The project has been a deeply satisfying creative adventure for the duo

Today Was Yesterday has released its debut studio album via Music Theories Recordings/Mascot Label Group. Lead vocalist, primary songwriter, bassist, guitarist, pianist and programmer Angelo Barbera and drummer, percussionist and programmer Ty Dennis together are Today Was Yesterday. On this collection of recordings, Rush’s Alex Lifeson contributed performances on six songs, while The Doors’ Robby Krieger played on one.

The duo has set out to create timeless music that transcends genres and generations. The debut is an imaginative, ten-song collection of prime modern classic rock. Angelo and Ty first met in 1997. They are longtime rock veterans with a telepathic musical connection. Angelo has worked with The Motels featuring Martha Davis, Red Square Black, Lita Ford, and, most notably, The Robby Krieger Band and The Doors of the 21st Century. Ty previously played in The Motels featuring Martha Davis, where he met Angelo, and he later replaced the Police’s Stewart Copeland in The Doors of the 21st Century. Over the years, Ty had been in house bands for all-star concerts which Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson was a part of.

The pair chatted with us about their debut record as a duo.

Tell me about the formation of Today Was Yesterday: The name, and decision to go at it as a duo?

Ty Dennis: The connection Angelo and I share is really no different than the 1st time we ever played together in 1996. It’s one of those things you can’t explain. It just works. Today feels like yesterday.

Angelo Barbera: Ty Dennis came up with the name ‘ and we both agreed that it reflects our vision and influences.

Musically, how different is Today Was Yesterday from your experiences as journeymen musicians?

TD: In TWY this is about my vision as an artist. Not serving someone else’s vision. Making this record felt like I was 12 years old again playing drums in my parent’s garage and I hadn’t felt that connection to my drums and music in all my years playing someone else’s songs.

AB: We both wanted it in a duo kinda vibe ala Steely Dan/Hall & Oates vibe which also gave the two of us more control on the songwriting process.

Ty, you have said “A Louder Silence” was your favorite song of the eponymous record. Tell me about that sexy bass groove in the number. Very addictive.

TD: Angelo composed a bass part in this song that evolves and flows but at the same time his part and this track leaves space for me to play a drum part that answers the music questions in this song. This is the kind of bass part a drummer loves.

Angelo, you have played with Robby Krieger in various incarnations of his bands. How did that lead to your collaboration on “If I Fall (Silly Games)?”

AB: “If I Fall (Silly Games)” is one of my favorites off record. It has a very doors darkness lyric-wise and music-wise to it and instantly Robby’s playing on this track is so melodic in his approach. His slide playing gives me chills every time I hear it on this track, and he liked the tune, also which doesn’t hurt.

Something that stuck out to me was the use of conventional instruments and programming to get a fuller sound as a duo. How do you decide what’s going to be played, versus what the computer is best at to achieve the sound you want?

TD: The computer loops are a tool to capture a mood, and it’s really effective to add the human element on top. We listen to achieve the right balance between the two. You could think of it this way.. if the computer elements we use are like a black and white film, then when Angelo and I add our parts we’re splashing color all over it.

AB: My writing process has always been the melody first. It starts with just a guitar or piano and vocal melody, and as a songwriter, we are always looking for a way to get on the freeway to what works in its basic form like baking a cake and then adding the icing.

And off of that, how do you plan to present this music in a live environment? Will you hire a touring band?

TD: We will have like-minded friends with us on stage who share our purpose and privilege of playing this music and who are kindred spirits of soul and intention.

AB: It will just be a trio and maybe adding keys and some minor backing tracks.

Of course, another guest star is Rush’s (former???) guitarist Alex Lifeson. He’s with you for a staggering six tracks! How did that come about, and what was it like to watch him in the studio? I know I’d be transfixed!

TD: I’ve known Alex for a decade and we’ve kept in touch. We caught up again in 2022 and I played him demos of a couple tracks Angelo and I were developing. Alex was impressed and offered to play guitar on a tune. Well, one song ended up being six songs, and we’re honored to have Alex’s epic contribution and gracious spirit on our record! Alex recorded his tracks at his home studio so we never saw the process, but you certainly hear the process!!

How has this project–the album and starting the duo–satisfied you creatively?

TD: Absolutely. Now I understand why so many actors become writers and directors. The ultimate satisfaction is answering the calling your soul sends you and making your own statement in the way you want to present it. Isn’t that what life’s about??

AB: Yes, me and Ty have been in studios/touring together for over 25 years so the aura/chemistry has always been there. Now, we did this record with me in Chicago and Ty in LA, and it still sounds like we were in the same room again which to me is a pure aura.

What is your plan going forward after the album launch?

TD: We’re on a mission to share this modern classic record, this collection of songs with everyone who needs to be reminded of the kind of music they forgot they loved. If you put our record on with some good headphones and push play today will feel like yesterday.

AB: We hope to bring it live in the summer of 2024, but until then, we have never stopped writing. Whether live or recording, the creative process will keep moving forward.