December 2, 2010 @ 2:14 pm
As heard on Coverville!
Now with more backstory!!
I never thought this one would see the light of day, let alone be featured on one of my all time favorite podcasts. This all started years ago, when I thought it would be fun to do an album of “guilty pleasure songs” with drastically different (and sometimes ironic) arrangements. I’ve been chipping away at it ever since, keeping a list of songs and ideas…which as I read it over now is disturbingly full of 80’s girl pop.
Anyway, “Only in my dreams” was the catalyst for this journey down a dark, lonely path. I remember several occasions where I mentioned covering it to various people and the response was almost unanimous: WTF are you smoking?! Still, against better judgement, I kept it in the back of my mind…secretly tinkering with an idea. I’d gone about as far as picking up the chords in their most basic form and let it be for a while. One night after having had a talk with Sully about the “G.P.S. album”, I had the place to myself and retreated to the studio with a short pour of whiskey.
I often will just grab a drink, pick up a guitar, and hit record while I sit in the studio and just screw around. Sometimes some great ideas come out of it or some sobering perspectives on what I thought were gems. Either way it’s a great way to get the juices flowing or cleanse yourself of some terrible ideas. Case in point: Only in my dreams. That night I’d started my ritual and had a few more short pours and started to feel a little stagnant and spent. I tried to rack my brain one more time before I called it a night and Debbie Gibson starts dancing through my head. Prior to this I had no idea about the mood or tempo or anything, just that I wanted to cover this damned song. So I just started playing, stopped the recording and played it back. The version you hear on this site is the second take…ever.
It was the closest I’d ever come at the time to recording and releasing something completely spontaneous. I think that’s why I did release it. It’s so raw and imperfect that I almost find it charming despite it’s horrible pitch, sloppy guitar, and noisy recording. The guitar and the vocals were all one take (second take…ever) and then the little solo bit was a first take spitball I threw in to fill the spot of the sax solo in the original. The whole thing was just my Gretsch 5129 through a modelled Vox dialed in for a light surf sound and an SM57 for the vocals, which I like sometimes because it makes it “easy”. It’s almost cheating, but with the 57 you don’t have to worry about bleed over or crispy highs or which preamp you’re using. It’s not always perfect, but it’s great to scream at.
So it was with that somewhat misguided pride and the idea that I could hide behind the fact “that it was a joke”, that I submitted it to Coverville. I’d been listening to Coverville since the 9th episode and was just in heaven with every new release. I’ve always been a sucker for off the wall covers (in case this wasn’t evidence enough of that) and different takes on songs I already loved, which made Coverville a bit like musical crack for me. Couple that with the fact that Brian puts together a quality product and seems to have an endless selection and knowledge of it all, it was my wet dream to be a part of it.
I e-mailed the song to Brian after a few weeks of see-sawing about it. I thought that would be the last of it. I’d played the song for a few friends who made it clear that the song was crap and I buried it somewhere among the terabytes of data in hopes that it would never torture ears again. Ooops.
Chances are, if you’re on this site and reading this (on or before 6/11 anyway), you came here from Coverville. I remember I was sucking back my morning coffee, checking my site stats expecting the same 3 hits, 100% bounce rate I always got and BAM. There were over 300 hits in once day. “WTF is that?!” I thought for sure that someone hacked my server and was linking the latest celebrity sex tape or something. It was all traffic from Coverville. Apparently Brian had used my song and linked back. I was 3 weeks behind on my podcasts due to life crushing everything and had no idea. I think the geek squeee I unleashed that day is still echoing through the Alps somewhere.
Anyway, I’ve gotta cut this short before I ramble for another 800 words. Needless to say, I was thrilled and incredibly curious. What made those people come to the site? Do you enjoy the song? Was it so bad you had to download it to make people laugh? Hit me up on twitter, e-mail, the comments, whatever…because I’m seriously DYING TO KNOW. And seriously thankful. -J