Monday, July 19, 2010
An answer to a question
Dmitry Ed Pavlotsky
July 19, 2010
Dear Chad Taylor,
On behalf of your fans from around the world we want to sincerely thank you for the years of wonderful music you have given us, and for all that is still to come with TGF.
We believe ourselves to possess nearly all of the recordings that you've taken part in, and do so with great joy and pride. However; since about 1996 we've heard about several songs that are either only available in obscure, low quality form - or appear to be myths, and we're not certain they actually exist to be heard!
This is why we have decided to write to you today; we have a request. If they do exist, we're dying to know about them. We want to learn about the little known tracks like New City and Pop Vortex, the forgotten gems lost along the way. So whether you can tell us more information about them, or even be able to send us a version of these rare tracks - we'd be ever, ever so grateful. The members of the FansOfLive and WhereFreaksTalk message boards made a list of the songs we most desire. Here it is:
New City -- We believe there's a version circulating, but none of us have ever heard it. It's SUPER rare!
Wash the Blood Away -- Does it even exist?
Change -- We know this exists, but only have a low quality version.
Pop Vortex -- Once again we don't know if it exists at all, let alone if it's out there to be heard.
Pat's SS demo -- This was mentioned in the FOL newsletter and has us licking our lips.
Hold Me Up -- We love this so much; a studio cut must exist?
DOAD Outtakes -- The other material you guys were kicking around; All Is Crazy On The Action Front, etc.
We would be incredibly happy to receive anything that you may be able to offer us. We hope this does not sound too upfront, but you seem to be the only person in the world who can help us with this and we decided that now is as good a time as any to see what could be done. You don't get if you don't ask, right?
Thank you very much for reading this, and in advance if you do decide you can help us in some way. Good luck with TGF. We can't wait for the record to drop in September!
And please, greet the rest of the band for us.
Merica (UK), thefunkyredcaboose (USA), donno (USA), Deku (UK), deepenoughtodive (USA), Bremang (USA), TheBeacon (USA), OutToDry (USA), Plive (Sweden), Nobody Knows (Netherlands), possum (USA), swami (King of Canada), SecretInsomnia (Netherlands), stuker (USA), Infrequent Poster (USA), drewgood (USA), dangum (Australia), ItchyTriggerFinger (USA), brandedwendy (Netherlands), Wildman (Netherlands), Lakini (Romania), +Ed+ (Russia), garadius (USA), Aitkens (USA), michael39 (Australia), Wambangalang (Australia), PurdueSteve (USA), janine5683 (Canada), Sonic Tonic (Canada), shave98765 (USA), zmanpga (USA), crazy1 (USA), sh4rpz (South Africa), Genres (USA), VoodooLady (USA), LivesMeltdown (USA), Heropsychosacha (Netherlands), jclive (USA), Sakhmet2 (Canada), Badman (Texas), Kite_Runner (USA), LiveFan92 (Tunisia), Bob (USA), NectarDan (USA), Dana (Israel), Pokey (Australia), Einnar Espinosa (México), brianblank (USA), mikkel (Netherlands), Hoodstock (USA), quaziemoto3 (USA), icewaterike (Canada), Good_Pain (USA)
... and the overwhelming masses of fans who have supported you and have petitioned to hear more of the music you've been inspired to create over the years.
PS This letter was composed a couple of days before we saw your tweet of the Live stuff to be released soon. Have you read this letter already as it was published openly on the board? =))
Thank you (and the many) for writing such a wonderful note. Like each of you, I too am a huge fan of Live and promise to the best of my ability to keep it a living, breathing force for many years to come. The good news is that Live created so many works throughout our vast history. I’ll try and walk you through what I can remember, recording by recording. I’ve been working on a book that will chronicle in greater detail our incredible rise to fame from York, PA to the hiatus of last year… I want it to be spot on so I’m not rushing…in the meantime; here are some of my memories…
MIKE COUCH SESSION, 1986 (York, PA) band age, 15 yrs.
MEDIA FORMAT: AUDIO CASSETTE
Our very first recording was a session with engineer Mike Couch in his parent’s basement. My mother paid for it and I think the budget was $400. We hadn’t adopted the name Public Affection, so we were most likely called First Aid, Rattle Box or Paisley Blue. We recorded Pretty In Pink (Psychedelic Furs), Begin The Begin (R.E.M.) and Boys Don’t Cry (The Cure). I can’t begin to tell you how amazing it was later in life to stand on stage with Richard Butler and play Pretty In Pink or meet Michael Stipe in Athens and later become his friend. Our lives always connected us with people through music and thankfully, it still does. In fact, we also covered The Simple Minds, “Don’t You Forget About Me” and would later co-headline Night Of The Proms with them. Mike Couch remains my friend and an amazing guitar player and we’ve talked about trying to restore the cassette demo (which is still in my possession). The audio quality on the “original master” is bad at best but you can hear the band that would become Live within.
TEMPLE BETH ISREAL, “TEMPLE DANCE” 1987 (York PA) age, 16 yrs
MEDIA FORMAT: DVD
For nearly two hours, Public Affection entertained several hundred teenage kids with new wave cover material. The lighting on the video is poor and the camera work (by my cousin) is so-so. Regardless, this is the earliest know video footage of all four members performing together. Highlights include seeing Adam Kowalczyk sitting at the foot of the stage rocking out to his older brother, oh and lots and lots of hairspray!
PROVERBS OF THE COMPANY, 1988 (Baltimore, MD) age, 17 yrs.
