cleveland

Release Date: 1/10

Album: HELLO CLEVELAND

Writer: ADAM MARSLAND

Audio:

Lyrics:

Hello Cleveland, Cleveland hi!
Every time I come here someone dies
Why, oh why, oh why?

Rick and Steve and Ginna Ling
Of thee I grieve and of thee I sing
But the rock stops here
And rock never dies
But like all things it just gets old and trivialized

Hello Cleveland!
Hello Cleveland!

Hello Cleveland, Cleveland hi!
To the hall of fame, not sure why
'Til your Erie ways run dry
Hello Cleveland, hi.

Hello Charlie, Hello Jon
Hello T, let's get it on
Gonna rock all day with my best friends
'Til we're high in the middle and round at both ends

Hello Cleveland!
Hello Cleveland!

Musicians:

Adam - lead vocal, guitar
Teresa Cowles - bass, vocals
Jon Braun - drums, vocals
Charlie Zayleskie - keyboards, vocals
Bill Stone - vocals

Adam sez:

The HELLO CLEVELAND album is one of the loopiest things to ever occur in my long and checkered career, and it also looks like it may turn out to be one of the most successful, which probably has a lot to do with its limited ambitions...the mentality behind it was to look at it not like an artist but a record company owner, "OK kid, you did your magnum opus, it didn't sell...now we booked you one day in the studio, we need you to do an album that'll make the company some money. Get going!" It was a strangely liberating idea, to take art out of the equation and just force yourself to get something done quickly. If I'd never worked with the Wrecking Crew, I probably would have never had the balls to try it...but I knew that it could be done, and done well. But to the get to the point of actually doing it, I had to get really, really pissed off and fed up. Which is where I was at by October 6, 2009, the date we recorded the album.

Basically what happened was I was out on the road promoting GO WEST, an album I had spent an enormous amount of time and money making and was really very satisfied with. I'd invested in publicity and even a radio promotion. The album had had some initial success but after the first couple of weeks, sales dried up almost completely and were far below what we'd expected. And it was clear after a month or two that it wasn't going to get attention from the music tastemakers that it would need to break through to another level. I'd tried my best to break through the static and get noticed, but at that point, after the push behind DAYLIGHT KISSING NIGHT and the quality of GO WEST I felt like the fix was in...it wasn't going to happen. In fact, it was clear from a lot of the reviews of the album that some reviewers resented being given an album that they couldn't quickly categorize and dismiss. Touring the album looked promising at first, because the new material translated really well played acoustically, but with a band, it was hard to sell a lot of the songs without having a really big group and taking a more small clubs-listening room approach. Which we tried a few times, worked great, but it was tremendously expensive and it was hard to get people in the room to appreciate it, and that made it hard to book the kinds of clubs we needed to sell the album. So when we went east, I deliberately booked the tour to take advantage of having Charlie Zayleskie and Jon Braun on board, so at least I could enjoy hanging out with those guys and playing with them, even if the tour itself didn't accomplish very much.

Which is exactly what happened. I enjoyed the tour immensely from the hanging out with the band standpoint, possibly the most cameraderie I've ever experienced on tour. And the band was very, very good...it just wasn't the best band for playing the GO WEST material...it was just a solid, rock 'n' roll band. And economics dictated we fly our flag in small clubs and pubs, where frequently we had bad PAs and really amateurish opening bands. It was just not a showcase for the music that was ever going to work. Worst of all, it made me feel like I had not advanced an inch in 15 years.

What really sent me over the edge was a one two punch of playing a small city and seeing small town ignorance on full display (I'm not going to get into details about what happened...it wouldn't make sense, anyway, if you hadn't spent 15 years playing clubs), and then not long afterwards going into New York City, playing an absolutely scorching set for a good sized crowd, and having the heart sinking realization that it didn't matter in the slightest. We didn't get paid, we sold one CD, and all the people cheering for us would forget us in about an hour. And meanwhile we'd paid the tolls and the gas to haul our asses into the city. We would have been money ahead if we'd stayed in Bethlehem at Jon's house and watched TV.

It was at that moment that I decided to do HELLO CLEVELAND, because the one power, the only power, that I had as a musician that most people didn't have was the power to do what I wanted, when I wanted. I'd always promised myself that if I ever got to the point where I was ready to shine it all and walk away, I would do a final "fuck you, I'm leaving" album that wouldn't pull any punches and just spew out whatever was pissing me off that day. All my career I'd made it my standard to be thoughtful, fair, and not take an easy position in my writing. This time, I was going to let all that drop. I felt like I was living in a world of people that weren't listening to or appreciating one another and spending their days throwing tantrums. Well, all right. I was going to throw a tantrum. And I really liked this band and wanted to record something with them more in line with their own talents.

Bill Stone of Paranoid Lovesick put me in touch with Bill Korecky, a well-known producer and engineer in northern Ohio, and we came to terms for a day of studio time the following week. The very next day after the New York show, as we drove across Pennsylvania in the blinding rain, I sat in the front seat of the van furiously scribbling lyrics into a notebook. When I got something that particularly tickled me, I would read it out loud to the band. If I got a laugh, I knew I was on the right track. I kept scribbling for the next few days, though the bulk of the album was written that one day in the van.

We'd talked over various titles for the album, all centered around Cleveland -- One Night In Cleveland, etc., but as I got into the lyric writing a few key themes were emerging in the album: the decline of rock and roll, the simultaneous worship and dehuminzation of celebrities, and the breakdown of civic responsibility and caring in our society...the celebration of stupidity and vacuousness and the devaluation/ridicule of intelligence and substance. Calling the album "Hello Cleveland" and writing a Neil Young-esque title song that summed up some of those ideas, using the old "how are you doing tonight?" cliche to wrap them up in a bow, seemed to make sense of it all. A lot of HELLO CLEVELAND lyrics reference lines from other pop songs, and "The Rock Stops Here" was an obscure single made by Cleveland native Eric Carmen to celebrate the opening of the Hall of Fame in the early '90s.

Amazingly, given the entire album was recorded in less than eight hours, the final mixes required very little editing. This song was the sole exception, because we only wound up keeping one take, and it was pretty wobbly. I did a lot of work on the drums and also flew in some chorus vocals and lead guitar from other parts of the song. The ending was also edited for brevity. Every album has a problem track and this was the one on this CD, but I eventually got it together. That said, I'm not overly fond of this tune, probably my least favorite track on the post-DAYLIGHT albums. Too bad about it being the title track and all.

The references to Rick and Steve and Ginna Ling are to Rick O'Brien from Paranoid Lovesick, my brother Steve, and the subject of the song. All of them passed away just prior to my visit to Cleveland, and Rick and Ginna were Cleveland natives. It was a blunt second line to an album, but it wasn't an album about subtleties. It hadn't occured to me until now that the last line of the album is "we want your corpse, but not too soon." Seems to fit somehow.

Return to "Lyrics and Stories" Main Page

Return Home