Q:What inspired you to write “Counting Down to Zero (From 1) and when was it written?
A:I wrote it back in 2006, and it’s the first and only song I ever wrote for Pop Gun. When we started the band back in 1992, we did play “Packie Run” (written by Greg) for a while because two of us were from Huck 2 which had just ended, and we needed to build up our set quickly. I wanted to introduce a mid-tempo rocker with the laid back verses and big choruses, like The Pixies and Nirvana did so well. We only got to play it live once or twice live before the band imploded for four years.
Q: What is the song is about?
A: A really bad night. The band I was in at the time, in the early ‘80s, was at a party and some old friends crashed it. If I remember correctly, the sister of one of our band members wanted them gone because one of the guys was her ex-boyfriend and things didn’t end well. We told them to leave and they wouldn’t, so a fight ensued.
Q: Do you mean lots of yelling?
A:At first! Then it went outside and there was some pushing and shoving, and I think maybe a punch or two. When the dust settled, some friendships ended and so did the band. I felt like a chapter of my life ended and changes were ahead. It’s all summed up in the lyric, “Change comes easy when it all falls apart.”
Q: When did you decide to go into the studio?
A:In 2016, I was set to record a second Precious Few CD with my old friend Mark Rockower, who coincidentally was around that fateful night that inspired “Zero,” although he doesn’t remember it the way I do! But circumstances forced us to put it on hold.
Q: Pop Gun also ended for a while in 2016, correct?
A:Yes we did, for almost exactly a year. So suddenly I went from juggling two music projects to nothing. I realized the only way I was going to get anything done at that time was to do it myself. So I hunkered down, began writing, and then booked time at David Minehan’s Woolly Mammoth Sound.
Q:In the studio, was it you and engineer bouncing ideas off of each other?
A:Definitely! David is a very hands-on producer, which is exactly what I need. If left to my devices I am very capable of ruining a song! I remember telling David I wanted to cut the guitars on a chorus and just let these “We Will Rock You” handclaps carry it. He said nah, you’re not going to do that. I laughed my ass off, but I listened to him.
Q:What instruments do you play on the song?
A:I play rhythm guitar and the drums on the choruses. My son Dylan play them during the verses because he had this cool idea to play it like Travis Barker did on Blink 182’s “I Miss You.” Dylan also plays guitar and the bass on the track, and Jim Melanson (Pop Gun, Little Billy Lost) brought some muscle to it with some big power chords and leads.
Q:Were the words set to music or did the words come first?
A:It was a while back, but I’m pretty confident the music came first because that’s usually the route I take. But I did go into it knowing I wanted to write a song about that night.
Q:Are you doing a Greg Walsh retrospective with key songs from bands you played with through the years?
A:I don’t think that was a goal but a lot of my older songs did end up on The Precious Few CD, and a few other nuggets were dug up for New Ghosts. The focus will be on new stuff, though.
Q:Any other songs in the pipeline?
A:Dylan and I just recorded a Jonee Earthquake song for an upcoming compilation of bands covering his music. He’s a New England icon, the punk rock pirate who captures every stage he plays. We played in the band Zippo Raid together for many years, so I wanted to be a part of the CD.
Q:Was that also recorded at Woolly Mammoth?
A:No, we recorded it on Dylan’s home studio because the DIY thing is very much what Jonee is all about. He has a song called “DIY or Die.”
Q:What is your ultimate goal?
A:To get the songs out there, and that’s slowly been happening. “Zero” has been picked up at different stations across the country, stations that are both terrestrial and internet based. The coolest thing is that it’s getting played across Europe, including Sweden, Italy and the U.K. That’s almost incomprehensible to me. There’s something about hearing your band introduced with an English accent that makes you feel at least somewhat legit!