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NEAL MORSE Talks Prog-Rock Opera “Jesus Christ: The Exorcist”: “I Never Wanted to Make a Double Album, Like Ever! But You Got to Follow The Music Where It Wants to Go”

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Neal Morse does not stand still for long. Mere months after releasing double-album The Great Adventure with the Neal Morse Band, he is back with an epic musical of the life of Jesus, in Jesus Christ the Exorcist. Written and performed extensively by Morse, a wide host of guest vocalists take the spotlight including Ted Leonard, Nick D’Virgilio, Jake Livgren, Rick Florian, Matt Smith, Talon David and many more, along with several guest musicians from the Neal Morse Band and beyond.

In this in-depth interview, Sonic Perspectives correspondent Scott Medina finds out the origins and development of this new musical, from casting to performance to how the title came to be The Exorcist. It’s a fun dialogue that shows Neal’s warmth and enthusiasm. You can listen to the audio or read the transcript below. A few additional questions are asked towards the end about upcoming projects with Flying Colors, demo’s of The Great Adventure and more.

Enjoy this interview on streaming audio or read the transcript below, and remember to subscribe to our Podcast in several platforms to listen and be notified about new interviews and contents we publish on daily basis.

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT:

Hey everybody, this is Scott Medina for Sonic Perspectives. We’ve got Neal Morse with us today because following up from The Great Adventure, amazingly he’s got another double album coming out this year. It’s called Jesus Christ the Exorcist and we’re going to focus on that along with other questions. So welcome to the call, Neal.

Oh, thanks man! Thank you.

So, this is your second double album in less than six months. Are you going to make this a habit?

Ha ha ha, I hope not! [laughing]The funny thing is I never wanted to make a double album…like ever! I remember early in the Spock’s Beard days some of the prog fans – I remember one in particular – kept kind of hounding me about “when are you going to do your double concept album, when are you going to do your Lamb Lies Down?” And I thought, oh, that seems so predictable. You know, I really didn’t want to do that. And then when it happens, it must just happen naturally. All of these albums, they just wanted to be doubles. Snow was that way…we really resisted having it be a double, but you got to follow the music where it wants to go. And Jesus Christ the Exorcist is no different.

Yeah, it seems like you have had resistance to double albums all along, whether it’s in the guise of Mike Portnoy or someone else, and somehow you’ve all come around and said, “yeah, that was a really good decision, I’m glad it went there.”

Oh yeah.

So, tell us about this one because you started writing this musical, Jesus Christ the Exorcist, I think in 2008 or 2009. So how did the timing come about to revisit it last year first with the Morsefest performance where you did the whole musical last year at Morsefest – for our listeners who may not realize that – and now subsequently doing a studio album of it?

Well, yeah, it was quite providential. We really only did Jesus Christ the Exorcist at Morsefest because Mike Portnoy was booked all year with Sons of Apollo (laughs). So, my wife and I, we were racking our brains as to what we could do that we wouldn’t need Mike for? And so we did the Jesus musical. And as soon as I thought of that, I thought, well, it’s not very known. And you know, kind of the original thought of Morsefest was that the only way this would really become a successful thing is if people travel in for it from all over the world, and the only way that they’re going to do that is if we’re gonna play some album that maybe we’ve never played in its entirety or you know, something that we know is kind of a big deal to the fans.

And the Jesus musical wasn’t really that. Because it had never been released fully, I only released something to the inner circle in demo form. But I just got so excited about it and I prayed about it and I thought, Oh yes, this is what we should do. And it just went so well. But what was really interesting was that in the weeks before I was going to begin rewriting it – I knew that for Morsefest I was going to have to revisit it and rewrite it and cut it down a little bit because It was two and a half hours long in the original draft – and right when I was entering into that process, I got a call from a music business friend of mine. It was the same guy who called me in 2008 to suggest that I write it in the first place! He called me in 2018 and said, “you’re not gonna believe this, but I’ve got a record deal for the Jesus musical.” And I said, “Really? Wow, that’s really interesting cause I’m just entering into this whole rewrite phase!” And I was trying to cram that in while we were also making The Great Adventure album, it was all piling on top of one another in a kind of crazy way. But it’s all worked out, they both got done and I think they’re both really extraordinary and very different of course from one another.

