Sometimes I get ideas when I’m getting ready for work, then I play with them on the bike ride there. I remember tying my shoes before I left one day in October and thinking of the phrase Sophia Catalina. I repeated it for all 10 minutes of my ride to work, until it had a rhythm. I remember working out the parts and the changes on an old, but mostly in tune upright piano in a practice room in Sir John A. Macdonald school which closed in June of 2019. With its graffiti about teenage romance, fast food wrappers, dangerous carpet and individual smell, working on a piano in that tiny room made me feel like Tom Waits living at the Tropicana Hotel. It also saved my family from hearing me play the same thing over, and over, and over again. Russ the drummer told me this song reminded him of Professor Longhair's Big Chief so of course I had to learn that. It's amazing New Orleans piano blues, but a little repetitive. I get yelled at to stop playing that one if I do it at home. Sadly, Sir John. A. and the piano room are gone. Well, actually, they're still right where I left them, but I'm gone from them. I imagine that piano is standing still, with that little plaque that says you need the principal's permission to move it, and a crooked letter in black marker on middle C.
As for the production, Michael Birthelmer's old friend Ed Roth plays the bassline in this song with his magical synthesizer. My Brother Martin is a great musician and saxophonist, which you can hear on this track. The instant I wrote the melody in the break, I knew it needed saxophone. Bless him for not making me write music because he can just play what I sing. I knew this song needed drums, and after jamming once with Good Old Russ Ohrt, I knew he could do the song justice with his deep musical knowledge and retro German drum kit.
Sophia’s real name is Catrick and wouldn’t you know he actually likes to hang out when I’m practicing and writing? He’s a great listener. Except when he stays out all night.