Vol.138 TODAY WAS YESTERDAY / March 2024


Angelo Barbera and Ty Dennis, who once shared the stage as band members of The Doors of the 21st Century, have formed the music unit TODAY WAS YESTERDAY and released their self-titled debut album, “TODAY WAS YESTERDAY.” The album features ten tracks, including six songs with Alex Lifeson of Rush, a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, and one track with Robby Krieger of The Doors as guest guitarists. In this album, they elevate their unique sound by drawing influence from the artistic, beautifully nuanced music of Japan, Genesis, and Tears for Fears, as well as the experimental sounds of Led Zeppelin and Rush. Meanwhile, they successfully merge complexity with an accessible catchiness.

We sat down with Angelo Barbera [vocals, bass, guitar, keyboards] and Ty Dennis [drums, percussion, programming] to discuss the formation of their unit and their debut album “TODAY WAS YESTERDAY.”

Interview / Text  Mamoru Moriyama
Translation         Hiroshi Takakura

L) Ty Dennis  R) Angelo Barbera

Muse On Muse : First, could you please introduce yourselves and tell us in detail about your music careers?
Angelo Barbera : Hi, I’m Angelo Barbera, I’ve been a touring/ studio bass player / songwriter for over 25 years.
25 of those years were with Ty Dennis Weather in Studio or Touring.
Ty Dennis : Hi, I’m Ty Dennis. I’m a studio/live drummer based in Los Angles, and I’ve had the privilege of playing all over the world and recording lots of great music. A career highlight for me has been the new Today Was Yesterday record Angelo and I created.

MM : Please tell us about how you formed Today was Yesterday and the journey to your debut.
TD :  The band started as a recording project. Angelo and both love these songs and we are fortunate
that we connected with some great, incredible talent like Alex Lifeson and Robby Krieger who helped define our sound and everything fell in place to make this debut record a reality.

MM : Why did you decide to name the unit “Today was Yesterday”?
TD : To me it represents the personal history of Angelo and I connecting and playing music together for almost 30 years. The feeling we have creating music together is the same as it felt way back then. And also to me the music is reminiscent of the kind of music I love from the some of the classic albums of yesterday that I never get tired of listening to.

MM : Your debut work, “Today was Yesterday,” is a wonderful piece filled with experimental and artistic elements, yet it is not just for a niche audience but contains elements that are widely accepted by real music fans.
AB : Thank you very much. I’ve always been attracted to that genre of music with melody, rhythmic intensity, and of course improvisation. In the vein od some of my great heroes like Led Zeppelin, Genesis, The Who, and Steely Dan.
TD : Thanks you for saying that. We made exactly the kinda music we want to hear and I hope it connects with people that way.

MM : The album production credits Angelo, Ty, and Clark Souter. Could you please tell us about each of your roles?
TD : Angelo is the primary songwriter and he sang the tunes and plays bass and keys and some guitar, too. I played the drums and percussion and we both collaborate on crafting the songs to what they eventually develop into. Myself, Angelo, and Clark Souter all co-produced together and we all had the same vision for this music. Clark has great music instincts , so we trusted him to help us make this all happen. It was really essential to have everyone on the same page as to what the vision for the record was and is.

MM : All the songs included in the album are co-composed by Angelo and Ty. Can you tell us in detail how the two of you go about song-writing?
AB : It always starts with the melody with me and then composition. It always has to form a skeleton; which would be basic progression and then adding the rhythmic harmony, and dynamics to make sure it forms the composition in the way I feel it.
TD : When I hear the skeleton of the songs I listen and compose a drum part that wraps itself around the song and captures the nuances of the vocal melodies and I really focus on making my drums into an arrangement that flows with each song.

MM : Alex Lifeson of Rush participates in six songs on the album. Could you tell us about how he came to be involved?
TD : I met Alex through Robby Krieger of The Doors. I have played a few times with Alex in Los Angeles at some benefit shows, and I played him some early versions of a couple songs from this Today Was Yesterday record. Alex liked what he heard and offered to contribute guitar. It’s an honor!

MM : He is a guitarist with a solid style established in RUSH, but what did you ask of him when playing for the songs of Today was Yesterday?
TD : We never told him what to play at all. Ever. He played perfect parts that are genius and I couldn’t imagine more perfect contributions to these songs than the beautiful parts Alex played for us.

