Monday, September 27, 2010
I wrote “Earlybird School” as a tribute to Burger King. I was going through a phase when I would eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at Burger King. I did that for about six months. There was no specific reason, other than there was a Burger King across the street from the apartment I was crashing in. Plus I was too lazy to cook, and I really liked how Burger King food tasted. And it was really cheap. I was about 19 at the time. I gained about 80 pounds from eating that way, and then lost it all the next year and got really skinny. Now I haven’t eaten at Burger King in a decade. But I was really obsessed with it at the time I wrote the song. Burger King and McDonalds, and the whole mythology of fast food, were fascinating and scary things to me. All those great cartoon characters, like Grimace from McDonalds, were meant to appeal to kids but they were also totally trippy and surreal. And if you’re smoking a lot of pot, then creatures like Grimace become really transfixing, and Burger King food starts to taste amazing. So I wrote “Earlybird School” just so I could mention Burger King in there. And the other lyrics were pretty accurate in terms of feeling like a loser, and wanting money, and knowing that I was doomed. I wrote and recorded the demo of the song in thirty minutes, and the studio version didn’t take much longer. We recorded most of the tracks on this record live, with minimal overdubs from my friend Bill Whitten on guitar.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
I wrote “Summertime” because I really like the Velvet Underground. And I really like happy songs, or songs that start out happy and then you realize they’re really depressing. I always admired The Misfits song “Skulls” because it’s so poppy and upbeat, but then of course Danzig is so scary and demonic, especially now that he’s an old man. I suppose Husker Du does that too. One minute you think, “This is a cheerful, up-tempo rock song!” and then the next second there are razor blades everywhere and you’re dialing for an ambulance because you realize the song is about how much Bob Mould and Grant Hart love each other, but they can’t make things work. I thought it might be nice to write a song like that. The chords are catchy, but the lyrics paint a bleak picture. Of course, I was feeling that way at the time. Things were, are, and always will be quite bleak. I was also listening to a lot of Television and Ramones, and all the other classic New York City rock bands, so they really influenced the sound of this record. And we were recording at a horrible decaying studio on West 30th Street in New York City, so that helped too. I asked Maureen “Moe” Tucker to produce the album and play drums, because her drums sound like city traffic. I think she’s one of the best rock drummers in the world.