my soul at the altar of the music force and asking music to use me as a conduit.

Music is truth, music is life, and that's one of the reasons the line in the last verse is “So pure, My cure, no chance that you’d lie”. I love music, and I couldn’t exist without it.

So, it started out as a demo thrown together before I met my wife, Jeanine, and I had never bothered to record it properly, so it just existed on the hard drive for a while. Flash forward a few years later, Jeanine and I sat down and talked and came up with the idea to take AIDS seriously.

Sonically I was listening to a lot of NIN, Depeche Mode, and Smashing Pumpkins so I leaned heavily on those influences for this one. I got inspired by the music by thinking, “What would happen if those 3 bands made a track?” and I got this food of sound in my head. A lot of times I can just wonder what it would be like if this artist or that artist did this and/or that and usually that triggers something in my brain to tune in and follow wherever the muse takes me.

I used a Dell XPS 400 and it had a whopping 8 gigs of RAM. This was before I had fully migrated back to Mac. I still was using my G4 Mac stuff at that point, so the Dell provided me with a way to run more current plugins. It was a good solution at the time, but I upgraded my Macs the first chance I could get and left Windows XP behind. To be fair Windows 7 and 8 were both out, I was just too broke at the time to afford to upgrade. It got the job done, so it could’ve been worse.


This song was initially sparked by the negativity of the industrial community I was in the process of separating myself from but morphed into a rejection of the negativity of internet culture. Everywhere I looked someone was arguing about something, but the intergenerational stuff really got on my nerves. At first, like any self-respecting Millennial, I got defensive but I started to think about my heroes and how they are all mostly Gen X’ers and some Boomers. This brought me to the realization that we just don’t understand each other because we aren’t listening, and that critique went in all directions.

So, I took my ego out of it stopped getting defensive, and started listening. I realized that nobody was happy because we weren’t talking about stuff that actually brought us joy. We were all just talking about stuff that pissed us off. I started to ask myself “Who are my enemies?” and realized that I don’t have any hate in my heart for anyone. I have no enemies. This doesn’t mean I’ve lived a happy life, in fact far from it, but hate never settled in.

I went from the projects to a small town while in Junior High, where I literally ran for my life from an attempted lynching while in High School, because I had the audacity to date a girl I liked, who happened to be white. Now, if that didn’t turn me into a bitter person, I certainly wasn’t going to allow internet culture at large to allow me to be miserable. PTSD did enough damage and took enough time and therapy to fix. I believe in moving forward always.

I mostly used my Billy Corgan Signature Fender Strat for the main lead lines and solo, and an Ibanez AX120 for the layered rhythm track. My RP50 was used for the amp and effects on all. I then used my wife’s bass (I think it was a Rogue of sorts) and Ableton running from another machine to trigger the beat, so that all of the main guitar tracks were recorded in real time. I used an SM58 on vocals. It came together quickly and, in some cases, the tracks that got used were the first and only takes. I spent maybe 3 hours total making the song and that was for everything, lyrics included.


This is one where I used my Billy Corgan Strat and My 1985 Gibson Les Paul Studio. This song was heavily inspired by Cheap Trick and Smashing Pumpkins. This one was definitely drawing more from the power pop rock vibes that they had going on in Live at Budokan and Zietgiest I was jamming too heavily for a few days and then the song just popped into my head like this this this! I wanted it to have that sense of urgency that “I want you to want me” had and have the similarity of songs like “Come on Let's go” and “Bring the light” complete with massive solos’ that are weaving in and out of existence!

The RP50 processor is responsible for the guitar sounds, and I used the same Rogue bass. I'm really glad that the revisited version turned out well. This was one where I really needed the AI and it did a big portion of the work with this one. I didn’t actually change anything once it had done its thing.

Synths were pretty simple for this one. I only used my Moog Little Phatty and just played through the track from start to finish, so a first and only take and I had everything I needed. I love the key beds on Moog’s synths a lot. They have a good weight to them, and you can really jam hard on them. Fun fact, I’ve never owned a Mini-Moog but hope to get my hands on a Voyager someday. Currently, I use the Subsequent 37, but it can do all of the things my Little Phatty could do and then some. I do miss the Little Phatty though, as it was one of the rarer blue ones.

The vocal approach was inspired heavily by Cheap Trick in the verses and No Doubt in the chorus. I wanted that super huge explosive vibe in the chorus like “Spiderwebs” had, and so I did my best to channel that vibe into the vocal performance. Then the harmonies were there to just make it sound dreamier. I only used an SM58 and used it for all the tracks. I did use Izotope’s Nectar for all the vocal effects and processing.

