Welcome to Gatesville
Track by Track
Here is a track-by-track walk through of our new CD "Welcome to Gatesville. Where the songs came from, experiences recording the CD, stories and lies.
Those Were the Days
Back in the early 90’s I spent some time living and running with Steve Earle out in LA. I remember hearing him talking to an interviewer once, saying that he liked to think that he was a littler hipper than the guys in some of his songs. Back then, I WAS the guy in all my songs… It had never occurred to me that I could write in the first person about someone else. That sure opened up a lot of new possibilities. These days I have been trying to write about guys I know and my own experiences in a broader way, and this song is one of those attempts. The original idea for the song came after a party that I went to with a bunch of friends I hadn’t seen in 20 years. We spent the evening telling stories and talking about how great it was back then, and I realized that for some of those folks life sort of stopped in 1985. I wanted to write about getting older and having a life that keeps getting better…remembering the past without living in it. Having the guy in the song tell his story starting in high school, moving into marriage and kids and ending with a son coming home from war felt right…
I’m Not Your Man
This song was written one evening after meeting a friend at El Mercado, a Tex-Mex joint here in Austin. We sat in the bar area, and a cute little waitress (probably in her mid-20s) kept flirting with us and trying to sell us margaritas. Bless her heart, she had NO idea how bad of an idea mixing the two of us and tequila was. Last time I drank tequila I had to call in sick from another country, but that’s a different song and a different story. After I got home that evening I got to thinking that there are a lot of songs about seriously messed up relationships, but they are almost all from the point of view of the broken hearted, pissed-off victim of the insanity, and I wondered what it would look like to write a song from the other guy’s point of view. Hell, I know that half the time the crazy person TELLs you they are a bad idea, but no one ever listens… I have been on both sides of that equation. Anyway, this one lets the bad idea have his say too.
Devil’s on My Trail
I grew up in Austin, and I have been hanging around the edges since I was a kid. There’s a town of sorts just west of Austin out by the lake called Cuernavaca. These days it’s kind of upscale, but back in the 70s and 80s the only people out there were school teachers, cedar choppers and speed cooks. I had a few friends that grew up out there, riding BMX bikes, smoking cigarettes and eventually dealing meth. This is their story. We kept adding things to the arrangement while we were tracking the song, stretching the solo section and adding the sort of Allman Bros harmony bit at the end of the solo section literally as we recorded the last take of the song. I love having a band that can work that way.
Forever Came Today
Songwriting inspiration for me often comes from a bunch of places at once. This song has origins in three wildly diverse places. Every so often I get so busy with life that I end up not writing anything for a while, and every time I try to get back into songwriting again, the first week or so is just torture. “I don’t know how I ever did this before, but it’s obviously never going to happen again” – thoughts like that… Eventually I just start writing about what’s going on with me right at that moment, as I stare at the blank page. In the week prior to writing Forever Came Today, I had begun working out with a buddy of mine who is a world class trainer, and after 5 days of doing what he told me I hurt so bad I was nearly unable to function. It was in this state that I wrote the first two lines of the song (I’d say I feel like I’m dying, but I don’t think that hurts this bad…). Now completely separately from this, I am a HUGE Buddy Miller fan, and I had just been listening to “Forever Has Come To An End” off of the Buddy & Julie Miller CD, and I really liked the idea of forever ending and wanted to see what I could come up with along those lines. I used those lines I had written about hurting as a starting point and a long history of broken hearts as inspiration and this is the song I got. When we went to record the track I wanted to make sure that it had a lot of space in it. The band really stepped up and Gregg Rollie’s B-3 and piano work on the track really allowed us to get as quiet as we wanted to. It still amazes me that he played on the record…
Lowdown and Dirty
I love this song – it’s a great example of how I never know what may happen with a song. I wrote the music for this song back in 1992 while working on the third, ill-fated Junkyard record for Geffen. Nirvana’s record had just hit, and rock bands were done as far as the labels were concerned. We wrote some words for the song and did a demo, but the writing was on the wall and nothing ever came of it. I played the demo version for Tony Redman one day and he suggested that Gatesville do the song. The lyrics were just too dark to sing anymore (life has gotten significantly better since 92), so I set out to write some new ones. The riff always reminded me of ZZ Top and I wanted to write something fun for it. My buddy Evan Johns used to say that there is a certain rhythm that makes all the women start dancing like snakes in front of a snake charmer – the snake dance. And I, like most men, am mesmerized by the wonder that is WOMAN… This is a song about loving to watch your girl dance, with some music that might just make her do it. When we were recording the solo section I got to do something I’ve wanted to do since I was about 17 years old and got Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs by Derrick and the Dominoes. On the inside of the album sleeve was a picture of Clapton and Duane Allman sitting there facing each other and trading solos. So that’s what we did. Me and Tony - face to face, pushing each other, going back and forth till we got what you hear. It was a blast.