MM : The song “If I Fall (Silly Games)” exudes a melancholic and jazzy charm, and Robby Krieger of The Doors provides a guitar play that fits perfectly with the song.
AB : This tune was written and re-written with a specific groove in mind, very jazzy, the lyrics get dark and honestly the song was written about the fear of taking chances in life and at the end of the day it’s all Silly Games. Robby nailed it perfectly melodically and emotionally.

MM : Are Alex Lifeson and Robby Krieger responsible for all the guitar parts in the songs they participate in, or does Angelo handle the basic parts? Please tell us more about the division of roles with them.
AB : The songs were written with my guitar parts and once we got Alex and Robby I made sure to trim the fat on stuff I may have overplayed to make sure their parts cut through and boy do they. All of Alex and Robby’s parts were their sole ideas.

MM : The songs “I Take All,” “Rukus,” and “Borrowed” do not seem to have guest musicians credited, yet they show the originality and unique world of Today was Yesterday even without guests.
AB : There are actually more than (2) guests on those 3 songs.
Mike Michel, which played on 3 tracks; “I take All” “Rukus” and “Borrowed”.
Max Russo, who played sax on the tune “Rukus”
Ed Roth who played Rhodes and B3 on “I Take All”

MM : Please tell us about the background and episodes of each song included in the album until they were created.
AB :
“GRACE (feat. Alex Lifeson)”
This song is written about the fentanyl epidemic that is currently plaguing the US and other regions of the world.

“A Louder Silence (feat. Alex Lifeson)”
A Louder Silence deals lyrically and musically with how we seem to take opinion and narrative over factual events.

“On My Own (feat. Alex Lifeson)”
This song is written about divorce in a metaphoric lyrical manor.

“I Take All”
I Take All was written about manipulation and people trying to control the mindsets of people they see they can control.

“My Dog Is My God (feat. Alex Lifeson)”
Written for every Dog Lover who has gone through all the stages of caring for a dog; from the good times to the bad and from the beginning to the end.

“Faceless Faraway Song (feat. Alex Lifeson)”
A metaphoric song that could be a love song or a break up song. I really don’t know.

“If I Fall (Silly Games) (feat. Robby Krieger)”
In all our lives, we see people with enormous gifts and talents but some are too scared to act on them due to lack of self-confidence and fear.

This song is basically is me and Ty’s perception of world events and the uncertainty of the future.

This is another metaphoric song about people’s narcissism and bullshitting their way through life.

“My New Low (feat. Alex Lifeson)”
This song is about being locked down during the pandemic and trying to create positives out of negatives. We started this record during the pandemic, which is definitely a positive.

MM : In this work, you have successfully recreated the essence of good old times in the ’70s and ’80s when Rock still had room to evolve, in a modern way. What was music from the ’70s to ’80s like for you, and how do you feel about the current music scene?
AB : That was my ‘hey day’ as a kid waiting for the new release of the next Who, Zeppelin, or Genesis album, and the change in the 80s to bands like Tears for Fears, Level 42, or Peter Gabriel was the pure essence of my youth. We sort of lost that with the short attention spans in today’s world but the positive is music is more accessible in today’s world.
TD : My favorite music is still the music from the 70s and the 80s. I’m still very connected to those classic records and incredible bands that moved me when I was young and absorbing music like sponge. To me the modern era idea of chasing perfection leads to a lack of soul a lot of the time and loses the human element. Sometimes that little imperfection is what makes it magic and thats ok!

MM : Please tell us about your prospects or upcoming plans as Today was Yesterday.
TD : Check out our website www.todaywasyesterday.com to see what we’re doing. We have our merchandise store there as well.

MM : Please send a message to the music fans who have come across your music.

AB : Thanks for your support. We love you!
TD : Thanks and appreciate to everyone for listening to our music. We really appreciate it!!

TODAY WAS YESTERDAY official website https://www.todaywasyesterday.com/

1. GRACE (feat. Alex Lifeson)
2. A Louder Silence (feat. Alex Lifeson)
3. On My Own (feat. Alex Lifeson)
4. I Take All
5. My Dog Is My God (feat. Alex Lifeson)
6. Faceless Faraway Song (feat. Alex Lifeson)
7. If I Fall (Silly Games) (feat. Robby Krieger)
8. Rukus
9. Borrowed
10. My New Low (feat. Alex Lifeson)