Star of the Beach — Part 2
Miami Dan and The Hayes Street Band
Q: Discuss the story behind the title track “Star Of The Beach.”
Miami Dan: “Star of the Beach” was written over a period of several weeks. I wrote the first verse and the chorus in a matter of minutes, but then got stuck and started to ask for ideas from other lyricists. A friend in California (Jemi Blue) was the first to get back to me and I used her ideas for the second verse. I can’t say that it was consciously written about a particular person, but given my love for the music of the Beach Boys, I was almost certainly thinking of Dennis Wilson at some level in writing the tune.
Q: You brought Brian Wilson band member Probyn Gregory in to produce and record with you, what was it like to work with him?
MD: Probyn Gregory is that rare breed of cat who not only plays a multitude of instruments, but plays them with great skill.
Probyn produced, arranged, played guitar, percussion & keyboards and sings backing vocals on the first two tracks; “Star of The Beach” and “No Fear.” He also overdubbed horns on four other tracks on the album. In order to gain a full appreciation for what he did in putting together the “Star of the Beach” and “No Fear” tracks, one would have to hear the original demos that I sent to him. The guy’s talent is unbelievable. The fact that he’s also one of the nicest people you could ever hope to work with was icing on the cake. He immediately put all the other musicians at ease and was very open to listening to other peoples’ ideas during the sessions. It was very interesting watching him interact with Paul Hornsby and David Marks.
Q: How did you come to decide on using Probyn?
MD: I had met Probyn briefly before the Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE show in St. Louis a few years ago so I knew he was approachable, even if he was unlikely to remember having met me. Another member of Brian’s band had recently posted on Facebook that he was looking for studio work and it gave me the idea that Probyn might also be open to accepting a studio gig, and I thought the fact that Paul Hornsby would be involved might give my project a little added credibility. Additionally, I remembered that Probyn had said something in the Endless Sky video in which Darian Sahanajah and Nick Walusko were also interviewed about enjoying helping other people bring their songs to life. I had been working on a demo for “No Fear” and knew that I wanted a Beach Boys type flavor to the recording, so I sent Probyn an e-mail asking if he would be interested in producing a song for me at Muscadine*. He wrote back asking me to send a demo and said if he liked the song he’d be interested in doing it. I always do the initial demos playing and singing all the parts myself. Since I’m not a professional musician my demos can be a little scary, but Probyn was able to hear the song’s potential through my playing and agreed to come to Macon for the session.
*Muscadine Recording Studio in Macon, GA is owned by Hornsby.
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