A family trip to our town pool during 4th of July weekend brought sudden and intense inspiration for Amy and me while our daughter delighted in her first swim of the season. When it was time to go home, she didn’t want to come out of the water, and we had the new song’s main theme very quickly. The feelings I got about those summer days by the poolside in my own childhood came to mind and ideas were coming quickly for images to include in the song.
Our first challenge was to make sure we were writing a new, truly original song and not unintentionally paraphrasing an important influence in children’s music, Justin Roberts. His song “Kickboard, Baby Yeah” came to mind and I knew not to make a reference to kickboards in the lyrics, so Amy and I came up with sunscreen, goggles and flipper fins. I was a bit suspicious of our first draft of the chorus which I had ended with the line “Isn’t that what summertime is for?” until I confirmed my suspicion, listening back to “Kickboard.” There it was in Justin’s bridge: “Then we’ll really know what summertime is for.” So we got to work on rewriting the last 2 lines of the chorus to what it is now.
Since the song was written in the summer with a specific seasonal appeal, we knew we’d have to record the song and get it to post-production quickly to get the single out on radio while there was still enough summer left. We got the band started on rehearsal right away and made an iPhone recording of our rehearsal runs through the new song. This helped us to refine the arrangement. In rehearsal, our bassist Judy heard something in my lead guitar intro to the song – the opportunity to scat-sing along with my guitar solo, like George Benson or David Gilmour. This was another situation to make sure I wasn’t copying Justin Roberts, who scat-sings lots of riffs in his songs on the “pa-pa-pa” syllable, so I tried out a “na-na-na” syllable which worked beautifully. Our game plan was to record the drum and bass parts for “Stay in the Pool,” “Jungle Gym Jamming” and “Window of the Train” all in one session.
We got into the studio and achieved our goal of recording the bass and drums or those three songs. With Dave scheduled to do a lot of traveling in the summer and knowing we couldn’t afford to lose much time on this project, we agreed that I would rent his professional-grade microphone and amplification equipment so I could record vocals at home without having to wait for an available studio appointment. Dave suggested a modification to the lyrics in the 2nd verse to help the story flow better and be more relatable to kids. I edited the lyrics, putting Dave’s feedback into play.
Fun fact: “Stay in the Pool” is Casey’s first studio track as a member of the band.