Monday, October 26, 2009

Uberimma Fides

In February of 1990 I worked on this song rather fiendishly with Fo Jammi over several weeks. I was immensely proud of it and we put everything we had into it at the time.

I had written the basic words and melody a very long time ago, probably at least 1978 if not 1977. It was called "Ah-Ha" for a long time because that's what I sang instead of "Immortal" over the choruses. I played around with it for years, and back then people seemed to like it, but I never could knock it up into a proper song. I remember singing it in the bedroom I rented from Homer Townsley on Victor, the P-Funk Playpen Party Room. I remember singing it in summer, on the backsteps, out my seldom-used back door.

I remember that I once played this song for Renato D'Elia, who was my boss at the graphic design studio I worked in when I lived in Italy. He disliked the dirgelike drone that starts it off, without stopping to appreciate that I was going for the pseudo Ambrosian chant effect.

Despite it being an intensely religious song I tried to make it something someone in any faith could agree with. Though the fundamentalist subtext is for the listener to decipher as she pleases.

We’re getting wrapped in chocolate whispers
We’re getting lost in his phrase
Velvet dark-eyed angel transistors
Existing only to praise

We were raised on his fantasies
Baroque excess through the haze
I don’t mind if you say you love me
I don’t mind if you stay

But now that God is all over modernity
Now he’s all over the place
We can count on our own divinity
Looking straight in his face

I can look back until I’m unable to
Getting bored with your praise
I can guess as to why you love me
And why I let you stay

On this planet in these bodies
Longer than the pyramids
We’re living, this much is true
And if you’re living its never through
We are immortal.

You and me together through eternity.

I see you see they see we see
Existing through eternity
A vision, crystalline and true
there is no truth that is outside of you
And we’re immortal.

You and me existing through eternity.

That old time religion
Is good enough for me

Download Uberimma Fides.

Monday, October 19, 2009

How to promote your record

When I was a little kid, my favorite little kid rock band was Paul Revere and the Raiders. I liked lots of bands, of course, from the Beatles to the Dave Clark Five, anything on KXOK in St. Louis was usually pretty good for me. But Paul Revere and the Raiders were the best, before the Monkees came along, because they had a show on TV called "Where The Action Is", everyday, at an after-school time of day if I remember correctly. Mainstream pop music used to be naturally marketed to kids, back when it was successful. Seems like the more they strive to position music for adults and college kids, the less of it they sell. Because the music companies are all staffed by brain-dead losers who know nothing about marketing.

Paul Revere and the Riaders had plenty of hits during the short life of that show and another one, plus frequent appearances on all the variety shows that were on everywhere in the 60s, 720 appearances in all. But around about the time of their last few albums they kind of went out of style. A lot of big bands were going psychedelic, and were growing quickly as musicians and songwriters. Mark Lindsay, the front man for the Raiders, had one of the best rock voices on the radio, effortlessly crooning or shouting as aggressively as anyone out there, but their songwriting chops were starting to sound a little weak in comparison.

I recently bought a couple of their later albums, both from 1969, through a reissue record company out of Germany called Repertoire. I bought "Alias Pink Fuzz" and "Hard 'n' Heavy (With Marshmallow)" because I had never heard of them before and became more and more curious the more I thought about them. Repertoire has a bunch of interesting and obscure CDs that you can't find anywhere else, like stuff by Family and a few excellent Spirit CDs, among many.

Both albums have a couple of decent songs and a few surprises, but nothing too insanely great, outside of the forgotten hit "Let Me." But what really intrigued me was the inclusion, in a sneaky way, of two radio commercials promoting the album that show either a desperate attempt by Columbia Records to goose sales on a failing cash cow, or a typical method of promoting an album from a time when record companies actually tried to promote their product, instead of suing their customers for stealing. The two commercials were stuck on the end of a demo song, with no track of their own, and were unremarked upon in the liner notes.

Here they are, for you to hear:

Download Paul Revere and The Raiders Commercial 1.

Download Paul Revere and The Raiders Commercial 2.

There was also, on "Hard 'n' Heavy (With Marshmallow)", this Pontiac GTO commercial:

Download Paul Revere and The Raiders Pontiac GTO Commercial.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sleet at the Urban League November 6th 2009

The man, the symbol, the group.

Thom Sleet has been evicted from his studio. We played one last recording session there and started with an extremely free version of "A Love Supreme", which was played as Coltrane might have liked, with little or no reference to his version at all except the first three notes.

We plan on doing something like this at our upcoming gig at the Urban League on November 6th 2009. Hope to see you there.

Download an excerpt from "A Love Supreme".