Front-Seat Drummer

Songwriter/multi-instrumentialist Adam Behan is easy to spot with his big smile (second from the left). He’s pictured here with Keith Damron, Elliot Shabram and Patrick Daniel.

If Adam Behan could have one wish, it would be to clone himself.

Because while he wrote every song on his new album Secret Messages, and played all the instruments, he can’t play concerts on his own. “One day I will get to play with three other versions of me,” he says.

For now, he will rely on a little help from his musician-friends, whom he met over the years playing drums and other instruments in several local bands, including El Camino Sutra, a garage-rock four-piece from Monterey. Other previous bands include The Bluffingtons and The Adorkables. Fortunately, his friends agreed to learn the new material and will accompany him in presenting it at Other Brother Beer Co.’s Fall Market in Seaside on Saturday, Sept. 25. (For more details on the music and art festival, see p. 32.)

Behan has been writing songs his whole life and tried to put an album together a couple of times in the past. He credits local producer Marcus Wade for the fact that the job is done.

“He took things to the next level,” Behan says. “I wasn’t in any band at the moment and had time. And Marcus brought discipline to the process and made sure all was done correctly.”

Generally speaking, Behan’s songwriting process starts with a guitar and a melody. Sometimes he sings something that comes to mind, a phrase or two that starts to formulate itself out of his unconscious mind. From there, he says, the song slowly writes itself.

While putting together this album, Behan could draw from a lifetime catalog. The oldest is “I’m No Dummy,” written when Behan was 21, and the newest is “Secret Messages,” which gave the project its title. Behan isn’t usually a fan of naming albums after songs, but in this case “it felt good,” he says.

Other song titles suggest relationship content and the dilemmas of dating – “I Don’t Wanna Be A Bad Guy,” “Empty Girl” and “How Does She Get Away With It.” There are stories of painful, often deliberate, miscommunication and game-playing with would-be lovers, and hopes for a more mature romantic future.

The sound can be described as heavily influenced by both The Beatles and Green Day, with funny lyrics and good punchlines. Behan himself invokes The Beatles when explaining why he writes so many songs about girls.

“Love songs are the best songs,” he says. “They are the foundation of rock and roll. Those three-minute-long Beatles classics… ”

The cover of the album has a drawing of tin can phones, a symbol of well intentioned and naive attempts in communication, innocence or young love, Behan says. “I’m obsessed with the blue of this cover,” he adds. “It’s my favorite tone.”

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