Take Me To Your Leader

…what becomes of the power we give away?

The box arrived from Cascade on one of those scorching late July afternoons that make your mind wander back to luxurious days of youthful Summer boredom.
I’d been looking up and down the block on the hour, awaiting that brown block of UPS benevolence,  like a fat kid straining his ear for the creepy ice cream truck jingle.

As I tore into the box, it seemed a lifetime removed from those rainy Winter days we first started this project.
And then I actually held it, shrinkwrapped and tight, the final product.

We had been through those tortuous post production days of artwork and finalization, listening to different mixes and masters til we were sick of the new songs already.
Liner notes edited and thrown out entirely, the usual bitching about fonts and band photos (I like this one, even if you do look fat!).


The rejects

But that same familiar thrill returns when holding the record in hand.

It took us back to those Posh Boy days of the early 80’s when we would go down to Zed’s or Best Records to actually hold the vinyl, even smell it—the actual, physical manifestation of creativity and sweat, those dreams and curses sheathed within 12 x 12 cardboard.


The European Cover

TKO Records had graciously agreed to release the record under their relaunched flag, though we were pretty much on our own as far as the nasty business of promoting the goddamn thing to the masses.

Not a worry though, as we had our old mate Hector taking over as the launch manager, and Promo Pro Mike Cubillos signing on to help with the mysterious art of press promotions.

We have learned that a new project is only new for a shockingly brief amount of time, so we shamelessly shilled the platter to any site and rag that would have us.
We considered the launch a success when we finally got a mention in HardTimes!


And so the album came out with some nice fanfare, got our name on the radar for a shining, if not necessarily long, blip of existence.
Proof of life means everything to a band going on 4 decades:
 Hey, we’re still here-yo.    

But like a spent holiday season, the anticipation and celebration are quickly forgotten, and you’re left to wander barefoot through a den littered with torn wrapping paper and broken toys.
It’s back to the daily grind.

Shameless promotional product

They say you always think your latest song is your best.
And as with children, you are not supposed to pick your favorite, but yeah-the baby.
Perhaps it’s because as you lay there in the afterglow of maternity and hold this shining nugget of promise in your hands for the first time, anything is possible.

Inevitably, this little shit will grow up to crash your car and steal all the beer out of the garage fridge, but for now, this kid can do no wrong.

The record splashed out and took its place in our uneven catalog.
We are able to cull two, maybe three songs off of it to slip in among the 1982 songs that everyone tonight only wants to hear.

Hey look, we get it.

The best we can hope for is a few hundred people giving our new stuff a chance, maybe listening through a track before going off to the next level of Candy Crush. 

More likely, we’ll get the wan blue thumbs up! on Facebook, the digital stamp of approval that  passes for acknowledgement these days.  And that’s OK.

We look at it as a snapshot of these times, our hostage note to our future selves that we lived and hopefully survived these truly disturbing times.

And if nothing else, we end up with something to hold, the validation that matters mainly to ourselves.

Hey look -we can still do it.




All The Night

..there was a girl and boy, then there’s just a boy
Sometimes he wears her dresses and breaks his sister’s toys

Yeah, another one. Goddamnit.

I hear ya, when are we gonna get over these fuckin studio posts and get back to what the people really want: boozy stories of 1983 tour life, huh?
Hey, I’m getting tired of this too, and I have to write this stuff.
So settle down.
Almost done.

The tracks are full now, and the last couple meetings in the studio are like walkthroughs of a newly constructed house: we wander the walls, running our hands over flawed drywall textures, add another note to the punchlist for final clean up.



Nick is in there now with a Dr. Seussian box of shakers and percussion toys, coaxing out the sproinks and klik klaks that will subliminally flavor the tracks.
I clean up a few lines, mumbled verses and cheesy lyrics replaced.

I go back into the vocal booth and make some harmony passes on few tracks, but it turns out just awful.
Jim gives me the note, I sing it fine a few times, but when the track is rolling I just end up doubling the lead track.
It’s as if I cannot separate my self from that other guy, can’t channel my inner Keef to yowl a plaintive 3rd above the original line.

We consider just using the ‘ol group chorus on every fuckin song, that old standby that reduces every nuanced melody to a drunken football chant.
Fuck that though, we need help.

Put in the call, and get Steve Soto in here!

Lucky we are, Steve is not out on the road with one of his dozen acts this evening.
Hard working bastard that he is, the guy is on in constant motion worldwide to ply his trade, guitar or bass in hand, sweet voice soaring above us all.

We meet at the studio and it turns into an three hour chat fest.
We tell inside jokes, repeat road stories we all know by heart, gossip like catty teenagers about scandalous band rumors.
We talk of the very real aches and pains of our age, the wonder that we are still allowed to play this stuff and get paid.

We talk about Gabby, recently gone, and wonder what, if anything, can replace the hole he punched through the local music scene.

Then Steve goes into the vocal booth alone, gives Jim the ok to roll through one time.
I watch as he marks the lyric sheet here and there, nodding to himself as he hears the voice missing.

And then we roll through again, red light on, and he nails it.
Effortless as lying to a cop.

He puts the missing note to each of the tracks then, sometimes going back a second and third pass to layer them yet even higher.
We got a wall of Soto going here.

We do the listen through again, rough mixed and everything up.
The record is done.