Live on CJAM (2003)
two tracks from february of 2003 when i played on chris hewer’s CJAM show actual air for about the third time (with shawn hosting in chris’ stead). there’s an early version of aura of the insipid with different bridge lyrics that are inferior to what i eventually ended up singing on the album version, and a cover of tim buckley’s lorca. i’m not normally one to play someone else’s songs, but i think it was the anniversary of tim’s death and i wanted to tackle something no one else would be bold enough to attempt. not that many of the people listening would have known who tim was anyway…
much more interesting, in my opinion, is the stuff that was recorded during my first appearance on chris’ show (you’ll have to get the MISFITS compilation to hear it). gord’s friend josh was becoming a friend of mine at the time, and we were in the process of getting to know one another. he seemed to like the music i’d been making with gord. one friday josh paid a visit to his friend chris at CJAM. he wanted to bring a GWD cd with him, but gord was sleeping and josh didn’t know where our cds were. it also didn’t help that i wasn’t in the habit of writing titles or anything on the cds back then, so if the disc wasn’t in the case you had no way of knowing what it was without listening to it.
josh saw the mr. sinister cd INCOGNITO IN AUSTIN lying around and decided to grab that instead. he played chris the title track and told him some hilarious improvised lies about my musical history (something like, “john’s been making music since he was two years old”…in a way it was true, though josh had no way of knowing that). chris liked what he heard and told josh to get me to come in and play on his show. so, the following friday, i did.
i hadn’t yet started working on a follow-up to BEAUTIFULLY STUPID, but i had just recently written “filler” and “unstable things” on my new acoustic guitar — the first decent one i ever owned — and i thought they might make for good on-air material, instead of tackling old tunes. to my surprise, chris ended up making me the “focus group” of the evening and devoted almost an hour to my music. so i played some tracks from my still-fresh first post-band solo cd BEAUTIFULLY STUPID, a few band tracks from STELLAR and the posthumous CASTRATED EP, the two new acoustic tracks, and we talked a bit about what i did and how i came to play the guitar in such an odd way. i even somehow got away with playing “absolutely manhole blues”, which contains about thirty rapid-fire shouts of a four-letter word that rhymes with “duck” in the last twenty seconds.
when it was time to play the live tracks, the microphone i spoke into was angled halfway between my face and the guitar in an attempt to capture an ample amount of both. i was nervous as hell, which was why i botched my guitar playing on both songs. but even though the re-recordings that ended up on TEMPORARY AMNESIA are technically superior and i hold that climactic high note on “unstable things” for much longer, there’s something about the imperfect first versions that i could never recapture. particularly on “filler”, my singing completely destroys what i did on the cd version. maybe it was a combination of the thrill of being on the radio for the first time in my life and unveiling these songs for the first time, not entirely sure if they were written to my satisfaction yet.
aura of the insipid
+ both tracks backwards