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Rob Crow - Everybody's Got the Damage

Read our review of Everybody’s Got Damage – an all acoustic covers album from Rob Crow (Physics, Thingy, Pinback, Heavy Vegetables) 

Album notes used with kind permission from the artist.


Shaping The River

Originally by The Sea Nymphs // Self-Titled (The Alphabet Business Concern, 1992)

Formerly Mr and Mrs Smith and Mr Drake, The Sea Nymphs were a much more relaxed side project from Tim Smith, Sarah Smith and William D. Drake of Cardiacs.

I’ve been playing this at some of my acoustic shows lately and it become a goto for me at Pinback when ABSIV breaks a string or somebody takes too long trying to piss before an encore, but the FIRST time I performed it live was at a private show for Tim Smith himself in his own living room.

Of course, I blew it.


Frame By Frame

Originally by King Crimson // Discipline (Virgin Records, 1981)

A great number of these songs I considered impossible under the self-imposed restraints I put upon them regarding amount of takes, refusal to tune correct, and so on. That being said, I totally “cheated” by multi-tracking every other note on the really fast Fripp part.


Anaconda

Originally by Melvins // Bullhead (Boner Records, 1991 / 2019)

I have seen Melvins more than any other band.

Been a super-fan since Ozma and when my first band, Heavy Vegetable, got to open for them at our first show at The (old) Casbah, it was everything I could do not to pass out from fear. I have a great cassette of when my friend, the late Denver Lucas, drove up to Riverside to see them play Spanky’s mismatched with a bunch of straight-edge bands, whose audience all hated them.

They’re all screaming “PLAY FASTER!” (this being the Bullhead tour) and starting to get violent, with just Denver and maybe a couple friends feebly going “Yay, Melvins!” At one point Buzz announcing, “yeah, we’re getting pretty old, so we’re gonna do a slow one now”, the collective moan from the crowd signifying the last straw being broken as they launch into an ultra-slow version of the already punishing Boris.

The same boneheads loudly conspiring to nail them after the show, “Hey, what’s gonna happen when they have to go outside, right guys?”, probably brag about how they got to see them “back in the day”.


Different People, Different Ways

Written by Sam Pottle and Tony Geiss and first performed by Buffy Sainte-Marie and Carol Spinney on an episode of Sesame Street. You may remember this song from Chance the Gardener flipping channels in Being There.


Alice Crucifies The Pedophiles

Originally by Rudimentary Peni // Death Church (Corpus Christi, 1983 / Outer Himalayan Records, 2014)

Even though it’s fun to say that Rudimentary Peni have always been largely misunderstood by what is considered their stereotypical fans, I’d consider it hubris to imagine that I completely understand them either, but I sure get a lot out of listening to them. I still go on month long jags of nothing but Cacophony and Death Church in the car (with EP’s of RP salted to taste).


Molly

Originally by Biff Rose // The Thorn In Mrs. Rose’s Side (Tetragrammaton Records, 1968)

This guy, Biff Rose, got his start writing comedy for George Carlin and Mort Sahl and had his song, Fill your Heart, covered by David Bowie and Tiny Tim. He still writes and plays, but has reportedly become a progressively weirder individual. Holy shit, I only just this minute found out that this song was also covered by John Denver.


My Equal Life

Originally by Powerdresser // Complete Powerdresser (powerdresser.org)

Written by the aforementioned Denver Lucas.

Originally bonding over a mutual love of Melvins (though neither sounding anything like them or each other) in a town of deadheads, Heavy Vegetable and Powerdresser were pretty much sister-bands from the beginning.

I don’t know if it’s too healthy to dwell on right now, but we lost Denver and then Lee, but Gabe is still someone is can still call at 4am if I just need talk to someone. Our friend Paul Williams, whom we also lost a few years ago, wrote a cool piece about it in the 7/24/03 issue of the San Diego Reader, which you can find online, if bothered.


Praha In Spring

Originally by Ruins // Symphonica (Tzadik, 1998)

I’ve opened for Tatsuya Yoshida’s Ruins (usually Tatsuya on drums with a bass player) a few times, and one of the great things about them is that, even though they are some of the most astoundingly accomplished musicians you will ever see, they never bring, and possibly don’t even own, any equipment other than drumsticks and a bass. They just borrow what they need minutes before playing and fucking shred like they were born with it sewn on.

