If Unwritten Law could put out an album every year, it would.
Unfortunately, that’s almost physically impossible in today’s make-it-sound-perfect musical climate.
“We started this album in January of last year,” guitarist Rob Brewer said recently of their second Lava album, “Here’s to the Mourning” (released Feb. 1). “Our goal was just to go in there and finish it, but you always have things holding you up. Two years between albums is too long, in my opinion. You gotta give the people what they want: more music. We’re just so stoked to finally get it out.”
Well ahead of the album, modern-rock fans have been savoring the first single, “Save Me,” a track that Brewer says wasn’t exactly the band’s first choice.
“But it’s growing on me,” he said.
The main reason for Lava’s insistence on “Save Me” has to do with the creative spark that Linda Perry provided for the song, which singer Scott Russo wrote with his girlfriend. Brewer says that lyrically “Save Me” was solid.
“It just needed some work,” he said. “It didn’t have very good structure. Scott had written like nine different choruses for it, and finally Lava just said, ‘Do you want to work with someone else on it?’ They suggested Linda Perry. What are you going to do, say no?”
Perry, the former lead singer of 4 Non Blondes, is known for her magical touch penning and producing songs for Christina Aguilera and Pink … but Unwritten Law? A SoCal rock band that “has had an uncanny knack for stirring up trouble,” as its label puts it? A group whose recent appearance at CBGB’s was cut short by the club’s soundman because Russo defied New York’s anti-smoking policy by lighting up?
“We’ve been good boys lately,” Brewer said. “I’m a father now. Our son was born four months ago. We’re so mellow now. We’re behaving. We’re just concentrating on the music, and working with Linda Perry isn’t such a stretch. It just shows how much depth we have.”
On “Here’s to the Mourning,” Russo, Brewer, guitarist Steve Morris, bassist Pat Kim and drummer Tony Palmero move effortlessly from revved-up guitar riffs (“Get Up”) to melodic slow songs (“Because of You”).
Meanwhile, the momentum for “Save Me” keeps building. In late January, they performed on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno,” and on Valentine’s Day, they’ll pop up on “Late Night With David Letterman.”
When it’s all said and done for Unwritten Law, which Brewer doesn’t anticipate for quite a while, he’s not sure what he’ll do with his time.
“We’ve been together for over 10 years now,” Brewer said. “When you’re on the road and you have the record cycle, the time goes fast. You’re always on the go. When you’re home, that’s when the time drags.
“All I know is, whatever I do, it’ll be something close to home. Maybe I’ll have a studio or own a guitar shop. It’ll be music-related, that’s for sure. It’s the only thing I know.”
ON THE WEB: unwrittenlaw.com.
BWF (before we forget): Upcoming tour date – Feb. 8, Portland, Ore., Crystal Ballroom.
The Unwritten Law album discography – “Blue Room” (Red Eye, 1995); “Oz Factor” (Epic, 1996); “Unwritten Law” (Interscope, 1998); “Elva” (2002); “Music in High Places” (Lava, 2003); “Here’s to the Mourning” (2005).