About what percentage of the material would you say was written back in 2008, and what was totally newly written after you started revisiting it last year?

Well, a lot of it remained. I would say 75% of it is from the original version. And 25% of it is either new or reworked or rearranged music and themes from the first draft. There was a thing where I removed one whole section and then I took these other two sections…I think it was the Garden of Gethsemane and maybe Jesus Before Pilate or something like that. I kind of remember taking these two different things and throwing them together and making them one piece. Um, I was just thinking about the flow of it as a little bit more of a concert kind of performance and setting like we have at Morsefest. And so the rewrite was really geared towards that, but I think it works really, really well for the album version as well.

You’ve titled it Jesus Christ, the Exorcist. Why use that description of “the Exorcist” rather than something like Jesus Christ, the Healer or Savior or Preacher?

Right. Well, it could have been any of those things. As I was writing it, it seemed that I was really attracted to writing about Jesus and his activity of casting devils out of people. It just kind of happened naturally as I was reading through the stories and I began to write “The Madman of the Gadarenes” story where Jesus cast this legion of Demons out of this man. I wound up writing this actually kind of almost funny [laughing], rather lighthearted sort of Gentle Giant telling of the Madman of the Gadarenes story with a bit of a sense of humor. And I really liked it! That was one of the early pieces that I wrote that I was like, oh, I think I’m onto something here because I’ve never heard anything like that before. I don’t know that I’ve ever heard any piece of music that was based on that story, even in classical music or anything. There may be one, I’m sure there is! Of all the music that’s been written based on the Gospels throughout the centuries, I’m sure somebody did it besides me. But I was really excited about that and I also accented the healing of Mary by that same method. And so that was why I thought of the title of The Exorcist. And I guess I thought maybe it would be a little bit jarring, which might be good. You know, some people might not like it, but it also might grab some people’s attention. Really the only reason why, of course, we have the connotation that we have of the word ‘exorcist’ is from the film. So we think of that as being some kind of a horror movie thing, you know. But of course it doesn’t mean that at all.

Yeah, it does grab people in a different way. You know, it’s not Jesus Christ Superstar…it’s Jesus Christ, the Exorcist. And you’re like, Whoa!

Yeah, like “What?!” Well in the same way, Jesus Christ Superstar was a jarring sort of funny title to me when I heard it when I was a kid. Cause the word ‘superstar’ was just being used a lot. It was a new word at that time. And then to say Jesus Christ Superstar was, I dunno, I thought it was a joke at first. Ultimately none of that matters if you like the music. Titles really don’t matter that much once you get into the piece. And I hope of course that people will do that.

Interestingly enough, there is this sort of humor that that does come into a few of these pieces. You know, like you were talking about the Gentle Giant approach, which of course is a classic technique that you’ve used a few different times. But also like listening to the song “He Must Go to the Cross”, it’s such a full-on, almost heavy metal anthem with the “we will rock you” kind of stomp in the background…

Yeah, it’s like “we will rock you” meets AC/DC. That was all part of the rewrite from last July when I came up with that. What I wound up feeling from the first draft was that it needed some more “up” numbers. So I was trying to write some stuff that said the same thing…for example, to have Peter saying, “okay, I believe you’re the Christ and I’ll follow you anywhere” and in the first draft I had this really long ballad. And I thought, oh, we don’t need another long ballad because Mary sang “Free at Last” not very long ago. So it could be something up and maybe shorter and so I wrote “Better Weather”. So a lot of things were like that. I had songs that were saying the same thing or providing the same scene, but then I wanted to write something that was maybe up tempo and shorter. And I really felt like I got some help last July with that, cause I did it like in 10 days or something. It was pretty cool.

Yeah, it’s unbelievable that you were doing that at the same time as The Great Adventure. I don’t even know how you got through those couple of months, putting all that together.

