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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

223. "Halloween" by The Dream Syndicate

Requested by Miles Goosens (among several others in recent weeks).

Not long ago, in the course of discussing a band (not The Dream Syndicate) whose output seemed to us to have gone substantially downhill at a certain point, a group of friends and I were noting that the band seemed to have spent several recent albums trying very deliberately to not do several of the things they were best known for. And one can understand that creative impulse in an artist who's quite a few years into a career and doesn't want to make the same record over and over again... but, as one of the participants in the discussion noted, there's a difference between relying on stylistic and formalistic crutches and simply playing to one's strengths.

I mention this because I had a few ideas for this one which were on the artistic curveball side of things... I was considering flying in a psychedelic sample interlude featuring soundbites from some of the many songs which share this one's title, layering many more and more sophisticated Halloween sound effects, and possibly making it into an extension of the recording of "Needle-In-A-Haystack Girls", the end of had me playing practically the same riff in the same key as the beginning of this song. But as I sat down to work on it, the idea of playing to one's strengths came back to me, partly because I had to dump a big bunch of guitar playing that I did late at night through amp simulators (so the kids could sleep) and which just didn't sound right to me. I had to wait an extra day in order to be able to fire up the real amps and do what I needed to do, and at that point I decided to call a spade a spade and admit that if I can be said to have a "strength" as a musician, it may well be replicating the sound of a buzzy/jangly band that's often thought to be highly influenced by the Velvets and/or Crazy Horse, if not Velvets and/or Crazy Horse themselves. Add to that the fact that nobody actually gives enough of a shit about me as an artist for me to have any kind of expectations to be running away from, and it seemed a pretty good argument for 8+ minutes of ringing guitar noise.

Two other quick notes, one being that the artwork for this recording represents the second time in my limited graphic design career that I've re-created the super-iconic cover for The Days of Wine and Roses, the first being for the compilation No White Light: Buried in the Eighties assembled by myself and Charlie Eckstrom some years ago. The second is that I'd be really curious to know what any guitarists or gear freaks would guess to be the type of guitar I played the lead track on (the 6-string; the 13-string is obviously my trusty Rick 610-12).

Personnel: Rex
Sound effects from the cassette A Night in the Graveyard by The Haunted House Music Co.

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