In standard fashion, I should be sleeping.
I’ve worked all day and night between the studio and our booth at the county fair. I’m not quite sure why I got back on the computer. probably to look up something, which lead to another thing, and so on. and then I revisited a thread on one of my all time favorite band’s forum about favorite lyrics, and I posted a few from Replacements, Sebadoh, and The Jam, but it was a Swivel Chairs’ lyric that I posted as one of my most favorite. It took me a few minutes to sift through the files in my brain: ‘is it an archers’ song’ ‘no’ ‘silly, girl…it’s TIED NOOSES from Swivel Chairs!’ (slapped myself aside the head!)
I immediately pulled out the Swivel Chairs’ boxed set, “Wet Matches” and started reading what Jay, Jeremy and I wrote for the liner notes. It’s been 6 years since it was released, which means about 16 years that Swivel Chairs has been around!
I’ve decided to write my main entry from those liner notes here to share:
First off, I have to say that no one person in this world can be happier than me to finally have Swivel Chairs music available on CD! Especially now that I’ve moved into the digital age in my car and can no longer listen to my cassettes there. After a recent move, my coveted Swivel Chairs cassettes were piled away until a late-night whisper of a lyric forced me to hunt down every single one of them–through box after box. I then reveled in all the glory of success as I put my head on the pillow, with Walkman attached, to listen to the history at 4am. It’s almost impossible to imagine that more than 10 years have passed.
I remember the early days of Swivel Chairs fondly. That was back when they were strictly an acoustic venture. Craziness ensued, when, gasp!…Swivel Chairs went electric!!! All hell broke loose. You never quite knew what to expect. Would this show include slide projections or video behind them? Would we be treated to fancy attire, with tie? Or, better yet, would we get candy at the next show? One never could tell. I’m thankful to be a part of it all, and on occasion have performed integral roles in various performances. Once in a great while it would involving percussion, or sitting in a chair in front of the kick drum so it wouldn’t run away from Jeremy! How about Bill Seng and I taking over the tambourine or shakers? I was often supplier of blank cassettes, photographer, promoter, chauffeur, and God knows what else…
It’s a bit strange, when Jeremy asked me to write this, I had no idea what the name of the boxed set would be, but it was the opening lines of “Wet Matches” that I heard whispered in the hallway of my apartment that late night. It seemed so real that I turned to see if maybe Jeremy was walking behind me, or if Swivel Chairs were sitting in my living room playing it. That won’t ever happen though, as it seems that song will never see the light of day for a live performance. No it was just my wild imagination taking over again, but maybe someday I’ll get my wish and hear “Wet Matches” live.
As I go through and listen, I can picture Jay pacing back and forth on stage during “Keith Richards” or the comforting waltz of “Scraps of Paper” as the twinkle lights glow at the Common Ground coffee house in Wildwood, NJ.
Then there’s the hot-summer-day shimmy of “And Smile,” which belongs on bright yellow 7″ vinyl. Or, what about the way old-school acoustic hits: “Saved Time”, “Starting to Feel” and “A Way to Smile.” Of course, I can’t forget to mention, my all time favorite Swivel Chairs classic, “Tied Nooses.” Oddly enough, my favorite version of it does not exist on any ‘official’ release. It appears on a not-so-random tape that I begged for way back in 1994 that includes all sorts of Swivel Chairs’ rarities–now available on this boxed set. I could go on forever and talk about each song, each gig, and tell the stories, but that might take too long.
As I reflect on the past 10 years or so, and think of all the gigs, the insanity, the possibilities, and the crap we’ve all gone through…I realize the common thread that brought us all together in the first place…our sincere love for music. I wouldn’t go back and change a single thing. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, without music, I’d be dead.
Jeremy and Jay have collected the history of Swivel Chairs for us here. I am extremely pleased and privileged to have been a part of it, and look forward to what’s in store for the future of the band. I hope to be there for every possible Swivel Chairs moment, whether it’s in person or in spirit. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I hope you enjoy discovering the world of Swivel Chairs, as much as I know I will, while I re-discover it over and over again.
Arlington, VA 20003
It’s interesting that I choose tonight to remember this, and reminisce as it was just Jeremy’s birthday!
The lyric I love from “Tied Nooses” is: ‘well that anxious smile just gave you away in seconds flat, cause you wear your loneliness just like you wear a hat’ (although I wouldn’t be surprised if I got an email from him tomorrow telling me it’s something different)
truth is, I miss my friends. I miss the old times. I miss having new times. I miss being a part of it. I miss hearing advance versions/mixes of songs and getting to hear them grow and go out into the world. I miss being connected.
yet, here I am in a different Arlington apartment, staying awake too late, as I vibrate with the excitement of listening to and remembering an old song. And not being able to go to sleep until I get it all out of my head and I realize that maybe they’re not so far away.