Teetering on the brink of making a new record is a bit like finding yourself at the top of a clattering roller coaster. Just as it slows down, your thoughts alternate between "What in the fuck was I thinking when I got on this thing" & "YEEEEEHAAAW!". Outside of the creative arena that's not something I subject myself to voluntarily.
This record was the first one we set in motion before all the songs were written. We actually had a recording and release date set w/ two songs short of a sixpack. Pretty fuckin' scary.
As luck would have it though, my benefactor, colleague & compadre, Dave Way was between projects & twelve days were available just before Xmas. (Hmmm "the 12 days of...?" Nevermind.) Recording in winter always hits you right in the guts 'cause it usually rains & makes you want to close down & pull inside. W/ no clear direction, two songs short, three drummers who bailed at the last minute and having the last record called "His Best Solo Record To Date" the pressure & stakes seemed uncomfortably high. Fuck-it. (Everybody sing: "3 Drummers Bailing, 2 Songs a-Missing and a Deadline Looming Ahead.")
Considering the ominous circumstances Dave & I figured that we'd call the best players we had worked w/ in the past, plus a few guest-star/friends. Dave Carpenter & Jamie Muhoberac were first with Bryan Head just after. The core was there and remarkably all our guests said "yes". In order of stellar appearance they are: Dave Alvin, Jill Sobule, Kathleen Edwards, Dan Auerbach (from The Black Keys), Greg Leisz and Aimee Mann.
By the middle of January the whole damn thing was mixed. Christ! It all happened too fast. A scary & wondrous process where a blast of intuition and force that takes only moments to realize can last forever & carry consequences you never imagined. Next time we vowed to get more time & money to make it last for at least a month.
Sometimes it sounded like a Replacements', then a Velvet Underground record, then Blonde On Blonde...twelve-strings, six-strings, electrics, upright bass, big kick drums, pianos, organs, slides, floating & screaming voices. These may be the darkest moments recounted but you have to look inside to hear that, and in there is some of what happens during a year in the wilderness.
-John Doe, 2007