MEDIA FORMAT: AUDIO CASSETTE & 1/8” MASTER
The bands next recording session took place in Baltimore, MD. We recorded 8 original tracks and titled the demo “Proverbs Of The Company.” I just walked into my Live archive in my basement to find the actual cassette master. I was happy to see my mom’s writing on the packaging, she was also our bookkeeper and established the Taylor family archive. The songs included; The Return, Not Ready To Go, Father To Rain, With Love, A Brick In The Works, A Backwards Lullaby, Hold (A Tribunal Tribute To Hope) and In The Hands Of A Teacher. Frankly, this is my favorite collection of early material. It showcases the bands creativity and highlights just how young and innocent we really were. I have more than two-dozen rejection letters from record companies from all over the world turning down this early version of Live. The audio quality is still remarkably good for a cassette. I’m pretty sure this grouping of material would be the pinnacle to any collection of Live recorded material.
DEATH OF A DICTIONARY, 1989 (Saylorsburg, PA) age, 18yrs.
MEDIA FORMAT: AUDIO CASSETTE & 2” MASTER
Nearly every die-hard Live fan knows about this cassette. We picked up the final mix and drove to Ocean City, MD to celebrate our graduation and had in hand the product to help propel us into a record deal (or so we thought). I met our producer, Benji King (Patti Smyth and Scandal) on a plane flight to Europe the summer prior and he put us in contact with our soon-to-be manager, David Sestak. This is the first product that took an entire team to put together. We sold junk bonds to our close friends and family and hit the studio with a well rehearsed set of songs. Kent Heckman engineered and Ed took his vocal performances to a new level with Bengi’s guidance. Saviour For A Day opens the album and highlights include Paper Flowers (a drum machine driven track), Who Put The Fear In Hear and Good Pain. Our clean cut, hairspray happy image was captured for the cover with careful art direction from Sestak. We were becoming a “real” band who would soon leave the comforts of high school for a stab at the big apple’s CBGB’s. In Ocean City, we listen to three albums on continuous rotation, Jane’s Addiction-Nothing’s Shocking, John Lennon-Imagine: John Lennon and Public Affection-Death Of A Dictionary. We also had our first run in with the law on that trip but I’ll save that for future liner notes..
DIVIDED MIND, DIVIDED PLANET, 1990 (Philadelphia, PA) age, 19yrs.
MEDIA FORMAT: AUDIO DAT, AUDIO CASSETTE & 2” MASTER
Jay Healy had been the engineer on several huge albums by artists including Michael Jackson, R.E.M., John Mellencamp and Billy Joel. Giant records asked for us to record a demo of new material with the up-coming producer. We jumped at the chance to work with a true industry veteran who could help us further showcase our musicianship and maturing songwriting skills. Jay found a recording studio just outside of Philadelphia, PA in an old bullet factory. We could only afford to record the “midnight” sessions, which went from 11pm until 9am. We literally worked through the night to record early versions of Pain Lies On The Riverside, Operation Spirit, Waterboy, Good Pain and Peace Is Now (10,000 Years). Giant passed on the demo deal and soon after, Gary Kurfirst would sign us to his new imprint, RadioActive Records where he was busy managing Jane’s Addiction, The Talking Heads and The Ramones.
FOUR SONGS/MENTAL JEWELRY, 1991 (Milwaukee, WI) age, 20yrs.
MEDIA FORMAT: VINYL, CD, AUDIO CASSETTE, DAT, 2”& 1/2” MASTER
Our producer, Jerry Harrison (Talking Heads/Modern Lovers) had a budget to record 12 songs but he loved all 15 of the tunes we had played him. He called Gary Kurfirst for help on deciding which tracks to cut and the plan was hatched to release an EP before the album. Negation and Heaven wore a shirt would find their place on Four Songs. The only outtake from that session was a track titled Born Branded. The other tracks make up Live’s debut album. Additionally, we have hundreds of hours of rehearsals, video footage (some truly hilarious stuff) and writing sessions recorded from this era. I can also recall one of the band name suggestions; Jumna. Mirror Song was originally called Mental Jewelry and we borrowed the song title for the name of the album.
THROWING COPPER CHURCHBOX DEMO, 1993 (Columbia, PA) age, 23yrs.
MEDIA FORMAT: DAT
Jay Sorrentino and Ken Heitenmuller were the rhythm section for Suddenly Tammy as amazing trio out of Lancaster, PA. Ed was dating Beth Sorrentino, Jay’s sister and singer/pianist for Suddenly Tammy. They had purchased an amazing run-down church with the original organ still intact. They helped to record a raucous demo that includes; Iris, I Alone, All Over You, Selling The Drama & I Alone. After Gary Kurfirst took a listen, he told us that we didn’t have a song for the album! Jerry Harrison was brought in to rescue to album (he changed very, very little) and Gary finally released our recording fund. This demo clearly shows the bands growth from touring endlessly for Mental Jewelry. There is a new fire to each instrument.
THROWING COPPER, 1994 (Cannon Falls, MN) age, 23yrs.
MEDIA FORMAT: VINYL, CD, AUDIO CASSETTE, DAT, 2”& 1/2” MASTER
I think enough has been written about the music of this era. We had our first “oh, shit, the band is going to break up” fight making the album. The fight interestingly enough was over publishing. Ed went as far as packing up his car to drive home and I though Chad Gracey would beat him down. Thankfully, cooler heads and a good negotiation prevailed and we finished the album. Random thoughts: The bass player from Hüsker Dü, Greg Norton cooked a few meals for us; I found a hypodermic needle under my bed (Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain last used the room) and my bath towel said PJ Harvey. Our favorite album at the time was Bob Moulds, Sugar EP titled Beaster; Lou Giordano who engineered Beaster was the engineer on Throwing Copper….Bob Moulds first band was Hüsker Dü. I told you music connected us. The outtakes included: Susquehanna, Hold Me Up & We Deal In Dreams. I have hundreds of hours of audio and video of us writing, rehearsing and recording this album (there are many songs we cut early in pre-production – some of these are also documented). Highlights include Ed and I writing All Over You, Lightning Crashes and Dam At Otter Creek on the second floor of 15 N. Prince St, Lancaster, PA. Lighting Crashes in particular is amazing as you can hear the entire song unfold in the recording. Ed and I sound so innocent but you can tell we were willing to go anyplace the music might take us. The DAT tapes from the writing sessions start as soon as we enter the room and don’t end until we leave. We talk about making coffee and smoking the cigars we bought on tour in Brazil. This is my best era of documenting the band; I clearly knew we were up to something and wish I had been this disciplined on other albums. I have no idea why we never returned to that style of writing. It was truly a once in a lifetime album and its no wonder it has stood the test of time.
