Only ONE WEEK until you can buy both Ghost Notes and Songs from Memory at my Web site. The date is February 4th, next Monday. One friggin' week! I’m going to have to hatch something really interesting for next week’s blog, which will announce the first day of sales for these two labors of love. Mark it on your calendars!
This week, you get a peek of both novel and CD. You can now read the first chapter of Ghost Notes at my Web site. See where we pick up with Hote after he scrammed for Seattle at the end of Stuck Outside of Phoenix.
(By the way, if I read my letter from iUniverse correctly, that copy of Stuck for sale at Amazon is one of the last new copies available for sale--that isn’t for sale at my Web site. Get it while you can!)
Also this week, you get another sample track from Songs from Memory, which is called “Extraordinary,” which can be found at my MySpace Audio page.
“Extraordinary” is a very special song to me because it bridges the gap between the Refreshments and Songs from Memory. In fact, I called the record Songs from Memory because, back when I first picked up the guitar again, some of my material was so old it was a challenge to remember it. Once I got sold on the idea of a solo record, I wound up writing more songs, which booted some of the old stuff off the record. As it stands, only three of the ten tracks on Songs from Memory are from Refreshments days. The rest have been written since then.
What most people won’t remember about “Extraordinary” is that it was actually a Refreshments song for a brief time. We probably played it live 3 or 4 times, with me on lead vocals, when the band was in its final throes in 1998. I generally class it with later Refreshments songs like “Easy,” “Honky Tonk Union” and “Tell Your Momma,” songs you can hear Refreshments’ versions of at the Taste of AZ show.
Frankly, “Extraordinary” never sounded as complete as those other songs, and I’m partially glad that the Taste of AZ show gets cut off after about an hour; we very well may have played “Extraordinary” later that night.
But I never doubted that, with “Extraordinary,” I’d written a song worthy of being played and recorded. For whatever reason, it never congealed with the Refreshments.
That was always a difficult thing for me to deal with, writing songs that I loved but for some reason didn’t come together when the four of us played them. (There were many other songs of mine that didn't make it out of the practice room.) At one point, after playing someone very close to me several of my demos, the person said, “I could hear these songs on a Paul Simon record, but not on a Refreshments record.”
I found this frustrating—aren’t the Refreshments just a conglomeration of the best songs any of the four of us can write and perform together? That was how I saw it.
In retrospect, I think the Refreshments got defined too narrowly. To me we were, first and foremost, always and forever, a pop rock band, and in the broadest sense. Listen to “Down Together,” “Carefree,” “Mekong,” “Don’t Wanna Know” (I could go on and on). None of these songs mentions Mexico, or tequila, or anything relating to the Southwest (nothing wrong with any of those things, by the way). They’re just pop songs, and by that I mean, in terms of theme, they could’ve been written by anyone anywhere.
My new record, Songs from Memory, is also a collection of pop songs. I’ve heard from a few that it reminds them of the Refreshments. I always smile when I hear that. "Exactly," I want to say. "Pop music. That’s what the Refreshments did."
Anyway, enjoy “Extraordinary,” and enjoy the first chapter of Ghost Notes. Next week, I’ll upload “I Don’t Know Right Now,” which should provide plenty of motivation to buy now!
Slight correction from last week: the full band gig on Saturday, March 8, at Last Exit is now supporting Shurman, not Dead Hot Workshop. As always, we hope to add more confirmations this week, so keep an eye on my Web site for the most current information. I'll announce all updates here, too.
One more week!