Thursday, August 31, 2006

polaroid (part 1)

faris and i played our last show together
january 16th 1999
the satellite dish in fort worth
we were paid $45 for our efforts
he quit the MF a week later
the 8-track recording sessions that would later comprise
the nourallah brothers cd
came to an end too
our musical partnership was finished
at least for the time being...
a few months later i formed version #1 of happiness factor
shupp on drums, t. roberts, d. deshazo
we played one gig opening for blondie in may
then imploded
b.s. wanted d.d. all to himself in s.r.
i had some sort of meltdown
too many emotional failures and disappointments
piled high in my skeleton closet
i couldn't take anymore
so i thought i'd quit music altogether

it took me over a year to get the nerve to come back to it
in early 2000 i dipped a toe in the shallow end
and joined j. hawkins punk band novachrome
hawkins is the painter of "happiness is a warm gun"
which hangs over the piano in pleasantry lane
i enjoyed the no pressure situation of not being the frontman
the guy everyone blamed the success or failure on
i was just the bass player
being just the bass player was fun
i guess it served its purpose
by the time i met drummer j.j. myers in mid 2000
i was ready to try the singing thing again
after 3 years of fun going nowhere fast in HF
with p. averitt, s. duncan and j.j.
i'd come to the end of my rock'n'roll fantasy
i had been running around making a racket
avoiding the one thing i knew in my heart i did best
my whole adult life i'd been too scared
to go it alone
hid behind bands
left a trail of musical crutches everywhere
something about our son's impending birth jolted me
into the realization
that if i happened to be hit by a bus or a falling piano
i would have never made the one good album
i always knew i had in me
the OBVIOUS one i'd ignored making all those years
so i set out to make the record that would eventually be called

everybody wants to be loved
was written for my son
who was yet to be born
an effort to pick up the sonic pieces
of where the nourallah brothers cd left off
the blueprint was there
why hadn't i seen it earlier?
suddenly it was crystal clear

there was never a question in my mind
this wasn't going to be the opening track
it was the anchor of the whole record to me
defined perfectly what my new sonic agenda was gonna be
goodbye loud guitars
hello what i do best
i wrestled with this recording for weeks
on my 16-track
to get it just right
the bridge still kills me
averitt's backwards guitar
"i can do it better"
i said
"no way, it's amazing!!"
and it is
makes me feel like i'm flipping backwards through time and space

did i write this one?

the second to last one recorded for polaroid
and one of my all-time favorites
the tune hit me on the bench in the PL control room
one afternoon sept. '03
while waiting for rhett to come to the studio
first thing that came out
"let's go back to 1978...oh, yeah..."
didn't take long to finish this one
maybe 15 minutes
i'd been a little concerned that polaroid was
too down
afterall i love the kinks beatles costello squeeze
pop music
that side of my songwriting wasn't being very keenly displayed
on this record
my "debut"
until 1978 came along

aaron kelley had been asking me to come record at his
edge of the world studios
at that point i'd done most of the record completely by myself
and was wary of there being too much of me on it
i'm really glad i took this one to aaron
we make a good production team and i still think this recording
is fab

waiting for you
proves my theory
that all along i'd had something
that i ignored
too many songs like this that i'd written over the years
that were "real"
and not me crawling up the musical asses
of my heroes
and almost forgotten
this one had come to me
one late night in april of '90
while i sat alone in my denton apartment
waiting for c.m. to come home from clubbing
it's a true melodramatic story

the recording started in r.r.'s bedroom
a "scratch" vocal on a SM57 ended up being the "keeper"
'cause it was started in acid and we couldn't separate
the multitracks to re-cut another one later
intro melody compliments of faris
nicked from an early demo we'd done of it
i asked him to play on this one
he said "no"
i like the scratchy drums

nothing ever goes right
the last one recorded for polaroid
again with aaron kelley
written even further back
can you believe 1986?
one of my first songs
oh, the eternal optimist!!
i fooled around with the lyrics for almost 20 years
a word here
a line there
the old bridge
was horrible
i think i finally got it right
"when you learn this life is slowly killing you
and you haven't got a hope..."
one of my favorite doomsday lines
decided upon right before i recorded the vocal

there's a version F and i did for the nourallah brothers cd
that i really like
he never knew it
but the reason i ditched it was only because
i still didn't like all my words!


Blogger Centuryhouse said...

A good read. Funny to read about those times. I remember the day we met in mid 2000 right before that first HF show at Trees.

Or about you being in Novachrome - did you know that Paula and I have been together 6 years? We met Aug 3rd @ Trees at a Novachrome show and I'd gone because you were playing for them.

I still think Polaroid is incredible - both versions. I have a pre-release version you gave me that has different tracks than the final.


8:12 PM  

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