Hello Folks, Here are a few words about my album Poolside Phone that you have come across here on CD Baby. This album was recorded in El Cerrito, CA in the fall of 1998 at my buddy Bennett Bowman's studio. Bennett recorded and engineered the thing, and he and I produced and played the majority of the instruments on it. We had a lot of fun making Poolside Phone, and lots of the songs on it are my favorites, and I continue to perform these songs at live shows. Comments about the songs: The album kicks off with "You'll Be The First To Know", a spiteful sour grapes anthem. I already had the list of ridiculous examples of how people achieve fame and renown, but the song didn't have a cohesiveness. Then, in a bar one afternoon on Clement Street in San Francisco, I was scribbling some lyrics in a small note pad about a guy who's bitter about being dumped by a girl. And it worked to put the two half songs together. By the way, it irritates me when I hear people pronounce the word "niche" as if it rhymes with "leash". We're not French! It rhymes with "rich", dammit. Next, the song "Evel Knievel" came about in a somewhat unlikely manner. While I was back at college studying US History, a class I was in was looking at a land disagreement in the Pacific Northwest between the US and Canada during the 1800's. Not surprisingly my mind wandered. Suddenly my ears pricked up. One of the proposed boundaries was the Snake River Canyon. It jarred a memory of a Saturday afternoon when I was ten years old. My brother and I were watching ABC's Wide World of Sports with horror and fascination as Evel Knievel made a highly publicized and ill-fated attempt to jump over the Snake River Canyon. I wrote the song from memory in my apartment on Larkin Street. Afterwards I checked some newspaper accounts of the spectacle on microfilm at the SF Public Library, just to get the date right. Recording this one, I found a guy to play Double Bass at the SF Music Conservatory, who plays on several other tracks as well. We were just going to have his Bass on during the chorus parts, so he was just fooling around during the other parts. We ended up using his whole part. I think he was a little upset about it because he's a little off-pitch at the beginning. This is not a digital recording - no pitch correcting falsehoods in this CD, my friends. This is the real McCoy. Underutilized Brain is another sour grapes anthem. I recorded my acoustic guitar part first, along with the bass part. Then while I was back at home, Bennett, who along with being one of the funniest people I know, is also one of the best drummers I know. He put drums on the track and completely transformed the song. First of all, it's really difficult to add drums to a track afterwards. Normally you lay down the drum track first. Undaunted, Bennett finessed the rhythmic abnormalities of my guitar part, and added a power pop dimension to the song that I hadn't even conceived of. When I came back to the studio and heard what he had done, I wept. Then we cranked up the electric guitars. If you like the "two young lovers out on the road getting into trouble" genre of songs, then Salton Sea is your song. I'm not sure if I was thinking about this consciously when I wrote it, but there's a movie called Aria that came out several years before I wrote the song. It consisted of a dozen or so short films and vignettes inspired by or featuring operatic arias. One of the vignettes featured Bridget Fonda in what must have been one of her earliest movie roles (I only found out it was her many years later). Her scene is set in the Southwest under the blazing sun and is one of the most horrifying and disturbing short films I've seen. I've only seen it once, but some of those images are burned into my brain. The ending of Salton Sea is a little more ambiguous than Bridget's. It Just So Happens He's a Rock Star asks and then answers the question, "What if all of your best friends were also your favorite Rock & Roll stars?" See track number 10 for a little more background on this song. Wish You Were Here is the title of the next song, but I could have just as easily called it "Poolside Phone". At the time I didn't want one song to be the, you know, title track. I distinctly remember waking up on a really cold winter morning in my tiny apartment with the phrase "helicopter pad" in my head. I had both the Marcos's from the Philippines, and the iconic image of the evacuation of the American Embassy in Saigon in 1975, in mind when I wrote this. But I left it vague enough to apply to any number of US backed leaders of foreign countries. That kind of adaptability is known in the professional Folk circuit as "playing the percentages". Scurvy is just one of a series of songs I've written based upon bacterial infections and/or viral maladies. Johnny and Joey could have been ripped from today's headlines. Well, probably not the headlines. More like ripped from a small two-paragraph item from the Crime pages of your local Metro section. Again, we got that big bowed double bass in this one. A high school prom night turns ugly in Tsunami. Usually, serious injuries at these festive events are confined to your basic back and neck trauma - when the limos, in which the young revelers are standing up through open sunroofs, have to brake suddenly. Far worse things can happen. Don't Raise Your Shoes To Me contains an opening line that is eerily similar to the opening line of another song on this album. Repeating myself? Mowing over the same well-worn territory for political gain? Hardly. It's simply a matter of poor bookkeeping. I wrote this song first and played it a few times. And it's in a dropped D tuning. I almost never use any alternate tunings because, frankly, it's sort of a hassle to keep changing guitar tunings when performing. This song's tuning is really not all that alternate, (merely a lowering the bass string from an E to a D), but it was enough for me to file the song away and literally forget about it. Several years went by. One day, my friend Tom asked me about the song. All he could remember about it was the opening line. I searched through my drawers full of scrap papers and listened to the odd cassette tapes of practice recordings I occasionally made. I couldn't remember the song, and I couldn't find any pertinent documentation of it. So I wrote a new song based solely on the opening line. Though annoyed at losing one song, I was very happy with the new song "It Just So Happens He's A Rock Star". Then, Tom showed up with an unauthorized bootleg recording he had made that contained the original song, "Don't Raise Your Shoes To Me". So now I have two songs that share a ridiculous opening line, and a cautionary tale for you writers out there to be more organized, dammit!