We released our first legitimate record in ’98. After we finished recording, I went into Fred’s studio and he and I laid down drums and rough guitar for nine tracks over the fall and winter of '98 - '99. Then we just stopped. Inspiration didn’t strike again until 2003. Five of those earlier tracks made it to this record in some form or other, and are largely identified in the ensuing song notes.
AMERICAN ROAD: The melody and chord structure wrote itself very quickly in my unfinished family room in the Indian Summer of ’98. At first I discarded it for being so obvious, but when I convinced myself I hadn’t ripped it off from someone I thought it might be usable. Regan and I wrote the lyrics later that winter over the dining table. He came up with the idea of using the city names and making it a road trip.
BITCH SLAP: This started out to be a cover of Johnny Winter’s “Mean Town Blues.” But I wanted to expand the riff and change it somehow. This is what it morphed into. Go figure that it has not one point of comparison to its original source, and is probably our least Johnny Winter-sounding tune EVER. Written winter ’03, and I thought up the title while walking (not driving) to work. We’ll have to play a JW tune some other time. Many thanks to our friend Glenn Morrissey on keyboards.
IF I FIND JOSE: Stumbled on the groove in my garage in ’98. Thought it was a good excuse to have a jam song. Mapped out and drums recorded in winter ’99, then left untouched for five full years. Always knew it would be a good centerpiece if the band ever got it together to go on the road and do a live set again. Never did finish the lyrics (Regan said: Just leave them like they are), never did go on the road to play it. But it’s in the can now and it is what it is. Saved it as one of the last songs to record so I could practice the solo.
CROW: Drum tracks recorded winter ’98. Had a whole different melody and chord structure and was called “Blood.” Wrote the current lyrics in ’99 and renamed it “Crow,” because those birds creep me out. Didn’t hit on the right way to play the riff until sometime in ’03, and recorded the two guitars a week apart in January ’04.
The songs left off the record:
FOR THE ROAD