toomanygoodbyes.com, July 2008

– interview with songwriter/composer Steven McCabe, 24th July 2008

So, what’s the story with “Too Many Goodbyes”?

The CD was originally going to be another concept album, and in a way, it is!, but I didn’t want to make another record like that. Anyway, Too Many Goodbyes is to be taken literally. The title says it all.

Which is?

Well, each song is about the various ways we say goodbye to each other. Whether it is breaking up with a partner, losing someone through death or simply losing someone through change. It’s all about how we deal with the emotional hangover from such things.

Sounds depressing! Is it?

Occasionally, but with great sadness I often find something beautiful coming out if it.

Are there any songs that embrace this idea more than others?

Yes, the song Lost Summer. This is a solely acoustic piece (well, there are no drums on it!) and it tells the tale of unrequited lovers looking back on what might have been. It’s a very poignant song with the protagonist noting that his lost love now had a family and wondering if she ever still thought of him. Ken sings it beautifully and it has nice guitar freak-out at the end!

Unlike a lot of prog, your lyrics seem to deal with very human frailties . . .

You’d be forgiven for thinking so, as the fragile nature of being human does appear to occupy a lot of my songs. As well as that, these are things most people can relate to – as a songwriter, being able to connect with someone through music is a wonderful thing.

Your guitar style / sound is very unique. Any secrets to this sound?

Thanks and no! When I first started, I coudn’t get enough of effects pedals and what-not. However, as time progressed and I became reasonably competent, I made the very conscious decision to not use anything. So, my sound is just me, the guitar (my trusty Fender Stratocaster), the amp and the odd bit of delay. That’s it. On some records, I have used a bit of chorus to fill the sound out a bit. But all the solos, rhythm parts etc – just pure guitar.

Santana used to be one of my favourite players and I read that he used nothing but a Mesa Boogie and his Les Paul. I think that inspired me somewhat!

There is a fusion feel to some of the tracks. Is that a direction you would explore further?

I guess there is, certainly in the first and last tracks. However, as much as I like the odd bit of fusion (Al DiMeola, Return to Forever, Brand X etc) I don’t ever see me writing a full album of it. I get bored easily and sticking to one style would be anathema to me.