> “Touch You Again” and “When You’re a Star” have very distinctive riffs. Were they part of the song from the beginning?
Riffs usually come later. On “When You’re a Star,” we had the guitar and bass recorded. Then with that riff, it was like a light bulb going on over my head—I ran into the tracking room and recorded it. That happens a lot. The song will be recorded and I’ll hear a riff, melodically, in my head. I just have to transfer it from my brain onto the guitar.
> Do the vocal melodies come first?
Not always. Sometimes songs start with just chord progressions. But usually, once I have any kind of chord progression, the melody comes also. I often have melodies written ahead of the lyrics, which makes lyric writing more difficult because I have to fit them into these melodies.
I’ll get attached to sounds and then it takes a while for me to wrench my brain away from that and realize it’s okay to get unstuck. There were a couple of songs on the album where I was really stuck. “Everything Is Forgiven” moves around a lot. It was hard to fit words into that melody.
Sometimes I have a title and a melody, and I’m like “I’ve gotta get this goddam title in there!” “When You’re a Star” had to use those words: “When you’re a star, they let you.” It was like a puzzle. I figured out the only way to make it work was to change the order of the words around.
It's an excellent article split over 3 pages that covers many aspects of the Pussycat recording process from studio setup, guitar tuning, and song construction.
Also, given a little time has passed there's some retrospective thoughts on the lyrics and themes of the songs.