Music: Life Along the Fault Line

David Baerwald writes rock poems of metropolitan malaise

Picture this. A small, comfortable apartment in Los Angeles. Three people, all trying to work, trying to write and make music, but not necessarily together. In the living room: David Baerwald and David Ricketts, trying to come up with an appropriate follow-up to Boomtown. Pressure enough right there; not only the normal, friendly collaborative pressure but the burden of trying to equal or even top one of the best albums of the 1980s. In the bedroom: Toni Childs, who was living with Ricketts and laboring over her own lyrics besides.

"For a year," Baerwald remembers, "she'd been working with one line...

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