Lyrics & Story About The Song

Gray Skies, Sunny Smiles
The times were great
The times with you
I had it all
I thought you too
I made you laugh
You made me smile
And since you smiled
I couldnít tell youíd cry

Please donít go away
Thereís a storm coming
The skies have changed
The nightís so very late
And you canít think straight
The tides are stirring

Iíll hold you through the night
Till the sun strikes
The biting void
The cold may seep in
But Iíll do all I can
To tuck you in tight

Itís amazing how
Some people can
Make small things great
Make moments last
When you pushed me in
I took you with me
You picked me a flower
And I stuck it in my hair

Donít throw yourself in
The storm is deadly
And the skies now black
The rain is pounding down
And youíre so wet
The winds are wailing

Let me hold you through your night
I wonít let you die
Please let me in
Donít you know what youíre worth
And how much more life will give
In time, give it time

And maybe
I knew all along
This feeling
I felt something was wrong
Please tell me
Is something on your mind
Donít leave me
Behind tonight

In time, it will be alright
Even stormy skies turn warm and blue again
And forever is a long time
To be away from someone who loves you dear  

Cuz if I ever lost you
I would stop to care
Cuz all that I loved so dear
Would have disappeared
I know now the night is dark
And the cold still creeps in
Trust God, and love yourself
The emptiness will disappear

Story about Gray Skies, Sunny Smiles
Writing this song was a major project.  It was not like anything I had ever written before.  At the time I sat down to begin Gray Skies, Sunny Smiles, I knew I wanted to write a lengthy sort of epic that would not only go through different stages lyrically, but musically as well.  Gunís N Roses Estranged served as my inspiration.

Completing it took about 3 Ĺ weeksóJuly 15, 2000 to August 9, 2000.  I wanted these lyrics to really be powerful with meaning, so I made sure I spent time with them.  During the course of the 3 weeks, I brought more and more of the past musical ideas I had reserved for other songs, and put them together to use in this song.  I was so surprised at how well everything worked and sounded as one.  The changes in tune and melody gave the song a lot more depth and dimension. 

When writing the lyrics, I would think about what Iíd want a certain section to be about, and then Iíd try to write about that.  Since this song had so many parts, I was able to not only write about the specific subject, but also about the viewpoints and aspects of life surrounding that subject.  Everything just seemed to fit perfectly into place, giving a unique feel to the whole thing.  When I was done, I was surprised I pulled it off.  It was not like I thought it was some huge masterpiece or anything, but in my mind, it was a huge challenge.  So having the finished product in my hands felt good. 

When it came time to record Gray Skies, Sunny Smiles in the studio, another challenge lay ahead.  Mario and I looked at the length of the song and wondered how we would ever get through it without giving ourselves ulcers in the process!  The stress of recording a regular 3-minute song was bad enoughóespecially if you were the drummer.  You could be on the 5th minute of a 6-minute song, but if you messed upóeven missed just one small beatóyou would be forced to record the whole song all over again.  While picking up where you left off, or ďpunching inĒ a good part over a bad, is fine to do with guitar, bass, vocals, and every other instrument of the world, doing so with drums would sound too noticeable and inaccurate, and in effect, cannot be done.  But one thing this song had was lots of short pauses in-between tempo and style changes.  So for every pause that I approached and passed successfully, I was relieved to know that if I did happen to mess up, I would at least be able to pick up from after the pause, rather than from the very beginning of the entire song. 

I canít remember exactly how the drum recording for Gray Skies, Sunny Smiles played out, but I remember it being a heck of a lot easier than I thought it would be.  The entire song may have actually been one takeóI canít remember.  But I do know that by the time I got to the very end where the song does that instrumental sort of outro as it fades into the wind, my arms were about ready to fall off from playing so hard and being so tense.  When it was over though, I rejoiced. 

Then it was time for Mario to record his guitar parts, overlapping every guitar track two times for a fuller sound.  He first laid down all the rhythm guitars (the basic background guitars), and then recorded all his lead guitar parts.  When he finished that, it was then time to record bass.

Before we even stepped foot in the recording studio, we spent about a year just preparing for it.  During that time, we practiced a lot and developed all our songs by adding more backgrounds, extra guitars, new parts, etc.  However, one thing Mario and I didnít really decide on was how the bass would go during the instrumental ending of Gray Skies, Sunny Smiles.  Mario thought the bass should follow the root notes of the guitar, while I thought the bass should do its own thing, and also hold out the same note for several measures as the guitar changed.  Since we couldnít agree during the song development pre-studio phase, we decided to just move on to other things and come back to it a little bit down the road.  Well one thing led to another, and I guess we forgot to go back and work on deciding which version sounded betterÖ  well, until we were in the studio ready to record the part.  Then we remembered.

Not knowing what to do, and totally against making forced decisions under pressure, we decided to just record both versions, and later pick the one to use during mixingóthe part of the recording phase where all the recorded parts (drums, guitar, bass, vocals, etc.) are mixed together.  So thatís what we did.  That part was so tiring because it did the same exact thing over and over and over again, and I had to move my fingers pretty fast around the fret board.  Anyway, after both parts were recorded, we ended up picking the one I liked more.  I was happy!

There were some last minute ideas I wish could have been added to the songómainly background clips I was going to ask Jami to act outóbut there just wasnít enough time for everything.  We were in the studio till about 3AM that July 9th, that final day, putting the last touches of special effects over the ending.  The wind turned out a lot scarier than I actually intended it to, and the ending a little shorter than I wanted.  But in the end, it was perfect.  However, we didnít realize how perfect till some time later, when we tried uploading our CD to  It was then we discovered that if we had gone even one second longer on that ending, or one second longer anywhere else on the CD for that matter, we would have had to cut out an entire song!  You see, regular CDís fit 74 minutes of music.  But CDís only fit 61 minutes and 17 seconds.  Actually, they are supposed to only fit 60 minutes exactly, but I guess no oneís really counting.  What happened was when we first tried uploading our music, it got denied because our CD was too long.  We were bummed and thought weíd have to kick a song off our album, but then Mario thought he could give cutting a few seconds off the CD a try.  The only part he could cut off was just before Memories Made, Times Forgotten where we had a clip of rain falling for six-seconds before the actual song began.  The length of the rain wasnít planned.  It was just how long it ended up being.  When he cut the entire 6-second part out and tried uploading the CD again, it got accepted.  We couldnít believe it because we didnít think it would really work.  Then, just for curiosities sake, Mario tried adding one second of rain at a time and uploading the album to see how close we had made it by.  To our surprise, even adding just one extra second to the album got the entire CD denied!  Playing one song just a hair slower, or fading out just a little longer, or anything just a little different would have totally messed everything up.  Itís so crazy to think how perfect every single beat and every single thing had to be played and recorded in order to make the CD fit without even one second to spare.  Thatís just way too crazy to be coincidence. 

Gray Skies, Sunny Smiles is a song Iím really glad I had enough motivation to write, and a song that I feel gives this album a lasting finish.  Itís the song that I wanted my all to go intoófrom the days I began writing, to the last minutes of the recording process.  Though Dave (our mix engineer) did call it an ďinstrumental masterpiece,Ē Iíd rather not flatter myself.  For all I know, it may end up being everybodyís least favorite song for one reason or other.  But whatever happens, that song will always be an achievement for me, and something Iíll always be proud of.

Well, I guess itís time to wrap this thing up.  Sorry for going on so long.  I just wanted to make sure I spent time writing about all the processes that went into putting this song on our very first CD, Memories Made, Times Forgotten.  And with that, Iíll let you go now.  Thatís the whole story.  I hope it was worth telling.   

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