1. King Dork
Long before it was a book, it was a song. The basic tracks for this one were recorded during the Revenge Is Sweet... sessions but the song was never quite completed at the time. One of the rough "in progress" mixes done during the sessions appeared as an out-take on the Lookout compilation Forward 'til Death in 1999 as well as on a split 7" with the German band Gigantor. This more fully realized mix was included on the 2001 ...and the Women Who Love Them "Special Addition" CD re-issue comp. Al Jardine was dozing on the couch in the closet-like other room during the belated mixing session. I wanted to wake him up to ask him to do vox, but chickened out. I think Kevin Army might have casually mic'd the closet door though.
2. How I Made a Million in a Punk Rock Band
One of Jon von's most charming Sky Saxonisms, vocally, and among my favorite tracks from these sessions for some reason, this was an out-take from the second wave of Making Things with Light sessions at Sound and Vision. I feel like I should apologize for the naked Frehley-isms on the guitar, but I'm not gonna. This appeared on the Big Black Bugs CD comp.
3. Sackcloth and Ashes
Just me, a good song, a double tracked Les Paul Jr., and the tremolo knob on a Sears Silvertone amp. I wanted to record a whole album like this. Still do.
4. Whistle Bait
This Collins Kids cover is one of two songs we recorded with Jim Tierney at Fishtraks in Portsmouth, NH for the Joe King-produced compilation More Bounce to the Ounce. (It was later included on the ...and the Women Who Love Them CD comp.) Not much more to say about it, except: those were good times, and that p-90 sounds great.
5. Itching Powder in the Sleeping Bags (live)
I'm a little fuzzy on the precise source of this track, but it was recorded live on the radio, probably on KFJC, and probably around 1994 (Joel/Jim line-up.) It appeared as "Bonus Mystery Live Track" on the CD single version of the MTX / Goober Patrol split from 1995.
6. Boredom Zone
The song itself dates back to my high school days. This version was recorded in 1988 by Greg Freeman at Lowdown Studios in San Francisco as part of a lengthy demo tape, and it first appeared on the Lookout Records compilation The Thing that Ate Floyd. It was later included as a bonus track on the Lookout CD re-issue of the Night Shift album. Not, perhaps, my finest hour as a songwriter, but I still like the drone/jangle guitar.
7. Fill in the Blank
Not A-list material by any means, but still kind of a fun track. Recorded at Sound and Vision in San Francisco during the second wave of Making Things with Light sessions, this song originally appeared on the 1991 Flipside compilation The Big One, and was included on the Big Black Bugs CD re-issue comp in 1997.
8. Unpack Your Adjectives
This cover of the Schoolhouse Rock tune was one of five songs we recorded at Sound and Vision in '94 or '95, the first recording session to feature Joel Reader on bass and backup vox, and the last thing we ever did at Sound and Vision. The other songs were "Alternative Is Here to Stay", "New Girlfriend," "You Today," and "Semi-OK." My original plan was to do them all as a self-released e.p., but Larry Livermore talked me into doing a single with Lookout instead. The die was cast. We stayed on Lookout. (This song, under the title "Adjective," appeared on the 1995 Lookout Records comp. A Slice of Lemon.)
9. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah
This surf-y song with nonsense lyrics somewhat inexplicably appeared on a 1997 compilation somewhat inexplicably called "Generations I - a Punk Look at Human Rights." Somewhat inexplicably, its title was listed as "Ya, Ya, Ya, Ya." It was later included on the ...and the Women Who Love Them CD comp. I believe this was recorded at Roof Brothers studio in Oakland, at the same session where we did the Duran Duran and Primitives covers. (We used to try to combine the covers comp recording sessions and throw in one of our own songs if there was time for it -- this track was unfunded, meant to benefit... something or other.) I can't remember much more about it, but I do remember the carpet. It was gray and kind of damp. Smelled like cats.
This original version of this song was on a Lookout flexi sampler that came with the September 1995 issue of Punk Planet as well as on the Goober Patrol / MTX split 7"/CD that came out in the same year.
