As I finalize Ghost Notes and Songs from Memory over the next few months, I’m going to blog regularly on the Refreshments.
Someone asked about the cover of Wheelie, which makes me want to talk about the entire package, which is probably more than anyone wants to know but, hey, it’s my blog.
The title of Wheelie came from “Pop a wheelie,” a line Roger came up with and quickly edited down to “wheelie.” We all liked that it evoked something from childhood, and that it sounded cool and fun.
Of course, we had to completely undercut the title with the album art. Brian wanted something that looked the opposite of “wheelie.” We settled on some kind of jalopy wreck, preferably one of those doomed, multi-winged planes that crashed on its first attempt at flight.
We liked the juxtaposition of calling our CD Wheelie and having some kind of bad wreck on the cover. That’s the kind of stuff that made us laugh, and undercutted any attempt by people--especially ourselves--to take the Refreshments seriously. That was the key in those early days.
It became my job to find a crashed plane, and I spent all day at the Tempe Library flipping through books. I eventually found what became the cover, which wasn’t a jalopy at all but a normal-looking little plane crashing, but it was all we had. CHUD Graphics helped us turn it into a cover, and we were set to go.
Of course, every CD needs a band picture, and we had no idea how to go about getting one. Someone got the idea to have our photo done at Sears--phony pose, funky back-drop and all--and we all thought that was perfect. We went to the Goodwill, bought some snazzy clothes, and all piled into Roger’s Landcruiser for the trip up to the Pleasant Valley Sears.
The result, with Rog and me sitting on the table in front of Dusty and Brian, was the epitome of what the band was in 1994: clever, spontaneous, silly, and at all costs unpretentious, exactly the opposite of what every band in the universe was trying to bring across. After that picture, nothing could stop us.
Throw in some artwork of an inebriated hotdog and a bomb flag, and you’ve got Wheelie.
All this gives me an idea for a new trivia question: which Refreshments member was responsible for coming up with which album title? The album titles are:
Lo, Our Much Praised Yet Not Altogether Satisfactory Lady
Fizzy, Fuzzy, Big & Buzzy
The Bottle and Fresh Horses
(Hint: Roger, Brian and I each came up with one of the above.)
Take a whack at it in the comments section. I'll reveal the answers next week.