The Break and Repair Method
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Paul Doucette’s (Matchbox Twenty) solo debut is steeped in the irony of the records name, milk the bee, set to hit via bluhammock music on September 16th. “When I first came up with the title, it was from a place of pure frustration. It seemed a futile thing to do – you make a record – and really – what’s the point? It’s like milking a bee,” Doucette explains.
It’s not surprising Doucette was compelled to christen the product of his efforts with a title that implies such pointlessness. After years as the drummer of the wildly successful band Matchbox Twenty, Doucette took advantage of a temporary break to record songs he’d been working on. “When I first made the record, I had been in a band for so long, and I was always a drummer. I never really contributed much melodically, so it was important to me to do as much of that as I could,” says Doucette. With a deal secured, he prepared to record his debut, but soon found himself without a label due to major industry shake-ups. After several false starts and broken promises, Doucette found himself with a completed album of brilliantly catchy, emotionally laden songs, and no label. “It got to the point where I couldn’t move on to the next thing,” says Doucette. And luckily, he didn’t.
The Break and Repair Method is Doucette, a moniker he has chosen to best represent himself and his brilliant solo debut laced with catchy pop melodies that scale emotional depths in single songs. Written predominantly on the piano, Doucette pull influences from Harry Nillson to Neil Finn . Recorded around Los Angeles, Doucette relied on both friends and strangers to record the record. “There were two teams, basically,” Doucette says of the recording process. “I did the recording in different sections.” Matchbox multi-instrumentalist Matt Beck helped out, as did Doucette’s wife Moon Unit Zappa and Veruca Salt co-founder Nina Gordon. Other collaborators included David Levita (Alanis Morrisette), Roger Manning (Jellyfish, Beck) and Rusty Anderson (Paul McCartney).
Named for the exercise routine of a songwriter friend, the Break and Repair Method aptly describes the fluidity of personnel, as well as Doucette’s songwriting. “Something about the name really rung true with a lot of the way I write. One song will be really lyrically dark, and then the next song is the complete opposite. I have a tendency to do that. So it fit my style of writing,” says Doucette of his choice of name. The choice also aligns with the arch of milk the bee. With songs ranging from the birth of his daughter (“Now We Become Part Of It”) to the album’s closer, inspired by a photo of an elderly couple (“The Most Somebody Can Know”), Doucette bookends milk the bee with the two seminal human experiences, and explores the remainder in between. The album’s opener “This City (Is Bound To Do Us In)” is a pop-rock Trojan horse — a catchy hook wrapped around an indictment of the lack of social culpability, triggered by the United States’ involvement in Iraq. “I started with the line in the middle of the song ‘We’re so in love with ourselves, we’ll show up with our tanks, pick up our feet and settle down,’” Doucette says. One of the album’s only love songs, “You Won’t Be Able To Be Sad,” is the sunniest song about not getting what you want written in recent history. “It can almost be considered a concept record,” says Doucette.
Having created an album with a history as storied as its contents, Doucette has since realized that milking the bee is not the exercise in futility he once thought. “People actually do milk bees,” Doucette laughs. “I didn’t know that.” He’s since revised his assessment of the album being a pointless exercise. From conception to release, Doucette has relearned the invaluable lesson he imparts in many of his songs. “Life is always like that. You get broken, and then you pick yourself up and do it again. You move on, and eventually you fix it.”