Ranging from the sweet and lush (the ethereal “Loki Cat”) to the moody and mean (“Cranes of Prey”), Life Begins Again is the brainchild of both Chamberlin and friend, colleague and multi-instrumentalist Billy Mohler, an L.A.-based songwriter who has worked with everyone from Macy Gray to Fred Durst. The two first met when Mohler, who sings lead on “Newerwaves,” auditioned for Zwan. While he wasn’t hired for the gig, Mohler and Chamberlin became quick friends. It was him who Chamberlin called first after securing a record deal.
The two built the disc’s rhythm tracks first. “Once the bass and drums were done, you could kind of hear the songs finished,” Chamberlin notes. “It was just a matter of waiting for God to drop the guitar player or piano player in your lap.” That heaven-sent duo wound up being Sean Woolstenhulme and Adam Benjamin, respectively. The latter came in at the 11 th hour, lathering the trademark Rhodes organ sound over several Chamberlin and Mohler creations. Woolstenhulme’s participation, meanwhile, was sort of a last-minute addition, as well: “Originally, I didn’t want any guitar on the record,” Chamberlin says. “I just sort of wanted all this distorted Fender Rhodes all over it. And when Sean came in, he immediately started playing me stuff that sounded exactly like distorted Fender Rhodes. I thought, ‘This is exactly what I want—it sounds nothing like guitar.’”
All of the lyrics on Life Begins Again were written by Chamberlin (with the exception of “Lullabye” written by Mohler and Becca Popkin), who makes his debut as a lyricist. While Mohler sings "Newerwaves," ex-Catherine Wheel front man Rob Dickinson is the voice behind the title track and "Love Is Real," while Rock n’ Roll Hall of Famer Bill Medley (one-half of the Righteous Brothers) takes the mic on "Lullabye.” Corgan teams up with Chamberlin for "Loki Cat.” Chamberlin says, "I played the CD for Billy and when he heard that song, he immediately asked if I had lyrics. I told him, ‘No, the song is an instrumental.’ He said," I would love to sing on that song! Write me some lyrics and a melody.” So after a couple of attempts at lyrics, I hit on something we both liked." The chemistry and love between these two friends makes for one of the strongest tracks on the record.
The album’s lyrical concept, Chamberlin says, is freedom of the spirit: “I think that love and spirituality - and this cosmic vibration that runs through everybody - is a real thing. For me, music is a testament that if you acknowledge the vibrations going on around you, it’s possible to reproduce that in to an art form. To me, this CD is an acknowledgement of the natural vibrations running through me. It was just a period of my life where I was able to channel those into music because I was given the freedom to do so.
The tracklisting is:
- Life Begins Again
- Cranes Of Prey
- Love Is Real
- Owed To Darryl
- Time Shift
- Lullabye To Children
- Lokicat (Reprise)