Christine Hagan

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Portrait of a Song #5 "The Other Side"

Portrait of a Song #5

Title: “The Other Side”                     Songwriter: John Cate

“The Other Side” is one of my favorite tracks from singer-songwriter John Cate's album “Livin’ in the Moment.” It opens with a revolver-like backwards guitar riff made with an early boomerang pedal and a custom-made Pete Cornish fuzz; such riffs are sprinkled throughout the song. I love the drive of the acoustic; John’s 1970’s Guild has a pumping vibe that served as the foundation for the entire track. 
The six-note lead riff at 43 seconds sounds like George Harrison, thanks to monster player Paul Candalore and an early boss yellow overdrive. At 1:31 there is a single triangle hit, the only one in the song; I do things like this once every five years or so when my inner voice compels me. A two-bar build with a crescendo sets up the chorus.  John, Paul, Clayton Young, and I recorded the chorus background vocals live around two different mics.
The middle break at 2:17 is one of my favorite parts, featuring psychedelic Leslie guitar and “bah bah bahs” reminiscent of the Beatles. Mark Zamcheck contributed the soulful Hammond organ part.
From the beginning, the song keeps building and speeding up, supported by a click track that was meticulously mapped out ahead of time. Although I enjoy doing that it scares a lot of people. Believe it or not, modern music doesn't need to be all at one tempo on a grid; though that has become the norm, it may rob the song of potential energy and drama
John and I started working on tracks together as early as 2000. He currently resides in Malibu and is making incredible music to this day. His web site is

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