Gregg Standridge has released a new album of his music that’s extraordinary in several respects. ‘Squeak’ is a double album set of discs pressed on ruby red vinyl.
The project’s graphic mascot is a mouse wielding a guitar on the front cover and printed on the center circle of each record. Inside art is all unique mouse illustrations pertinent to the subject matter for each of ‘Squeak’s’ sixteen songs. Standridge’s delightful music spans a variety of genres.
An astounding 27 other musicians make guest appearances on the album. Their names form a who’s who of the central Oklahoma music scene. The Transcript sat down with Standridge to learn about creation of one of the finest recording projects coming from Norman in years.
“It has been a blast making this album,” Standridge said. “To me it’s mostly a social and political statement. Some of it’s a little light-hearted. ‘Squeak’ to me is about getting out and voting. That’s what it’s all about.”
Clues to that arrive in song titles before the music is even heard. They include “America is Waiting,” “Build Your Wall,” “Revolutionary Man” and “Hole in Your Heart.”
Norman celebrity musician Terry “Buffalo” Ware co-wrote some of the songs with Standridge.
“I tried to distill snapshots of things I saw,” he said. “One of the first things that came out was ‘Build Your Wall.’ I thought how crazy is it that people are thinking about building a wall all the way across the border with Mexico. It was the most insane thing I’d ever heard of.”
Standridge co-wrote five of the compositions with Ware. “Little Mascara” covers The Replacements. The balance are Standridge originals. Space doesn’t allow for crediting all guest artists on ‘Squeak’ here so Standridge was asked for the three most senior.
“Those would be Terry Ware, Mark McCarty and Jahruba Lambeth,” he said.
Half dozen of the guests are women. Some are co-workers at Norman Music Institute where Standridge teaches guitar.
“I play with a lot of folks and I really wanted to get some combinations of drummers and bass players that don’t get to play together much,” he said. “So there are four different drummers and four different bass players. I tried to give them leeway as much as I could. Sometimes I’d tell them what I think. Everybody I work with is so professional and giving. They’re not scared to give their opinion on something. It’s just a damn honor to play with all these cats and hear what they think about it.”
None of the tracks on ‘Squeak’ sound alike. The title track is reggae, there’s hard rock and gentle ballads.
“I pulled the tracks from around 25 songs in the pool to choose from,” Standridge said. “I really like to mix that up. I don’t like to hear the same kind of song over and over again. I’ve always had a ska or reggae number on every album I’ve done because I love that music so much. The ballads are the easy ones. They tell me to stop singing the sad songs (laughs). I wanted to get some more rocking stuff on there. I just tried to really mix it up and it came out really well.”
Standridge worked recording engineer Brian Eads (Tomb of Tut, Norman) like a mule on this project.
“We’ve worked together since the early 80s here in Norman,” he said. “We have the ability to get up in each other’s grills a little bit more than other people probably. That’s where all the grease came from, just me and him.”
The striking art work and graphic design was done by Lauren K. Rawls Dale and Britni Peels. Creating ‘Squeak” was an all-around rewarding experience for Standridge.
“Aside from hanging and working with all those musicians in the studio it was right before the corona virus hit so now I hardly get to see anybody,” he said. “I got to go over to Terry Ware’s house and write music every week. We do it by Chat now. I wanted to do a double album with political and social viewpoints.”
‘Squeak’ is available in all its vinyl glory at Guestroom Records, Stash and Midway Deli. A download card is included in the package.