Bachman's takin' care of family biz

By Arlene Vigoda

Tal Bachman's career is in high gear.

School crush gets lyrical pedestal

 

Tal Bachman says She's So High - about an incredible woman "so high above me" - was inspired by a crush on the prettiest girl in his high school. He attempted to bribe her with $25 to date his stepbrother so he could be closer to her. "I lost my nerve," he recalls, "and the nicer she was to me,the more awkward I felt."

Women like the song, he says, because "they wish guys would feel that way about them, and guys like it because everybody can identify with the feeling of not being good enough for someone."

A sampling:

She's blood, flesh and bone

No tucks or silicone

She's touch, smell, sight, taste and sound

But somehow I can't believe

That anything should happen

I know where I belong

And nothing's gonna happen

'Cause she's so high

High above me, she's so lovely

She's so high, like Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, or Aphrodite

She's so high, high above me

 

She's So High, the infectiously hummable pop single from his self-titled debut album, has been steadily climbing Billboard's Hot 100 chart (it's No. 19 this week). It's featured as background music in Fox's promotion of Jennifer Love Hewitt's fall series, Time of Your Life, and the video is getting frequent play on MTV.

"I'm blown away," Bachman, 29, says from his home in Vancouver, British Columbia. "So many great things keep on happening, I can't even believe it."

The son of singer/songwriter Randy Bachman - of Guess Who (These Eyes, American Woman) and Bachman-Turner Overdrive (Takin' Care of Business, You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet) - grew up playing guitar, piano and drums at an early age but wasn't sure he wanted to pursue a career in music. He enrolled in a small university in Utah and wound up majoring in political philosophy.

 

"I was trying to find myself, but my dad was worried," Bachman remembers. "He said, 'You're a musician. What are you doing wasting your time in college?' "

His epiphany came while reading Plato's Republic in class one day. "I hit the part where Plato explains why music is 'sovereign' and how it shapes customs and laws and how it can change society. Suddenly, it all clicked, and I thought, 'I've had a great time here, but I gotta write.' "

He credits Electric Light Orchestra singer Jeff Lynne with influencing his musical style. "They had good tunes, great harmony, great pop songs. I defy anyone to tell me Jeff's not a genius," Bachman says.

The feeling may be mutual. A few years ago, the elder Bachman met Lynne and slipped him his son's demo tape. A few weeks later, Lynne called Tal Bachman to tell him how much he liked his work. "It was one of the first times in my life when I was truly tongue-tied," he says. "All these record companies had rejected me, and I felt like I only had one fan on the planet, and Jeff was it."

 

Among Bachman's other fans: "the special lady in my life." Borrowing his lyrics, is she "too high" above him?

"I often wonder why she's with me," he says with a laugh. "She's the perfect woman, and I feel like I want to be a better person when I'm around her."

Any marriage plans? There's a pause. "Actually, we've been married for the past five years," he says softly. "I didn't want to mention it because there are privacy issues, and my career is just getting off the ground, and she's a very private person."

Any other revelations? "We have 27 kids," he says jokingly. "We run a small orphanage."