Just before the release of "Carp Fishing On Valium," I was playing a gig in New York's Bottom Line. I mentioned my upcoming literary effort to my friend Alan Pepper, the owner of the venerable joint. "Write some songs to go with the stories and take it on the road," he suggested. I scoffed loudly at the impertinence of his idea and dismissed it out of hand, thinking that writing the book had been enough effort already and that St. Martin's Press would swing into high gear at its release and I could lay back and choke myself stupid on the copious amounts of champagne the royalties would bring in and not have to lift a finger again for a few years.
However, once I got home I dug into the task with gusto and in fairly short order had a bunch of songs going, only cheating once with the previously released "Soultime," because nothing could beat it as an accompaniment for the moddy boy opus, "Aub."
Now came the hard part. Getting the gigs would be easy enough, but getting a book publishing company to do anything other than hand me over to a clueless intern proved impossible, and so after tearing the hapless intern a new one when she informed me in an e-mail that picking up the phone and calling a few bookstores to invite them down to the venues to sell a few books was "all so complicated," I forgot about the company and just got on with it myself, treating it like any other tour where I do all the work anyway.
One thing I've learned about book publishing companies: after the product is released the phone stops ringing.
Approximately sixteen gigs were completed, starting in July 2000, many with Tom Freund as musical accompaniment, playing upright bass, guitar, and mandolin. Which brings us to this latest release in our "official bootleg" series.
Many artists dream of releasing the rawest recordings they have, and preferably before they die when someone with less sensitivity will do the job for them and release the rawest crap that they have, material that the artist would rather remain safely rotting in a dank basement.
These songs, however, fit the bill perfectly, having been recorded in the bathroom on my trusty 1980's Sony Pro Cassette recorder (with separate microphone requiring a triple A battery no less), and soon after dispatched to Tom Freund.
I'd forgotten all about this until our webmaster John Howells -- who I must have sent a copy to for his amusement -- worked the sound a bit, dumped it on a CD, and sent it off to me for my amusement.
Damn, it sounds fine!
It has all the prerequisites of the raw demo scenario with strong vocal and guitar work, plenty of open tuning, songs that sparked off entire albums like "Blue Horizon" and "Anything For A Laugh," a tune called "Hot Ringlets" which I never even sang on the tour but ripped off later for "Go Little Jimmy," and of course six tunes never heard again until now.
Please enjoy the real thing.