Despite appearances to
the contrary, we really had a sense of humor about our angst. The
"punishment room" was Robert Hammer's room in the DP house.
It was practically a closet off the kitchen. He had to build a loft
for his bed just to be able to walk in. We called this the punishment
room when we first moved in to that house, in Nov. of 1989.
aspect of the album was the fact that I was sick with some bizarre
throat virus the entire time of the recording. I'd wake up in a pool
of sweat every night and my mouth was covered in little white pus-
filled sores so I couldn't really eat much because it hurt just to
put food in my mouth. If was fucking disgusting. I think I had some
crazy fever too, so I was delirious.
We flew Albini to our house
to record on Robert's Tascam 38 8-track and then we flew to Chicago
to mix at his house on his Otari. I had to redo some of the vocals
there since by the time the tracking session was over I could barely
talk much less sing (or shout, as the case may be). We tried to respect
Albini's wish to be anonymous but of course word got out. I hope our
hospitality and the charm of our cats made it worthwhile.
This album also features
one of my insane hand-scratched lyric sheet ideas. I wanted to use
those scratch-off letters so the lyric sheet would look all rough.
Yeah, well that took about a million years. Theodore Jackson came
to the rescue and finished up after my hand fell off. "Plague
Bed" is probably the oldest Distorted Pony song on record. It
was first written in either the fall of 1986 or in the spring of 1987.
I think "Down Where the Dirt Collects" was written just
a bit later. There are a couple of outtakes from this session. One,
"Insatiable Times," which was written in 1988, ended up
on the "Smitten" comp. The other is "An Answer,"
which probably was written just before "Insatiable Times"
and right around the time of "Down."
Theodore Jackson plays
second guitar on "An Answer." I hope the tape to that song
hasn't been lost.
marks the debut of London May on drums. London had played with Glen
Danzig's Samhain as well as Down By Law. I think a live trap set really
kicked things into high gear for us. Up until that time, it was touch
and go with the drum machine. If the club had adequate monitors we'd
be okay, but if there was only a vocal PA, we were SOL. Plus, Theodore
Jackson had a hard time hearing the drum machine over his racket and
there's something weird about a human playing real instruments along
to a drum machine. Sonically, the the two often don't blend well.
In retrospect, I think the metal percussion and live toms sounded
best when processed a bit, in order to make them sound closer to the
drum machine. To his credit, London wanted to learn our earlier, drum
machine stuff, and did a fine job of mimicking that mechanical, martial
Interestingly, the early
DP years featured drummers. Dora Jahr and I went through about 3 drummers
from '86-88 before going with a drum machine. "Plague Bed"
was written with a drummer then later revised using either the Roland
TS 505 or R-8. Can't remember.
Another outtake, "Insatiable
Times," went to the "Smitten" comp.
Thanks to Mackie MacAleer
for her patience as I breathed down her neck about the artwork.