SECRET SAMADHI CHURCHBOX DEMO, 1996 (Columbia, PA) age, 25yrs.
MEDIA FORMAT: DAT
Throwing Copper changed the game. It was a massive success only overshadowed by the tour that surrounded it. PJ Harvey (don’t forget the towel), Veruca Salt, Weezer and Jimmy Chicken Shack were only a few of the openers to support us as we toured the globe for two years non-stop. I bought a house (with cash I might add) and moved into a swanky neighborhood in Lancaster, PA only a few blocks from where Ed had also purchased a home. We were in our early 20’s with way too much money & fame. We both wanted to chill out and enjoy the fruits of our hard work. Gracey moved to Portland OR to marry his first wife and Patrick escaped to the party life of South Beach. The Lancaster clan continued with the high pace energy of the road while still living in a small town. The two didn’t mix well as we ate, drank and generally raised hell from bar-to-bar all in the spirit of celebration. I wrote the riff to Lakini’s Juice on the third floor of my house, passing out over several bottles of red wine but the vast majority of songs were assembled at The Chameleon Club. We had arranged with owner & friend Rich Ruoff to let us write, rehearse and record (still have the cassette) during the daytime hours when the club was closed. Ed brought in GasHed and I nearly died it was so good. The first recording, a board tape from The Chameleon is one million times better than anything on the album! Fuck, I just got chills writing about it. We were so excite, we called Ken and Jay at the Churchbox and booked some time to demo the new material. Ghost would feature the churches massive pipe organ (still better than the album), Freaks, Mall Rat, Photograph and Turn My Head are a few I can recall. Gary liked the vibe but didn’t think we had the single and would push us further. In my opinion, this is the greatest creative era of Live and thankfully, The Churchbox Session are very well documented. I would go as far as to say that the early energy captured in these demos blows always anything we captured on the album. The audio quality is amazing.
SECRET SAMADHI JAMAICA-HOUSE, 1996 (Montego Bay, Jamaica) age, 25yrs.
MEDIA FORMAT: DAT, ADAT
Jay Healy was brought in to record and produce the band. I had used him as an engineer on Solution A.D. and secured a number 1 modern rock single with Fearless. I sold the band on Jay. I thought what we needed based on the Churchbox Sessions was less of a producer and more of an engineer who would document the material. We rented a large estate overlooking Montego Bay and began searching for a sound or a song that would really catapult the band into supernova. My soul loved Jamaica and I began to transform my guitar playing and sound. I had purchased an old Fender Super Reverb and would begin to play into its vibrations. Unsheathed and Heropsychodreamer featured the reverberant quality’s of our rum-punch, pot infused sound. Dahlheimer delivered the guitar to Merica and in a finale, Ed told me to play the riff from Lakini’s Juice. I had almost forgot about it. He and Matt Gracey sat on the balcony as Ed screamed “more wine” in the verse. Thankfully, Trevor, our butler (seriously) brought more wine. These demos capture the band creativity that I think was the essential property that made Live a powerhouse band. The sessions are extremely raw, with very little mixing effort and were only intended to convince Gary that it was time to record. Thankfully, he gave the green light. There are several unreleased/unrecorded songs on these demos that will hopefully find there way to the public over time.
SECRET SAMADHI, 1996 (San Francisco, CA, Los Angeles, CA & New York, NY) age, 26yrs.
MEDIA FORMAT: 2” MASTER, PRO-TOOLS, ½” MASTER, DAT
This album was a cluster-fuck to record. We started in San Francisco, CA only to find that the studio had a buzz sound that transferred to every channel of the console and tape machine. We searched high and low to find a studio nearby but had to settle on LA. After moving tons of vintage recording gear and instruments to Los Angeles, Ed had a terrible allergic reaction to the house dog that lived in the studio. We fired Jay (as we had already spent several hundred thousand dollars and didn’t have a note recorded) and headed home to regroup. The entire band was depressed – it was truly our first major failure and we would have to struggle to gather ourselves and continue. After a short break, Jay called Ed and I pushing to use The Hit Factory in NYC, a well-known buzz and pet free studio. We could start in a week if we agreed to put him back on board as producer. We added a 40-piece orchestra to Lakin’s Juice and Turn My Head and once again tracked the band without click tracks live in a large room. The only overdubs were vocal doubles (very few harmonies), guitar solos (although GasHed and Graze were cut live) and the string sections. We wanted a raw record and got it (funny that it is our rawest recording that also got called over-produced). This is my all-time favorite Live album and the one I felt most represented my sonic vision of the band. When I listen to this album I am driven to tears. I can feel us let go and flow musically like at no other point in our career. I can’t imagine how much better it would have been if we would have not had the stops and stats associated with San Fran and LA. Tom Lord-Alge would once again add the finishing touches. Mall Rat & Photograph are finished masters. Pop Vortex would come from the Shadow Hill sessions and “Crayons” was an early lyric to Century; “come on, come on, return to crayons.”
