Overworld Dreams – Voyage
01. Childhood Friend 9:20
02. Child of Dreams 6:01
03. Seeking the Unknown 1:10
04. The Puzzle 7:41
05. Voyage To Castilia 7:16
06. Something is Out There 1:31
07. Life Dream 4:43
08. Eye For An Eye 4:30
09. Vanishing Masses 2:30
10. The Incredible Melting Man 3:27
Tracks 1, 4, 7, 8, 10: Music and lyrics by David C. Peters
Tracks 2, 3, 5, 6, 9: Music and lyrics by Kenneth Walker
Overworld Dreams are:
Matt Maugeri: Vocals, Guitars
Ken Walker: Keyboards, Vocals
Randy Sandmann: Guitars
Chris Parsons: Bass, Guitars, Keyboards, Drum Programming
Elizabeth Holder: Vocals, Keyboards
Paul Higginbotham: Guitars
Scott McGill: Guitars
Shawn Christie: Guitars
Steve MacDonald: Vocals
Stories about the music:
David C. Peters: I wrote “Childhood Friend” in 1988 as part of a collection of songs called “Intimate Companions,” which are all songs about relationships between people or representations of people. “Childhood Friend” is about a boy and his childhood fantasy. The harsh realities of life caused his dreams to fade but later, he discovers someone else who shares his fantasy and they find joy exploring it together. Musically, I was really turned on by the song “Hold Your Head Up” by Argent. I wanted to capture the power of the Hammond organ chords at the end and I used the same approach for “Childhood Friend.”
Chris Parsons: “Childhood Friend” was a late add to the song list for what is now the Voyage CD. We were recording guitars for “Eye for an Eye” with Paul Higginbotham, and he suggested the song. Ken immediately said yes, but I was unsure, not because of the song itself, as it has always been a favorite of mine, but more from a production standpoint. Dave’s original demo is acoustic guitar-based, and not piano-based. When Ken converted those acoustic guitar parts and started playing them on piano, I was sold. I have fond memories of the recording of “Childhood Friend.” I remember the discussions between Paul, Ken and myself about hearing Dave’s original version for the first time. I remember watching Matt and Randy pounding out guitar parts, seeing the intensity on both of their faces, as they knew it had to be just right. I remember Ken cutting those keyboard interludes, and Paul watching, looking at me wide eyed. Like the rest of the disc, it was a joy to work on.
Ken Walker: I heard the song and said to myself “Why not piano and other keyboards instead of guitar?” I heard a different version in my head and just wanted to run with it. So I did, and you can hear the result. This song was a joy to work on, a true labor of love.
Child of Dreams
Ken Walker: I was discussing having a child with my wife and often wondered about all the things that parents thought about. One evening I was playing around with a chord progression…started putting my worries as lyrics into the music. Next thing you know, I had a song. This song was recorded back in 1990 with my first prog band. The original drums were performed by my brother. Chris managed to save the original drum tracks and digitized them into the track we recorded.
Chris Parsons: Portions of “Child of Dreams” were recorded in Randy’s studio in 2007. Ken asked Randy and I to play on the track back then for what was to be his solo disc. We agreed, and began recording “Child of Dreams” and “Voyage to Castilia.” Scott McGill ended up soloing on this track after working on “Voyage to Castilia.” He finished tracking “Voyage” and asked if there was anything else he was needed on. Randy suggested the second solo in “Child of Dreams,” and Scott recorded it.
Seeking the Unknown
Ken Walker: I love experimenting with synthesizer sounds, pushing the boundaries, creating ambient music just to make music. I also have back issues which I take medication for from time to time. To add to that, I have a condition known as chromesthesia, a condition in which certain sounds evoke sensations of color. Simply put, sometimes my brain processes data through more than one sense at a time. Certain chord and sounds can trigger this condition. On rare nights, my back medications make me, for lack of a better word, somewhat high. During those times if I’m playing a synth, I just let the music take me to wherever it wants to take me. Add in some chromesthesia triggering, and some strange things come out of those speakers. This particular evening, I was playing with a Korg Karma and Roland V-Synth and letting my fingers play over the keyboards. I turned on record and, well, started recording. You never know what may be created.
David C. Peters: I wrote this song in high school. I was struggling heavily with manic-depression, and I had trouble relating to others in even the smallest way. I found interpersonal relationships confusing and complicated. It made me a really bad friend to anyone unlucky enough to know me. I projected my illness onto my friends, the result of which was paranoia. I spent more and more time alone. Eventually, I realized I wasn’t singing about them, but about myself. My desperate attempt to unravel all that chaos forced my songwriting to blossom. “The Puzzle” was, musically, the most sophisticated song I’d written up until that time and clearly displayed the evolution of my style.
