Sunday, April 26, 2015

crazy rhythms

The Feelies raised eyebrows with the percussive perpetual nervousness and frenetic jangle of this geeky tonal triumph.   Glenn Mercer and Bill Million started a band called The Outkids in Haledon, New Jersey with Dave Weckerman.  When Keith Clayton and Vinnie DeNunzio joined in 1976, they changed their name to The Feelies.  Anton Fier joined the band and in 1978 they were named "The Best Underground Band in New York" by The Village Voice.   Their first single "Fa Cé-La" was released on Rough Trade before they signed with Stiff Records.   

Million muses: "The main reason we signed with Stiff is that we insisted we shouldn't have a producer, and they agreed. I don't know how bands can allow their music to be mixed by someone else. It's something we could never do...We didn't want to go after a big modern sound. We look at it as a rather unique sounding record. There's an awful lot of clarity and separation that isn't found on most records. The guitars are split. Very seldom did we use the centre spectrum in the mix...It's very difficult to record certain guitar parts in the studio. Our whole idea is to have this droning guitar thing as the foundation. Sometimes live that drone gets out of control, and the melody lines and the drum lines take a back seat...In the studio we couldn't get that same guitar sound. We could get it but it wouldn't go over into the control room. So it was either doing what we did, go for that clarity, or do multiple guitar overdubs, which we didn't want to do. It wouldn't fit our style of playing."

'Crazy Rhythms' was recorded in four weeks at Vanguard Studios in New York and mixed at New Jersey's House of Music.   The sessions featured  Glenn Mercer on lead guitar, rhythm guitar, 12-string guitar, bowed guitar, vocals, keyboards, temple block, shaker, claves, maracas, bell, castanets, reverbed sticks, shoes, drums, and coat rack;      Bill Million on lead guitar, rhythm guitar, and acoustic guitar, vocals, timbales, sandpaper, claves, can, tom-tom, snare, cowbell, shaker, shoes, temple blocks, tambourine, boxes, and bells;    Anton Fier on drums, tom-toms, pipe, and cowbell;   and Keith De Nunzio on bass guitar, snare drum, tom-toms, wood block, pipe, bell, and background vocals.    Bill Million and Glenn Mercer produced the sessions with Mark Abel.   Abel reveals:   "They are the most obstinate people I've ever met.  They had real set ideas of what they wanted. That record was the culmination of four years of fantasizing about how they were going to record those songs... they couldn't understand anyone else's ideas... Frankly, I think they dug themselves into a hole, but that's the hole they want and they have a perfect right to sit in it."

Million adds:    "There were other times when the drums would compete with the guitars. Sometimes the cymbals would hit this one frequently and all three would be cancelled out. So we took away the cymbals and we had to replace them with something, so we added a percussionist."

 "Fa Cé-La"

"Forces at Work"

"Raised Eyebrows / Crazy Rhythms"

"Crazy Rhythms"

'Crazy Rhythms'
full album:

All songs written and composed by Bill Million and Glenn Mercer, except as indicated. 

side one
0:00 "The Boy with the Perpetual Nervousness" 
5:08  "Fa Cé-La"  
7:12 "Loveless Love" 
12:25 "Forces at Work"  
side two
19:35 "Original Love"  
22:30 "Everybody's Got Something to Hide (Except Me and My Monkey)"  Lennon-McCartney
27:05 "Moscow Nights"   
31:21 "Raised Eyebrows"  
34:21 "Crazy Rhythms"  

cd reissue bonus track
40:34 "Paint it Black"    Mick Jagger, Keith Richards

domino reissue bonus track
"I Wanna Sleep in Your Arms (Live from the 9:30 Club, Washington D.C., March 14, 2009)"   Jonathan Richman

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