SHADOW HILL WAY, 1997 (Beverly Hills, CA) age, 27yrs.
MEDIA FORMAT: PRO TOOLS, DAT
High on our own success, we decided to abandon a European leg of the Secret Samadhi tour. We rented a 20,000 sq. ft house in Beverly Hills, CA and brought in Jerry Harrison and Karl Defler to document the creative process. This was a party house that no-doubt was built for cocaine and porn (it had a disco with strippers pole included). We were in the heights of our rock n’ roll excess. We left the doors wide open and would often find that celebrities had found our not-so-secret hideaway (think entourage, only way worse). This session would spawn the most unreleased material in Live’s history. We recorded nearly three albums worth of material with Where Fishes Go as the only track to ever see the light of day. Most of the songs are incredibly rich instrumental tracks that left little space for Ed’s vocals but several feature him singing. It’s roughly 35 unreleased tracks in rough mix form but some of our most creative work with Harrison at the helm. The idea was to create our next record but the sessions were abandoned due to the heavy pressure for us to continue to tour for Secret Samadhi. Additionally, the material was very challenging for Ed to write to and in my opinion, would influence how we went about writing and recording in the future. Working titles include German Rain, German Rain II, German Porn, Two Women Flank The Door & Pop Vortex (later became Vine St.). Live fans would go nuts for this material.
THE DISTANCE TO HERE, 1998 (Marin County, CA and Los Angeles, CA) age, 28yrs.
MEDIA FORMAT: PRO TOOLS, 2” MASTER, ½” MASTER, DAT
In order to make Ed’s shows more enjoyable for him, we added guitarist Christopher Thorn to the live line-up. Chris grew up in Dover, PA, a neighboring town of York. He was always much more a lead guitar player than Ed but he did a great job of finding his way into the feel of the songs. This was the first time a had another guitar player to truly play off of and would influence the fell of the album. Additionally, we brought in session keyboardist Michael “Raylo” Railton to add flavor to the tracks. These guys would form the nuclease of a new sound and new era for the band. Ed’s early demo of The Distance, in my opinion, was far better than the albums version. The drum loop he recorded to had a groove that was simply incredible and we worked very hard to get that feel with Gracey’s drumming. The Distance demo is awesome and a b-side worthy of trying to find. We recorded two version of Sun (one with a down tempo Indian loop and the other with a full rock guitar approach). In the studio this album in particular felt totally different than its finished product. The band was pushing hard for songs like Change, Don’t Wait (I have a CBGB’s demo that features one of Ed greatest vocal performances), Still Aroused and New City. The guitars once again shined on these tracks and the tempos were upbeat. It was a return, I thought to the feel of Copper. When I received the mastered album, it had changed greatly. Gone were those up-tempo rockers, each replaced by mid-tempo singer/songwriter selection. I admit, I was in shock but the record label was really in love with the album. I think I may have made a critical mistake by not pushing to have the rockers win out but then again some of those songs are pretty amazing! Overcome featured the full band and is my preferred version of the song. Face & Ghost originally did not have lyrics and once again is my preferred version of the song. In my opinion, if Secret Samadhi was my vision of the band than TDTH was Ed’s. It ranks as my second favorite Live album and I personally think it was Ed at his absolute very best. I haven’t bought his new album yet but I hope it has some of this flavor; if not it should be on his next! Most of TDTH was tracked live but we clearly let technology start to play a roll (Voodoo Lady for example). We had all begun to purchase recording equipment and began to experiment with loops and productions. There are a ton of unreleased demos from this era. For example, the demo for They Stood Up For Love has different lyrics, an oboe and is one of the last substantial contributions I felt I made to the Live catalog. We also have demos of Voodoo Lady, recorded on April 18th (my daughter, Ruby Lou was born later that day). My favorite demo is Transmission, a Dahlheimer track infused with great lyrics and singing by Ed.
V DEMO, 1999 (Los Angeles, CA) age, 28yrs.
MEDIA FORMAT: PRO TOOLS, DAT
Second only to the Shadow Hill recordings, there are a ton of unreleased tracks from this mid-tour session. We documented nearly two albums worth of material in two short weeks. The goal was to prepare songs for the next studio session. MCA got a hold of the material and pushed us to call it an album but it took over two years to finally release side-A of the demos originally titled “Ecstatic Fanatic.” MCA’s delays totally changed the feel of the once spontaneous demo into an album that had to really count for Live. It was released September 18, only seven days after the world trade center terrorist attach that would change the world. An independently produced video for Overcome made the cut to play in the short rotation of only 5 songs on MTV for more than 3 days. Everything about the “album” was wrong. The label, which was having great success with No Doubt wanted to re-image the band and spent a ton of money on a photo shoot for the album cover only to add grainy graphics so that the band was undicernable. It was fucking nuts. Live fans really take the piss out of this album but it was NEVER intended to be an album. It was always a spontaneous outpouring of material Ed had been developing on the road. Patrick wasn’t even in town for half of it. From my point of view, some of Ed’s finest songwriting occurs on the songs that were never included on the album (this was because it was supposed to be a give-away for the fans). We even tried to rush a release of Overcome to record stores all across the country to benefit the victims of 9/11 but the label wouldn’t donate their portion of the funds to the proceeds (seriously).
It just occurred to me that I really detailed a ton of this stuff in the first draft of “The Search for Public Affection; the story of LIVE.” This section was written awhile back but does hit the nail on the head. I will include it hear as a “thank you” to the fans that really have come along for this ride:
Chapter 13 “The Turn”
It was about six years ago when I openly declared to my close friends and family that the new media age had revolutionized our industry over night. I predicted that music sales would cause a selloff of minor labels to majors and later majors to majors. This would be an outright war for market share and I feared my own band would be lost in the shuffle.