Also, they sing in Kobaïan, which is a made-up language by Christian Vander of Magma, so if you think you can understand the lyrics I’m singing here, you are WRONG.


Loneliness

Originally by The Residents // Commercial Album (Ralph Records, 1980 / New Ralph Too / Cherry Red / MVD Audio, 2019)

It’s no secret my passion for The Residents, this being the third or so time I’ve covered them. Their songs are so infinitely malleable that even they never seem to play them the same way twice. Was a huge honor for me to be featured, however briefly, in their documentary, Theory of Obscurity.


Love On A Real Train

Originally by Tangerine Dream // Risky Business Soundtrack (Virgin, 1984)

My grandmother, or Grand-mère as she had me call her, was a lesbian white witch and Tangerine Dream was her favorite band. She took me to see Risky Business when I was 12 and it ruled. My copy of the soundtrack got all scratched up and somebody told me it could be repaired by rubbing butter on it. Never do that.


A Child’s Guide to Good and Evil

Originally by The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band // Vol. 3 – A Child’s Guide To Good & Evil (Reprise, 1968 / Jackpot Records, 2017.

The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band was created so that rich guy with no talent could meet girls. He payed off a band and greased whatever palms and by their third record nobody gave a fuck to the point where they accidentally became great. Unfortunately, some of my favorite art is created this way.


Astro Zombies

Originally by The Misfits // Walk Among Us (Ruby Records, 1982 / Earache, 2018) 

Simple patterns aren’t always so simple.

When first learning guitar, I noticed that some bands, such as Ramones, Minor Threat, early Black Flack, and The Misfits all basically just created songs out of simple combinations of bar chords which the drummer, bass player, and singer then interpreted.

The secret, of course, being to create just the right combination.

You may think I am oversimplifying, but I AM NOT.

When I was a kid, I would play along with every record I got and learned that when you understand the thought process behind the patterns, you start to understand the song as a living organism that enters your mind through your body and stays there as long as it deserves. When you add the lower registers of bass and your whole body attaches itself to the osmotic pressure through voice it creates a sonic vibration that can level buildings.

When I first played along to Astro Zombies, I thought “this could be the perfect chord progression”. Much like Shaping The River, this is one I pull out at the drop of a hat, but for the last 25 years or so. Again, I’ve still been getting the words wrong this whole time.


Surf’s Up

Originally by The Beach Boys // Surf’s Up (Reprise, 1971 / Capitol, 2016)

Being a musical extremist from a very young age, I was one of those snobs who thought that The Beach Boys
were only a bunch of fake surfers who sang dumb songs about girls and cars.

Turns out, it was only MOSTLY that!

Among many other things, my late friend Paul Williams created Crawdaddy!, which predated Rolling Stone as the
first nation-wide magazine of rock criticism, and was executor of Philip K Dick’s estate.

We never discussed ANY of this.

We just kinda bumped into him one day and realized he was the guy that wrote Denver’s favorite book, Das Energi.
Anyhow, one day i was complaining about the Beach Boys or whatever and he set about schooling me on the Smile
sessions.

Back then they were still the subject of myth, with only a handful of people having even heard ANY of it before
Brian Wilson supposedly setting it all on fire after being harassed by his father, who burned his fucking ear off,
and Mike Love, current MAGA pin-up douche who believes he can fly by flopping his legs around. Paul, it turns out, was one of that handful, as Brian had sat him down and had him listen to the whole thing right there with him!

So, Paul comes over and drops in my lap a handful of acetate bootleg cassettes and a whole fucking book he
wrote about it and blew my stupid mind.

What a great fucking guy!

Obviously, I did not nail the “Columnated Ruins Domino”, but I didn’t wanna cheat and did my best.
Probably wouldn’t notice that much if I didn’t double everything, but I guess that’s my “style”, so I’m kinda
anchored to it.

Brian Wilson would probably hate that, as he has only the one working ear now, and has been quoted as saying
“Mono is where it’s at!”, which I love.

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