Lyrically the song is basically a happy way of telling miserably mean and toxic people to fuck off. So, the brightness of the colors that these sounds produced lending to that happy, peppy vibe mixed with the dreamy element of it, makes it a fun way of telling awful people to get lost.

Most of my musical influences and heroes are Gen X and a bit of irony was in order. Kinda like “Today” by Smashing Pumpkins, where it’s actually a happy-sounding song about suicide.


This is another love letter to my wife. A bit of a retrospective one about what I was feeling before I asked her to marry me and really, us getting together in the first place. We met on the Internet, and she was actually living with her ex’s parents in a different state. In the beginning, it was slow going, I’d get a message from her and then a few days would go by, and I’d get another message. Every time I thought she was ghosting and was just about to give up, I’d get a new message from her and eventually after several weeks like that, I asked if we could start talking on IM. We started chatting on Yahoo Instant Messenger around that time. When that got to be janky, we moved to text and then the phone. We would stay on the phone until the sun came up most nights. I’m talking like 3-4 hours on, talking and really talking!

We were married when I wrote the song, but it was fun taking a trip down memory lane and looking at all of the pieces and parts of how we got to where we were. So much of our story didn’t make sense on paper, but I knew how I felt talking to her and around her and thankfully for me, she felt the same way. She loves to drive and so do I so the line about “don’t hide from me just ride with me,’ is a nod to her popping up and disappearing for a minute and our constant negotiations about who’s going to drive. She doesn’t disappear on me anymore, but we still have to negotiate who’s going to drive. lol

The music is simple, a guitar, Stratocaster to be specific tuned to D Standard using my trusty RP50 for the amp and FX box, so there’s a touch of tape delay and that’s it. My vocal was recorded with an SM58 and that is all that was used. Oh, yeah, I did put a bass track in, but to me, it was the perfect fit for what the song was about. I even managed to drop a quantum mechanics reference in there as a romantic analogy. If you really think about it “Entangled pairs” is what I like to think it means to be soulmates. No matter how far you separate them across space and time they’re always connected. That’s how me and Jeanine are.

5. GO GO:

This is one of those songs that came together really quickly and was heavily influenced by Jazzy smooth rocking vibe. I was listening to a lot of Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and James Brown. Which is a big part of where the vocal approach came from. I’d maybe throw a little “Songs about Jane” by Maroon 5 in there. I love that album and think it’s one of the best ever made. Perfect from start to finish but I wanted the vibes of “Superstition” without sounding like I just ripped it off.

So, I started with the drum tracks and once I had those put down, I went into bass and guitars. The drums were a combination of a cheap E-Kit I had and some one shots from some sample libraries in Acid. Basically, additional percussive elements.

Then, on Guitar I used one of my Squier Affinity Strats, and my trusty RP50 processor. Bass was just recorded direct, and I added effects to the track later. The synths were done using an old version of Kontakt and a batch of Akai samples I had. I used my Yamaha CS1X as a midi controller and that was basically it. Everything was first and only takes for all of the instrumentation on all of these songs, the vocal recording took quite a bit longer.


This started out as a little part I couldn’t stop noodling with on guitar one day. I initially thought the track would need drums, but once the bass was recorded it was like “nope, no need.” Lyrically it’s inspired by my wife and my love for driving. I should say our love for driving but it’s really that I wanted her to know just how much she affected me. From the start of our relationship, she’s always managed to give me this turbo-charged feeling of joy and ecstasy. Still, after over a decade, I get those feelings from her every day. It actually doesn’t feel like we’ve been together that long. It’s insanely great!

The guitar that was used was my Tele Killer, some Telecaster clone that had 3 lipstick pickups and was a beautiful guitar. It was also tuned to D standard, and this is another one that was done when I was listening to a lot of Jazzy/Funky stuff. I’d even lump some Jamiroqui in there. To me, it’s got the groove that just carries the song as the guitars end up becoming a slaves to that groove, so, really, the bass and the vocals end up being the main parts of the songs. I also got into creating the feeling of movement without a drum track. That was especially interesting!

Vocals were pretty simple to record and as a result, this was one of the faster ones to come together. I did experiment with adding drums but quickly realized there wasn’t a drum or synth part for this song. The feelings that inspired it were super raw and clear and that’s how the song sounds.

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