I used to hate jam bands. I’m indifferent to them now, but I used to hate them. I mean, really hate them, with the heat of 10,000 supernovas. See, back in Santa Barbara we were often surrounded by them- all these goofy, happy idiots and their noodly musical appendages who worshipped the Grateful Dead and Phish and String Cheese Incident and whatnot. Naturally, I failed to see how completely harmless they were, and loudly projected my own musical insecurities for all to hear: “JAM BANDS SUCK!”
But I had a secret- a deep, dark, shameful secret: I played in jam bands myself.
Yep, sad to say, but it’s true. Always had been in jam bands, and probably always would, even though none of us had long hair or beards (at the time), and Honey White never got stoned before gigs. Oh sure, we had songs that contained interminably long instrumental passages, and some songs that were in and of themselves interminably long musical passages, but we rarely played in happy major keys or even thought about using major chords–in public places, that is. In rehearsal, though, it was…a bit different.
See, we would jam at practice. Constantly. Granted, much of this jamming was not instigated by me, and it was often openly conducted while I did things like set up microphones or other recording equipment (cue Billy and Brian cackling with glee), but I am not untainted by the impulse to jam. Indeed, I often happily participated, and now at long last I feel I can come clean, and post some of Honey White’s more endurable random practice jams.
Many of you will recall that I used to record everything: shows, practices, whatever. So there’s a ton of stuff in the Honey White vaults. Many of our random practice jams have indeed gone on to become “real” songs in their own right, or at least have been more finalized in one way or another. Some of these have, too. Mostly, though, they haven’t, and have never been named, either, so I felt at perfect liberty to–in the spirit of the jam–make shit up. Yes, the titles are brand-new, but the recordings are old. Have a listen, and as you do, scroll down for the all-important Liner Notes of Wisdom.
The first three jams are from September 2002, the nights we’d practice at the Table Salt rehearsal room in downtown Santa Barbara. The Sandman Swings is a short little thing that Brian and Bryn did while Bill played the drum part from “The Sandman.” Slouching Towards Lompoc is a country-ish jam of Brian’s from the same night, and Life Before Rejection is a relatively harmless ballad. There are 3 takes apiece of those latter two songs, so maybe we thought we’d get somewhere with them, but apparently it was not to be.
The next 7 jams are from the Seville Street practice room (pictured above) in Isla Vista, two from 2003 and five from 2004. The Seville Street Stumble is one of about a million waltzy jams that Brian coughed up over the years (my theory is that Brian’s entire life is in 6/8 time), and First Launch Into Oblivion is, I think, his first epic swipe at the extended instrumental part that we’d eventually tack onto the original “Sweet Oblivion.” Yeah, it’s another Oblivion jam, but I can’t resist–I love that damned thing.
We had a manic run of rehearsals before our second Wildcat show in April 2004, and in between “real” songs there was of course much to be jammed. Someday This Riff Will Be Evil is another one of Brian’s, which he has since tweaked considerably into something he simply calls the “Evil Guitar.” Post-Oblivion Giddyup Dose is what happens to Bill when he’s played “Sweet Oblivion” too much–he gets stir crazy. Weird Dreams and Morning Routines is an interesting recording, and I can’t remember if we did these two back to back or if I’d fused them later, but they’re two very different pieces that still seem to work well together under that title.
Last but not least from the April ’04 stuff is a random happy jam of Spoiled White Kid Music, that mellow trustafarian sound, and another one I’ve called Walk For Your Fun, Run For Your Life, because even though it starts off with the same spoiled white reggae vibe, Billy decides to take it somewhere else entirely, and takes it there very fast.
The final four jams are recordings from the Milpas Street art gallery, where we’d practice from 2005 to 2007. Not Yet Winner Take All is a semi-jam of a new Bryn tune. I eventually wrote lyrics for it as “Winner Take All” but in March ’05 it was still new and jammy. No Law Against Wah is something that Brian, Bill, and I jammed out later in July of that year. From the same power trio session, The Mermen Would Sue is a quickie, surfy, quiet jam that I eventually transmogrified into a Low Tide track called “It’s Quiet Up Here.” Honey White Can’t Hold Still is from October ’05, when we were trying to find the right tempo dynamic for my song “Hold Still.”
So them’s the jams, folks. Sorry for the missed week- I was on vacation. Perhaps we’ll have some more interesting stuff up around Halloween.