This is another song from the first batch of songs I wrote. I turned the waltz beat up crazy fast and went at it. I remember writing out the lyrics for this and needing to remember accents and phrasing, so I came up with a shorthand for inflections and rhythms of specific words and syllables which I still use today. It was the "I can't fucking read your mind lyric" that kept throwing me. The bass is pretty out of tune but that's just how it was those days.
I like this tune but it's one of those songs I think should exist only as this recording. Consequently I've played it live just once, at Mic-Club here in NYC, back in 2010 or so.
I met Cannonball Statman at the steps at the north end of the park. It was a sunny, comfortable day and we let ourselves settle into the tranquil scene already comfortably underway. We discussed, among other things, his earlier show at Malt and Mold, where Grasping Straws were, my evening show at the Queens Council of the Arts block party, how it was weird that we had permits yet weren't using amplification, where we should put the stage considering there was an amplified MMNY show happening at the garden on the north side of Houston, and what qualities in general make a good stage.
We walked the perimeter of the park, down Chrystie Street to Delancey and then, not wanting to find a stage too far south, turned up Forsyth, where we found Grasping Straws looking for us. We set up a stage by picking a park bench on Chrystie and taping the MMNY banner to the fence of the soccer field. We played songs. All of us did. We couldn't be stopped. A one year old toddler watched me, fascinated, for about two minutes. Everything else was a blur. Later I went to Queens and the light was surprisingly soft and the world felt merciful and calm. Even though it isn't. But you know that.
This one of the first things I ever successfully recorded. It ended up being so perfect as an instrumental I never even bothered to write words for it.
I fucked around with music for a long time before I ever started writing songs myself. I mean, there were definitely songs I collaborated on but it was always in a band context (a jam band, even). I had a couple of half songs that I'd been carrying around for a year or so but it wasn't until the summer of 2001 that I got the 4 track - and that was what helped me start developing my ideas. I could do overdubs, and I could get a direct in on the keyboard, which I could never do with the boombox. So I started exploring beats and sounds and layering keys on top. I would use the backward tracks on the other side of the tape to create further weirdness. I made twenty minute long sound collages - most of them garbage - and plenty of shorter, more together, pieces, but this was the best of them.
This is from the Fall of 2001, right after 9/11. I thought it sounded vaguely Eastern and foreboding, so I named it after the anti Taliban forces in Afghanistan who the news was saying would be our "in" into taking the country over with minimal hassle. The outro is one of those glorious tape accidents, If you've ever mixed with a cassette 4 track you know what I'm talking about. I think it's a reversed track from the other side of the tape but can't be sure - but it just fit so well it became part of a whole thing.
This was one of the first batch of songs I ever wrote - and to this day one of the only guitar solos I've ever recorded. Voice is kind of warbly but I still think this is a great song. I was really psyched when I wrote it. It so perfectly captured my state of mind and my feeling about the breakup - torn up but facing the begining stages of ultimately being ambivalent about the whole thing. It's in G but I ended it on D - no resolution. I thought that was pretty clever. 2002