Sunday, April 15, 2007

Later, Back in Tempe...

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.



Anonymous said...

Keep the story rollin', I'm diggin' it the most! As a long time fan of the band, I didn't know 'bout such tunes in "My Penis" and "Clowns". Did you guys every play these live even after "Fizzy Fuzzy..." was released? -Otis from D.C.

Mike Routt said...

Is there any recording of "The Penis Song"? I have heard stories of this song but have never heard iot, even some lyrics would be cool.

Anonymous said...

I find that reading your blog on your life in the history of The Refeshments, say the least, quite refreshing, (no pun intended). I remember when I first heard The Refreshments on the radio. It was the late summer of 96. Banditos was the song. I was hooked. This was something new, something much different than what was being normally played on the airwaves. That weekend, I went and found your cd at the local record shop, (couldn't find it at Wal-mart or K-mart at the time). I played it....and to be honest, I wasn't sure if I liked it as much as I thought I would, but I never abandoned it. I kept coming back to it, kept listening to it. Over and over. I became involved in it. Your songs were being played again and again in my mind. I then realized just who great this cd is! I couldn't get enough. I still can't seem to get enough at times. So with all that said, I will say that learning a little about you and the bits of history that made The Refreshments what they are and were, is quite rewarding to me. I never really new to much about the band, besided the names and what some are doing now. I managed to go see Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers last fall in Chicago. I was good to hear him play some of your tunes from Bottle and Fizzy,Fuzzy, but I just wish I could have seen these songs played with the orginal line-up! Kudos to you Art!

Anonymous said...

This is AWESOME!!! I am loving reading this..

Brings back so many Refreshment memories.

Art Edwards said...

Glad you're all digging the blogs.

"My Penis" was buried soon after the first year of the band. No recording exists to my knowledge. I love it, but the search for it might be, in the words of David St. Hubbins, "Best left unsolved."


Gordie Bones said...

This is good stuff. Had a good laugh and loved some of the background. Any chance there could be a Refreshments reunion? RCPM are great and doing there thing, but there is just no guitar on earth like Brian's...