Chris Parsons: “The Puzzle” was the first of the David Peters tracks we began to record. This song was suggested by me, and everyone immediately agreed. I remember conversations with Dave about this song. Dave wanted not only the lyrics to reflect the puzzle, but the music as well. You could take the sections of the song, and move them around, creating a different arrangement. We went with his original arrangement. Dave likes to do a lot of long “ahhhhhhs” in his songs, and they are always wonderful, as he has a beautiful voice. I decided to take those ahhhhhhs and stack them as harmonies instead. They have now become a central theme to the band. Whenever Dave sings ahhhhhs on his originals, we know we are going to stack harmonies instead. The song is a lot of layered keyboards by all three keyboardists, and the guitar parts came from all three guitarists.
Ken Walker: This one was hard to record from a physical standpoint, as my studio was not up and running yet. Chris and I literally went into my wife’s home office, pushed things out of the way, set up a computer and interface on her desk, and my keyboards off to the side. He just told me to come up with my sounds and ideas. I did for the most part follow Dave’s original idea, with my sounds and layers. I changed a few lead lines (the beginning lead I changed to something I wanted to do) but we stuck to the spirit of the original song. Chris and Randy did a great job with the processing and mixing of this track.
Voyage to Castilia
Ken Walker: The idea for this track came from my experience as a teacher of history. People have always wanted to explore, and the ultimate goal for the purest of any explorer is the discovery of knowledge, making one more aware of the world around him or her. While writing this song I though of Homer and his poems, of the Vikings setting off into the Atlantic, of the last of Magellan’s crew returning home, of Archimedes, the mathematicians of the Middle East, Copernicus, Kepler, DaVinci, Galileo, Newton, Einstein, and of all peoples who has sought knowledge, often at great peril to themselves. This song is for all explorers and learners in the world.
Chris Parsons: Like “Child of Dreams,” this track was originally intended for Ken’s solo disc back in 2007. While recording, we realized that there was a lot of space for solos in the middle, and someone suggested a guest soloist or two. As I was working with Scott McGill (and Shawn Christie) at the time, I suggested both of them. Ken agreed, and we asked Scott first. He agreed, and a few days later, he was in Randy’s studio tracking solos. During this time, Shawn was recording the second Zeroesque disc, and I offered to let him use my bass if he would take a solo on the track. He graciously agreed, and ripped us two solos. Fast forward to 2018, and Paul tore up two solos in the middle, as well as the intro solo. Randy and Ken have awesome solos in there as well. Originally, Ken sang the track, but Randy suggested his old pal Steve MacDonald come in and take a crack at the vocals. Ken agreed, and Steve came in cold and sang it beautifully. This track is a complete labor of love. Gorgeous!
Something Is Out There
Ken Walker: Created the same evening as Seeking the Unknown, with the exact same story.
David C. Peters: I wrote Life Dream in 1984 after having a profound dream. The dream was like a video game in that it had multiple levels. One scene from the dream represented one level in the game. Each level was a test of my virtues as a human being. I lead a group of refugees out of a war zone. I had to land an aircraft full of passengers during war as well. In the next verse, my mercy and compassion was tested. Then at last, I encountered my judge, a wolf that ran behind me in a forest. I was found to be worthy and my judge disappeared. I never had a dream like that one before or since. It revealed my life’s meaning. Two weeks after the dream, while I was driving, the entire lyric came into my mind out of nowhere. It had the quality of the memory of a dream in that it began to fade immediately but I pulled over, grabbed a pencil and a piece of paper and started scribbling it down.
Chris Parsons: This was a Dave Peters song that scared me. His original demo has such a wonderful vibe to it, that I was afraid we would never find that kind of vibe for ourselves. I knew that we needed to not simply mimic the original, but find some new qualities that would make the song an Overworld Dreams song. We were well into recording the music for the song, and I had the idea to do each of the dream segments of the lyrics with different singers. Different dreams for different people. When that person finished their dream segment, they would add their harmony at the end of the section, slowly stacking them as the song progressed. Once again, it’s a song that features all three guitarists and all three keyboardists. I wanted the song to have a machine feel, as it is a song partially about a machine, so the drums are straightforward, and the main keyboard run was sequenced by Liz. The pipe organ in the middle was identical to Dave’s original, which was influenced by Rick Wakeman’s parts in Awaken.
