This album was a continuation of trying to perfect my writing/performing/recording abilities so I bought and borrowed some more equipment, concentrated more on lyrics, and played the songs over and over and over again. The problem with my musical leanings at this time (and on through until Ford) was that I did not practice to perform live but only to record a passable take. I enjoy the process of writing and then trying to recreate what is in my head, but since I was no good, I would get really frustrated and angry and break things when I couldn't do a take without screwing up. I was just going to school and working at Starbucks and hoping I could write some stuff that would impress people and make me feel good about being an artist.
One of the concepts behind this album was to have different instruments (electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass, live drums, electric drums, harmonica, mandolin, banjo uke) and voices for every song and show off my versatility. To me it all just ends up sounding mediocre.
These are the first Maxel Toft songs that feature bass guitar. I went and bought one just for recording purposes. It was/is a Cort EFVB1 Violin/Beatle Bass that is extremely heavy and I had to buy an extra fat strap so my arm doesn't get cut off. I also bought a cheap electric guitar to add some color to the songs. I still have it and it may be a DeArmond M-70 but I scratched off the numbers on it and I don't know. I bought a used guitar amplifier head at the same time as the bass and I do not remember what brand because it was stolen a couple of years later.
For My Auto I used a toy keyboard (from thrift) with built in microphone and recorded the keyboard and vocal part at the same time to save an extra track. I like the scratching on the bongo head and think it really pushes the song. And yes, that is a Wuhan China Symbol you hear. This song is a recurring example of where I had a tune that I didn't really care too much about so I threw some old lyrics over it that I didn't really care too much about. Sometimes it really helps just to get rid of some old material and make room for new ideas. I would really enjoy Skeleton Key if it weren't for the fact that the guitar part sounds too much like Pedro The Lion. I love the clever use of bongos, tambourine, and bell to mimic a real drum set. The four guitar solo instrumental part displays my love of creating space for noise where I don't know what will happen. Steps (Produced by Jay Elder at studiochicago) was a scary studio experience miracle. I had been in three or four real studio experiences but this was the first and only time alone. I wrote this song a couple of weeks before the session out of a guitar part I really liked and pieces from a bunch of lyrics I never used. I got the drum part in one take (after a false start), I borrowed a bass and had a little trouble playing it right (it was shortly after this that I decided to buy my own), I had a lot of trouble with my voice, and I am pretty amazed by the slide guitar part I made up in a couple of takes (great use of noise). This was the first track to feature Maid Marion. I called her after every track was finished and had her improvise over the end. Dreamboat is an angry song with great drum track built in Midisoft Studio LE. Originally I created this song because I sold my skills at an auction and wrote a song for/about the buyer. That was a clever song too but I liked the tune and rewrote it with words about dumping a girl and telling the world she was available. For the bridge I used a broken amp that made great noises when you turned the knobs. The amp was first used with Suentes Po. Previously I used it on a Clarence song and also for a magic moment on a Maid Marion song. I tried a little too hard to write a drinking song called Never Thirsty. It is a little too clever for me but drinking songs are dumb anyway. I waited until I was sick so I could sing low and I think I started to drool during one of the lines. Roll On is another example of me trying to use a different voice. This is also an example of me wanting to make sure that my guitar parts were not all the same. This version of Cowboy is so horrible that I had to rerecord it for a later album. I wanted to play harmonica and guitar at the same time and recorded in my bathroom for no reason into one crappy microphone . . . for no reason. Long Ago features a bowl back mandolin that always sat on my parents piano. I had to get it repaired before I used it but I think now it is cracked again. I don't like it when people who don't know how to play mandolin play mandolin (but I can't promise I won't do it again). For the drums I used a real snare drum with an electronic bass drum pedal. I figured out a way to use the banjo uke again (see Double Negative Love) on Buy Me. The vocals were sung through reverb and guitar through the tremolo settings on the guitar amplifier head that was later stolen (that is why there is so much amp hum). I first thought it would be too personal to release but then I recorded it on purpose to prove that I didn't care. Remembrance is an old Clarence song remastered with doubled vocals because I lost the original and I wanted the vocals louder. I recorded the drums in my parents basement on a drum set I still own. It seemed to fit in with the other songs on the recording and I wanted to make the album longer. I like how it ended with, "There's more to come . . ."