I basically had the last two weeks of July for the Jesus musical and to actually prepare it for all of the musicians and singers to learn at Morsefest. Not only did I have to write it, but I actually had to demo it as well, then send all the parts out to everyone so they could learn it. It was pretty intense! And then I remember Mike came for The Great Adventure sessions. The whole band came the first week of August. And yeah, it was an action packed time, that’s for sure! It was great. What a blessing. What a blessing. Oh my goodness!

Indeed. And in that track “He Must Go to the Cross” I just love Jake Livgren’s portrayal of Caiaphas, it just always leaves me with a smile. It’s so over the top, it grabs you in that moment…

Yeah, it’s great! You know, it was so cool, I feel like that was a God thing as well. Jake came down early for Morsefest. He was just like, “I really love this piece. Can I just come down early and hang out while you guys rehearse?” You know, I was trying to schedule all the rehearsals so this singer would come in this day and that singer would come in that day, so they weren’t all waiting around or that kind of thing. Jake just wanted to be there the whole time. And it was so cool cause he had printed up all the lyrics for the whole show and put it in a book and he has this amazing voice. So if nobody was there and we were working on the music and there were no vocalists, he would sing whatever the part was. He knew the whole show. He even sang Mary’s parts!

[laughing]What a stand-in!

And he sang ’em really well! it was crazy! I knew he was a great singer, but I got to know even more of what a great singer he was. And so, a lot of people did file sharing. Like, Ted sent his vocals from California. He didn’t fly out to do the vocals on the album. Jake, on the other hand, was like, “I really want to come. I really want to be there. I want to come be with you. I want to work with you on this.” And I’m so glad that he wanted to do that. Because he finished his vocals for Peter in the morning and then we were doing ensemble vocals, all the men’s ensemble things with my son Wil and Mark Pogue and Gabe and Gideon Klein and myself.

But then we had this time in the afternoon and I didn’t have someone for Caiaphas at that time. John Schlitt had done it at Morsefest, but it wasn’t going to work out for him to do it for the studio album. It was pretty late in the game and I still didn’t have anyone. I was talking to Michael Sweet, I talked to Kip Winger. I was talking to all these different singers, but nobody really had the time to do it. And so I said to Jake, “Hey, you can sing anything!” Cause I knew how he had done that at the rehearsals. “Do you want to take a stab at singing Caiaphas?” And we just happened to have a two and a half hour, or three hour window. And of course he already knew the whole show. So he just walked in there and killed it. I was like, “Hallelujah! Thank you Lord!” It was great!

Well I gotta say, I saw John Schlitt play Caiaphas at the Morsefest show and then listing to Jake essentially do a “John Schlitt” on the recording, it’s uncanny. He nailed it!

[Laughing] Yeah, great! Yeah.

So let’s talk about the casting for a second. I’m really curious about the role of Jesus. Maybe it was from watching Ted singing “The Devil’s Got My Throat” in the “Snow” performances, but I always seemed to have in my head that Ted would play a great Devil, you know, but suddenly he’s there playing Jesus. So, how were you guided to cast him in the role of Jesus?

Well, really, I wasn’t thinking much about his persona or anything like that. It was all just about vocals. I’m very un-visually oriented, let’s put it that way. I try to turn over as much of the visual concerns and content to other people because they’re better at it than I am. I’m really very auditory. So most of my choices are always going to be based on music first. And so that was the thing with Ted. I just knew he would sing the role really, really well knowing his voice and how great his voice is. I think he had a little apprehension about taking on the Jesus role, sort of personally. But I just assured by saying, “Hey, just sing it, you know? You’re not going to have to do a ton of acting or anything like that.” We did it with minimal staging, you know. And I feel like he really felt it. I mean, there were times at the performance and at the rehearsals where you could see him tearing up a little bit in the parts that were really touching to him. That was a beautiful thing to see. And of course he does such a wonderful job on the album.

