TRAVIS EDWARD PIKE
OTHERWORLD COTTAGE INDUSTRIES
Travis Edward Pike has enjoyed a long career in the entertainment industry as a storyteller, animator, singer, songwriter, actor, music and film producer, and movie director. Chairman Emeritus of the New Playwrights Foundation, the boutique development, production and publishing company he founded in 2013, Otherworld Cottage Industries, won a 2018 LUXLife Global Entertainment Award, and in 2019, he was presented a Lifetime Achievement Award by South East Star. This album, co-produced by his brother, Adam Pike, is a collection of some of his favorites, some new, and a few never recorded or released previously.
01. "Andalusian Bride Suite" was originally composed as a tone poem. Travis later turned it into a song for his daughter, Lisa, then nine-years-old. Travis explains, A parent desires a loving, secure environment for a daughter's childhood, but knows the day will come when she will leave that protection, and embark on her adult journey in order to achieve fulfillment."
02. "Pukapuka Gagadoody" was inspired by memories of New England Winters and images of the blizzard of 2015. A Bostonian flees the winter weather by booking a flight to the South Seas. King Neptune considers the overflight an evasion of the initiation traditionally undergone by passengers and crew who cross the Equator for the first time aboard ships. The beach party follows published accounts of nautical crossing the line ceremonies, and the Polynesian Pupu platters noted in the song make entirely appropriate hors d'oeuvres.
03. "Flying Snakes." Adam recognized the song as one he'd heard recorded as Thoughts in 1975 by Travis' Changeling Troupe. This new, matured recording, now included in the 2019 album Changeling's Return, a novel musical concept, explores the divide between subjective belief and objective reality. As Travis put it, Snakes fly, trees sigh, and holy men lie. Without disputing the possibility of an afterlife, or the rules for gaining admittance to it, if one is just passing through,' what harm is there in trying to live your life in harmony with nature and your fellow man?"
04. "Only You and Me." The melody appealed to Adam, but Travis and Adam both agreed the song didn't work, until Travis wrote new lyrics dealing with a youthful indiscretion, a pledge of secrecy, and a deep commitment to honoring that pledge, made all the difference. The brothers recorded it and it found its way Outside the Box. According to Travis, Songs about getting carried away by opportunity and youthful desire are nothing new, but I'm not aware of another that treats it quite like this."
05. "Otherworld March." Travis composed his march in the mid-seventies, when he was still contemplating a return to live performances. He intended it for a grand entrance, a choreographed showpiece with red follow spots tracking dancers writhing and swirling across a fogbound stage. Pyrotechnics were planned to chase the dancers off stage, and Travis was to emerge from the smoke while the music echoed European emergency vehicle sirens. Adam studied the score and said they should definnitely record the march, until now, never before performed in its entirety.
06. Witch also goes back to the mid-seventies. Intended originally for Travis' rock musical, Changeling, it didn't make the cut when the project evolved into Morningstone. Travis had researched the delusion of witchcraft and was familiar with transcripts of witch trials during the 30 Years War, in which Biblical authority was frequently quoted to sanctify witch-burnings. Today, the horrors of that Central European war between Catholics and Protestants (1618-1638), is playing out in the religious schism between Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims. Modern terrorists cite verses from the Quran to support their atrocities, making Witch a tragically timely warning against the potential for horror in extremist theocracies.
07. "Psychedelic Meltdown was also written for Changeling, but Travis' new lyrics are all about the often deadly folly of recreational drug use. Travis was a rocker in the early seventies, when Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison all died from drug overdoses. In fact, drug abuse was so rampant in the music industry that Travis quit his music career. He equates those recreational drugs with flying ointment, a compound laced with poisonous alkaloids transmitted through the skin, purportedly used by medieval witches. Travis argued, I don't want to promote any recreational drugs. According to medieval sources this flying ointment gave witches the sensation that they were flying. Happily, flying ointment is no longer in fashion, and certainly not recommended for rooftop experimentation.
08. Gotta Be a Better Way is Pike's hard rockin' new song warning against precipitous action based on a constant barrage of claims and counter-claims cited by political candidates and news sources, apparently intended to confuse, rather than inform the public. Allegations of the abuse of power and illegal activities require investigation, and if proven, require adjudication and remediation. For this, democracy requires an enlightened, accurately informed and involved electorate.
09. Friend in Fresno is a hard-driving song starting in Burbank, California, going north on Interstate 5, over to the 99, to have lunch with a friend in Fresno's Tower District, then returning through Bakersfield, a total of 450 miles in one day, and back in time for rush hour! In fact, a close Pike family friend moved to Fresno a few years ago, and this song is dedicated to her.
10. Lovely Girl I Married hearkens back to the day Travis met his future wife, Judy. This new song is a deep-rooted consideration of all she has come to mean to him, and the life they've shared for 50 years. It's a love song about growing old together, Travis says. Judy is my best friend, and she knows it. I bought our house through the G.I. Bill, but she made it home. It seems that no one writes new songs about mature, enduring love. At 71, I decided it was about time.
11. "Star Maker." Travis says, "Star Maker" is all about trying to find a way for an old retread like me to get traction in a music industry that appears fanatically youth-oriented, in which sales are mostly digital, and both are driven by the internet." He still remembers when radio play was the key to record sales and DJ's chose what to play. What is the contemporary paradigm?
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION: Adam and Travis had come to the back of the vault, where they found notation, scores, and lyric sheets to unfinished songs complete with chord changes. Song lyrics with chord changes were easy to reconstruct, but some had remained unfinished because the lyrics were no longer relevant, and the bothers had to determine if they were worthy of revival. More intriguing and challenging was the great amount of notation written for what is now titled the "Andalusian Bride Suite,"" but each instrument's part started on its first page, with no hint of where it might fit into the final score. When Travis learned notation, he hadn't come to the part dealing with lettered sections, so even though a trumpet part might be fine on its own, there was no way, from the sheet music alone, to determine just where it entered in the score. Comical really, especially since Travis doesn't sight-read nusic, and the only way they could be sure of where a part entered or finished, was for Adam to play it, Travis try to remember where he thought it weent, and then try one together with the other. As their decoding (or coding) process assembled more and more of the score, Adam and Travis both began to recognize where entries were most likely, and in the end, they reconstructed the entire "Andalusion Bride Suite" and the "Otherworld March."
Travis had created the Bach-like Passacaglia for "Witch" on a keyboard, and with a combination of mental and muscle memory, was able to recreate it. He also remembered how he'd been inspired by Beethoven's 7th Symphony Second Movement for the Romantic period accompaniment. That, combined with the song's stylized female vocals, and his delivery of actual sentences passed on "witches" by the inquisitors, make his "Witch" a phenomenonal work, even to this day.
He also taught himself to play by ear the keyboard part to "Psychedelic Meltdown."
"Gotta Be Another Way," "Friend in Fresno," (with new lyrics to a remembered original tune, and "Star Maker" were relatively easy to recover. The grandchildren even got into the act. They both came to Adam's Studio where the played parts for the "Andalusian Bride Suite,", Max on French Horn and Daniel on Trumpet. The recordings were produced by Travis and Adam Pike, and engineered and mixed by Adam Pike
) Travis Edward Pike, Otherworld Cottage Industries, All Rights Reserved
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