Broken Hearts and Faded Pictures
We’ve all been there. That place in a relationship where there are more questions than answers. Where nothing is wrong-wrong, but there’s a distance growing that scares the hell out of you. I am married to an amazing woman and life is pretty solid these days. Still, every once in a while for reasons I can’t always explain, things still get this way. This song came out of one of those days.
Seeing the one you love having a hard time, and knowing there’s nothing you can really do except to love’ em while they go through it… it’s the single hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. We tried recording this song a couple of different ways, with all or part of the band, but in the end doing it naked like this, with just me & Tony, a couple of guitars and a couple of mikes proved the best way to go. Nowhere to hide on this one -I love the way it came out.
Searching For You
This entire song takes place at 2:50am on a Sunday morning an answering machine belonging to a girl that you should have never gone home with 2 years ago. The song took a long time to reach its final shape. It was originally written by a friend of mine, Tim Mosher back in the day in LA. I really liked the music and the chorus, but the verses were a bit unfocused, so I got with Tim and rewrote them. I guess it’s easier to have a little perspective on the situation once you’re not still actively involved in it.
The track has a Stones-y feel thanks to Tony Redman’s guitar and Gregg Rollie’s B-3. This is one of the ones we tracked live to make sure we nailed the feel we were after.
Being the Man of My Dreams
Three friends, life and the Band, that’s where this song came from. My friend Jon Dee Graham used to talk about living the effects of an ill-considered prayer for abundance. And Steve Earle had a quote inside of his album”The Hard Way” that said “What do you do when all your dreams come true?” Twelve years ago I didn’t really know what either of them meant, and then I started getting the kind of life I had always dreamed that I wanted. What no one ever tells you is that a big cool life is generally WAY more demanding mentally, physically and spiritually than a shabby little one. My buddy Big Spring Mark likes to say”…with God and you people and a little on my own I’m gonna be alright.” I took all those ideas and the pressure I was feeling trying to hold up my end of the life I was having and wrote the words. Once they were done I started trying to find the music, and eventually settled in to this 6/8 feel, something like the Band might do. The track came out exactly like I envisioned. That’s a rare and beautiful thing.
I lived in LA for about 10 years, from 85 – 94 or so, and it was really cool, right up until it wasn’t. Then I came back to Texas, and that sucked too. Apparently my location wasn’t the problem… Life eventually got better and I realized how glad I was to be back among my people. Texas people. People who get the joke. This is one of those songs that wrote itself in about 10 minutes. I started thinking about life in Texas and the words just sort of appeared. I have no idea where the riff came from. The song has a slippery, Gimme Back My Bullets feel to it and the track just roars. Makes me feel like it’s 1977 and I’m tooling around in my ‘72 Firebird with my friends, looking for a good time.
Come See About Me
This is almost a gospel song, albeit a rocking one. The lyrics are my adaptation of a couple of ideas from some old blues and gospel songs I picked up along the way, with a little of me put in there for good measure. I was listening to a lot of Tres Hombres by ZZ Top and the musical idea came from Reverend Willie G. and the boys. I love the call and response vocals in the last verse, and Tony really tore it up on this one. Maybe we can be the other ‘little ol’ band from Texas’…
This is our reworking of a song from the first Junkyard record… I can’t believe that it was released over 20 years ago. Originally our version was essentially the same as the original, but as time has gone on it has stretched into a whole new animal. We started extending the solos, and then wrote the harmony guitar solo in the middle. Live it has become something of a set-piece, and we never know just how long it is going to get. On the right night it can hit 15 minutes. We weren’t planning on putting Simple Man on the CD. On the last day of tracking, after we had gotten basic tracks done on everything that we wanted to record we had some time left, so we decided to take a shot at it, just to have a decent live recording of the song. Once we listened back to it, there wasn’t any we were leaving it off…