The Cracker Demi Song Vault.
So continuing where I left off with post 59.
I had a few more thoughts on the demi-songs that populated the early CVB records. I said after we went to virgin most of these went away. Part of this was a function of being on a major label instead of on our own imprint. But not in the way you imagine. Typical major label contracts pay you songwriting royalties on only 10 songs no matter how many you put on the record. (it gets pro-rated). So we were much less inclined to put a bunch of smaller demi-songs onto the albums. Now we preferred to hold them for an oddities collection or for B-sides. And there is some minor record label pressure to not put really weird stuff on your albums. Although considering how challenging things like “The humid press of day” ”opening theme” and “light from a cake” are, we never got much hassle from virgin.
So basically these demi-songs went away until we put out CVB Is Dead Long Live CVB. At least for Camper Van Beethoven.
But then there is the matter that we became much more expert at turning weird ideas into actual songs. Certainly with CVB and also with Cracker. Be My Love, Guarded By Moneys, Eyes of Mary are all pretty strange demos that got turned into some real songs. But perhaps the best Cracker example of this is the song “I’m so glad she ain’t never coming back”
I returned from dinner to find Miguel Urbiztondo (Drums) David Immergluck (Guitar) and Johnny Hickman, sitting on the floor in the studio jamming. Miguel had some tablas and David and Johnny were playing acoustic guitars.
Always be recording.
I flipped open my ibook and just recorded their groove straight into the computer.
later I edited it into a little structure and sang some words to it. We also did a few minor overdubs. et voila
But many remain unfinished demi-songs or whatever you call them. They have not disappeared. we generally try to use them at some point or another, work them into another song. But they are still out there. Here are a few
This is from around 2001. It’s basically Johnny Hickman, John Morand and myself Jamming to a drum machine loop. probably started when the click track ended and one of the saved or demo drum machine loops came in. There may have been some pre-mediation. That is we may have set up to record that piano part or bass part. We kept it because we kept thinking it was gonna turn into a song. But after 10 years i doubt it.
This was a melody i was working on around the time I was doing greenland demos. It’s Miguel on drums, probably david immergluck on guitar, and maybe matt trowbridge on keys. It sort of devolve into this space jam. Really it could have been a monks of doom song.
This is a little collaboration that Lauren Hoffman, Alan Weatherhead (slide, pedal steel keyboards) and myself whipped up one night. Lauren pretty much improvised the words. Again the intention was to turn this into a more structured song, but I’ve always wondered if it would have the same feeling if it got turned into a real song.
I had a little bit of this carbon leaf (I produced one of their albums) song in my sampler. I looped it and started jamming on it with various synths and exotic instruments. I think it was supposed to be something for the New Roman Times record. For various reasons I put it aside and never did anything with it.
Finally the last three song were untitled so i whimsically made a cryptic reference to an organization. First one to figure it out the name of the organization and what they do (did) gets a CVB or Cracker Souvenir.
Finally I stumbled across this one song, that i had completely forgotten about. It’s so weird or good depending on how you look at it, i’m gonna use it as a B-side for my solo album that comes out Feb 1st.
[G(sus4)] Saw my baby at the autumn dance
Dancing with her new boy friend
Saw my baby in her new beau’s car
She’s the[D] pride of any[G] man
[G] Now I don’t mind and I don’t cry
‘Cause I’m[C] living on the mountain top[G]
The wind might blow through the cracks at night
And I[D] know she ain’t ever coming back
I don’t mind and I don’t cry
I’m living in a log pine shack
My shotgun keeps me warm at night
And I know she ain’t ever coming back
Saw my baby at the autumn dance
She was dancing with a big ring on
Saw my baby in her new beau’s car
She’s the pride of any man
Saw my baby at the bridal shack
She was looking for a wedding dress
Saw my baby at the dry goods store
I’m so glad she ain’t ever coming back