11. Flying Jelly Attack
This was recorded at Dancing Dog Studios in Emeryville ca. 1989 for a Shonen Knife covers compilation called Every Band Has a Shonen Knife Who Loves Them; later on, it appeared as a bonus track on the Making Things with Light CD and subsequently the Big Black Bugs CD compilation. Many of the covers we recorded were done solely because the people putting them out gave us a small amount of money for studio time, but in this case it was a band I really loved and was one of my favorite songs by them. Our version is... well quite weird sonically, but sort of charming I guess. The guitar stuff was perhaps a harbinger of things to come in a way: this is what happens when you give a boy an SG and a Mesa Boogie. A guy from Jon von's work transliterated the Japanese lyrics for me and I sang them not very convincingly, but that didn't stop it being used as evidence for the still extant folk legend that I am half Japanese. (I'm not.) When we played with Shonen Knife a few years later Naoko Yamano told me my Japanese was "very well." Success.
12. As Life Goes On, You Get More and More Out of It
A home recorded never-before-released song that first appeared on the ...and the Women Who Love Them CD. comp. All it's got going for it is the double-entendred title really, but it's a pretty good one.
13. Kenny Smokes Cloves
One of the earliest MTX songs, recorded in that Greg Freeman/Lowdown 8 track demo tape session. Kenny Kaos needed to be immortalized in song, somehow, and while I'm sure I didn't quite do him justice, I did the best I could. This first appeared as a bonus track on the Night Shift album CD re-issue.
14. Can't Get There from Here
Recorded for a 1992 REM covers compilation called Surprise Your Pig (because they gave us $200) and included on the Big Black Bugs CD comp. Figuring out absurd sound-alike lyrics for the incomprehensible Michael Stipe lyrics was the fun part and the main memorable feature here, a rare instance, perhaps, of nonsense parody lyrics making more sense than the original. "Donna Reed is not my mom" will forever live in infamy. Years later our old associate Robert Shimp was engineering an REM record in San Francisco and played the track for Peter Buck, who reportedly said "at least they got the chords right." As with so much else in our repertoire, it was the very least we could do.
15. God Bless America
This much loved/maligned song originally came out on the Blame and Burn 7" comp on Flush Records in 1992. Later it was added as a bonus track to the Our Bodies Our Selves CD issue with no indication that it was "bonus" leaving many/most fans with the impression that it was the final track of that album. In fact, the song pre-dates the album by many years and was originally meant to be solo/acoustic, and generally played during broken string breaks and such at shows. (Ironically, on the other hand, "Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend" had been intended as a full band song that became acoustic by exigency.) This recording was meant as the first iteration of what was to be a generic backing track with new lyrics/vox to be added and submitted every time we had a compilation offer with no budget. (cf. "Vive la France" and "God Bless Lawrence Livermore".) It was also included on the Big Black Bugs CD comp. A different mix appears on the MTX/Goober Patrol split.
16. I Was Losing You All Along
As originally conceived, this song was intended to be the grand finale track of Revenge Is Sweet and so Are You -- the album title appears as a lyric in the bridge, in fact. In the event it never quite "gelled" in the studio and we didn't have the time (nor, arguably, the talent) to do it justice so it was abandoned unfinished. Kevin Army and I did what we could with it several years later to make it presentable for the ...and the Women Who Love Them CD compilation. It was during this session at Shark Bite studios in Oakland that Al Jardine poked his head in to say: "that bass sounds a little picky... not to be, you know, picky" lending a Beach Boy's support the tone side in our ongoing argument over how trebly and stringy the bass should be. While the recording isn't perfect, this is still one of my favorites among my songs, and I'd love the chance to re-do it properly one day, or to hear someone good do a cover of it. The reprise of the guitar line from Milk Milk Lemonade's "See It Now" was intended to link those two albums together on the basis of some no doubt pretentious rationale I've since forgotten.Posted by Dr. Frank at November 2, 2016 09:39 PM