Song Stories # 5 – “Don’t Change” by INXS

INXS was one of the first bands I really got into. When I first heard “Don’t Change” off of their album “Shabooh Shoobah”, I absolutely loved it. Like many INXS fans, I discovered them after seeing the video for “Need You Tonight” on MTV. I then went out and bought that album and went back through their catalog. This song has stuck with me as one of my favorites through the years.

For my recording I turned up the guitars (I am, after all, primarily a guitar player) and made the drums and bass a little more prominent than the original. For the drums, I cheated and used a drum track I found online, everything else is me. The rhythm guitars were recorded direct into my PC using the Ampire plug in to get the tone I wanted. The lead guitar is my Laney amp mic’d. It took me several hours to get it right, but I’m happy with the result. The keys are a combination of my daughter’s keyboard and midi plugins.

The hardest part to record for me was the vocals. I knew going in that there is no way I could record vocals that come even close to Michael Hutchence’s original vocals. I mean, his voice is one of those iconic singing voices. So from the start, I just wanted it to sound like me singing one of my favorite tunes. Even with that mindset, it took me several takes to get vocals I could live with – it turns out this song is just outside my range.

Anyway, enough of that – here’s me playing one of my favorite songs. …I hope you enjoy.

Don’t Change (INXS) – Recorded by J. Jensen/Written by INXS (M. Hutchence, A. Farriss, T. Farriss, J. Farriss, G. Beers, K. Pengilly)

Song Stories #1 – “Stay”

I thought I’d kick off my blog by writing about one of my original songs – “Stay”. I like writing about music and the creative process behind it, so I plan on making this a common theme on this blog. Hopefully anyone who reads this is into that sort of thing…

This song actually started when I was in High School. The lines “If you love me, I’m not sure/Love’s a disease and there’s no cure.” and the chorus “If I promised you the world, would you share it with me?” actually came from a poem I wrote for an English assignment in high school. (oh so many years ago…) The rest of the song came about in roughly 2008 while I was thinking about an old break up and remembering how I felt at the time.

The chorus on this song has gone back and forth between “If I promised you the world, would you share it with me? Would you give it all away – just to let me stay?” and “Like a whisper on the wind, I can feel it coming in. Please don’t come my way, unless you think you’re gonna stay.” Although I like both choruses for different reasons, ultimately I decided to keep the original chorus. Here’s a really old demo with the “whisper” chorus…

Stay (“Whisper” chorus demo)

Unhappy with that version, I sat down last year (2018) and decided to re-record the song with the original chorus. For this version, I wanted a more gritty, electric guitar driven sound. I liked the original guitar solo, so I went back and listened to the solo on the version above and re-learned it to record again…

Stay (Kepi Jensen Version)

Late last year, my good friend and musical guru Daniel Small and I sat down and recorded this song again at his studio (which is much nicer than mine). The result is the version below, which is by far my favorite recording of the song.

Stay – Swamp Yankee Version

This version has me singing, playing acoustic guitar, and keys – Daniel playing drums, bass, singing, mixing, and whatever else he felt the song needed – my musical partner in crime, Joanne Elmoznino singing backing vocals – Jim Rizzo playing electric guitar – and “the other” Jim (who doesn’t have an online presence, so I’ll leave his last name off) playing that incredible guitar solo…
I call this the “Swamp Yankee” version because everyone who appears on this song is also in Daniel’s band Dan and the Swamp Yankees. (Check them out on Spotify when you get the chance…)