The Story of Storm Surge
A little over a year ago, my son Max was playing a short piano piece by 19th century composer Friedrich Burgmüller, called “The Storm.” The piece was stuck in my head because I would hear him practicing it every day. I started to imagine it as a rock power ballad and began to sketch out a slowed down version with the basic chord changes and structure.
I had no lyrics, but I showed it to my band and we laid down the rhythm tracks in May of 2019. Long story short, we got backed up with other projects and here we are a year later!
I was imagining a cello replacing the ostinato part played by the left hand on the piano, so I asked my friend Ruti Celli, who I met on Cruise to the Edge last year when we played with Dave Kerzner and In Continuum, to contribute her beautiful part.
Our drummer, Jason Gianni, has a sketch of a song he never finished that he thought would be a perfect fit as an insert to the song. I layered a huge string orchestra on top of that section and recruited the great Fernando Perdomo to lay down a soaring guitar solo.
Next, I was hearing a flute during the breakdown section that followed. We have never had a flute, or any woodwinds for that matter, on one of our recordings! I asked the genius multi-instrumentalist Rachel Flowers to play flute and lay down a piano track for the song. Rachel has been blind since age 3 and plays piano, flute, bass, guitar, drums, stick, sings, and records and mixes her own albums! I’ve meet and worked with hundreds of talented people in my career, but don’t think I have ever met a person with this level of talent! Check out the documentary about her, “Hearing is Believing,” on Amazon Prime.
Finally, I’ve been into the idea of using outside singers in Stratospheerius. Up until his time, I have always been the lead vocalist. The new album we are slowly putting together will have feature many special guests.
We’ve been longtime fans of the 80’s Canadian band “Saga,” bee known for their hits “Wind Him Up” and “One The Loose.” When we played the afterparty at Progstock back in 2018, Saga’s lead singer Michael Sadler caught our set after his performance at the festival, and was raving about the band! We were incredibly humbled to receive such words of encouragement from such an iconic artist in the world of prog.
We felt Michael’s voice would be perfect for this song! He ended up contributing a jaw-dropping vocal performance, enhancing the melody, and adding Queenesque harmonies. As a side note, he and his wife Gwen turned out to be some of the nicest and most gracious people I have ever worked with!
So in the end, the song is a writing collaboration between myself, Friedrich Burgmüller, Jason Gianni, and Michael Sadler.
Storm Surge is about the anxiety we all feel in these uncertain times. With the global pandemic, racism and the continuing struggle for social justice, climate change, political upheaval, economic turmoil, and a future of uncertainty, there is a storm that’s raging inside of us right now.
This Saturday, Stratospheerius will be live-streaming our first full band performance since March. Thank you to our friend Matt Vanacoro for letting us use his studio! The performance will culminate with the WORLD PREMIER of the STORM SURGE video!
You can purchase tickets for the event HERE:
And HERE is the Facebook event for ALL the performances in this series. We encourage you to support all of these renowned artists!
We hope you are able to tune in!
Stay safe and strong.
JD & Stratos