I DON’T KNOW WHY I’M WRITING THE LINER NOTES … I didn’t even want the damned album out. It’s painful to listen to and was painful to make, by design.
‘Twas was a week or so before Christmas. The kid’s girlfriend did him wrong. It was his first love. He was bummed. I told him we should make the most miserable breakup album ever. He said “this isn’t going to be a good Christmas, is it?” I told him it would be one of the best ever
Christmas eve, my wife, his stepmother dumps me. It wasn’t altogether unexpected, or undeserved. He was nearly as devastated as I was. He lost a family.
I decided maybe we should go with a “Tonight’s The Night” theme. Neil Young’s band Crazy Horse lost two members of the family in one year. So Neil convened a bunch of folks together to record the album, steeped in pain and tequila. It was loose, sloppy and reeked of despair.
It was Christmas after all, and there was a house full of booze, and nobody showing up to drink it. I agreed with the kid. Christmas was going to kind of suck this year. We might as well take the opportunity for musical expression. Or just stay drunk and play. I laid in a stock of Dr. Pepper for him.
“It was a musical exorcism of pain which seemed to be compounding daily”
The two of us started recording. Todd Lane showed up the next night and we began in earnest. Mom died the next day. We kept on recording, straight through the funeral. My computer blew up. We finished recording the basic tracks and I took off to England, to spend a week in the little village where we’d met, fell in love and married. Alone.
We did overdubs in our spare time. There was a reconciliation with the wife, which didn’t last so there was fresh heartbreak for the final vocal overdubs.
Fresh booze as well. For most of the recordings I was out of my head. To level the playing field I picked songs the other two didn’t know, and only played one verse and a chorus before hitting the record button. We had to get it down in three takes. .
Todd Rundgren’s breakup album, The Hermit of Mink Hollow was an influence. But he was too optimistic. Beck’s Sea Change was another. But with a hyperactive 14 year old drummer, getting that mellow and staying that way wasn’t an option.
So we screamed instead. It was a musical exorcism of pain which seemed to be compounding daily. The shit rain was falling in sheets and there was no cover. We just kept playing.
Hyde showed up for the overdubs, since he was already camped out here to work on the next album. I remember he was around for the original sessions as well, cowering in a corner when he wasn’t raving like a lunatic.
Then one day I woke up to find the rawness had worn off, and the damned album was finished. Whenever I’d hear the recordings I’d balk at letting anyone else hear them. I was outvoted on whether we should put it out.
There’s a certain watching a car crash fascination with it I suppose. And maybe it will help someone going through a similar shit storm someday. I just hope to god there’s never a sequel. I don’t think my liver could take it.
Tracks, Notes and Lyrics
I Courted A Wee Girl
The Month Of January
Sixteen Come Next Sunday
Black Is The Color
Cold Rain and Snow
The Cruelty of Barbara Allen
Lament for Two Cates
A Stor Mo Choi
I Called You Back
I’ll Go No More A Roving