Monday, September 18, 2006

Reckless Heart

Things developed quickly at Browne's Feat and we decided to begin work on a record. Beej had some songs that he had been working on along with a pile of fragments that we began to sift through to see if anything could be developed. Beej had a real talent for riffing. He couldn't begin to jam with musicians, but he could riff like a bastard on his own ideas. The problem was that all the musicians that he'd played with in the past didn't respect his playing. Consequently, his ideas would be co-opted and rewritten by players who thought that they knew better. For some reason, I wasn't as threatening to him as others had been and I am a very patient collaborator. I just let him riff on for hours and then guided him into directions that had form and some semblence of commerciality. After all, you do ultimately have to sell records.

I had always loved the old Captain Beefheart records and this seemed an excellent opportunity to do something of that nature but a bit more mainstream.As Beej wasn't comfortable playing with others, we needed a band. We needed a band that was raw, that could pull off sophisticated ideas, and that could interpret his guitar ramblings without being jaded. We wanted guys that played like they meant it.

Enter Glen Doty, Kenny Harris and Craig Burdg. These three were in a band that played with real fire but didn't have the songs. I brought in a tape and both Beej and Jim were impressed with their aggressive honesty, so we talked them into giving their bass player the "Pete Best" treatment and they hooked up with us. The first rehearsal was a great indication of the attitude we were looking for. On the way in to the studio, Craig got a ticket for making a non emergency stop on the freeway. The non emergency was Glen's bladder which was being emptied on Interstate 10 during rush hour resulting in a citation being issued to Glen for "Freeway Urination" swear to god! I had never seen that written on a ticket before.

My job was to play bass and work with these guys to make them sound the way Beej would sound if he could play. Glen turned out to be a motherfucker. He loved volume, and he knew how to use it in very dynamic and musical ways. It was to be an exciting band and Beej fronted the shit out of us. We recorded a five song CD with a remote truck parked outside of a place called the Alley. There was a great sounding rehearsal stage there that suited us much better than a proper recording studio could have.

The record was called "Reckless Heart" and was released on J.R.S. records. We did a short bus tour and found that no-one knew who we were, we weren't getting airplay, and our records weren't in the shops. Our success had supposedly been arranged by virtue of a suitcase full of money being put into the proper hands. As it turned out, it was the right money but the wrong hands...and we, or I should say, Beej got rat-fucked...big. Shame, I still like the sound of that record. Jim recorded the shit out of a bunch of guys who really tried to capture what Beej was about. It was honest, and it was a shame that our own company wasn't. well...what the fuck is new...right?

When we got back into LA, Jim and Beej decided that having a band was going to be too expensive. It was a big disappointment to the guys to know that it was over before it started. On the bright side, Beej had been fair and they had been paid. They also got a taste of the road life, and afterall, there was that drunken banker's wife in Salt Lake City that had her Goth on and insisted we all sign her massive hogans. I still wonder how she explained away the Mercedes insignia on her left one...sharpie is forever man. Nuff said. The point is, we had some laughs, got paid for it and it didn't work out.

What next?

No comments: