Tales from the Studio: November

The straight dope on the month’s hottest albums.

Toby Keith

Bullets in the Gun

The country outlaw spills a round or two on his 14th album.

Where the magic happened:

“Nashville. Almost always Nashville. If I was in L.A.,I wouldn’t even know where to find a harmon­ica player. I’m sure they’ve got plenty, but in Nashville if you need one you can just make a phone call.”

The key to writing lyrics:

“I get inspiration from bumper stickers, T-shirts, or people saying things backward—a mistake is a song. We were on motorcycles one day, and we passed a trailer park. One of my buddies said we should get back on the interstate. I was going to say we should go toward

the neighborhood or the trailer park, but I said ‘trailerhood’ accidentally. As soon as I said it, I knew I had to write a song called ‘Trailerhood.’¿”

Sounds like a cross between: 

“Willie Nelson, Marshall Tucker Band, Charlie Daniels. I don’t even know any contem­-

porary country songs.”



The nerd-rock giants’ frontman, Rivers Cuomo, reaches back for their eighth album.

Digging in the crates: “We wanted to do something more for our core audience—unpolished, emotional rock. I was able to go back because I have all my old unproduced ideas on

my computer now, ripped to iTunes. For ‘Run Away’ we pulled an idea from 1998.”

Secret weapon:

“Michael Cera and I played in a celebrity soccer match together. A few months later I saw him on Letterman talking about doing silent meditation at the same place I go to. We met up for lunch on a day we happened to be recording, so he came in on ‘Hang On.’ He’s a pretty serious guitar player.”

Our obsession during recording: 

“The band Sleigh Bells. We were blown away by the way their stuff sounded. We’ve been e-mailing with them but haven’t had a chance to get in the studio yet.”