by Larry Norman

This is taken fron the 1991 CD booket of the European version of In Another Land


When I was asked to re-release the Solid Rock catalogue on compact disc we discussed printing all the lyrics inside each booklet, particularly for the benefit of people in countries where English is not their first language. In the "producer's notes" I've undertaken to go back in time and try to explain what my hopes and intentions were, as a producer, in making Solid Rock albums for myself and other artists.

Perhaps here is the appropriate place to explain a lot of things which have happened in the last fifteen or twenty years of my life as an "artist." I don't really that I have anything to prove to myself or to anyone else. My earlier songs, written in the Sixties and Seventies, did whatever they did. I just wanted to be a servant of God, not a celebrity. Some people are critical because I haven't "gone further." What is wrong with not being a part of the self-promotion game? Do I have to become a star to prove that I don't care about it?

Let me say something here as an artist, on behalf of all artists everywhere: the critics who enjoy dismissing people as "irrelevant" and "over the hill," or relish examining our personal and private lives in public print, must be forgiven by all of us. For them gossip is not a sin, it's an occupation. They really can't create art, so they attack it. Some of them must lead lonely lives, feeling that it is their gift and responsibility to pass judgement on other people's efforts and mistakes. As the little button-badge says on the back of Phydeaux's Barking At The Ants album: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they have so much more to talk about." The Bible promises, we will only be forgiven for what we forgive. And we shall be judged in the same way that we judge others. I have one consistent response to those who have become long time enemies; I pray for them. As Phydeaux Sez "forgiveness is always the best revenge."

In Another Land was recorded in 1975 and was Solid Rock's first scheduled release. I tried to make it a special album. I wanted the Trilogy to end with a strong sense of victory. My personal feelings about life had all too clearly shown through on Planet and Garden. My despondency about life's most precious gift, love, had come crashing through the lyrics of many of my Trilogy songs. Earlier albums like Upon This Rock had been more childlike and innocent. In the first year of my marriage came shattering disappointment as my wife left me for the first of many times to be with other men. In the song "I've Got To Learn To Live Without You," I expressed what I thought at the time, in 1972, to be a permanent situation; abandonment, which then turned out to be even more demorarlizing, with the instability of a roller coaster. The marriage lasted from 1971 through 1978, then it went in downward-spiraling circles for another two years of separation and finally, divorce

I had tried to keep my depression out of my songs but this stain of sorrow colored the emotions of the concerts I performed. It was difficult to smile and difficult to talk with people after the concerts, except about Jesus. I didn't like to do interviews and I felt I had little to say, personally, about "the normal Christian life." My personal life was, emotionally, a catastrophe. By 1975 I was feeling pretty despondent about the wreckage of my personal life. But given the victorious conclusion to mankind's history, as promised in the Bible, I was determined to try and keep In Another Land a positive, uplifting statement.

Technically, I had made Only Visiting This Planet very dry; vocally and musically, without much echo. I wanted it to have a "real" atmosphere, a street-correct dispassion to it. Planet represented the Present and the Body. Garden represented the Past and the Soul. I wanted the love relationships unobtainable, resonant with the pain of other lovers throughout history; from Adam and Eve to Romeo and Juliet to me and every other hopeful romantic living in the 20th Century. Some of the better songs were censored, because they were too "off-center," at least for 1973. "Butterfly" was one of those songs; allegorical about the idealism of friendship clashing with the hopelessness of love. I mixed the album "loopy;" swirling with echoes, cross-echoes, and different kinds of reverb, simultaneously. I used natural chambers, echo plates, and tape-loops to create tensions. I wanted the album to be non-linear, and haunting. "Lonely By Myself" and "Nightmare" and a couple of songs would hopefully create emotional hangovers which couldn't easily be shaken.

(PAWS) (PHYDEAUX'S)

All of this was just in my mind, as such subjective ideas always are, but I hoped to convey intangible emotions to the listener. I was trying to create "art" and not commerce. I didn't care how many, or how few, copies of my album sold. The record company, obviously, was more concerned with commerce than art. They wanted "Fly, Fly, Fly" and "Christmastime" on the album. These songs were B-Sides, recorded for singles. I was of the old school from where the Beatles had come, believing that singles should be recorded for single release and that albums should not contain the singles but be works of art, separate unto themselves. I tried to keep the polished "commercial" singles separate from the artistic music made for the album, as I intended with "I Love You" during my days at Capitol Records. It was disappointing to me when the music was mixed together in the same format. Although I believed this kind of interference and censorship would never happen if I started my own record company, I was soon to experience an even more brutal censorship on several of my projects for Solid Rock Records. The executive levels seemed above the law and beyond the written specifics and guarantees of my contracts with them; able to do whatever they wanted. Perhaps this was their golden rule, that whoever has the gold makes the rules.

(END OF PAWS)

For In Another Land I wanted an even more dispossessing ambience. This album was to represent the Future, and the Spirit. I wanted to create a dream-state continuity to pull the listener in and encourage a hunger for this future in Christ, to provide hope that they could obtain this peace of God in their lives, unafraid, regardless of their personal circumstance or the coming of Babylon and Armageddon. I wanted to create an expectancy; for them to proceed into their future, looking for God's light upon their path. All of my albums had been made for the pre-Christian mind, the non-believer. Side One was always an introduction of gospel concepts; the existence of God, the reasonable personality of Christianity, the sanity of faith in Jesus and trust in His Holy Spirit. Despite the listener's possible aversion to Church because of experiences from their past, I wanted them to know that I was on their side; a believer understanding their non-belief, but encouraging them to give their life to Jesus.

Side Two of my albums were always more assertive, didactic, and opinionated just on the chance that the listener might be interested in exploring the message more deeply. I considered myself a sort of rock and roll missionary, rather, a spy behind enemy lines; intending to help subvert the rule of the realm through personal witness. I took this missionary stuff very seriously but thought of myself in the position that a warrior might find himself if he didn't have the support of his own regiment; from 1956 to 1970 I had felt pretty much alone. By 1975 I no longer felt alone, but did somehow feel angry that records weren't being made for non-believers but aimed specifically "in-house" for a growing commercial Christian market.