We were on tour for The Distance To Here and on a short break began to work on the songs that would later find themselves on V. Ed was on fire. We could barely keep up with the frantic pace with which he was turning out new ideas. Patrick was at home with his family celebrating the birth of his daughter and the process was disjointed from a “band” standpoint. We were recording at good friends house with the drums on the patio and guitar amps in the living room. We spent little to no time perfecting the parts as we were only trying to capture the creative energy of the moment. It was fun but outside of the typical rehearsal writing sessions of the past. I thought, this will be how records are made in the future, cheap, fast and full of “in the moment” creative spirit.
By the time Patrick made LA, we nearly had two albums worth of material recorded. It was creative and recording overload but we wanted to surprise our fans with an album in the middle of a touring cycle. Fresh material with a loose feel, something we had never done. We didn’t want to over think anything, just immediately release a batch of new songs. They were experimental in many ways, lacking the traditional band arrangements that our fans had come to love but as a two-week long session of demos it was perfect.
We submitted the material to MCA/Universal, as RadioActive no longer existed. There was great debate at the label over a single. We suggested not releasing one as we wanted it to be “for the fans”, impromptu, live esc. – In the moment. It took MCA/Universal over a year to release the album. The project went from being titled “Ecstatic Fanatic” with a quasi-orgy painting by Peter Howson to “V”. The label insisted that bands needed to be on “the cover” and hired an insanely expensive photographer to revolutionize the bands image. We laughed, as we know our image was the anti-image. The photographer had arranged a series of “huge” fires that would be burning in the background. They turned out to be little barrels with barely a flame shooting out; total “Spinal Tap”. Gracey nearly killed the stylist for messing with his clothing or hair. This had nothing to do with the Live that came from the street of York, PA. This was all about market share. The funny thing is the photo shoot went so poorly that they added charcoal graphics to the picture and totally distorted what they were going for in the first place.
In our defense, we begged MCA to release the album the way we wanted but they had no interest. To our luck director Rob Cohen was a LIVE fan and placed “Deep Enough” in the opening scene of “The Fast and Furious.” To our disbelief, MCA turned down an offer from the production company to shoot a video on set by Rob himself. They had a partnership with MTV that would guarantee heavy rotation out of the box. You can’t make this shit up. They passed on “Deep Enough” insisting that “Simple Creed” was better suited for radio. This is on an album where we didn’t even want a single! Our management was going fucking nuts as you can imagine. I knew it was a sure fire sign that the close nit family that worked so hard to build Live was no longer in the drivers seat. Corporate shareholders were now the new priority in the “music” business.
Another huge moment can only a few weeks later. The producers for the “Mummy Return’s” called and asked if we would be willing to provide a song for the closing credits of the film. Ed wrote with Glen Ballard and they turned out “Forever May Not Be Long Enough.” I knew it wasn’t a typical Live song but then again, nothing about this album was making much sense. Ballard had the audacity to sit there and tell Patrick Dahlheimer, one of the most explosive rock bass players of his era to play one single note throughout the entire song. I walked out of the room laughing. This was fucked. Thankfully, the track worked well in the film but this wasn’t what I signed up for. Once again, the label did not want to work the song as a single but our management was able to convince them to at least let us shoot a video.
Hindsight is 20/20 but these were the number 1 and 2 top grossing films of the year with featured placement and absolutely no love from the label. I was sick to my stomach.
The label finally decided by committee that “Simple Creed” would be the single and a video was ordered. I had lost 35 pounds working out everyday to “look great” in the new media model of tits and ass. Shirtless with only a vest on I took on my new role as an actor in someone’s bad play. This shit had nothing to do with the dream Chad, Patrick and I started in Gracey’s bedroom in York. It had nothing to do with Ed’s lyrics on “Lightning Crashes.” This was all about the looming downturn in corporate revenue MCA was facing. We were fucked and stuck in an unbreakable contract.
All of the delays added up and nearly a year and a half after we finished a few “off the wall” demo’s MCA set a release date, September 18, 2001. Seven days after the terror attacks of 9/11. Things had gone from bad to grim. The happy go lucky spirit of this music would never see the light of day. The world had changed before our eyes.
Mary Kowalczyk, Ed’s mother, called me right after the second plane hit. She wanted to know where Eddie was as he had been on the road to do press and promotion for the album. I assured her he was fine but hung up the phone and began to make frantic phone calls to management and Matt Gracey who was on the road with Ed. Thankfully, they were okay in Chicago.
To my surprise a friend called me to tell me to turn on VH1. Someone had set footage from ground zero to the music of “Overcome.” I stood and cried as it played. This was so much bigger than my band, our music or me. I knew Live would never be the same from that moment forward. A deep depression of sorts set in. The wave that surged throughout the 90’s had crested and now crashed on the flatlands of three toppled buildings and thousands of dead.
I began calling every radio station in the country requesting Overcome as a song offered by the band for healing. I called our management to tell the label to get a single release ready to sell in stores to benefit the victim’s families. To my dismay MCA refused to offer any funds or support despite the fact that nearly every radio format including country, R&B, top 40, jazz and blues stations were playing the song. I was so sad. Sad for those families. Sad for my own too. I wondered if anyone could understand the emotional toll 9/11 had taken on us as people. How could we perform? How would we get through?
Our management encouraged us to get back to doing what we did best, playing live shows. Our childhood hero’s Jane’s Addiction were mounting a comeback tour and we agreed to take the opening slot. Something we hadn’t done since Mental Jewelry. They gave us less than 10’ of the stage and only 6 par cans for lights. Big time, “rock star” bullshit. We played the first night with electric guitars blazing but the magic wasn’t there. We poured our hearts into the show but for the first time in my life, I didn’t want to be on stage. I didn’t want to play music. It just felt wrong.
