SONG HUSTLERS Baby Teeth

The Chicago combo learns to stop swinging for the
fences.

 

BY JOHN SCHACHT

 

 “I think originality is really overrated,”
says Baby Teeth’s Abraham Levitan. “Everything comes from somewhere, and the
sooner you can get over the idea of trying to reinvent the wheel, the better.”

 

That brisk blast of
musical realpolitik from the Chicago retro-rockers’
frontman informed his “52 Teeth” blog project, wherein Levitan and band posted
a new, fully arranged song each week for a year. They then chose some to
re-record for Hustle Beach, Baby
Teeth’s third full length and an irony-free homage to the ‘70s of Thin Lizzy
and ELO, and the 80s “hair metal and Circus magazine”-era that Levitan came of age in.  

 

If most musicians shy from discussing their influences, Levitan’s
blog revels in connecting the dots between eras, sonic styles, and cadgeable
riffs and melodies. “Being forced to do a song a week really helped me get over
the glamour of swinging for the fences,” he says. “After a while I felt more
like a cobbler, or a welder…which is probably a good headspace to be in.”

 

Blurt asked Levitan to
choose his three favorite tracks that didn’t make the final Hustle Beach cut (all can be heard at 52teeth.wordpress.com).

 

“All
That I Can Do” –
“A story about the sad clown, a
favorite lyrical trope of mine.  Maybe not the most original songwriting
in the world, but it feels very organic to me.”

 

 

“Indian River” – “This
was a really fun Southern-rock genre experiment.  I’m not surprised that
my band mates didn’t go for it, but I just love that Allman Brothers feeling,
and I can’t shake it.”

 

 

“Lose
My Head” –
“This song was rejected out-of-hand
by my band mates due to a too-obvious theft of the guitar line from ‘Just Like
Heaven’ by the Cure.  Funny… I wasn’t even thinking about that when I
wrote it.  Anyway, a good dumb pop song that maybe somebody younger and
prettier could have a hit with.”

 

 

Abraham
Levitan previously penned an installment in Blurt’s recurring artist-authored
feature “The Bully Pulpit.” Go here.

 

 

[Photo Credit: Miriam Doan]

 

 

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