'Sinful Nuns' is a song that came to life a few years ago during the Q*Ball 'This Is Serious Business' sessions at Bumblefoot's Princeton, NJ studio. We were trying to find a way to make the songs we were writing translate better to live performance when we started writing this album, the idea that less electronics and less loops would make the songs have more of a live feel when we performed them on-stage. On paper, it was a good concept - a prophecy we've yet to fulfill since a live Q*Ball show is as rare as a Loch Ness Monster sighting nowadays. Bumblefoot basically told me to leave my keyboards at home, and instead of starting with a loop or a series of keyboard lines I'd come up with, we'd start with nothing but guitar and vocals and build from there.
During the sessions, I felt that the true nature of what Q*Ball was about was getting lost - quirky synths, layered piano lines - this is what I did. Here, I was basically a guest vocalist on a Bumblefoot song (not that there's anything wrong that) and I was feeling a bit helpless. Before I could protest further, Bumblefoot got the call to start touring with Guns N Roses, and 'Sinful Nuns', along with 3-4 others we were working on, was left on the cutting room floor.
Now some songs are better off dead, while others lay dormant for awhile before being recreated and rejuvenated, Dr. Frankenstein style. 'Sinful Nuns' was one I always wanted to return to - the lyrics are extremely tongue-in-cheek, reminiscent of Mr. Bungle and Zappa, and the riffs and arrangement are all Bumblefoot - his frenetic guitar lines remind me of something off of his 'Abnormal' albums. I suggested the breakdown in the middle and all the choral arrangements to make the song sound a bit more 'religious' and heavenly in spite of it's hellish theme. We added all those choral parts in July, most of them featuring Bumblefoot's chameleon-like antics. I added some tambourine in the chorus and suggested Bumble rock a more disco-funk style bass line, a la Patrick Hernandez's 'Born To Be Alive'. In fact, the only keyboard part in the entire tune is the pipe-organ buzz at the very beginning. So I guess Bumblefoot got his wish of an electronic-less Q*Ball for at least one song. Now if we could only hear what it sounds like live.....
'Sinful Nuns' suggests what would happen if a bunch of nuns gave up religion and instead rebelled against it, from the God they pledged their allegiance to - how out of control they might get in a (way) over-the-top sort of way. I've been writing a series of more serious tunes lately, and I craved something more light-hearted and wacky this time around. It's been awhile since I've dabbled in wackiness. I'm also a big movie nerd and I was excited about the prospect of writing a song that could basically be a bad B movie. Then of course, 'Machete' came out featuring Lindsay Lohan as a gun-toting nun. *Sigh* I'm always late for the party.
Next month's tune with Return To Earth cohort Brett Aveni, will have a similar horror movie motif, that one a bit darker. October's just around the corner.
Until then, please enjoy 'Sinful Nuns'. Bad habits die hard.