March 5, 1982 – Avanti Theater – “Pressing Paranoia”

Ronnie and Jimmy were 18, I had just turned 19, and this was Next Window’s first college show. Our first gig opening for another band (Bonnington Truce) and playing for their audience largely felt like a success, though I’ve never enjoyed listening to the soundboard recording from that day. We were still a high school band, and the 3 originals we played, along with twice that many covers, were high school songs. None of those songs made the cut when we started recording demos.

Still, it was memorable day. Sometime during Truce’s set (which I watched as a fan) we got the news that John Belushi had died. Which means, if the calendar is to be believed, that John Belushi has been gone for 30 years. An appalling thought.

“Pressing Paranoia” was probably our best original from that day. The mix is weird, balanced for the room and not the cassette, so the vocals are way too loud. But the bass sounds good, and I love Ronnie’s bits in the bridge. The highlight for me is Jimmy’s relentless kick. The tape doesn’t capture it but we shook that place. I don’t remember anything about the where and why of writing the song, except that I know Ronnie wrote some of the words.

If anyone has memories or media from that day, or the Avanti Theater in general, I would love to post it or link to it here. Just add a comment below or post it to The Misbelieves on Facebook. Thanks!

Glass Flesh Volume 4

Glass Flesh 4Glass Flesh 4, the latest in a series of Robyn Hitchcock tribute albums curated by Bayard Catron, has just been released. Previous volumes have been excellent, and Volume 4 is the first to include a contribution by The Misbelieves. Buy yours before they sell out (and they do sell out).

2003 – Touch You Natalie Jane

Robyn Hitchcock invented the internet in September, 1994. That’s when I joined the fegmaniax mailing list, a group where people who are interested in Robyn’s music can discuss other people who are interested in Robyn’s music (and sometimes even the music itself). It’s a cliche to say that “fegs are the nicest people”, and I consider many of them to be friends in every sense of the word, if you leave aside the fact that we’ve never actually met. “Touch You Natalie Jane” was written for a project showcasing original music by fegs, and the lyrics concern the sometimes uneasy boundaries between online and real-world relationships. Those boundaries became blurred beyond all meaning, five years later, when the song’s namesake died in the real world. Click here for song origins, downloads, and lyrics.

Click the image above for a 3-track playlist that includes “FYNJ” (a remix) and “Fuck You Natalie Jane”, a rough mix of the abandoned original NSFW version of the song, available here for the first time.

1996 – Acoustic Rescue

These are acoustic versions of five songs that I had originally produced on 4-track cassette. I was becoming increasingly frustrated with the limitations of the 4-track, and generally felt that the original recordings had ruined some decent songs. In 1996 I decided to rescue a few of them by recording live to two tracks, and for the most part I think it worked. I definitely prefer these performances of “Satellite”, “Ruby Falls”, and “Zoo Song” to the originals. As for “The Fault”, I think the 4-track recording is probably better, and “Well To Wonder” just isn’t a very good song.

Anyone familiar with the originals will probably notice that “Satellite” and “See Ruby Falls” are both significantly different from the originals, not just with regard to the production but also lyrics and structure.

Click the box below to listen to a playlist, or click here for downloads and lyrics to each song.

Take This In Remembrance

This is the first time I’ve recorded a song for the Glass Flesh series of Robyn Hitchcock tributes. “Take This In Remembrance” is an obscure song in a catalog packed with obscurities. Its only official release was on a CD supplement to an Italian book about Robyn, long out of print.
Robyn’s original recording is sparse and perfect, one guitar and one voice. Mine isn’t:
Download MP3 (4 MB) FLAC (21 MB) (try right-click “save as” if left-click doesn’t work for you)

I highly recommend the first three volumes of Glass Flesh, which can be ordered here, and I will highly recommend volume four as soon as it’s released. From the official site: Glass Flesh is a world-wide Robyn Hitchcock tribute project that has seen the creation of multiple cassette and professional CD releases. Participants have included such indie darlings as singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt and members of the beloved “Elephant 6” collective – including members of such groups as the Decemberists, Elf Power, Marshmallow Coast and others.