There was this section when Jesus is revealing his identity to Mary at the tomb and in the performance, right when Ted was about to sing, you know, “Mary, Mary”, something happened to him on stage. Like, before he could even get those words out. Do you remember that moment?

Yeah. Well, you know, that moment…I don’t know why that moment is so special…because there’s nothing going on musically that should make it that way. It’s just a really special moment. When I wrote it I knew it was a special moment. I’m just so glad. You know, when you feel something and you feel like something is special and has that indefinable “anointing” for lack of a better word; it has that magic to it. When you see that other people feel the same way, there’s something magical about that, too. And then you’re sharing it and everyone’s feeling it…that’s just the greatest thing that you can be involved in. And to have it all be built around music which we all love so much. It’s hard to put into words how it makes you feel.

Do you ever have challenges holding it together yourself on stage? Like as you’re seeing the Jesus story playing out in front of your eyes and this musical vision that you’ve had coming to fruition, is that ever so overwhelming that it’s hard for you to keep track of your musical parts you need to play or sing?

I don’t hold it together. [laughing]

[laughing]Well, there is that, yeah.

I’m very well known for falling apart! [laughs]Sometimes it happens when I’m really not expecting it. Like I prayed in the morning of the last Cruise to the Edge concert. We were gonna do the second half of The Great Adventure and then the encores. And [laughs]I prayed that the Lord would touch my heart and I would really feel the music [laughing]. I don’t know…it was, it was almost funny! I mean, I cried through like, like 45 minutes!

I know, I was there and I don’t think I’ve ever seen you cry so much!

Yeah [laughing]sometimes the emotion of, of the, of the whole thing, you know, the moment and the music and the people and the Lord and what he’s done for you and, and I, I don’t…you can’t even say what it is! You don’t even know what it is! You’re just so moved and I’m just really thankful that it’s all still so fresh for me.

For the musicians in the band on the studio album, you have it mostly rooted in the Neal Morse Band with a few obvious shuffles going on. What was it like for you having Eric covering the drum kit on that one?

Oh, that was so much fun! That was actually my wife’s idea. Yeah, we go for walks and kick things around. You know, I’ll say, “This thing’s coming up, what do you think about this?” She’s very people oriented, you know? My head’s a little bit in the clouds thinking about music and she’s more grounded and thinking about people. I think she was thinking, “Well, since we don’t have Mike, who could we get that would be maybe a little different, but somebody that people would be interested in? Hey, Eric plays drums, doesn’t he?” And I’m like, “Oh yeah, he’s great!” So she said what about having him, and I was like, oh yeah, that’s a great idea! Yeah, Talon David as playing Mary was also was my wife’s idea.

Boy, what a find she was — just an amazing singer!

Yeah, she is! She’s incredible. Yeah. I didn’t have anybody for the Mary role up to like August [editor’s note: the Morsefest performance was on September 1st, 2018] It was August! So I was about six weeks out and I still didn’t have a Mary. Everyone that I had talked to, you know, it was just a long process of waiting for people to send in a tape of them singing it. And so I was waiting and waiting. And then I finally get the tape and think about it, and say to myself I don’t think it’s really right for this person. And so then I look for another person and then I finally get their tape, but I just didn’t feel it was right. And then when Talon sent her videotape of her singing “Woman of Seven Devils” while standing next to a wall in her room I said, okay, I’m sold! Let’s do this. And I think by the time I made that decision, I think it might’ve been close to a month out. But she was so young, that was my concern about her. She was like a third of everybody else’s age. Not that that matters particularly, but as this being a performance, I was just concerned about that. She didn’t have a lot of experience doing concerts, her background is more in musical theater and she’s in college taking musical theater classes. So I just didn’t know if she would have the experience to pull it off and…Wow! I think everybody that was there was amazed, I called her the surprise hit of the festival.

You definitely chose well and it all came together just in time.

Oh, yeah. Incredible! Just incredible.

And on the album, as far as guitar goes, you have Paul Bielatowicz as the main guitarist, but also Eric and yourself. You played a lot of the guitars on the recording too, right?

Yeah. Actually most of the guitars really are played by me. Eric did one guitar solo, that’s the one during the Crucifixion. Paul did guitar on “There’s a Highway”, the solo in the “Overture” and one other thing. But yeah, most of the rest of the guitars are all me. Some of them were recorded in the 2008 demos! I just kind of went through it and where I thought it was broke, I fixed it. And where I thought it wasn’t broke, I didn’t fix it. Some of the performances I really liked. Sometimes you like the way things are on the demo so it’s like, well let’s roll with that. It sounds great.

I like that you got a little talk box guitar there during the Devil theme.

Yeah, that was from the demo! Yeah, I punched into that. It’s really interesting that I punched into the talk box guitar track to record a bit more on top of the demo. So part of it is from 2008 and part of it is from 2018. I’ve got vocals on there, too! My pilot vocal is part 2008 and part 2018. [laughs]Isn’t that crazy?

[laughing]I can believe that, yeah!

I just matched it up, man! You know, I’m probably using the same vocal mic, too! I’ve been using the same vocal mic for a long time,

Comes in handy in situations in situations like this.

Yeah, I just love it. We’ve done a couple of shootouts with different vocal mic’s. We always come back to that one. So, it’s really easy to match up.

Looking at the words of Jesus that you chose to use in this musical, some of Jesus’s most powerful words are when he’s on the cross, from Luke: “forgive them Father for they do not know what they do.” And you didn’t use those actual words toward the end of the performance when he’s on the cross. Was there a reason why?

Let’s see…well, right in the very beginning of the album…uh, I don’t use those actual words because…well, it didn’t fit in the song! [laughs]I sang: “Father forgive them their envy and pride, they do not know whom they’ve crucified, Father forgive them and heal them too, they do not know what they do. Now I give my soul up to you.” Which is saying the same thing, just a little bit broader.

So you’re really focusing on having it fit the music.

Yeah. Sometimes, yeah. Sometimes I would take a thought of his and then see how you would want to sing it. And I felt like that was worth embellishing. Because I believe that would be the Lord’s heart, you know, that don’t just forgive them but also heal them. He came for the healing of our hearts. So I embellished a little bit, but I hope when we meet that he won’t be upset with me! [laughs]If you know the scriptures well, you would notice that I took different things that he said to some people and I have him say them to different people. For example, I took some of the things that Jesus says to the woman at the well, or to the woman caught in adultery, and I basically had him say all of those things to Mary. You know what I mean? It’s all things he said, but they weren’t all necessarily in that scene. I wanted to get as much of his teaching in as I could. I feel like a lot of the movies and plays and musicals and things about Jesus, a lot of them focus only on the Crucifixion really, on the last few days of his life. Jesus Christ Superstar and The Passion of the Christ both take place on the last few days of his life. And of course they put a lot of his teachings in there, but I wanted to do one that was a little more comprehensive and covered his whole ministry, which I think is more important than just the ending.

Right, you really do that with a lot of the songs, and then there’s even some additional notes in the accompanying booklet describing what’s going on, and what’s happened between songs.

Yeah. Come on, let’s hear him preach! Come on!

At the very end, in the final song “The Greatest Love of All”, there is an extensive duet between Jesus and Mary, basically stating the new relationship between Christ and his people.

Yeah. Mary’s the one who’s there at the tomb! The Apostles are all scattered. So I think that’s really important. I’ve always felt like that was a really important part of the Gospel. And I’ve heard some really good talks on it. A friend of mine used to pastor at a church in London. I remember him giving a really good talk that really touched my heart about how it’s dark and Mary has no hope. Her hopes are completely dashed. She goes to the tomb just thinking, well, I’ll anoint his body. He’s dead and it’s over, but I’ll sort of do this last rite. Not expecting to find life, you know? And then just the whole beauty of it when he calls her name. And with that song, I wondered how can we talk about the love of God that’s poured out through Jesus in a way that really kind of encapsulates the whole thing. And I think that for “The Greatest Love of All”…well, I guess I always felt like the Whitney Houston song was selling love short [laughs], talking about the greatest love being learning to love yourself. Even way back then I thought, well no man, the greatest love of all is the love of God, come on. So I think that’s a pretty appropriate way for them to sing that and then for him to say to her, go and tell my brothers, go and tell the disciples that I’ve been risen from the dead. It seemed like a good exclamation point to end on.