I told Ed that night that I was headed home. We had worked too hard and too long to be treated this way. It felt disrespectful to the music and our fans. I was almost gone when Ed grabbed me and said we are not going out like this, “I have a plan.”
The next day, we went to the Salvation Army store to purchase Dickie brand overhauls and old beat up couches like the ones that used to adorn the rehearsal room in York. There would be no electric guitars, no rock star apparel. We would be the worker bees we knew how to be from our childhood in York. Ed said the songs would do the work as he handed out a set list of hit singles ending with Overcome. The next show was at Madison Square Garden. It would be the very first show after the terror attacks. Nearly every fire station was in attendance. There were thousands of firemen and rescue workers who had survived but lost, friends, family and co-workers.
I lowered my head into the cold curve of my acoustic guitar. I would not be able to face the crowd tonight. Ed turned the microphone to the crowd during the first chorus of Lightning Crashes. The sing along was bone chilling. Everyone knew we were saying goodbye.
To this day, I don’t know how Ed sang Overcome. I stood by the side of the stage as a spectator and watched his chest heave with the weight of the moment. He was amazing and there was not a dry eye in the house. When the house lights went on the crowd began to file out until there were only a few thousand remaining from the sold-out show for the opening refrains of the Jane’s Addiction set. This would not be a night for strippers in go-go cages.
Live pushed on, touring for V. We tried hard to pick up the pieces but the early energy drain of September was too great. In New Zealand, I leaned over a balcony fifty stories high and asked myself if I should jump. How could I be “living out my dream” and so deeply depressed? When I withdrew and returned to the hotel room I began to write my story down, trying to figure out how I came to this place. I birthed the concept of “Barely Breathing” that night and haven’t given up on it to this day. It is a constant reminder that we can find the light at the end of the tunnel. We can reach new dreams and new heights despite our personal obstacles.
Somehow we lost ourselves in the V cycle and the years that followed. The childhood innocence’s and enthusiasm had been replaced with stagnate set lists and a lack of fresh ideas that a rock band could sink into. We worked hard on Birds Of Pray but again; a producer was pushing and pulling against the natural grain that had delivered so many great moments. By the time Black Mountain came around, I could care less. Jim Wirt, the producer was writing all of the guitar parts. I took it as a challenge to find a way to further give of myself but I never stayed in the studio for more than a few hours at a time. This wasn’t my music any longer; this wasn’t the band I envisioned. I knew it was time to walk away but had no idea how to do it.
While in London touring for Black Mountain our former head of security arranged a dinner with the guys from Metallica. I hit it off with Lars right away as we drank copious amounts of Champagne and exchanged road stories. The scene was a little nuts. Lars was having dinner with his girlfriend while his nanny and ex-wife chased down the kids. Metallica had just released “Some Kind Of Monster” and I was fascinated by his willingness to break up his own band in order save their integrity. As we got deeper into the bottle, so did our discussions about my personal discord within my band. Lars told me I had no choice. The only way to save Live was to abort the mission and leave the band. My head was spinning.
A few hours had passed and we changed venues. We headed to a trendy bar inside a hotel. I couldn’t begin to tell you where we were, other than we were in London. As I ordered my drink I realized I was standing next to my old friend Dave Grohl. We hugged and shared our excitement for running into each other in the middle of London. I told Dave what Lars had been discussing at the restaurant and he too began to tell me it was time to venture out on my own. Dave recalled his memory of Live as a wild animal and added that we had somehow become tame. It was the truth and it hurt like hell.
The alcohol was taking heavy effect. My speech was slurred and I couldn’t walk straight. The lights went up in the bar and we exited into the hotel lobby. When the lobby elevator opened my friend Venus Brown emerged. Venus doesn’t drink and I knew I would have to try and act sober but I failed. He asked me if I was okay but I really couldn’t feel anything at this point. Will. I. Am and Venus helped me to a stool. I must be dreaming.
As I sat down I flipped backwards over the stool onto the floor. It was time for me to exit. All my dignity was gone. I no longer had control of my life. I had let politics, fear and friendship ruin the creative force that I loved so much and I had to come to terms with leaving.
When I woke, I was laying naked on the floor of the closet in my hotel room. I couldn’t recall how I had gotten there. I was very sick and dizzy from the alcohol. I stood up, pulled on my pants, a shirt and my jacket. There was an acoustic guitar in the room. I raised it over my head and began smashing it to pieces. I threw the guitar down the hallway as I exited the room. I had to walk. I needed fresh air.
Outside of the hotel, I raised my arm to flag down a taxicab. I entered and when asked “where to?” I replied Heathrow. This was it. I was going home to never return. I needed to save myself.
At the British Airway counter, I asked what was the first flight leaving for America. The attendant asked if I had any luggage and I began to laugh. She asked if I was okay and I said, “No, I need to get home now.” She had a flight to Washington D.C. and I took it. The flight was leaving in 20 minutes if I hurried I would make it. I stopped at a pay phone, called my wife and told her to pick me up and hung up without another word. I took my seat, feeling very uneasy about everything. When the wheels of the jet left the ground I left out a big breath. I had done it. Now I suddenly had to vomit.
I passed out for most of the flight and when I landed in Washington I felt weak and listless. My wife was waiting for me and we embraced. She told me that my friends were worried about me. Everyone had called her even our manager Gary Kurfirst who hadn’t called me in over five years. I asked her where the car was. I was ready to go. She had parked it in the long-term lot, far from the terminal. I knew what she was up to.
