Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Nurse the Hate: Hate Recording

We are heading into the studio tomorrow to start work on our tenth full length release as The Whiskey Daredevils.  The Cowslingers did nine as well.  If you would have told me when I was 21 that I would have been involved in releasing nineteen full length music releases that people actually had some interest in, I would have laughed until I wet myself.  This is as good a time as any to admit I have absolutely no God given musical talent whatsoever.  I have surrounded myself with talented people and done the rest by sheer force of will.  There is a work ethic here and I will proudly say that we do have some ideas.  Are they earth shattering ideas?  No, but we are still making music that I want to listen to and believe in. 

So does the world need another collection of our stupid songs?  Probably not, but that isn’t going to stop us.  The thing that can really weigh you down is when you consider how many bands have slipped so far below their once high standards as they age and/or run out of ideas.  You know when you read those reviews in Rolling Stone that say “…this is Pearl Jam’s best record since Ten” or “…probably the best Stones record since Some Girls!”?  Even as you scan them, you know it is complete bullshit.  Still, you hold out hope that maybe, just maybe, it might be true. 

The way big corporate magazines like that work is they take an advertising buy from the label and are expected to create “added value”.  The added value often consists of inclusion in those “about town” photos in the front of the magazine, multi page band profiles, and favorable reviews.  Do you think Sony is going to spend the money on a three consecutive issue full page ad run for whatever Rolling Stones Greatest Hits collection they cobbled together without getting pictures of Mick and Keith looking as cool as trick lighting and Photoshop will allow?  There also better be a great review of the two new add on tracks to trick the masses for shelling out $20 to buy yet another copy of “Honky Tonk Woman” on a CD.  I can see the review now.  “…while Brown Sugar sounds as great as ever; the new track “Whatever It Is” may actually surpass all the hits surrounding it...”  Um, sure it does… 

So there you are staring at yet another five star review of a Bruce Springsteen record that you will never hear another person alive mention even in passing.  This “classic” album will not produce one song you could even hum back ten minutes after listening to it.  Radio won’t play it.  Still, you may even buy the damn thing in a moment of weakness at Starbucks.  Hell, the magazine said it was good.  It must be good right?  You will add it into your iPod library and then reflexively skip the songs every time they shuffle through.  It’s a fool’s game. 

So how do we avoid the same pitfall?  How do we avoid being the much, much smaller version of that shitty Bruce Springsteen record?  It’s not as if Bruce thought he was making a crummy record.  I bet he believed in his songs.  How do we maintain some kind of interest?  How can we get you to pay attention for the thirty odd minutes of music we will painstakingly create for you and ourselves? 

There were two full length records that came out in the last couple months that bear some thought.  I have always been a Bob Mould fan from Husker Du to Sugar to his solo stuff.  Make no mistake; Bob has made some very spotty records, especially in the previous eight years.  What the hell were those electronic records anyway?  His latest, Silver Age, is really remarkable.  Maybe it was timing on this, but there have been certain Bob Mould records that have found me at the right time.  This is one of them.  I love this record.  This fucking thing blows your head off, and the songs are there.  In reading interviews with Mould after getting the disc, I was impressed by his effort to get back to what he did best; loud guitar drums making good hooky songs buried under the onslaught.  He had been so concerned about being different that he forgot what it was that he really did.  He returned to what he did when he was at his best.  It’s like he recorded it 20 years ago and just now released it. 

I also picked up Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s Psychedelic Pill.  This is clearly the best thing Neil has done since “Ragged Glory” with Crazy Horse in the early 90s.  Big messy sludgy Crazy Horse music wails out on these tracks, especially the three 15 minute plus long jams.  I usually hate that kind of shit, but there are ideas, feelings, and pure power flowing off of these recordings.  You can feel how excited they are that they are doing it.  Of course, Neil will probably break this up and make a terrible jazz record by the time I write this, but he sure got this right.  What’s he doing?  He’s doing what he does. 

We have a group of ten songs I wrote the words to at about the exact same time.  They all work together as one variation of a bigger idea.  Gary had some really great riffs bouncing around.  I had a few simple melodies.  Sugar and Leo came up with good grooves under the songs.  We are going to do what we do.  We are going to make our version of country punkabilly.  Whatever that is.  We are going to set up our instruments and play the songs.  All of us at the same time like we normally do on stage or in the basement.  No screwing around.  We are going to stand there and let ‘em rip.  That’s what we have done on the best of our records, and that’s what we are going to do this time. 

It’s a privilege to be able to make music that anyone is willing to devote some of their precious time and listen to.  We’re going to do the best we can.  The good thing for us is that we don’t have to top “Exiles On Main Street” or “New Day Rising”.  We just have to be honest with the songs and performance.  That ought to do it.  Well, at least I think so.  Fuck, that’s probably what Springsteen thought…  With luck, you won’t reach for the skip button and ask “How did those assholes trick me into buying this?  Again?” 





At November 14, 2012 at 5:43:00 PM EST , Blogger Walter Zoomie said...

Cool! Have any idea on a release date?

At November 18, 2012 at 10:31:00 PM EST , Blogger ScottyJ said...

Greg, regardless of your "non-existent" musical ability, I really dig your songs and genuinely look forward to each new record. Keep making music as long as you feel like it.

At November 19, 2012 at 4:43:00 PM EST , Blogger Greg Miller said...

Thanks man. I appreciate it. This new one is going to be good...


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