Ken Walker: I fondly remember singing the second verse, as I was sick as a dog and didn’t feel like singing. Chris said just sing it anyway and we can rerecord it later. Well, we never rerecorded my vocals! All the small synth parts and the organ were fun to recreate. Chris had good ideas for this song and we went with every one of them.
Eye For An Eye
David C. Peters: This song embodies a debate over what many would call “common wisdom”. Though it has its origin in the Christian Bible, it represents the kind of “tit for tat” notion of justice that’s familiar to everyone, taken to the extreme. But justice is never to be had because the cycle has no end. From a musical standpoint, I had been listening to the King Crimson album, “Three Of A Perfect Pair” and I was fascinated by Robert Fripp’s sequencer-like patterns on the guitar. So I gave it a try, and “Eye For An Eye” was born
Chris Parsons production notes:
This song was chosen for the disc early in the recording process, but ended up being one of the last to be completed. It was suggested by Randy, and he was very excited to tackle the guitars, but as he ran into his health and family issues, he realized that he would have difficulty giving the song the time it deserved. We then planned to scrap the recording, and revisit it for the second disc. Paul hated to see the song get left behind, and volunteered to play all of the parts for the song. I will always remember the intensity on Paul’s face as he cut those guitar parts. He and Dave have been friends since the 1970’s, and he wanted to make sure those parts were just right. They are. While recording Ken’s keys, he pondered about the sound of the patch underneath the vocals. I suggested John Paul Jones’ sound on “All My Love.” His eyes perked up, and he began creating the patch. He then played “All My Love” with the patch. It was brilliant! It’s the patch on the song.
Ken Walker: What Chris wrote is the story of the song’s recording. I was overthinking the basic patch under the vocals—Chris’s simple suggestion kicked me into patch creation mode. While creating the chords under the guitar solos, I was making them too complex. I backed off because I wanted those guitars to breathe and carry the message. Some of those chords are simple two-note chords with a DM12 and D-05 layered together, nothing more.
Chris Parsons production notes:
Dave’s original demo for “Melting Man” has a medium length instrumental intro, culminating with a long portamento run. I told Ken we needed an intro for “Melting Man,” and would he craft us one. He agreed, and one night he called me with some questions about the intro. I told him it needed to be one part Eddie Jobson, particularly the end of “By the Light of Day,” one part Richard Wright, and culminating with a Dennis DeYoung portamento run. He ran with it, and “Vanishing Masses” is the culmination of his efforts.
Ken Walker: I remember Chris telling me that we needed an intro for Melting Man. I just happen to have a new Deepmind 12 in the studio, so I decided to see what it could do. I was also feeling a lot of back pain, so I took some legally prescribed drugs to help with the pain. Yes, I was feeling it, so to speak. I took that keyboard to places it had never been. One night and five separate tracks later, with a dash of Jobson, Wright, and DeYoung (per Chris’s specifications), I had a song. I even found out what it sounded like after the drugs wore off the following morning.
The Incredible Melting Man
David C. Peters: This is another song I wrote in High School while I was still teaching myself how to write music. I wrote it during one of my episodes of bipolar depression. I felt my life slipping away from me. It’s a cautionary tale written when I still had no idea just how long life is. There’s plenty of time to mess up and start over numerous times. Oddly, this song is among my favorites. There’s a little Styx in it as well as a little Heart.
Chris Parsons production notes:
Melting Man was a last minute addition to the disc. We were working on Moment in the Sun, and we just couldn’t get the song right. We decided to shelve Moment and revisit it for the second disc, which meant that we needed one more song to complete the CD. I suggested Melting Man to Paul first, and then Randy and Ken. While we all agreed to do the track, there was an air of skepticism about its selection; not about its quality, but about just how “prog” of a tune it was.
Paul emailed me later, telling me he wanted a crack at the guitar solo, and Randy called me around the same time, telling me that he wanted a crack at the solo. Well, as an opportunist, I recorded them both! Randy recorded a wonderful solo, staying very close to the hip of Dave’s original solo, while Paul went in a completely different direction, though he did incorporate elements of Dave’s original solo in his as well. We went with Paul’s solo, and a version with Randy’s solo will eventually be released as a bonus track. Can’t waste good soloing!
I believe it’s Randy’s rhythm parts in the left channel, and Paul’s in the right.
Ken Walker: This is the first Dave Peters song I remember hearing way back in the day. I always liked this song, so I was happy to record it. I wanted to record a different synth lead though, so we tracked out four totally improvised leads during the recording process. Chris took pieces of each lead and made it into one lead. I wanted to make sure I got a bit of shredding in near the end, different from the original lead that was on the song. Add in some basic chord work and playing with filters at the end, and we had a finished song.