Guitarist Stuart Smith, vocalist Joe Retta, and the Heaven & Earth crew release a cautionary tale based on real life

Stuart Smith is typically an upbeat guy. But an unexpected go-around with a woman clandestinely and completely out for herself transformed him—temporarily—into one of those tragic heroes of epic poetry. But rather than do something dramatic on the level of a Romantic-era poet, he sat down and wrote a song about the debacle.

"I wrote 'Bleed Me Dry' with our singer Joe Retta about an extremely evil woman from Belarus I was involved with when we started recording the album," says the guitarist. "It was a great catharsis to get my feelings out, as this is what I feel is the purpose behind a good song. It not only heals you but connects you with other people who have had the same experience.

"It was a lot of fun recording this track. We have a tradition in Heaven & Earth whereby whenever we record a song that utilizes acoustic guitars, I always get my old friend Howard Leese (Heart, Paul Rodgers, Bad Company) to record the acoustics with me. On 'Bleed Me Dry' Howard played my Taylor Leo Kottke Signature Model 12-string and I played his Paul Reed Smith acoustic. I always get Howard to play the 12-string, because after a couple of hours of recording it starts to hurt your fingers and he likes the pain! 

"For the electric guitar, I used my Aero 3 Stuart Smith Signature Model and an Engl amp teamed up with my old Marshall Major. My effects are all Dunlop and Morley pedals, and I use Peterson Tuners. Production was by our long-time producer Dave Jenkins and it was mixed by Chris Lord-Alge at Mix LA and mastered by Gavin Lurssen. Both Chris and Gavin were recommended to us by [Aerosmith vocalist] Steven Tyler."