Friday, September 30, 2011


Many artists are daft enough to prefer the off-kilter, weird tracks that they used to use as B-sides of singles, and now release more often as Internet-only tracks, over their actual best work, and I'm no exception. Well, not strictly true, but it sounds like a good story.

Perhaps more accurate is the fact that it's more fun to put out oddities than it is to release the Tablets That Just Came Down From The Mountain, with all the pressures involved with that undertaking.

Who cares if they're crap? Certainly not me!

(note: “Harridan Of Yore” appeared on the Bloodshot compilation “For A Decade Of Sin.”)

Seeing as my premier recording endeavor is a state secret at the moment and will not be unveiled for quite some time (sorry about that, but the reason for the wait is a good one) (Um...whoops. You can see I began writing this piece before the cat popped out of the bag!), I found myself harkening back to an idea I've had brewing for some while: to take all the spare tracks from recent Bloodshot Records history and put 'em on a disc.

Our own John Howells had the sterling idea of coupling this with my Youtube output.

So, you get the complete Tex Skerball, a combined edition of "Paint Drying," and both episodes of "Sunglass(es) The Graham Parker Show," all on one disc. I didn't even know you could combine these two elements together so easily, but John assured me it wasn't rocket science.

The dates of the musical recording section are most probably recorded on an old computer the size of a military cargo plane that sits in an attic than they are in my memory, so I'm not going to go into too much detail here, but here's a few clues.

"Area 51 (in your heart)" was undoubtedly recorded with the "Your Country" sessions, and that's where anyone interested should look for the credits. This was my first record for Bloodshot, and I was having trouble sequencing the tune, but had the problem solved for me by the big guns at the label who thought it was thoroughly out of place on the record, which I, breaking character, agreed to, and so it was cruelly thrown into release via the Gulag of modern recording, the Internet.

"2000 Funerals" was of course written in response to the depressing news that that number of US military personnel had perished in Iraq, with much more to come. The tune was recorded in a stand alone session, and I played all the instruments.

Way before this, in what was for many of us the early days of the Internet, just before even my son’s hermit crab had its own Facebook page, I wrote the strange and disturbing "Search Engine," which seems to be about some kind of Internet perv, trolling the chat rooms and whathaveyou for a bit of cyber stalking.

According to Mike Gent, "Harridan Of Yore" was from the SONC sessions with the Figgs, and "The End Of Faith" recorded with Latest Clowns members in Boston's Q Division studios, minus Brett Rosenberg.

I recall writing "Harridan" after hearing Al Franken, back in the days when he was on Air America, telling the story of how he met Barbara Bush on an airplane and found himself unable to stop from doing a quick impression of her son for her. As Al told it, she soon signaled the end of their little chat with a curt "We're through!" Later, when asking a friend or colleague who had knowledge of that fine lady's personality, the friend told Al that, yes, she was indeed a harridan. What a fine word, I thought! I simply must use it immediately. I played the tune for the first time live at the Turning Point club and a couple right in the front, who had seemed quite happy before, began to assume very soured expressions, and the female of the couple turned down her mouth and moved her head from side to side at me in obvious disapproval. After the show, I spoke to them at the bar and they admitted that they were in fact "conservatives." They were fans of my work they insisted, but thought that "Harridan Of Yore" was "the worst song you've ever written."

I smiled happily and continued to study these exotic creatures with an eagle eye, hoping to glean further inspiration in order to write more of the same at future dates. And I do hope those folks got to read my blurb for "The End Of Faith." That would probably have had them apoplectic!

(A record producer/musician friend of mine who used to be in a band with Franken sent "Harridan Of Yore" to him, but neither he nor I got a response from the now senator. Probably if he knows anything about me, it is that I make something called "pub rock" music so he never bothered to listen to it, because like Janeane Garofalo and those other radio liberals, he thinks that it was the Jam who made the real cutting edge stuff in the '70's!)

So, there you have it. Please enjoy "FIVE LOOSE SCREWS." What? The Rumour? The Movie? Is that what you're asking me? None of that sees the light of day till late 2012, so, even though I was ahem, "on set" the other day, doing interviews along with the other, ahem, "actors," with the likes of Time Magazine and Entertainment Tonight (because the nice people working on the movie asked me nicely to), I feel it’s a bit too early to be blathering too much about it, although some publications (like those above that would not normally touch me with a barge pole) seem to be quite interested all of a sudden, so a few nuggets of information may soon be floating around. It's an excruciating wait till the end of 2012, but that’s when the movie release is scheduled, so I’m holding the album, too. No brainer.

In the meantime, please enjoy “FIVE LOOSE SCREWS.” It’s damnably quirky.