A quick note on comments:
I’ve started posting your comments from my Blackberry, and that seems an imperfect system since some of them didn’t make it into the comments sections. I’m sorry if yours got deleted. I’m going to try to avoid posting them this way in the future.
In an effort to pump the Chicago Martyrs’ gig on Saturday, June 9th, I will dedicate as many blogs as possible between now and then to topics related to the Refreshments.
Roger came back to Tempe once that summer. Inspired by our ranch visit, he’d written four or five new songs, and he was excited to try them out with the band. The new batch contained “Down Together,” a crunchy little pop song that was the beginning of Roger’s penchant toward self-deprecating lyrics. There was “Feeling,” a rhythmic romp that I immediately added a clumsy bass hook to. There was “My Penis,” Roger’s ode to the male member. There was “Clown,” a groovy dance tune that barely made it out of the basement.
Roger’s lyrics had taken a decidedly humorous turn. Unlike the Mortals, these songs were more reminiscent of early Camper Van Beethoven or They Might Be Giants. We were fans of both bands, so we didn’t mind the likeness.
In 1993, in the middle of the grunge movement, the fun in rock music had almost been eliminated. Every band on MTV took themselves too seriously to our eyes. We were three young men living in a suburban college town, over-educated but not anxious to get jobs, poor but not destitute, a little confused but not overly so, and not horribly disgusted with the life we’d been given. If we were going to make music, it would be fun music, or it at least wouldn’t ignore the humorous side of things.
That night Roger drove back to the ranch, promising to return for good by the end of August.
From September to November we wrote and practiced. We added more songs, “Nada,” “Suckerpunch,” each with a nod to our locale next the Mexican border, or to the characters Roger knew from around town. With our songs, a band identity was forming, one that valued humor and good times while addressing the trials of being young and wanting in Tempe, Arizona. None of the songs could be dismissed as either too serious or too silly, which I thought was the perfect line to walk. It was “Lady” by Styx sung into a pristine desert night.
Next week, learn the origins of a spicy Refreshments classic.