Cliff Hillis

'Love Not War Stories' SONG ONE

SONG ONE- "Love Not War"

This song was born from a song-of-the-week group, and I started with an acoustic demo that sounded rather different than the final version. It was a little too straight. My long time partner in crime Greg Maragos (aka "the Secret Weapon") and Mr. Patrick Berkery (aka "Cadillac Pat") came over one night & helped get the feel & arrangement together, then laid down a kickass rhytm track. I tried to keep things as live as possible with many of the songs and what you hear is essentially one live take once we got the groove, with a few notes or beats tweaked here & there.

I then put a good acoustic guitar & decent vocal on the song & my friend Shelley Weiss came over just before she left for Seattle. I was hoping for some kind of melody to occur in the intro & turnaround, as she was plucking her violin to hear the notes & come up with an idea I said "That's It!!!". Pizzicato violin run through a Leslie simulation & spring reverb became the signature riff. Shelley also played some fine violin & viola throughout to help make the song lush.

I enlisted the uber talented Jason Loughlin to add some tasty electric guitar to the song from afar, and I grabbed him just before he had to leave town for a while. He cut some electric guitar from his studio in NY and sent me the tracks which I automatically loved. Sweet 70's inspired riffs take the song out to the end of the fade.

I headed to Greg Maragos' one afternoon to drink some beers and see what he might come up with keyboard-wise. We actually drank many beers and cut keys for a number of songs in one sitting, for this one Greg gave it the ol' piano & wurlizter combo to keep the 70's feel solid.

The bridge still needed something, so one evening I pulled David Kershner from his busy schedule & he laid down the trumpets in the bridge, sealing the deal in the best kinda way. David also doubled the violin on the turnaround with a muted trumpet. Yeah!

When you get to the end of the song I must point out the bongos. Pat B laid down one hell of a bongo track that I loved so much I made sure it stayed way up in the mix. Once everything was on I cut a bunch of final vocals & guitar then mixed the song & sent to Steve Turnidge for mastering.

And that is the (partial) story behind the song "Love Not War". Buy the EP at