Over the last few months, I’ve had the pleasure of writing the cover story for next month’s Troubadour on Jeff Berkley. I’ve admired Jeff since I first moved to San Diego and started getting into the music scene here. Since that time, he’s become a dear friend and music colleague, producing 3 out of 3 of The Lovebirds albums. When this article was assigned to me, I was excited for the opportunity to learn more about Jeff, and boy did I ever! I learned so much, in fact, that I was having trouble staying at my assigned word count. I decided the blog would be a great way to preview the article and give you guys a tiny glimpse of the “cutting room floor.” Here’s to Jeff Berkley and all he does for San Diego!
A Few of Jeff’s Favorite Things:
*Jeff’s girlfriend Lizzie Wann is an acclaimed local poet. I asked Jeff to share a favorite poem or line:
“That’s a tough one! There’s so many great ones. I love the poems Aerodynamics, Declaration, Ode To My Hair, The Kind of Smoker I Would Be…
“Here’s a great line from Declaration
‘Today is three fingers of whiskey
today is Janis Joplin
this is a prayer
this is not what you’re used to’
“From The Kind of Smoker I Would Be:
‘I believe in something that I don’t know if can be called God or self or sun and moon only that there it all is and here I am in it'”
*Other interests besides music?
“I LOVE BASEBALL!!!!!! History, art history, treehouses & meteorology.”
*What stands out as one of your proudest solo-written songs & why? “Well, I’m proud of a song I wrote called The Magic Is. I feel like I got the point across in a cool way. It’s a song about religion. It helped me figure out some stuff at the time. I’m proud of a bunch of my tunes! High School Town is a tune that’s taken me all over the world. Dakota Sunrise and I Ain’t Nothin say so much about my daughter and being a dad. Conversations With The Moon really gets at separation from one’s child. In this case, my daughter. Hence the moon metaphor. More literally, we used to both look at the moon while talking on the phone during road trips. Six More Hours is about coming home to your lover. I love the poetry in that one. Enough’s Enough was a gift! It was a life lesson. Texas Line has some of my favorite poetry in it. Fleur De Lis makes me feel so good to sing. The sentiment always gets to me and again, the poetry is agreeable to me still. Cora Lee is like nothing I’ve ever written, and I’m not sure where it comes from.”
*What stands out as one of your proudest collaborations & why?
“Well, Calman Hart & I win that prize ‘cause of 14 years of Berkley Hart. He’s among my closest friends and allies in this world. Sink Or Swim is a groovy one we wrote together.”
*I am a freak for lyrics. Hit me with one of your absolute favorite Jeff Berkley lyrics.
“I ain’t no religious man, but I do believe in something. It’s something I don’t understand but that’s better than nothin'”
“Neon makes your feelings show”
“Lillian makes you fall, till you’re flyin’”
“She put the loss in Las Vegas”
“Lay me down by the river banks
leave your gown at the garden gate
the grass is high don’t hesitate
there’s no one else around
lay me down”
“Through the cold narcotic steam I realize what’s gone wrong”
“I’m holding the sunrise down cause you’re makin’ the night shine”
*What’s one of the weirdest/craziest things that has ever happened in your studio?
“So many extraordinary things happen in there! Just some of the magical performances never cease to blow my mind! Gregory Page recording Right Or Wrong vocals and all in one take, or Jeffrey Joe recording A Sunny Riverside the same way. Those moments are daily. Harnessing magic is my business!
“One story does stand out. When recording The Lovebirds, they brought in an old recording of Lindsay’s grandparents singing a hymn together. The LB’s, Lindsay White and Veronica May, wrote more verses to the hymn, and we recorded them doing those. The idea was to somehow fuse the two in editing. The way the two recordings fused together like they were two pieces of a torn in half $100 bill brought back together to redeem its worth was really cool, but when I dragged in the new recording, it fell perfectly in place. We all went WHOA!!!! That was cool!”
*Who are some of your all-time favorite songwriters or some of your all-time favorite songs and why?
Jeff listed a bunch of different artists and a few songs – so I made a playlist for to encompass his favs (some of the tracks themselves were my picks based on his favorite listed artists!). Enjoy!