I’m referring of course to “Alain Delon,” a track by my friend Steven Pate that appears on the soundtrack of Pause of the Clock. (What–you thought I meant the actor?!)
During the editing of a dinner party scene I was searching for an appropriately rockin’ song to have playing in the background. I had a CD lying around of some demos that Steven had recorded, so I played through those and voila. The ideal song.
I never felt like I belonged
I wanted to be Alain Delon
With the sharpest suit of 1965
As my Kickstarter campaign continues apace, I thought it was high time I asked Steven a few questions about this enchanting tune.
Why Alain Delon? What was the initial inspiration for this song?
Well, I probably landed on the name Alain Delon because it rhymed with “belong,” as prosaic as that sounds. Then the rest of the lyrics flowed from that, as the name conjures up a lot of images. Delon was just glamorous figure, always in the presence of a too-beautiful-to-be-real actress or model, the kind of person I could imagine someone wanting to be. He could look kind of tough, like Robert Mitchum, but had a Monty Clift-esque prettiness to rely on. Also it would be a fun associative reference for me because he is an iconic international star who isn’t quite so known in the U.S. In my pre-Internet youth, a lyric like that would have driven me crazy … I would have to figure out who it was talking about and why. So the specificity of it is enjoyable and funny to me.
Was there a particular Delon film you were thinking of?
Delon was probably on my mind because I had this old copy of Sight and Sound with him on the cover and it was propped up on a bookcase up in the basement studio. It was a production still from Le Samourai, just him entering the room wearing a trench coat and hat. There is literally nothing cooler than Alain Delon in that movie. Others films like Un Flic or Le Cercle Rouge are part of the Alain Delon Coolness Pantheon, but he had a lot of great roles in that era. If we could clone him we could probably solve global warming.
Did you write the lyrics first or the music?
Almost certainly the music. I would have come up with a scratch track for the music and then just tried some words out that fit and generated more words. I was lucky to hit a vein that seemed worth mining a little. I liked it. I never recorded a chorus for it but I did have one at some point.
Describe what the recording process was like.
This was a demo, so I probably riffed on the guitar to a canned beat, then went back and recorded the rhythm tracks properly and laid on the proper guitars. After that I probably noodled around on the vocals until it sounded polished enough and hit print.
If Delon was a musical instrument, which one would he be?
Delon’s probably a bare-bones but perfectly-chosen jazz drum set in some timeless, understated natural wood finish. Could hit hard, looked cool, but doesn’t travel all that well.