Everything Old Is Old Again ~or~ The Story of The Last Stand and Good Enough For Now

So I discovered an old reference to a digital copy of an old Etcetera piece Derrick, Gary, Dave and I worked on late in the summer of `97, called variously The Candy Stand and Candy’s Last Stand, but which eventually earned a rather laborious ‘epic’ lyric entitled The Last Stand.

It was based on a riff idea Gary had come up with, after he and I had been working on the Thesis song, Dinner Date, a few days earlier (which he hadn’t shared with me at the time). It was meant to be our stab at ‘Moroccan Roll’, that rather curious appelation given to music performed by The Tea Party and early Our Lady Peace, in the vein of Kashmir and Achilles’ Last Stand by Led Zeppelin.

Derrick for his part didn’t care for Zeppelin OR The Tea Party, but he went along with it because it sounded pretty cool and he got to hit everything on the kit at least twenty times, which usually sent him into paroxyms of glee (hmmn, that sounds like a cool title… Paroxysms of Glee. Maybe my next album title…).

Gary and Derrick started working it out together while I ate my lunch upstairs; sadly, Dave couldn’t make it (I no longer remember why) that first day, so I eventually came downstairs and started playing bass in his stead. I’d had time, while listening to Gary and Derrick noodle on the basic idea, to dream up a bass riff, which I proceeded to weld to the piece and take it that further step into the stratosphere. A few recordings later, and we had THIS.

It was pretty chaotic, not least of which because none of us really knew it as a proper song yet, so our performances were all over the map. We were all just throwing stuff at it until we thought we’d exhausted our thoughts on the piece. Then I gamely took it home and started sorting out a song structure for it, which was almost as long as the final jam. I just wanted to get all of our best ideas in there, and didn’t give a damn whether it ever got played on the radio, so what the hell.

The next week, I brought it back, notes in hand, only to find that Gary couldn’t make it. However, Dave was back, so I spent some time teaching him what I’d been doing, which he then threw out and replaced with his own rendition, which wasn’t as notey, but it was certainly hefty in its own right, and gave Derrick the kind of backing he needed to nail down his part. I took over on guitar, and though I had myself turned down a little too low, you can still hear what we ended up with HERE and HERE.

We never really finished welding my lyrics to the song, and in later years, Gary and I talked about paring it down and simplifying the lyrics, making it into a really solid shorter piece, perhaps clocking in at around six or seven minutes. However, we never really demo’d it in that fashion, and more recent attempts to jam it into being with Derrick met with failure.

I figure I’ll demo it up by myself and see if I can’t recapture the stuff I liked best about those takes, and then get Gary to learn it while we look for a drummer (assuming that Derrick doesn’t get back into harness himself, which seems highly unlikely these days). Who knows? Maybe some day it will finally get the airing I always believed it deserved.

The point of all this, though, is that I’d actually thought I’d lost the mp3s I half-remembered ripping from those jam session cassettes. As I don’t have working equipment to rip from cassette any longer, I feared I’d missed my chance.

However, I’ve been digging through my old journal archives recently, and came across an entry from the previous version of the Etc/Thesis music blog, the links to which are long since dead. But the fact that I listed The Last Stand indicated to me that I had ripped it, and merely had to dig deeper into my disc archive to see if I had simply placed it on a different dic than the one I go to first for this stuff.

Sure enough, on a DVD mixed with other files and things I was backing up, was a later archive of the Etc Thesis folder, and there within were all the old tracks I thought I’d lost. I immediately set out to post them online. (I also moved a copy of the folder to one of my back-up drives, so I never have to go hunting for it again).

However, whilst doing that, I also stumbled across a file I had actually convinced myself I hadn’t ripped: Dori Downie’s rerecording of her first and only song written with/for Etcetera, which she eventually called Better Every Time. I suppose that title was a sly statement in itself.

I’d been looking forward to rehearsing the original version she had been labouring over using her Kawai K1 and reel-to-reel two track. However, Dori had become increasingly disenchanted with the band, and was starting to hear her fledgling song a different way, which she started consulting outside producers to make happen.

Her old friend Graham helped her to get some rock riffing into the mix, but it wasn’t until Mike Guild got her into his studio that it really started to take shape into what she actually wanted it to be. What they created together was THIS.

The band, on the other hand, were not impressed, and shortly thereafter, Dori left, no doubt assuming we’d fold under the weight of our own lack of talent and skill. Being stubborn Hamilton boys, we decided to prove her wrong. I’m not entirely sure we successfully achieved this. Dori herself apparently never wrote or recorded another song, pop or otherwise, which I always thought was kind of sad. Ah well.

However, about a decade later, my wife, Dawn, bought me the gear that helped me to rip all of these old hissy, scratchy, poorly-recorded demos to mp3, and I dutifully cleaned up and ripped her song as best I could.

But while I was at it, I also ripped her original demo, which I then tweaked in some music software application I no longer have, tightening up the flubs and flabby bits, to get THIS.

It still needs a lot of work, but I’ve been thinking that I might just get to that sometime in the not-too-distant future. I’ve been hearing this prog rock arrangement in my head for over a decade, and I’m determined to make it happen before I die. I WILL get my co-write credit, dammit! 😀

Anyway, that’s our stroll down memory lane for today. hope you enjoyed. If not, just see your doctor about that ear bleeding thing. I’m sure they’ve got something that will clear that up in a jiff.


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