The one thing I miss most about Psykosonik is the process of creating a song from scratch with the guys. Whether it turns out the way you first conceived it in your head or not, the process is always an interesting experience.
After Gene and I mixed and mastered the record, I listened back and knew we had something. I took a promo copy up to the Bronx and played it for my friends. But when the 45 ended, there was complete silence. Everyone looked at me, and someone said, “Dion, what did you do to it?” They were remembering that night at Ellen’s party and the spontaneity of what we had done.
I never thought I had screwed up the song, but I knew what they meant. I had had those feelings before—a record not quite capturing what I had intended. But with “Runaround Sue,” I knew I had nailed it, even though that didn’t come across for my Bronx friends.
After “Runaround Sue” came out in September ’61 and hit No. 1, I went to the old neighborhood for a party. My friends said, “You know, we couldn’t really hear how good the record was at first, but it sounds good now.” Ellen gave me a hug and said, “Wow, what a birthday gift to watch that song come together.” By then, the song’s attitude had grabbed everyone’s spirit. But you know, as great as that song sounds on the record, it was even better at Ellen’s party. Sad but true.
I get a little of the same buzz from designing games and software, but because the process is so much longer, it’s nowhere nearly as emotionally satisfying. With the music, you can hear it decades later and still recapture a little bit of what it felt like at the time it was all coming together. It’s really less about the destination than the journey.