These Constant Interruptions
This first release of a 28 song Odyssey comes at the close of a five act that included life death and everything in between. These nineteen tracks only serve to expose the problem with being considered a genre band. Although the label has been ska, Radio Noise has never been anything but problems with solutions placed with love on a backing track. Enter mortality and the mad dash to the finish line. Why else embark on so many songs? Breathing life into all of this is the steady, seasoned power of Mike, Matt, Hud, Tarik, Jason, and Daryl. Sounded fine on the four-track until we began rehearsing. "This ain't no Amateur Tools," as Ryan reminds. I wrote "How It's Supposed To Be," for dear Molly for her journey out of depression towards the light of life. She's still lost like the rest of us, trying to figure out how to be an adult and whether it's even worth it, but the light in her beautiful eyes has returned. Kevin Army gave me the micro organ that starts "Useless Suicide." I'm fortunate enough to share space with my favorite singer and songwriter, Tarik Ragab, who sings this one like he owns it. If you don't have a copy of "Non-Stop Flight" by the Playtonics, get it and witness him, and our man Hud for that matter, in all his pop glory. The song is about a girl out of Fresberry who planned it and did it and f***ed herself and a good friend out of a future. Dumb, dumb, dumb. There's enough people and things trying to kill us all. Be heroic! "Investigation" was where this album started. Yof wrote a beautiful descending line and Matt and Tarik put falsetto where only Paul Weller would have dared. It gave us the courage to do the rest, I think. "Behind the Thorns" started as so many have, and where most have died: as one line at the top of a page in a cheap notebook. "The medicine to cure is often hidden behind the thorns." The rest came from gardening as part of recuperation from being hit and killed by a car and surviving nonetheless. That little weed keeps coming back. Life finds a way. "All of Humanity" was my father's favorite song. It doesn't fit the traditional song form: way too many verses. It's the first song I ever wrote and it was an accident. I couldn't figure out how to play the chorus to "Sooner or Later" and I had this poem that fit the rhythm of whatever the hell I was playing so there it began. Deal with it or skip it. It's for the big Cubs fan in the sky named, Christopher Noyes. Sing it, pop. "Lost in the Sky" is an exercise for musicians who can turn on a dime and a song about your true love who lives in a galaxy far, far away. Oh well. "Enigmatic Smile" came out during a trip in 1991 to the Yucatan. Half way to Chichen Itza, running out of gas on a deserted road under a thick canopy of tropical jungle. The road was blue with moon glow and there was nothing else to do so Ari sat on the roof and I sat in the middle of the road waiting for the first hint of light or traffic. "The Truth" felt a lot more negative when I wrote it than it does now. At the time, the truth was an inexorable force that consumed with a cold heart. Doesn't seem as cold anymore to look reality in the face. With age comes real laughter and an ability to be reasonable with yourself. "My Fire" was a song for a long time in my head, written and ready but never quite time to lay down until these guys made it joyful. "It will burn for your children when you no longer know them." I look that in the face every day when I catch my Lucy doing her piston-hop-step or my Liam doing his frantic-arm-wave thing. "This One's Not for You" is not dedicated to the girls who broke my heart. "Subtraction" is like being a bit nauseous for 1:47. Presenting Jason Boyte on backing vocals! "Green Chair" is something I wrote living with Yof on 772 Wisconsin just back from the Bad Manners experience. Life to that point had been a litany of injury and disappointment, but there was this brief break in the clouds. Life was going to get much more complex with the loss of many friends and the death of Rob Rock. But that song was all about sitting in my green recliner looking out towards the bay and that big smoke stack near Bayshore. "Anger" was all about the corporate world ability to suck the sole out of your sore feet while choking you with a tie. Get out if you can! "Rely" is many things: the persistence of small-time musicians, your religious rock, love and disappointment, commitment, and whatever else you hear. I dare you to be that person to someone. It's huge. I can't do it. I'm so pleased with "Frozen." Moorea of No Origin doing the vocals like no one else could do it. We recorded 5 or 6 takes and used the first one. Big JB solo in the midst, doing his Chet homage. Lovely! Who wants to hear more Moorea and less Erik? I'm raising my hand. I wrote "Your Stupid Mouth" in 1998 on a cross-country bicycle race. No pen, no paper. Just eight hours a day on a bike, writing this song in my head about all the griping people who miss the point of it all. It is the road and the friends you make along the way, not the finish line, or winning, or even going very fast. It's actually about changing a lot of flat tires. Which reminds me of the Scofflaws pit crew efficiency in dealing with automotive troubles on tour. Vic, Sammy, Paul, John, Buford, Gina, and everyone else who held the moniker: nicely done. Has it been that long? "Now Because" started as a poem in 1991 about the first Gulf War when another Bush was f***ing things up and throwing up in people's laps. "Le plus-ce que ça change..." I can't believe we got to do "Don't Call". Long time ago, Eric, Theresa's old man, mused aloud what it would sound like recorded and I've wondered myself. Always played the entire thing on piano because there just wasn't a guitarist who could do what Matt did with this. I remember the trip from Madrid to Barcelona and points south like it was yesterday. The break-in to the restaurant car, the middle of the night slow to a halt in the middle of nowhere, the hyena Moroccan on hash eating corn beef with a bloody hand out of a tin, the oppressive heat of Spanish summer, the lonely desert outside the window, and Steve and me both missing our girls, not knowing we had already missed the ending of those stories. "Minor Things" make up the passage of time and as soon as I got wise to that, I started saving phone messages. First one is Broderick wanting to go buy food coloring to put in his bath water, and the second one is Antony calling to tell me about our hero, Barry Bonds, hitting his 68th home run of the year on his way to 73 which we both got to see in person. But it ain't about a birthday or 73: those are rare occurrences. It's about adding some color to bathwater and number six eight. Sleep well, my friends. There's more songs, but I'll let you come up with a good backstory for them. Enjoy! Erik.