I've been meaning to share these demos for a while, but they moved to the top of the list last week, when country legend (and local Mesa boy made good) Buck Owens died at the age of 76. Since these sessions include our previously unreleased version of Buck's instrumental hit "Buckaroo," it seemed a fitting tribute.
The demos for "No Joke!" were made at Phase Four Studio, the same studio used to record the album itself. In addition to "Buckaroo," the sessions included two other unreleased songs. "Not Now" was completed for inclusion in the final album, but was shelved at the last minute to make room for an extra Cris tune. "Vaseline," on the other hand, never appeared again in our repertoire after it was demoed; likewise with "Buckaroo," which was recorded as a lark, just to help us warm up. I don't even think we ever played it live.
There's really not much else that I remember about the band from this period. There's not much to remember. We spent as much time enjoying the fruits of our hard-won long-overdue success (and recuperating from the hectic schedule we'd kept up throughout 1994) as we did plotting our next move. Rehearsals for "No Joke!" were much more informal and less intensive than in the past. We mostly learned the songs on our own, using Curt's rough solo demos as a guide, getting together once or twice to run through them as a band. We let momentum to do the majority of the heavy lifting.
If you ask me, we could have been entirely rested, focused and hungry, and we wouldn't have withstood industry fluctuations any better than we did. We played the the major label game as well as we could, but once you get in bed with big corporations like that, it's only a matter of time before you get burned by events entirely outside your control. Before the disks were off the stampers, the majors were ditching their "rawer" acts in favor of safer ones. And in the wings, they were preparing for the next act: mergers and acquisitions.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy these tracks, and when you listen to them, give a toast to Buck, another great performer who knew the sting of a capricious marketplace. (Was there ever one that didn't?)
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"No Joke!" Demos - Recorded Dec. 94 & Feb 95
1. Poisoned Arrows
4. Sweet Ammonia
6. Not Now
7. For Free
8. Beware Of The Rustic (Vampires)
9. Taste Of The Sun
10. Chemical Garden
11. Think Positive (Suck My Eyeball)