She told me she had arranged for two seats on a flight that left for Paris in one hour. I was angry. Everyone wanted me to return to the very thing that was killing me. I was trapped in my own dream. I sat quietly as we returned to Paris to join the band for the next show. Ed had called my close friend and neighbor, Doc Slovak and launched an ultimatum, “if I didn’t get my ass back there he would replace me.” I tried hard to justify my return as a way to support my own family and Patrick and Chad’s but this crisis only served to further divide Ed and I. He never asked me if I was okay or if I wanted to talk. This was no friendship at all. I finished the tour but doubled my efforts to produce films in order to get out. I needed Aurora more than ever.
To throw sand on the wound, my business manager called me to tell me the band had had discussions about me paying for my flight home and back. I couldn’t respond. Thankfully, Patrick and Chad came to my defense.
I made a personal resolution to let Live in Ed’s hands. I no longer responded to emails and I limited my participation in every way possible. I would try and be a professional musician. Show up, play my 12 notes and return home with as little drama as possible. We filmed Live, at the Paradiso in two nights. When I saw the magic that was on camera, I was overcome by emotion. We had documented the energy and efforts of a 20-year career together. The photographs captured it too and they are some of my favorites. When the album artwork showed up with Chad, Patrick and I in black and white and Ed in color it shot pain through my veins but I held back.
For some reason on that tour Ed would complain about the tuning of my guitar each and every night in the dressing room following the show. He would call Patrick at all hours of the night asking if we sounded okay. I had long talks with the techs. I begged someone to give me anything tangible that I could work on or fix. The board tapes sounded fine but the constant complaining was driving me mad. It was sucking the life out of me on stage. Ed demanded that we return to having a keyboardist, as it would be easier for him to sing to “solid” notes. I agreed and suggested a few options. At this point I was reaching for anything that would change the tension and heal the dynamic between Ed and the band.
My wife flew out to Chicago for our Anniversary. She brought with her the incredible news that my longtime friend and guitar tech was about to have twins with his bride, Lisa’s sister, Tricia. Matt didn’t know and I was sworn to secrecy. I knew Matt would be leaving the tour to go home and raise his family. I was so happy for him but it left me with one less person to lean on.
We decided to have a very rare band meeting to discuss keyboardist options. Ed had suggested that Michael “Raylo” Railton make a return, as we had little to no time to rehearse with someone who didn’t know the material. We had all heard that he had cleaned himself up and was sober after a long bought with crystal meth, the main reason he was no longer with us. Chad Gracey flipped out and said absolutely no way. When Ed asked him why he hated Raylo so much, Chad responded because he is a selfish drug addict who was bringing drugs, drug dealers and poor energy into his band. It was a very fair answer.
Raylo came back but only lasted a few gigs before he fell off the wagon. I sat with him in a very agitated state on a long bus ride to another show. He was talking a mile a minute and had wild eyes. I knew he had taken something but I wasn’t sure what. When we woke up in the morning Raylo was already in the hotel. We heard stories about him trying to help our assistant Corey with unloading the luggage. He was on a major bender. We soon discovered that nearly all of the vodka on the bus was gone. Raylo had drank over two fifths of vodka to himself. He had to go.
I walked with Patrick and our tour manager Bill Thompson to Raylo’s room and knocked on the door. When he answered we couldn’t see anything. The room was pitch black and it was 3 pm. Raylo could barely open his eyes. This would be the second time I had to fire him and it wouldn’t be easy. He cried and we hugged. Music was Raylo’s life but drugs were taking it from him. There was nobody who wanted him to succeed more than me but it just wasn’t meant to be. I called home to my kids and talked to them about the dreadful effect that drugs could have on your life. I told them about how desperately Raylo wanted to play music but he couldn’t overcome his addiction.
The tour ended and we headed home for break but for the first time in years there were no more plans to work on anything new or even tour for that matter. In one tour we had lost Matt Gracey and for the second time Raylo. We had a few European shows to play in the near future but no heavy touring.
While in The Hague, just before we were ready to go onstage Ed pulled me aside and asked me if I had seen the email he had sent out. I told him I hadn’t and he said we had to have a serious talk. It turned out that he was looking at my MySpace page and noticed that when the song “Heaven” began to play it said it was “by Chad Taylor.” He was enraged. He told me that for years he had been hearing stories about “my” songwriting and that I had even told a few people that I was writing “his” lyrics. This was maddening as I had no idea what he was talking about and knew I had never written “by Chad Taylor” on the MySpace page. I told him that I loved him and would never do anything to hurt him but he clearly wasn’t ready to hear me. We hit the stage in front of 50,000 Live fans and Ed and I ignored each other the entire show. Now I was pissed off too.
After the show, I went to my room and checked the MySpace page and sure enough in the player under the title “Heaven” it said “by Chad Taylor.” It turns out that the MySpace page defaults the song performance credit to the page holder’s name. In my case Chad Taylor. I was livid. Why didn’t he just simply call me or walk over to my room and ask me what was up? I sat in the hotel bar with Patrick, Chad and Bill Thompson as I tearfully held back my rage. This was insane if not pathological. Why was Ed coming at me so hard? Why couldn’t he give me some fucking space? Why was he snooping around on my MySpace page anyway?
I addressed an open letter to Live and our management declaring that I had never written a single Live lyric in my life. Frankly, I don’t even know the words to most of the songs. I could tell you the drum patterns and melodies but I’ve never had much interest in writing lyrics. I told Ed in this letter that my original passion for writing songs was as a canvas for his words. They were outside of the box, just like my music. Why now did he want to re-credit the entire catalog of past songs? Live was never his alone but he was sure acting like it. A close friend of mine gave me some very good advice. She said, “If you can give something and you won’t, you have to ask yourself why you won’t give it.” I knew in this case that she was right so I told Ed and the rest of the band it was theirs to determine the future and past destiny. I knew no effort to reclaim the past would change the vision that our fans had as of as a foursome. We were and will always be equals no matter who says differently or what the liner notes read.
