Americana Highways is hosting this video premiere of Robin Lane’s song “All I’ll Ever Need,” a newly released song on Red on Red Records by the musician songwriter who wrote with Neil Young’s band Crazy Horse, and in her band Robin Lane and the Chartbusters, among other highlights of her storied career.
We had a chance to chat with Robin Lane about the song. The video appears just beneath the interview.
Americana Highways: You’ve been involved in creating music through a number of different movements and genres. What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen?
Robin Lane: First there is a mountain then there is no mountain then there is.
In the halcyon days of The Sunset Strip I was part of that scene; I wasn’t writing songs yet, just absorbing everyone else’s songwriting and musicianship. The main thing in those days was that every bit of music was fresh…new, fresh, true. What came before that amazing time were big band, Patty Page, Frank, then along comes Chuck Berry. There had always been the Chicago and Delta Blues singers and songwriters, at least in the 20th century, probably before..
Motown too was fresh, but the music of all those bands from the mid to late 60’s right after the Beatles, was sensitive to the rumblings of youth, influential and powerful. An amalgamation of country and blues and something else. Totally new, LSD and pot induced creative magic. Derived from the above were Buffalo Springfield, Jimi Hendrix. . . but can you explain Cream, The Doors or The Who? It’s not that people didn’t borrow or steal from others of the same era but each band had its own spin, or maybe I was just high. The music scene, which was more about life and making a difference and changing the world, than a scene, was still a scene and it was magical and brilliant in its many colors.
Then there was the folky phase of my life, singer songwriter. I knew all these singer/songwriters from that era, many who went on to great success. There was loads of community in that group. I was in LA but it carried on from west coast to east coast and to England, then back again. There was this other, real scene going on in New York with The Velvet Underground but I was California through and through.
So from new and fresh influencers, I begin writing songs in the singer songwriter vein with the singer songwriter types, then I go to Boston and Yipeeee start what I think is a punk band. How do you go from singer songwriter to hanging out at the Rat wanting to bang on people’s heads with truth to a fake world as I saw it, along with the rest of the annihilation crowd. The scene (and this was a scene) was so vital. Music had been watered down out in the world. I heard about punk music while I was still a folky and I didn’t understand it. But after I was hanging out at The Rat for awhile, I realized I still had a lot of things to say about the state of society, plus at that time I was a pretty big Christian and I had even more to say about that, but hopefully not in a preachy way, I just knew there was light at the end of the tunnel and figured people who hung out at places like CBGB’s and the Rat really needed hope and love cause that’s what Jesus was about to me…Love Love All The Time Love, not the idiot right wing…well you know what I mean. Not trying to turn anyone off….
Everything the punk bands were singing about was the dismill end of life, no hope, kill me now. It was a Eureka moment for me…finally I had found the home I knew would be good for what I wanted to say in the new way I wanted to say it. The folks who loved folky Robin thought I’d gone and lost my mind. But remember…punk was kind of a wide span at the time…from the Sex Pistols to Tom Petty.
I didn’t calculate my foray into this scene consciously, it was an organic growth of my mind. It was not something I sat down and planned to do and I loved it and never had so much fun and fulfillment being in a band, the camaraderie, the laughs, the good music. At that point I hardly knew an A chord from a B. I had been writing my songs in tunings.
So you have flower power and love, then laissez faire songs and songwriters and the eagles, then angry people taking 3 chords and screaming out their disillusionment with the world and how music and those old timer musicians (over 30) had become (lame man)
As for me and the music I am doing now…I’m still hoping the world will change and I wouldn’t mind being an influence with my music and anything I have to say, but I’m loving taking it a bit slower and more thought out at this point…although “All I’ll Ever Need” was a spontaneous combustion and if you call it laid back then there ya’ go, time does march on, in all it various directions and I’m rolling on a river all the way.
AH: This song features collaborations with your son out in Los Angeles and musicians here on the East Coast. Have you collaborated across many miles like that ever before? Was this time any different?
RL: I’ve played with musicians from many towns and cities but I’ve never had anyone record something in another state…oh wait a minute. I wrote a song with Paul McComas…Paul lives in Chicago, during 2020 in the midst of Trump mindset and Covid we wrote a song about it all mostly about Trump. It’s called “Chip Off The Block.” Trump and his dad Fred. Do I have to spell it out? So that was a collaboration NOT done in studio together.
This time it was my bio son (given up for adoption, long ago, later found) putting down a bass part he had played with me out in LA. We sent him tracks from the song, he put on a bass part, then sent it back to John Pfister and me at (Ringo Studio) John copied the bass part but changed it up just a bit. I have a MARS 1200 porto studio which I’ve recorded songs on then taken those recordings to the studio and added drums and other instruments.
AH: Could you talk about the writing and recording process for “All I’ll Ever Need?” Did you always envision the song with that laid back beat and arpeggiated guitar? Did the song go through any arrangement changes while recording?
RL: When I wrote “All I’ll Ever Need” there were at least 4 different versions. I think I liked another version better than this one but it was more complicated and I was asked to sing a song at a wedding so this one ruled due to its simplicity and ease of playing so that others could play along with me easy breezy. I guess I wouldn’t have used the term “laid back beat.” I never would have thought of that term but I’m just a songwriter so what do I know? Most of what I do is via instinct. This is just a simple love song or finding the right person song having hidden your heart away for fear of hurting, in the words of Jean Cocteau, “you are my mirror beauty, reflect for me and I will reflect for you” from his 1946 film Beauty and the Beast.
AH: You teach a lot of people how to write songs. Has that work influenced your own writing?
RL: Yes it has. When I facilitate workshops with trauma survivors, we first listen to several styles of songwriting, each having to do with something deep and traumatic or losing, or unhappiness. This is cathartic and opens them to the pain they have most likely stuffed. I ask each person to write their words. After that I ask them what type of song would you like your story to be in. They tell and I create the song with their lyrics most often, my music. This has given me the opportunity to explore so many diversified styles. Some of the music I came up with for youth in Boston, who had been trafficked, had to be hip hop, or rap. I listened to JZ and Nicki Minaj and put together all the young women survivors songs, as if I was JZ or Nicki Minaj. Of course I wasn’t, but what a thrill to try to be like someone else you are absolutely not like It was extremely fun and inspiring to make believe I was a different type of music person and the best part was working with these young women who after initially wondering what this older white lady was doing with them, began to think there just might be hope for themselves. Music is such a tool for healing…writing your own song, then hearing it played back to you offers you a safe place to feel the emotions you are usually running from.
AH: What do you hope listeners take away from “All I’ll Ever Need?”
RL: I hope they take away some joy and happiness.
I think there is a lot of love in this song, it’s not too deep but it says what it wants to say in a short and simple way.
I hope they like it enough to come out to see me perform live and I hope they want to hear more of my music and that I will have a bigger following than ever before! I still have a lot of years left.
Thank you, Robin Lane, for the interview! Find more about Robin here: https://www.facebook.com/robinlaneofficial
and also here: http://www.songbirdsings.org/
The video was created by Harry McCoy of Petroleum Films. Pretty scenes of lovers on Unicorn St, kissing, laughing with joy and Robin Lane’s full throaty vocals launch this love song into very pleasing territory.
Enjoy the song and the video, here: