So I say to myself, "Well, they'll like this one. At least they'll be able to find a way into this one."
As time goes on, I notice the pattern - I've been aware of it for a while now, at least since Workbook. Every other record, the brighter songs seem to win out. It's not a real conscious effort, it's just been that way for some time. It makes it easier for me to understand the end result, and how much effort I'm willing to put into explaining the songs.
I've been talking about the last record for a few weeks now, and it's starting to make sense. I was talking with a writer from Ireland about the hubcap record, and he said something about not "getting" into it as much as other records I've released. I suggested to him that it might take some time to find the way in, to find the keyhole to peek through, but that if he keeps revisiting the record every now and again, it'll open up someday. I think it's one of my favorite records ever, despite the fact that it was a selfish record. It didn't avail itself to people easily, and I don't think it was supposed to. In hindsight, it's interesting to see which pieces of music made the final cut. There was at least 2 more records worth of work to pick from, and another 8 hours of snippets and ideas that didn't make the final cut. At the end of the day, each record is a small group of snapshots, all taken by the same author, yet filtered and assembled in a certain way at a particular moment in time. (Any record can look quite different from the processes that led to the documenting of that particular period.)
Back to the new record. A few things come to mind, possible explanations of what the record means to me. First, I feel this one is more for the general listener, and I came to that conclusion much sooner than I normally would. I think I let go of this one about 4 days into mixing, whereas with Copper Blue, it took a few months after mastering to get over it being my record. The hubcap record, there's small parts of it I'm still figuring out. Second, it's quite likely that moving back to NYC had a lot to do with the outgoing nature of the record. I think I have less "reflection time" in New York than I had in Austin, and it's all about being on the street again, instead of driving most everywhere.
Other stuff - the end of Sugar, the "why no press" last time, last electric band tour. Quick versions for future reference:
The end of Sugar - First show, Athens, Georgia, March 1992. Last show, January 1995, Sendai, Japan. File Under: Easy Listening written too quickly, Bob tired of touring and talking, David feeling like an absentee parent. Easy enough. Three albums, lots of B-sides, plenty of live dates, generally a peaceful parting of the ways.
"Why no press" - Real simple: I wasn't in very good spirits, I had very little to say about myself that would have been pleasant or useful, so I stayed away for the better part of 1996. I guess I should have tried to sell some records - whatever, I didn't hold a gun to anyone's head to put it out.
Last electric band tour - Maybe I should be putting that in gigantic bold flashing neon letters, like LOANS or WE BUY GOLD or something. I've been doing this (electric band touring) for the better part of 19 years, and I'd like to move toward something that doesn't disrupt my attempt at having a life, separate from my career, for chunks of 4 months of time. So, this will be the final time around with an electric band, and then I'll figure out other ways of performing live. Don't now what they are yet, and I doubt I'll think too hard about it until after this year's touring is complete. There's other reasons why this will be the last electric band tour, but that's the one that comes to mind right now.
I could go on about specific songs, but I'll wait until they've
fully sunk in. Some of them are very simple and forward, others
are a little more complex, a couple of them don't mean much of
anything at all. I like them enough, it's a nice pack of songs.
The best batch yet? Probably not. Better than most? Probably.