Now that the studio album is coming out, do you think you’re going to be inspired to tour the show?

Oh, I would love to! I don’t know about touring per se. I think it might be difficult because we’d have to have a pretty big group even to do it with people doubling on parts. Even in a cut down way, you’d need to have I think at least 13 people and six crew or something, so there’d be like 20 people. So my vision and my hope and my prayer is that there’ll be enough interest that we could do a week here, and a week there and have some time off and do another week. That’s my hope but I wouldn’t want to do a bunch of one night stands, it doesn’t feel right for that kind of a piece. It would be better if you could be somewhere for a little while, in a small theater. So I hope that happens. I believe it will if there’s enough interest from people, I mean that’s what it’ll take.

Have you talked to people like Ted, Talon, Nick, etc… if they’d be up for doing that in that kind of a situation or will you approach that at the point you might get some offers?

Well, I did talk to them. Yeah, I talked to Ted and Talon. I figured I would talk to them first. And there wasn’t really much of any kind of time-frame where they can both do anything. Talon is in college. She’s going for a year to Melbourne in Australia starting in July. So that kind of makes it a bit difficult. And Ted‘s quite busy, too. And so I thought, well let’s let the album come out and see what gets stirred up. My strategy with this whole thing from the very beginning on this album was to just wait on the Lord and see what doors God would open and not trying to force anything. You know, I wrote it, I presented it, Michael Kaplan shopped it. Nothing much happened at that time. And I just thought when it’s ready to happen, it’ll happen. So that’s my feeling about us doing it live again.

That sounds like a perfect approach. Who would have expected this musical would actually be a Morsefest performance and then lead to a studio album, so we’ll see where it wants to be taken from here.

Yes indeed!

There’s just so many beautiful melodies and amazing songs on this album, I’m really excited for everybody to hear it. Songs like “Love Has Called My Name” is such a fantastic duet with you and Nick.

Oh, yeah! Thank you!

I love how you personalized it by singing “I’ve seen him heal my daughter’s heart” in there, that was really beautiful.

Yeah, I like to put in things that show that this isn’t just about the past.

Exactly. Yeah. And what else do you have on your docket now? You’re probably finishing up Flying Colors writing and recording?

Yeah, exactly. I did background vocals and some additional keyboards yesterday morning from like 6:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Man, I got my eight hours in! Yeah, it’s sounding great. I did like stacks and stacks of vocals and things. Yeah, it’s really, really good. So we’re intending that to come out in August! And also a live Neal Morse Band album in the Czech Republic of The Great Adventure in August as well. So hopefully all that stuff will be out in time for Morsefest.

Wow. So the Flying Colors third album might get out even before Morsefest.

Well we hope so. We’re trying.

That’s very impressive. Fantastic! That’s great to hear.

Yeah, we’re working on it! Hahaha.

Going back to Jesus Christ the Exorcist for a moment, do you have plans on when you’re going to release the live show from Morsefest last year? Will that come out sometime in the subsequent year or are you going to wait and see what happens with the studio version?

I would imagine we’ll wait. You know what would be great? Oh well I won’t talk about it cause I don’t know if it’s going to happen, so I won’t talk about things that may not happen. I have things that pop into my mind like, oh, it’d be great… But I think we will release the live Jesus musical in 2020, I believe.

And for The Great Adventure, does it look like Morsefest is going to be the final performance, or are there any chances you might do more legs of the tour? Because it sounds like it was just as fulfilling a tour as you’ve ever had.

It was! Yeah, we haven’t gotten any other offers that made sense for us to do. And so, yeah, it looks like the Morsefest performance with string, horns and choir is going to be the send off.

