Sunday, April 22, 2007


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.

Originally, I pictured our new band as a co-writing situation between Roger and me. I’d written much of the material for Dusty’s and my previous band, The Hanson Brothers, and I planned on writing as much as possible for this new project. All of that ended with “Mexico.”

Roger and I sat down at his house over a six-pack one night to work on songs. Roger said, “I have the beginning of a new song, but I can’t finish it.”

He sang the first verse.

Here comes another song about Mexico
I just can’t help myself
I lost my old lady

“That’s all I have,” he said.

I, of course, was laughing from the first line. It perfectly encapsulated the spirit of the band, and I liked that it embraced this Mexico theme Roger had begun working into the songs. “Play it again,” I said.

He sang the first three lines and at the opportune time I blurted,

Got my lures, got my bobbers
Now I’m gonna go.

Roger, trying to keep from falling off his stool, sang,

Got off in the wrong direction

And I yelled,

Found a hooker but lost my erection.

And Roger sang,

So I had to lie in the letter to the boys back home.

We were both giggling, thinking we were the funniest guys who ever lived.

This is the point in most bands where someone says, “Okay, guys. We’ve had our fun. Now let’s get serious.” Then the band would suck it up, and someone would write “appropriate” lyrics.

I was ready to get serious. I think I said something like, “Well, that was fun. Let’s forget it.”

Roger sprang off his stool. “I will not forget the greatest thing you ever said,” he said. (I would say the same thing a few weeks later when Roger would try to back away from a line he wrote that went, “Everybody knows that the world is full of stupid people.”)

So, we had a verse—which would soon become two verses with the changing of a pronoun or two—but we needed a chorus. We both agreed we’d go home, each write the best chorus we could, and meet up the next day to see what we had.

I struggled that night with my acoustic guitar. While I loved Mexico and our new song, no one was confusing me with a tequila-swilling, border-jumping maniac. I eventually came up with something, which I was embarrassed about, but at least I’d done it. I went to sleep hoping Roger would write something better.

The next day, I met Roger in his driveway. He had his guitar.

“You come up with something?” I asked.

“Yeah,” Roger said. “You?”

“Yeah,” I said. "You go first."

Roger swallowed once and sang,

Well, the good guys and the bad guys
They never work past noon ‘round here.
They sit side by side at the cantina
Talk to senoritas and drink warm beer.

I smiled, climbed back into my truck. “It's finished,” I said. "I'll see you at practice."


Anonymous said...

Somethin' 'bout this tune that always leaves good vibes. "Mexico" whenever heard live or on the album either gets me pumped, relaxed, & all that with nothin' but fond memories that may include debauchery at its finest. ~salud-Otis from D.C.

Lady E, the Pimpstress said...

Love it..."Mexico" is one of the most chill, fun songs ever. It makes sense that it should have started this way.

Anonymous said...

Keep up the nice Blog nice to get a view about how some of the songs were born. Thx Buddy. Jim from San Diego

Tito Slack said...

I love that song! It's funny to hear how it started because one might think it was written in Tijuana after a donkey show.

Alexis said...

You know, it's funny that others say this song is chill and fun.

To me it's sad and desperate.

When I'm particularly sad I like to listen to "Mexico". It reminds me that sadness happens and it's ok to feel lonely.

This song brings out my inner outlaw.

Josh said...

I'm loving the history lessons you're giving here. I'd love to hear the origins of the B-sides that never got on CDs but are circulating such as "Uh-Oh," "Feeling," "Psychosis," "Los Angeles," and my personal favourite "Hey Professor." Were these 'Freshies creations or the remnants of songs from other bands?

Art Edwards said...

Glad you're all enjoying the blogs.

We will get to B-sides.


Kathy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Frank said...

Any similar stories about my personal favorite on Fizzy... "Interstate"? I drove tour bus for over a decade, and "Interstate" always made the 5 AM playlist to rev the heart rate and get me past sunrise. Mekong is another personal fav, reminding me of my month in Bangkok in the late 90s... Thanks for all the great music!

Art Edwards said...

"Interstate" had the most songwriting input from all of the band members. Roger had a sketch when he came in--one verse, melody, maybe chorus--and we worked on coming up with chords for the other parts, and arrangement.

I take credit for most of the second verse. "Lead Thoughts" and "Lost Horizons" are Dead Hot and Gin Blossoms songs, respectively.