Origins is a recurring new music feature in which we task an artist with breaking down the influences that birthed their latest single.
Ron Gallo’s on a journey. And journeys, it appears, are good for productivity. Last year, the Philly-based pop-rocker dropped HEAVY META, a wild and (appropriately) heavy exploration of a tumultuous relationship, which he followed up earlier this year with his Really Nice Guys EP. Now, Gallo’s back with another full-length, Stardust Birthday Party, which arrives on October 5th via New West.
Gallo calls Stardust Birthday Party “a spiritual 180” from HEAVY META, a project he describes in a press release as “my ‘frustrated with humanity’ album.” After witnessing his ex overcame a drug addiction after a trip to a South American healer, the singer decided to see what fruit he might find on the holistic side of the fence. The result is this album, which chronicles Gallo’s “journey through awakening via self-deconstruction.” He notes a feeling of kinship with jazz legend John Coltrane, who wrote in the liner notes of A Love Supreme that, in 1957, he “experienced, by the grace of God, a spiritual awakening which was to lead me to a richer, fuller, more productive life.” The songs on Stardust Birthday Party follow Gallo’s march towards a more compassionate life, and “Love Supreme (Work Together!)”, which Consequence of Sound premieres today, speaks directly to Coltrane’s own outlook — both in its title and themes.
“I think at one point I wanted to change the world,” Gallo says in a press release, “but now I know I can only change myself, or rather just strip away everything that is not me to reveal the only thing that’s ever been there. And that’s what this album is about, it’s me dancing while destroying the person I thought I was, and hopefully forever.”
“God loves it when we work together,” he sings against the upbeat track’s rich, jangly guitars and vibrant percussion. While Gallo’s sentiments may resonate as saccharine, his infectious yawp and party-starting rhythms exude an authentic, urgent sense of exuberance.
Hear it below, and pre-order Stardust Birthday Party here.
Gallo spoke further to CoS about his love for Coltrane, as well as the tiny moments, apps, and feelings that served as the Origins for this particular track.
Coltrane, to me, IS music, the essence of it. His influence on this song is pretty heavy, not musically, because I wouldn’t even consider myself a musician or this song music by comparison, but the spirit, the title (lifted from his masterpiece album), the lyrics (one verse’s lyrics list the four parts of “A Love Supreme”—Acknowledgment, Resolution, Pursuance, Psalm), and the homage to supreme love – oneness, unity, the common thread in all things, god, whatever you wanna call it. I was listening to “A Love Supreme” while writing the words to this song. In the liner notes of that record Coltrane wrote: “During the year 1957, I experienced, by the grace of God, a spiritual awakening which was to lead me to a richer, fuller, more productive life. At that time, in gratitude, I humbly asked to be given the means and privilege to make others happy through music. I feel this has been granted through His grace. ALL PRAISE TO GOD.” THAT’S IT RIGHT THERE. I know this video is not “A Love Supreme” but I do think this video of the Coltrane quartet playing “My Favorite Things” in Belgium in 1965 is the greatest performance of all time, everyone should just watch it and then quit music and quit writing about music and destroy their phone. That’s what I did.
View of Earth from an airplane/airplane food:
I wrote this song on an airplane, I was eating bowtie pasta, really gross-tasting but very cute airplane food. I was looking out the window down at the earth and from that angle you can’t see the details or individual things that make up the planet. It’s just one thing. No people, no stuff, no world problems, no differences. Zoom out and you and me and all our shit doesn’t even exist. I think that’s good perspective to remember what divides us is all in our head.
I wrote this song on the GarageBand app on my iPhone while sitting on an airplane. Such a great app. You can really rip on that thing. I looped a drum beat and just started layering bass and strumming the fake digital guitar. Creating organic guitar rock music is over-rated, look at the Billboard charts, I bet a human playing an instrument didn’t even perform on any of the top 10 songs right now. Anyway, great app, get into it, the key to becoming a true artist is right in your pocket!!!!!
What is the world lacking? Compassion. You know what’s a really beautiful thing? Compassion. When you feel compassion, or witness compassion it is like a key to unlock an explosion in your heart, to feel alive, to feel human, to remember the point of this whole existence that we forget on a daily basis. So I say to myself and all: Give to those in need, it’s easy, it’s an almond milk latte, it’s a minute out of your day you spend concerned with your own meaningless crap. Go out and walk around and try to imagine what it is like to be the people you see. What’s it like to be an ant in a bathtub? A chandelier hanging from a ceiling? Before you go on a Facebook tirade: Try and remember all evil and hateful action is result of that persons own internal pain and delusion, remember that they are you also. Compassion is what can make a world a better place, powerful stuff, feels great. I typed “compassion” into YouTube and this Thai Life Insurance commercial came up now I feel warm.
In February, I went on a week long silent meditation retreat with a teacher I’d been very into for last couple years named Adyashanti. Awesome guy, amazing speaker and the retreat was completely transformative and informative about what I really am beyond the things I identified with my whole life (name, body, job, beliefs, opinions, thoughts, my past, etc.). I came back from that retreat on cloud 10 and rewrote the lyrics to the first verse because originally it was about my bowtie pasta airplane food and figured this song could probably have more meaning and weight than that.