It was late in 1991 when I was deeply immersed in composing original music for my then progressive-rock orchestral band, Fable. I had been introduced to prog-rock music the year before, and my muse was ignited after listening to the epic 1985 concept album “Misplaced Childhood” by the European prog-rock band Marillion. However, it was the life-changing concert that Marillion put on at The Palace in Los Angeles on March 2, 1990, featuring brand-new music from their just-released 1990 album, “Seasons End”, and a new lead singer named Steve Hogarth that set the bar for my future musical endeavors.

After experiencing the new music and the performance by Marillion, I set out to create my own epic tune. One of the first experimental songs that emerged from that experience was a little ditty in 7/8. Despite having no formal musical training or experience with meter and time signatures, I believed that I knew what sounded right and had come up with a little lick that was interesting enough to pursue.

So, I got to work, switching on my then-cutting-edge Roland D-20 workstation and began the process of trying to produce this newly discovered tune myself. My first hurdle was trying to figure out why my default 4/4 setting wasn’t working for my newly-written song’s sequence. Everything was off, and it wasn’t until hours later that I discovered that having my drum meter set to 7/8 (which seemed kind of odd) enabled me to sequence the parts to my new song correctly.

Now that I had a cool lick, I could add some badly sequenced drums, some horrible guitar samples, and, at the very least, a mediocre vocal track. However, these elements helped to create a very interesting musical piece. I also came up with a melody that sounded a little like something former Marillion frontman Fish might sing, British accent and all.

Once all the parts were put together and recorded, I played the rough demo for then-Fable guitarist Dave Perrigan. Dave and I had collaborated on Fable’s songs since the band started, and this would be the first tune I wrote without Dave’s contributions. However, the song did not receive a warm reception and was labeled “too keyboardie” by Dave. Although Fable’s then-drummer Dave Scherer seemed to like the song, it ultimately got shelved.

A year later, after Fable’s break-up, Dave and I rejoined to start a Christian band where we met bassist Marc Miller and drummer Gary Zdenek. Together, we became the second incarnation of the band Fair Exchange, where the song would finally see the light of day. For a time, the song was simply known as the “7/8 tune”. After improvising the lyrics for “After The Rain” during a rehearsal, I saw a window for the song’s message. After Marc and Gary gave the song the progressive pop edge it needed, Dave couldn’t help but realize the potential the song offered.

A few original elements remained in the song outside of the main chord progression, as in the lyrics “You’ve got a one-way ticket to paradise, but you can never find the time. You’d better take the time to listen before you lose your mind”. All other lyrics were scrapped and rewritten by me, as well as a new melody for the song and a chorus.

When all was said and done, the band knew they had something special. After we recorded a real demo of the song in our own studio, we called on close friend and videographer Shawn Van Eeckhoutte to produce a music video for the song, now titled “After The Rain”. Gary Zdenek provided the video’s storyboard. But it was only after the band Fair Exchange recorded a demo of the song and produced a music video for it, we knew we had something special.

Despite the initial lukewarm reception from Fable guitarist Dave Perrigan, the song ultimately found a home with Fair Exchange and became a staple of our repertoire. The song’s unique time signature and progressive pop edge made it stand out from the crowd and showcased the band’s musical abilities.

Looking back on the experience of creating the song, I can reflect now on how important it was to trust my instincts and push myself creatively, even without formal musical training or experience with meter and time signatures. I can acknowledges the impact of Marillion’s concert on my musical journey and the inspiration it provided.

Overall, “After the Rain” is a testament to the power of perseverance and creativity in the face of initial rejection or criticism. It shows that with hard work and a willingness to take risks, great things can be achieved in the world of music and beyond.

  1. After The Rain (Original Concept, The 7/8 Song) Ed Melendez 3:37

Flashback Fridays

Stepping Back In Time Revisiting Lost And Forgotten Projects

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