No Go Know
By admin • Jul 28th, 2009 • Category: Features, Guest Editorials, No Go Know
Last summer, the end was everywhere. It kept turning up in books, meals, movies and dreams. There was something unnatural following me in short bouts of ruffled sleep. I did my best to ignore the obvious signs but the obvious signs were having none of it. Having just cusped 30, I was acutely aware of the fact that my youth was being fitfully torn from me by a cruel and tireless creator. I was spending a lot of time in bars by myself staring at vague reflections. No one was finding me fascinating.
While we, as a band, were experiencing a perpetual birthing of music, I was unsure what to do with this newly spawned material or even if any of it warranted being preserved. With a nine-day recording date looming ever-near, I was constantly overwhelmed by vast pages of drunken scrawl that I failed to recognize as my own. I wasn’t sure we’d make another album after this one. I wasn’t even certain this one would even get made.
Let me back up.
This is all Derrick Jensen’s fault. Bob Dylan had a hand in it as well. But I don’t want to get into all that.
You know the feeling when you’ve been moving with such forced purpose for so long in one finite direction that when you finally awake from your oblivious stupor, your own movements suddenly become amazing to you? Much like a marathon runner pushing through the inevitable wall of weariness or a baby discovering their hands and feet for the first time.
Well, this didn’t happen to me. Not then, at least.Or maybe it did.
What I most recall is being overcome by an all together different feeling. You know the one where you intrinsically know that something titanic is about to occur but you haven’t figured out what specifically that titanic thing is? Well, this peculiar feeling lasted so long that I started to worry that either 1. This colossal thing had happened without me noticing or 2. It was doomed to never occur.
I was spending an inordinate amount of time on a bike thinking. This was not helping any, either.
And, then, suddenly, the light arrived. Late one evening, having been again netted by the bar on the way home from work, I went through the usual dance of pushing all my precious scribbles about the table, crossing-out, underlining, fitting and stopping. And there, amid all the drunken nonsense sprawled out before me, my cigarette choking the air above me and whiskey and coke warming my belly, I realized what had to be done.
We were going to make a double album.
It was just ridiculous enough to be perfect.
Over the course of the next couple days, I proceeded to press this newfound affirmation onto everyone I knew with the utmost urgency. It was imperative that people knew just in case anything awful happened. Which, I was certain, awful would. And so people laughed along with my neurosis for what seemed like the first time in months. I was fascinating again.
Later, still fearing the worst, and when all the songs were (mostly) completed, I recorded the complete song cycle on my Radio Shack cassette deck and mailed it off to a friend just in case something immutable happened before the studio had the chance to absorb our work.
Six months later, it was done. And more than mildly exhausting. During the course of start to finish, hard drives crashed and entire tracks were accidentally lost, songs were written and rewritten, scores of different takes and feels were attempted and numerous overdubs were recorded only to be discarded. The time spent mixing and editing alone was more time than I ever spent on all the other recordings I’ve ever done combined.
As for the end, well, things began beginning as things usually do. And now I’m here and you’re there and we’re all in it together.
No Go Know
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