Well what a send off it’ll be! If anyone listening doesn’t have their tickets yet to that Morsefest, be sure you get them for the final performance of The Great Adventure as well as a whole evening with Flying Colors, maybe debuting brand new material there?

Yeah, that’s right, we will be! And we’ll be playing a lot of our older material too, I’m sure. And Randy McStine is opening for Flying Colors, that’s going to be cool!

I love that. It’d be cool if he sits in somewhere else, maybe Saturday night or something, who knows?

Yeah, he’s really cool. I really enjoyed when he sat in with me for my New York Life and Times show and it was just great.

He even sat in once on the Cruise for Steve Morse’s place. You guys did some Flying Colors material there. I think he was doing “Blue Ocean” or “The Storm” or something like that.

Is that right? I bet you’re right. I’ve done so many different things on the Cruises that I don’t remember! I sat in with Casey and I sat in with Spock’s and all kinds of stuff. It’s all a blur, man. [laughs]

Speaking of a blur, you just released the one hour plus demo of The Great Adventure, the version that preceded all the rewrites and everything. And there’s several pieces of music on there that didn’t make the final cut. So, I’m just curious: is it ever possible that you’ll pull some of those pieces back for future songs or now that you’ve released the demos are you kind of like, ah, that was it and they’re gone now?

No, I think we totally could. I don’t consider releasing things to the Inner Circle as being like actual releases. It’s like, that’s kind of a private thing that just goes to this smaller group of people. So, I don’t see any problem with taking something back. If it wants to belong somewhere else, then we want to put it there, don’t we?

Well that’s good to hear because on the “Love that Never Dies” extended version that you had on there, in the middle there’s this section that sounds like it’s called “The Way It Has to Be”…

Oh yeah! Oh, that was from Eric! Did you like that part?

Ah, I love that part! Is that Eric playing the lead guitar on that?

Oh, I’m sure. Yeah.

Yeah. I’ve been thinking, Oh man, I really hope they pull this back and incorporate this into a future song. That’s too good to just let go.

Oh, yeahhhh! That was a hard thing to cut! Some of the stuff that was left on the cutting room floor just like broke our hearts, you know? Yeah. There’s more stuff, too! There’s more stuff from my December drafts, I should release that next! Because there’s a bunch of stuff. There’s whole songs that I loved that got cut out. That stuff was pretty cool, some of it. But you know, you’ve got to do what you feel like is best for the whole piece. And I think we felt like if we were going to do that slow version of “The Way It Has to Be”, if we’re going to do this whole slow thing at the end with “A Love That Never Dies”, we wound up feeling like we couldn’t have another big long slow song close to the end. It just didn’t seem to feel right. So one of them had to go, but I love that song too.

Yeah. Well, I’m glad to hear you kind of keep those things around and so you could pull them back in at some point. Thanks so much for catching us up on all of these goodies and what’s yet to come. And good luck with the finishing of the Flying Colors album, too.

Oh, well thank you so much, Scott. I appreciate it, man. Yeah, it’s all good. We’re working away, on to the next epic!

Indeed. Speaking of that, any updates on the Transatlantic world, does that have any possibility of moving forward next year sometime?

It does! Yeah, there’s some possibilities there we’re discussing, but nothing concrete yet. I do want people to know about Waterfall, my streaming app. If anybody wants to stream all my music like Flying Colors, Transatlantic, the Neal Morse Band and everything I’ve practically released in my entire life, go to waterfallstreaming.com.

It’s a really cool app. I’ve been enjoying the stuff you’ve been putting in the Mystery Box there. And the access to some things that I didn’t even know existed. It’s really well done.

Yes, there’s some things that I didn’t even know existed!

Yeah, and the guys who been working on that are just super sweet and really attentive to what fans are asking for us. So they’re making updates all the time. Okay. Well, to all our listeners again, the new Jesus Christ musical comes out on June 15th and it’s epic! So you’re gonna have to check that out. And for Morsefest there’s still some tickets on sale there. And Neal, we can’t wait to see what you dream up next.

Hey, thanks man! Thanks a lot, Scott! Have a good one, man. Take care.

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