Wodensdæg again and hail Odin and all that. Don't mean to be flippant or cursory, but it's Hallowe'en besides just being Wednesday and there's lots going on. Mysterious things to do, sinister people to see, you know how it is. But the schedule calls for a Song for Odin and some minor secrets, and accordingly a song and minor secrets you shall have. I wish I had a suitably spooky song on tap for the occasion, but in fact all I've got is another dyspeptic, rueful song of love and loss. https://youtu.be/Gj_kj7jWM64 This is from our 2016 show at Reggie's in Chicago, captured and generously shared by our friend Trey. Chicago was always our best city to play during the fruitful '90s, and as the intro says, the last time we'd played there was on the Yesterday Rules tour in 2004 at the Fireside Bowl. So this was the "triumphal return" or whatever, and it sure was great, possibly the best, most enjoyable show I've ever done. We've been back a couple times since, and that's been fun, too, but nothing could match the magic of that night really. Just one of those nights where everything clicked. Maybe there should be a twelve year gap between all the shows, if that's the secret, I dunno. As for the song "Sackcloth and Ashes" I'm slightly surprised there hasn't been an occasion for a "minor secrets" write-up of it before. It just didn't happen to be in that Seattle set from '98, or any of the other videos I've been cutting up for this purpose -- this enterprise depends on what has been captured and come into my possession. But we played it in most sets from '95 on, and continuing. It's a song that could arguably bear some analysis, but I don't think it's seemly for a songwriter to analyze his own song and I'm not going to do that. I will say it is a good one, one that "works", and a testament to that is how popular and meaningful it has been to many people who have no idea whatsoever of what "sackcloth and ashes" means or implies. (I remember one kid, stretching to reach for a context he could grasp, issue the request: can you please play that one song, "Suck Cock and Asses"? It wasn't a joke, he was quite sincere, but, well it was funny nonetheless. My initial thought was, this sounds like a job for Pansy Division, and I think I mentioned it to Jon Ginoli, but nothing ever came of it. That I know of.) I think it probably gains something from the slight mystery, and the theme of penitence, and the ungainliness of the position of the morose lovelorn martyr, does come across regardless, and it is "relatable." Kevin Army criticized the vocabulary quite strongly ("tresses," "querulous") but it absolutely suits narrator's aggrandizing agenda and I kept them in. I mean, obviously. Despite the vocabulary, the abstruseness, and general tricksiness of the song, it doesn't come across as over-written, which is kind of a miracle. Considering how over-written it actually is, I mean. This song began life as a... well, "folk song" I guess you'd say. I remember when it began to take form, while I was walking up 40th Street from the MacArthur BART station some time in '94, just the title with that same melody that is in the song now. I thought of it as a solo acoustic type thing, much slower and more mournful (and it was originally in a minor key as well.) But like many such songs, once it got plugged in with drums and such, it transformed into the more familiar "signature sound" or whatever. A blessing within a curse, in a way. Sometimes you just go with it, and the way it "plays out" is just fine. So a very happy Hallowe'en and Odin's Day to you all. Do something spooky and/or penitential. And see you next time. #music #video #songs #mtxforever #minds
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