Temporary Amnesia (2002)
i had some sort of unexpected epiphany while i was recording “dance yourself to sleep” during the BEAUTIFULLY STUPID sessions. i was overdubbing some high wordless singing in the background, and i hit some notes i hadn’t realized i was capable of reaching. i’d done a lot of messing around with my voice over the years, but i had no idea i could sing that high without my head exploding. all at once i became a lot more interested in exploring my vocal range. how high could i really go? how low? this cd was where i did a lot of my initial exploring.
a few of these songs were written during the BEAUTIFULLY STUPID-period (and one or two things had been written even earlier), but the finished product turned into something quite different from what i expected. for one thing, more than half of the songs are acoustic, mostly because i finally had a few good acoustic guitars at my permanent disposal for a change. at times the music gets dangerously close to emo territory without enough electricity or weirdness to keep it on-edge.
truth be told, i’m still not sure exactly how i feel about this album. almost immediately after it was finished, i deemed it inferior to its predecessor. i thought it was poorly-mixed and populated with too much bland acoustic shit. but i also felt bad karma, lankysuicide, and thank you for not caring were some of my best unpolished work. lankysuicide might be the best thing on the whole cd, and it would have ended up on BEAUTIFULLY STUPID had i made my way around to recording it back then, though it would have been missing the last few instrumental sections. it’s as defeated and nakedly honest as anything on that album, but also its own beast, with an instrumental workout filling out the latter half of the song that doesn’t really sound like anything i had ever done before, with or without a wah pedal.
unstable things is another one that was written during that turbulent time; i came up with most of the music while playing roland (yet another guitar jesse kept leaving at my house, this one the successor to betsy II) on my side porch while waiting for gord to show up the day of the final GWD show, and finished it a few weeks later. i unveiled that song and filler live on CJAM in july of 2002, and while i hold the high note longer here (it may be the longest i’ve ever held a single note) and my guitar playing is a bit cleaner, the version i played on CJAM is better.
indeed, both of those songs are more polished here than the live versions were, but they’re nowhere near as good. the singing in particular just doesn’t come close. i’m not sure why i could never duplicate the way they sounded the first time through. maybe it was the combination of popping my radio cherry and the nervousness of playing these songs i had just finished writing (one of which didn’t even have a title yet) in a tiny studio for some guy i had never met before, knowing that somewhere in windsor there were at least four people listening to the performance as it was being broadcast. i ultimately decided to dump the CJAM versions on cd, because they wipe the floor with the properly recorded versions, and they finally found a home on the MISFITS (1999-2007) compilation.
we can be happy dates back to the band days. gord and tyson liked the song, so we probably would have eventually ended up recording it together at some point (maybe it would have ended up on the full-length album the CASTRATED EP was intended to become), but i think it works better as a stripped down acoustic thing than it would have as an electric band vehicle. lessons in self-deprivation & self-destruction is the closest i’ve ever come to straight metal, though there isn’t anything you could call screaming in it, and at one point i even play some speed metal guitar licks. that was fun to do.
infatuated, on the other hand, is one of those songs i wish i had never recorded, though one person seemed to think it was some kind of masterpiece. i’m not sure i’ll ever understand that. thank you for not caring is one of my more tender love songs (complete with a touching chorus), and was written while GOOD LUCK IN THE NEXT LIFE was being recorded. i played it for gord and tyson a few times, but it was never met with much serious interest, though in another life it might have turned into a guys with dicks song. same with fake happiness — part of the song was written before we started recording SUBLIMINAL BILE, and i tried to get the guys interested in it, to no avail. of course, once i recorded the songs myself gord and tyson suddenly thought they were great. once again, my rectangular noodles were singing songs of confused atrophy.
azure was the first completely instrumental piano song i had recorded in almost two years. it took me almost that long to piece it together, too. it just never seemed finished, and i would keep coming up with new bits every few months and cobbling them together. several bits were even intended for other songs i never got around to writing, so i just threw them all together.
over time i’ve grown to like this cd more. even if it can’t match BEAUTIFULLY STUPID blow for blow, it’s nearly as angry and uninhibited, and there are some undeniably cool moments — the mass of vocals sweetly singing “hamster turds” at the end of disgust appeal, the overlapping vocals and guitars throughout bad karma, the rapid-fire switch from 4/4 to a brisk 3/4 at the end of your lover, and the wicked metal riff that comes in after the false ending in lessons in self-deprivation and self-destruction, to name a few.
it’s just that some songs always felt like they had more potential than i realized. take fake happiness, for example. the song has a sexy intro, and i always liked the main guitar riff, but it’s kind of let down by some shitty singing. then again, i didn’t view this as a proper stand-alone album anyway; i considered it to be a companion piece to the cd that would follow it.
it hurts back
lessons in self-deprivation & self-destruction
sweat sock wine
thank you for not caring
we can be happy
you made the nights
the brevity of our union