Phoenix. Photo: Christopher Polk, Getty Images AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Depeche Mode,…
- Posted on Dec 16th 2010 2:00PM by Linda Laban
C Flanigan, FilmMagic | Ebet Roberts, Getty Images
"I was given full license to choose whichever songs I wanted," Sheff tells Spinner, "That extended to Roky too. He signed off on it being my production decisions." That included going through tapes of songs Erickson's management gave him, many of which were written during the Austin native's tragic incarceration for pot possession in the early 1970s.
"Those '70s songs, he wrote them so long ago he had forgotten them. He'd look at us and say, 'Where did you get that one?'" Sheff says. "It was a case of scraping off the dust and the lack of familiarity. But as we would work, we'd play the songs and slowly refine them and I'd offer him choices. I'd say, 'Roky, what's this song about? What do you want it to be?' asking him how he feels about things."
There were some daunting moments in the beginning, but those faded as Erickson's trust in the project grew. "The first time that we played these songs with him, the first day, he really didn't seem to know them at all," Sheff says. "It was actually kind of funny. It was almost like, 'OK, if I play these songs will you go away?' He was like, 'OK, I'll play them then bring me home.' He would sing the lyrics with a totally different melody and different chords. He'd play a song he's written there and then, that was improvised there and then, and then he'd say, 'Can you bring me home?' I was like, 'All right, I don't know if this is even going to work.' Then we'd come back the next day and he'd be twice as good. He'd still be shaky and I'd think, 'Well, I still don't know.' Then he'd come back the next day and be twice as good as the day before."