The final blow came as I landed at LAX headed to play Ellen DeGeneres’s show. She had asked us to perform for her birthday. Gary Kurfirst had suddenly passed away. He had found us when we were ‘just’ 17 at C.B.G.B’s and had been involved with us until the day he died. My relationship with him wasn’t on good terms either. He rarely communicated with anyone in the band outside of Ed and I resented him for it. The lowest of lows set in for me. We would have to play Lighting Crashes as Ellen had personally requested it; we were now the heritage act I dreaded. I dawned dark shades and prayed the cameras wouldn’t catch my sorrow. I loved Gary for finding us but loathed him for supporting a system that divided my band. I wasn’t so much sad for him but for the future of the band. I had had enough.
I lost track of my “creative” buddies in Live. I didn’t write a single song for nearly six years. Recently, Patrick, Chad and I began jamming together and writing. The old spirit that birthed on Newberry Street had returned. There was a fire that I hadn’t felt in over ten years. Chad and Patrick felt it too but there was no Ed, just like the early days of middle school. It was just music. No pressure. No outside influence and nothing weighted or contrived. We were back in York with the original line-up.
So the dream begins again. We are going to find our singer and find a way to make the earnest, heartfelt rock n’ roll that the three of us love. We want the best for Ed and his music too. Hopefully he finds the happiness that the three of us share. It’s been a very long struggle for him to find his spiritual center but without the drama, I would have never pushed myself to find new creative outlets.
I’ve now completed fund raising and production on my first feature length film, “HOME.” It stars Academy Award winner Marcia Gay Harden. It had a short run in theaters and won some acclaim on the festival circuit. I am very proud of writer/director Mary Haverstick. You have no idea how hard she had to work to bring this intimately close story to life. My second role as producer is for our very own Aurora Films. It is a movie called, “Another Harvest Moon” and has a notorious cast attached. Academy Award winner Ernest Borgnine headlines with Doris Roberts, Anne Meara, Cybil Shepperd and Richard Schiff. I worked my ass off on this film. I even drove the production truck to and from the set with props. In fact, when I pulled into the dock at the local hospital where we were borrowing a bed, the equipment manager nearly fell over when I jumped out of the truck.
There is no result without hard work. Hopefully the three of us find new success in music, film and television. I’m willing to take the risk. The fans that have supported Live’s music for all of these years are incredible and I hope they see the efforts Chad, Patrick and I make as a gift to their loyalty. We never want to take away from the music that Live made but rather add to it another dimension of understanding and resolution. I was always amazed at the depth of perception held by many of our most loyal fans. I read on many occasions’ thoughts and feelings about our music that echoed my very own. You helped push us when we needed pushed and held us up when we couldn’t stand. We hope you’ll stick with us for another 20-year ride.
BIRDS OF PRAY, 2003 (Santa Monica, CA) age, 32 yrs.
MEDIA FORMAT: 2” MASTER, PRO TOOLS, DAT
Ed finally called me to tell me that he no longer felt the urge to write to my material. When I called Gary Kurfirst, he encouraged me to let Ed and find another outlet for my creative energies. For a short period of time, I joined forces with Jason Narducy in his band, Verbow. Jason would later become the bassist for Bob Mould (told you it was strange). During this period, I tried hard to let Ed have his creative freedom while I experienced playing in small clubs again with Verbow. It was good for me and the influence has lasted ever since. After a few months, Ed called to tell me that he had compiled the songs that would become our sixth album. He held the phone close to his guitar as he played me Heaven. I knew it was a hit for sure and couldn’t wait to adapt it to the band format. We agreed to meet in Nashville to get the band tuned into the material. This was all very new but I was willing to try a new process. To my surprise we did spontaneously write the chorus to Like I Do from one of Ed’s verse ideas that hadn’t been fully developed. My only contribution otherwise was Lighthouse. I loved the melody to Heaven (and I’m sure Miley Cyrus recently ripped a bit of it in The Climb) but wasn’t sure how our rocker fans base would feel about the lyrics. This isn’t to say that I didn’t love the lyrics; after all, I look at my daughters…you know. There are no outtakes that I know of and Jim Wirt worked really hard to fashion a contemporary album but it never felt like the Live I loved. We never let it rip in the studio and every once of it was tracked (a fatal flaw in my opinion…geez, I’m writing that a lot). These songs really came to life on stage! Wings for example (from SFBM) would literally win over nearly any audience we played it for and could have been one of the greatest Live songs had it just been set free (pun intended). The rub between Ed’s way and the bands way was getting worse but we really did try and tolerate each other for the sake of the band and its fans. We knew there would be ups and downs in a career that had lasted lifetimes longer than any of our expectations. Again, I'm not implying a "right or wrong" just a different approach. The point is to show how our search for the art did begin to divide somewhat naturally.
I think I cover SFBM in the section above. There are no outtakes that I’m aware of.
There you have it – the total recording summation of LIVE. There are tons and tons of recordings of live performances dating all the way back to the CBGB showcases. On my extended breaks from touring, I promise to continue releasing material when I can. We are currently putting together a pretty amazing Secret Samadhi bundle that will be offered through FriendsOfLive closer to Christmas.
On a final note, I’ve forgiven Ed and myself for any bullshit between us. I am trying hard to only recall the amazing run we had. We worked tirelessly to bring you together and once again, we’ll use our music to connect with you. From First Aid to Action Front to Rattlebox to Paisley Blues to Public Affection to Jumna to Live we’ve always just been Chad, Chad, Ed and Patrick; four individuals with a collective vision that lasted more than 25 years. Thanks Dmitry for writing on behalf on Live fans everywhere. I hope you will continue to support our artistic endeavors! See you on the road sometime soon.