Mike Acerbo gives Infectious Magazine the details on his upcoming album “The Search”, due out February 14th.
Trilby– I worked at a restaurant called “The Iron horse” in Westwood NJ (best cheesburgers EVER) and met this waitress there named Trilby. She had to repeat her name for me several times when I met her cause I had never heard that name before. I immediately knew I would use that in a song but it didn’t materialize it until I picked up the acoustic guitar a few years later. I liked the song immediately and it does tell the true sad part of the story of her life.
Blueberry Moon– As a songwriter, I am always trying to come up with a new way to say things. I was envisioning a full moon in my head and it occurred to me that it looked like a blueberry- so I built the song around the fantasy image of a blueberry moon and it came out to be quite a fun whimsical number. It felt as if I could be a child imagining that, so I went with it lyrically and it’s one of my favorite tracks on the record. Michael Leonhart who works with Steely Dan was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule and help by adding the horns.
Fairy Tale Love– This was the surprise track of the record. I recorded it last because I wanted another song on the album that was a little more driving. I had a particular sound in mind -a really big haunting alternative magical sound -so I had several musicians layer the verse riff on different instruments and told my drummer Rich Kulsar to set up without any of the extras (cymbals etc.). I told him I wanted the drums to sound like horse hooves grooving against the ground so he came up with that awesome tribal sounding drum beat. By the time the song ends your awash in a mass of vocals, Keys, strings, and guitars. They bring home the point- love is a fairy tale -it’s never real.
Mother– When I was 14 my mother passed away from breast cancer. It was devastating to my entire family and altered who I was forever. The song is about that and the urge we all feel to move away from home when we feel we are not accepted or different. Always though, in spite of that there is a desire to return and need to be accepted. In my case though, there was no one to return home to. The song has many different parts; just like our relationships with the ones we love which are always in flux. Ultimately, when you lose a parent that young, there are emotional needs that can never be met, which is why the song ends the way it does with me asking, “Where is your embrace?”
The Search– My best friend found a piano at a church auction and won it for 100 bucks. It was lime green and in poor condition when she got it. She spent the entire summer stripping, re-staining and repairing it before she gave it to me as a college graduation gift. This was one of the first songs I wrote using the piano. As I began to conceive the songs that make up the bulk of this record and the idea for “The Search” was born. I was in a very dark place when I wrote it and I think a lot of people can relate to that at certain points, but you just keep searching until life takes you in a new direction.
Where the River Meets the Sea– My first guitar song which ironically was written on the piano and then transferred to guitar because I didn’t know how to play the guitar yet. I was just imagining a better place when I wrote it. I’m following the river and it’s gonna take me there… I always imagined a more country feel to the track and was super stoked when Hilary Hawke (banjo) and Tom Swafford (fiddle) layed down their tracks. The drum beat is almost B52 sounding and provides and interesting juxtaposition to the rest of the instruments.
No Moon– the first song I wrote both music and lyrics to. I wrote the left and right hand piano parts to it separately because at that point I couldn’t play them together. The lyrics came directly from a poem I wrote, and musically, it was inspired by my favorite band Fleetwood Mac. It’s very Fleetwood Mac “Tusk” era a la Stevie Nicks.
Beast– One of my favorites- I love the way this song just takes off and flies until landing at the very end. I wrote the song as a response to the Stevie Nicks song “Beauty and the Beast” which to me sounds like it’s written from the perspective of the beauty. I thought it would be interesting to write it from the Beast’s perspective. I think every guy can relate to that at some point- feeling ugly, knowing that you are special and hoping that your beauty finds you.
Robbie– Several years ago I bumped into Robbie’s mom. Robbie was my best friend in grade school who drowned in the Delaware river at the age of 14. She asked me if she was ever going to hear the song that I had written about him. At that time I was torn between going back to school for another degree or pursuing my musical dreams. After our meeting I took it as a sign that I at least needed to record “Robbie.” It came out quite beautifully, and while I was doing it a light bulb went off in my head that said “duh this is what you are supposed to be doing right now.” I enjoyed the process so much that I couldn’t not make a record. This song is very spiritual for me on many levels and I do feel that Rob brought me and his Mom together that day and guided me back to my love of making music.
Like The Tide– This song is about losing yourself in another person-ha ha- something I unfortunately have too much experience with. I love that the final mix sounds watery, murky and haunting like the sea. We saved the original live recording of drums, bass, piano and cello that I did over 10 years ago at a studio in Brooklyn and added tracks from there. My favorite parts of working on this song were adding percussion and the wall of trippy background vocals at the end.
The Night Light– A very old song. I think I wrote this when I was 19 or 20. I was in the closet, feeling isolated, alone and without God. It seemed as though I would never be found in that darkness, but the song is about the hope that there is someone out there looking for you, who understands and is just like you. If you have faith and wait for things to get better, the light finds you. The song is also the inspiration for the artwork on the inside of the CD. I wanted to end the album on that note.
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