Chaise Lounge: 'Music To Dress Up By' Guitarist Charlie Barnett says the band seeks "the hottest sounds of 1962 that really didn't happen in 1962." He and vocalist Marilyn Older discuss the group's new album Second Hand Smoke and perform as a duo at NPR.
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Chaise Lounge: 'Music To Dress Up By'

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Chaise Lounge: 'Music To Dress Up By'

Chaise Lounge: 'Music To Dress Up By'

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If you type the term chaise lounge into a search engine, you'll see plenty of sites where you can buy patio furniture. If you type in the term, Chaise Lounge Big Kahuna Records, you'll come up with a group of musicians who have just released their second recording, "Secondhand Smoke."

(Soundbite of song, "I Don't Want To")

Ms. MARILYN OLDER (Vocalist, Chaise Lounge): (Singing) I don't wanna go to the DMV and pay my unjust parking fee. Don't they know I should park for free? I don't want to.

HANSEN: That's the first cut from "Secondhand Smoke." It's called "I Don't Want To." And two members of the band Chaise Lounge join us now in Studio 4A. First, vocalist, Marilyn Older. Welcome to the program.

Ms. OLDER: Thanks, Liane.

HANSEN: And guitarist and composer Charlie Barnett, welcome to the program.

Mr. CHARLIE BARNETT (Guitarist, Composer, Chaise Lounge): Thank you so much for having us. This is great.

HANSEN: And I will mention that we're in Studio 4A and you don't have a guitar, but you're at the piano, and we're going to hear something later.

(Soundbite of piano)

Mr. BARNETT: There it is.

HANSEN: There is it. Let me ask you about that first cut, "I Don't Want To," what was the genesis of that?

Mr. BARNETT: Oh, I was on the phone with Marilyn. We were trying to have a grownup conversation and one of her charming children was near her making that conversation absolutely impossible. And is that true?

Ms. OLDER: They're cherubs. I have no idea what you're referring to, Charlie.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. OLDER: Yes, I remember this.

Mr. BARNETT: And all I could hear was no, no, no, and the words I don't want to. And, you know, after that really tedious conversation, you know, we hung up and I ended up thinking, like, what would that be like if you were a full-grown adult and you were able to use that logic. You know, pay your taxes…

(Soundbite of song, "I Don't Want To")

Ms. OLDER: (Singing) I don't want to. I don't wanna have to work too hard. Wanna smoke cigarettes and play some cards. I don't wanna have any trouble with men, don't wanna get up. It's still half past ten. I don't wanna deal with these aches and pains, though how many pounds I've gained. I don't wanna drink anything but champagne. I don't want to.

HANSEN: How would you describe the music you make?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. OLDER: We've gone around and around on this trying to find even a made-up genre, and I don't know if we've done so. Have we succeeded at that, Charlie?

Mr. BARNETT: I don't know. I put a call out to try and find this out. The best one I heard was chill ska, but I don't think that - I'm not even sure if that comes close. I ended thinking that they're maybe not so much a musical term but more like music to dress up by. It's kind of like the hottest sounds of 1962 that really didn't happen in 1962.

HANSEN: Well, it's stuff you'd put on the hi-fi, you know?

Mr. BARNETT: Hi-fi - this is high fidelity music. That's what this is.

HANSEN: Right. Early, early stereo - lounge with a capital L.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: I want to talk about a song that you cover. It's the Beatles tune, "Blackbird."

(Soundbite of song, "Blackbird")

HANSEN: Why did this song, do you think, fit you like a glove?

Ms. OLDER: What I love about "Blackbird" is it is such a bittersweet but optimistic song. And the band, I think, kind of collectively, decided to start from a more moody place and then bring out the Dixieland feel and a little bit of joy. And I think it worked beautifully.

(Soundbite of song, "Blackbird")

Ms. OLDER: (Singing) Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these sunken eyes and learn to see. All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to be free. You were only waiting for this moment to be free.

HANSEN: Charlie, you've written film scores. Marilyn, as a vocalist, you've been singing professionally since you graduated from college. How did you two meet up?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. OLDER: Charlie was my boss for a while. We met at a recording studio. I was his assistant for a while, and it just kind of morphed into a partnership somewhere along the way.

HANSEN: Well, did you hear her voice coming from another room or something?

Mr. BARNETT: Well, that's really kind of what it was. I would write something - I'd be working on a film score - and if I was writing, you know, something that had…

(Soundbite of piano)

Mr. BARNETT: …but it had this little part that was up on top…

(Soundbite of piano)

Mr. BARNETT: …I would say, hey, Marilyn, would you come in here and sing this while I play this other thing? And I instantly heard this. I said, well, wow, she really can't sing out of tune. You know, her sense of pitch is phenomenal. And then when we've figured out that our working relationship wasn't really working out…

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. OLDER: He couldn't bear to fire me, so we started a band.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: You're going to play a song for us, but it's not from the new CD, "Secondhand Smoke," it's something from your first CD, "The Early Years"?

Mr. BARNETT: Yeah.

Ms.OLDER: That's right.

HANSEN: What's the name of the tune?

Mr. BARNETT: It's called "Lonely Is As Lonely Does."

HANSEN: Do you want to say anything about it before you play it?

Mr. BARNETT: It's just another one of these songs that I get to write for female characters - and there's a lot of them in these songs. I write from that point of view oddly easily.

Ms. OLDER: Tragic, scorned woman.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BARNETT: What does that say?

Ms. OLDER: But I love songs that have a place, you know, that you can put yourself right there, you know, with those two people.

Mr. BARNETT: I mean, when people are listening to the songs they want to know that person or at least hear the end of that story.

HANSEN: So, we'll hear it. It's "Lonely Is As Lonely Does," and it's from Chaise Lounge first CD called "The Early Years."

(Soundbite of song, "Lonely Is As Lonely Does")

Ms. OLDER: (Singing) He went to buy some cigarettes, he went that was two months ago. Could I feel much worse? I had his smokes right here in my purse. I can't linger on everything he was. Lonely is as lonely does. I think I'll find another boy, as soon as I can finish this drink. How hard could it be to find someone better than he? Barkeep, another round, I'm working on a real good bust. Lonely is as lonely does.

Lonely is as lonely does. A girl can't sit around and dream about what was, a little makeup and a brand new hat. A little drink and I'll be over all that. Pretty soon I won't think of him. Pretty, that's what he called me then. Let me wipe away this tear, my eyes can't stand the smoke in here. Hey, Joe, light me up. The drinks are on me because lonely is as lonely does. Lonely is as lonely does.

HANSEN: That's "Lonely Is As Lonely Does" from Chaise Lounge first CD, "The Early Years." Marilyn Older and Charlie Barnett are members of the group Chaise Lounge, and their new recording on Big Kahuna Records is called "Secondhand Smoke," and they joined us in Studio 4A. Thanks a lot. Good luck to you.

Ms. OLDER: Thank you.

Mr. BARNETT: Thanks, Liane.

(Soundbite of music)


(Soundbite of credits)

HANSEN: I'm Liane Hansen.

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