Thriving Ivory is a California rock quintet consisting of Clayton Stroope (vocals), Scott Jason (keyboards), Drew Cribley (guitar), Bret Cohune (bass), and Paul Niedermier (drums). The band's self-titled album was originally released on the independent Wolfgang label in 2003. They subsequently signed with Wind-up Records, who re-released Thriving Ivory in June 2008.
Rumor abounds that this song is about the events of September 11, 2001. In fact, the promotional material for the band even states that.
According to songwriter Scott Jason, though, the song has another whole element to it, as well, and it wasn't 9/11 that first inspired it. That credit would have to fall to U2.
Scott told us: "What initially started it is, was when I was back in college, I was like 20 years old, and it was right around the time that DVD players and surround sound systems were coming out and getting popular. And my roommates and I had rented the U2 DVD, Live From Slane Castle, in their hometown, and I just remembered we were watching it and they played this song called 'Where The Streets Have No Name.' And it was just touching, and emotionally moving, and I just had goosebumps the whole time. And then that's when I knew this is what I want to do, I want to be able to write something that can touch me – touch other people the way that that touched me and moved me, connected with me. And so that was kind of the initial trigger. And 9/11 had also occurred around the same time, so there's also references in there to that, like the 'New York City angels' part and stuff like that."
Also rumored to be the first song Scott wrote with the band, he flattens that notion right away by saying simply, "No, that's not true." Then he explains that he writes all the songs - music and lyrics - by himself.
When it comes to presenting the song to lead singer Clayton Stroope, Scott has a pretty good idea already what he'd like the song to sound like, so it's just a matter at that point of conveying it to Clayton and then trying things out. "The thing with Clayton and I, we've been working together for almost a decade now. And we have our system, and it works excellent. Basically, I'll write the music and the lyrics, and then I'll be like, 'Okay, Clayton, get your ass over here,' and I will sing him the song and he'll sing it back, and we'll practice until he gets the melodies right, and stuff like that. And so I just kind of teach him how it goes. And that's kind of the way that works. And we've been doing it for so long with so many songs that it's just like clockwork."
"We have really good chemistry working together, musically. A lot of artists have creative differences and fighting and stuff like that. But the singer and I, we really work really really well together, so we're kind of fortunate in that respect."
With every new song, however, Scott admits that it is always a bit difficult to get it going. "Because I'll sing it to him, and I'll be like, 'No, it's like this.' And then he'll try again. And I'll be like, 'That was almost it.' So it's always kind of difficult at first. But then once we've been going at it for about half an hour, then the lights turn on. But I wouldn't say that one song has kind of stuck out as being difficult. Because he doesn't necessarily need to like interpret anything, and plus he knows my style so well at this point that it just works really well. We work really well together."
This being the first release and subsequent first hit song for Thriving Ivory, they are enjoying the ride, but also never losing sight of the next album. The tough thing, says Scott, is that they are so busy touring for this first album they haven't had time to go to a studio and lay down the tracks for the next one. He explains his experience so far: "What happens is, when a band comes out with an album, if the next album comes out really quick, that means the singles on the first album didn't do very good. But if it takes a while - we did 'Angels On The Moon' for almost a year - and that's because it was really successful, and we were really grinding out that single. So the longer it takes in between albums usually is a good sign, meaning that there were three or four singles on it that they were working on radio that did really well. So I'm not sure, it's tough to say. We just went to radio with the second single. It's kind of just now coming out. So it's really tough to say when the second record's gonna get started in the studio." (Check out the full interview with Scott Jason