How many of you remember the year 2000? It was a simpler time. (Looking at you, Kent Montgomery.) You didn’t have to take your shoes off to get past airport security. As I recall, you didn’t have to pack your liquids in a clear plastic bag either. Twitter wasn’t a thing. Facebook wasn’t a thing. Fountains Of Wayne were still a thing… they had been a band for five years and had already put out two albums, but were somehow still three years away from getting nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy. (?)
I went to Paris in December 2000. I had been before, and wanted to go back to spend time with the friends I had made on my initial trip… and also to do touristy things and drink wine and eat baguettes… as one does. Paris in December is rainy and chilly (for them) and perhaps a bit dreary at times, but it’s still, you know, PARIS.
One evening, my friends invited me along to drink at TGI Fridays. That’s not what I understood at first… upon receiving the invitation, I was perplexed as to why any French person would set foot in an American fast casual joint, let alone wish to eat food that was frozen and shipped and microwaved. “On ne mange pas là-bas”, I was told - “we don’t eat there”. No, apparently, this place had a happy hour with cheap drinks, and since it’s quite expensive to drink in Paris, some of the young locals liked to stop by for what we might call “pre-gaming” these days. With that explanation in hand, I was more than willing to go along.
We get to TGI Fridays. We head to the bar. At the bar, there is a friend of my friends. We greet each other, cheeks are kissed. This particular friend (who is still a friend and whose name is still Greg) has two English speakers with him… an Aussie and a Brit. Their names are Cerys and Ruth, and they are cousins. Ruth has red hair. Now, I hadn’t spoken English in a few days, and while I could manage just fine in French, it was nice to get a little mental break and spend some time with fellow anglophones. By the time I left the bar, I had new friends.
I just looked at the neighborhood where this took place thanks to the bird’s eye view of Google Maps. That TGI Fridays isn’t there anymore… it would appear that good happy hour prices do not make up for American fast casual cuisine… or, I’m probably wrong, because in the same location there appears to now be a Chipotle and a Starbucks. Grumble. Things change. What has not changed is that Ruth and I are still friends and she still has red hair. What is more, it turns out that she is an extremely talented musician.
I was thinking that it would be nice to have Ruth sing on my upcoming solo record, so I started sending her my home demos. Eventually, I sent her a home demo that I had completed without lyrics or melody… couldn’t manage to put anything I liked to it… imagine… a completed song structure-wise… chord progression, bass line, verse, chorus, bridge, all of the parts… but no lyrics and no melody. Shortly, she sends the demo back with great lyrics and a great melody and all right - now we HAVE to write together. So now we write together, despite living on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean. As of now we have 14 songs in varying stages of life from “demo complete and ready to track” to “idea so nascent that it can’t even be considered half-baked”. What matters here is that it feels good. It’s nice to write with another person, as that can take a song to a place that otherwise it would not have been. It’s even nicer to write with someone who has been your friend for nearly 20 years. We are making art that I believe in. I can’t wait for you to hear it.
Our band is called We Met In Paris. It works because it’s true.