Deep origins, or the very abbreviated story of how Deep Salvage came together. Part One, meeting Dave Tutin.

<a href="">The Forgotten Place by Dave Tutin and Jeff Shattuck</a>

Note: On Thursday, July 1, Dave Tutin and I released our first album, Deep Salvage. Dave wrote the words, I handled music and production. To listen to the album free, please use the player above. To purchase a download of your very own, please visit

Deep Salvage is a collaboration between Dave Tutin and me. Dave writes the words, I write the music. If you've been reading this blog, you probably know a fair bit about me, but not Dave. Here's a brief recap how we met and started working together as songwriters.

Back in 1996 or so, I got my first copywriting job in a big ad agency, McCann-Erickson San Francisco, and for my final interview, I had to meet with McCann SF's Executive Creative Director. Before that fateful day, I had been in the building several times but never to the all-black corner office of the ECD. And I do mean black: the carpet, the Le Corbusier chairs (4 of them), the desk chair – everything. The man I was to meet was also a study in black, with his black leather jacket, black t-shirt, black pants, and black shoes. On entering the office, I noticed the awards on the floor all along the base of the walls, as if to say, "Whatever, there's more where these came from."

I don’t remember much about the interview with Dave, but I do remember feeling it hadn't gone very well. And why should it have? My portfolio was a mix of spec work and business-to-business ads, and even though I had once taught English to former East German border guards in East Berlin, I was intimidated. Many months later I learned that my gloom and doom instincts were right:  Dave had not wanted to hire me, but relented because he figured he wasn't going to have to deal with me much, as I wasn't going to be one of his direct reports.

Flash forward about 7 or 8 years and now I'm working directly for Dave, he in New York and me in SF, and we're at the cafe in the alleyway outside the agency. Dave sips his cappuccino and casually asks me if want to hear the album he's working on.

I feel my stress levels rise.

Here's the sad truth: I have had so many people play me their music and I am almost never impressed, so when Dave handed me his B&O headphones, I was worried I was going to have to lie. But put them on I did. He pressed play and… from the very first notes I knew I wasn't going to have to lie at all. In fact, I probably held back my enthusiasm a bit because I didn't want to risk being seen as total sycophant!

Jump forward again several years to 2007-8 and now I'm home recovering from my brain injury, while Dave is still in NYC, but busy launching his own business instead of working for someone else's. His first album is done and it's phenomenal and now I'm starting to make an album of my own, albeit very slowly, given the brain injury and all. By this time, I had probably sent Dave a demo or two of stuff I was just starting to work on, I might have even finished Here Comes the Weather, I can't recall, when one day an email from Dave arrives with a lyric sheet attached. His note says something about how the lyrics seem to be crying out for a rock song and since he doesn't write rock songs maybe I could give it a go.

I did. And that song – Borderline Love – would become the second song on our first album, Deep Salvage. (Use the payer above to give it a spin! Just click on the double arrows to advance to song 2.)

Looking back on it all, I'm amazed by so may things: that I got the job, that Dave and I ended up being a good team in adland, and, most of all, that the Man in Black, as Dave was known in those McCann days, has gone from being a distant boss to a close friend and songwriting partner.