Release Date: 9/97
Writer: ADAM MARSLAND
Every day I feel the rope as it tightens
I admit your fable has me frightened
Signed on for the rocket ride
You came, you saw, you died
What's it like to live inside of the end groove?
I walk the mountains just to trace you
The moors of Scotland could not brace you
Wanna run in fields of clover
Content as I grow older
Not the same thing over and over, like an end groove
I heard a trace of you, added a note of two
I hope that you'd approve
Not just a faux Paul on vinyl
Not just an escape that was more than final
Anguish. Violence. Darkness, Silence.
Signed on for the rocket ride
You came, you played, you died
What's it like to live inside of the end groove?Adam sez:
For the first three Cockeyed Ghost albums, we had a policy which was that the last song would have nothing to do with the rest of the album. On the first and third albums that meant doing a surf instrumental, but for NEVEREST, an album that was almost entirely about bottom-heavy rock, we cut a delicate, heavily orchestrated track that had no bass at all. This was the height of the Poptopia movement and we convened a special session and invited all our friends. They were all told to bring an unusual instrument to play. We all convened at Steve Refling's studio -- the first beginning-to-end recording we'd done with him to make a record, though we'd done fixes and demos with him prior to that.
The unusual rhythm track was made on an electric typewriter and car keys being shaken. Rob and I laid down acoustic guitars and later finished the track by playing a snare and tom-tom in unison. In between Probyn Gregory played a saw and a pennywhistle; Eddie Munoz of the Plimsouls played the autopharp and a mandolin. Robbie Rist played synthesizer. Tony Perkins played Wurlitzer. Perhaps the most distinctive memory of the session was Darian Sahanaja and Cindy Lee Berryhill sitting head to head doing a unison line on toy piano and glockenspeil. James Hazley was absent from this session.
The song's lyrics, though I've never said so publicly, are about Pete Ham, the Badfinger lead singer and songwriter who hung himself in 1975 after being swindled by their manager. The reason I've never talked about it as I'm embarassed about the line referring to the moors of Scotland. Pete Ham was from Wales, not Scotland. The lyrics were written in a big old hurry right before the session and I didn't have time to check that, and after the album came out I figured the less said about it the better. I have mixed feelings about the song; they do refer both to Ham's sad situation and my fears about where the creative life would lead me in the end. The suicide lines are pretty powerful; some of the other parts, like the bit about the rocket ride, seem a bit much.
This was Rob's only solo lead vocal on NEVEREST, though a great deal of the lead vocals on that album are Rob's and my voices intertwined in various ways. There was some controversy towards the end of the album about him not having his own lead vocal, but I wasn't in favor of just giving him one of the songs that I was already doing, so since this was a new song, I suggested he do this instead. At first he took the lyrics way too much to heart, singing it exactly as if he was about to put his head in a noose. Once Steve and I had him mellow out a bit, he did a great job.
This song was only performed live once, oddly enough right after James left and the second version of the band, with Robert and Kurt, got underway. We were experimenting with various ways to continue the band and tried out an arrangement with Kurt playing bass, of all things. He has no recollection of that but I remember it very well and he did a decent job on it. The song went OK, but it didn't make sense live. It was just an experiment that didn't go anywhere. It's not one of my better songs, but it has a nice mood and the recording of it, with all our friends dropping in and contributing, was a memorable day.
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