Wednesday, October 26, 2011

saint georges

once when i was sick and running a fever
strange memories floated in and out again
some about Mrs. Georges
way back in El Paso
she was me and my brother's
childhood friend's mother
her name was, Anne
she was a tiny, demure lady
only about 5'2"
with long red hair
she usually kept it neatly tied back
and wore small, conservative wire framed glasses
we'd always pass by her bedroom
on our way to the TV/lounge room area
and sneak peaks in at a scene that almost never changed
it was as if it had been frozen in time
the curtains were always drawn
even on the sunniest of el paso afternoons
and almost always Mrs. Georges would be there
on the bed
playing solitaire
cigarette in hand, TV going
small cocktail on the nightstand
during the day
she was curt
with short clipped answers
she hardly ever had much to say except when she was shouting orders to her son
but as night would descend and wear on
anne would emerge from her bedroom solitaire match to refresh her drink
then wander into the TV room with a twinkle in her eye
she was suddenly gregarious and chatty
we usually didn't know what to say
we’d sit there uncomfortably
waiting for her to get bored with us and retreat back to her room
sometimes she’d just sit down and hang out
making sly asides and witty banter almost as though she were talking to herself
the next day
she'd slowly pull open the big oak front door
like it weighed a thousand pounds
standing in her bathrobe
hair down
dishevelled and wild
she’d barely even a nod for hello
our arrival seemed like nothing but a nuisance to her
she'd call out from her bedroom
"Jeffrey!! Jeffrey!!
i need you to run and fetch me some more beefamato!!"
”what was that?” we wondered
i tasted it once out of curiosity
and nearly spit it back out in disgust
she went through bottles and bottles of it
we were fascinated
we had no idea why she was doing this

it wasn't until many years later
that we realized beefamato was her hangover remedy
we'd been oblivious to it all
in our innocence we’d almost entirely missed what she was going through
when i was still in college
i heard she’d fallen down a steep flight of stairs
when it happened
she was making her way to a cocktail
while vacationing in their winter condo 1 xmas
drunk or buzzing no doubt
the tumble didn't kill her though
she was apparently surprisingly limber
or just drunk enough to be super elastic
she made it a few years past that
but not many
i heard the injuries shortened her life considerably
she was after all
a very small
frail person

originally posted 5/21/08:

the piano tuner tuned the hell outta Billy's U1
and talked a lot about Uriah Heap
while Bob and Billy ate Phil's burgers
and i sat on the funmaker bench
Bob took my advice and went with the 78704
a wise choice
from a very wise man
once the piano was ready to go
Billy moved his drums into the control room
while Bob and i ran over the song a couple of times
i stood behind him and strummed along
at least i know "saint georges" pretty well
it has a lot of words but i've played it live
more than any other song in the bunch
Bob and i sounded pretty good together right away
no real surprise there
the guy's a major talent
it did feel a bit weird to think the last time we played
one of my songs together was in El Paso
in 1988
a lot of life had certainly happened to both of us
since then
i wonder how he felt
he never said...
maybe i should've asked him?

anyway after 15 minutes of rehearsal
i went to the back of the house
where Billy had set up two mics for me in the amp room
we started recording
Billy on drums in the control room (front bedroom)
Bob on piano in the living room
me in the back singing and strumming the acoustic
before take 5
a little song came to me
and i started singing it
Bob and Billy fell right in behind
it was kind of a magical moment
Billy hit record and we got it all
i'm gonna use it somehow
after take 5 of "saint georges"
we all agreed it was good enough
and we started overdubbing on it
Bob played a second piano part with an unbelievable cool
manic ending
i was really happy with it now
he'd plugged into the "crazy" side a bit
and i relaly suited the story
then i asked him to sing some of the chorus vocal lines
"what is your name...what was your game?"
the plan was to stack his voice with Billy's and mine
for our gang style backups
"the kids" asking saint georges about her life
i think it pretty much turned out exactly how i'd envisioned it
which is actually rare
Bob's piano a little skewed in all the right places
Billy thumpy kick drum and floor tom
perfectly sparse
we'd accomplished exactly what i'd hoped
Bob was gone by 5:30 to hang out with his son
Billy and i still had a lot to do
since it was our last day
we fixed some vocal lines on "georges"
and did a rough mix