I wrote dozens of songs during the '80s. I wrote very few during the '90s. The main reason for this is that I left my band, Kabbalah, behind when I left New York. Without a regular group of players, I lost the motivation to write. I did write a few interesting solo tunes during this time, but I've always found more inspiration in collaboration. To me, it's always been about taking different players with different influences and interests, and fusing them together to create a new sound. I love seeing what my players will come up with.
After I've played with a bunch of guys for a while, I start to anticipate what they will do, and it becomes easier to write for them. And so it was that by 2000 or 2001 I had gotten comfortable enough with the guys (and gal) in the Moshe Skier Band that I began to get the urge to write for them.
Shoshanas Yaakov was my first new song in several years. I wanted something to play at an upcoming Purim Chagiga at the Yeshiva. Believe it or not, I originally wrote this for the acoustic guitar (and it still sounds good that way). Once I gave it to the band though, it took on completely different overtones. It has a distinct Rush influence, courtesy of our former drummer, and you may hear bits of Clapton or Ringo Starr in there as well. If you dig down into the radio.blog on the sidebar, you can hear the original version, with keyboards and violin.
Around that same time, I also wrote Hashkivenu. The drummer and I shared a deep appreciation of The Eagles ("Wait for the roto-tom solo!") and I wanted to write something in that style. I wanted to invoke "Peaceful Easy Feeling," and I think the original version (again, with a violin solo) did a nice job of this. But the drummer left the band, as did the violinist, and for some reason, the song just wasn't working for me anymore.
Then I started doing more acoustic guitar work and decided to try playing it on guitar instead of bass, tightened up the tempo a bit, and suddenly it became one of my favorite songs. Also, having the different instrumentation adds a little variety to the show. The only problem is that I do miss the bassline. I think Mendel does a great job playing the violin part that I wrote.