The Grimm Reality project
Original introductory text for Volume 2: . . . Gotta admit, it seems pretty trite to be self-promoting a dumb little DIY record in the face of recent events, while genocide happens, while lordly simpletons with loud microphones demonize its victims, while a pack of venomous charlatans who most people wouldn't trust to sell them a fucking car usher the world gaily up to the edge of a cliff. But this is what the work yields, and it's not much, but as "career retrospective" suggests, who the hell knows how much more joy, love, commiseration and rage we'll have to share before we find ourselves plummeting towards the rocks together.
So fuck it.
Again featuring songs selected by friends and fans who helped bankroll my last album Songs In the Key of Your Face, Grimm Reality Volume 2 draws from my more contemporary solo work as well as Hangdogs songs stretching back to the band's second album East of Yesterday (1997). In fact, owing to the knowing request of sponsor/exec producer Brandon Parkhurst, I dusted off the would-be title track of that latter album, a song never released by the Dogs, simplified it a bit, breathed some new verve and lyrics into it and made that Track 2 of this collection.
Where Volume 1 was designated as a folky acoustic record, Volume 2 amps up into a full-throated roots rock record instrumented with acoustic and electric guitars, full drum kit and keyboards. As my old Hangdogs bud Slim Simon again agreed to blaze me some guitar tracks for this one, this format allowed him to really open things up, and you'll hear his killer solos on some big, fat-sounding revisions of Dogs songs such as "I'd Call to Say I Love You . . ." and "The Gun Song" as well as a stripped down, underplayed version of my 2009 track "Armies of the Lost," which, sadly, just keeps getting more relevant in these awful times. Hannah Drollinger, also featured on Volume 1, again contributed some of her heart-piercing violin licks to the opening track, "Anacostia" and a spooky new version of my 1998 co-write with Bruce Henderson, "Flatlands." And Pete Mancini of the New York roots rockers Butchers Blind, who did all the great lead guitar work on Songs In the Key of Your Face, did me yet another solid for this one, which you'll hear in the raging bagpipe-y solo on the brand new song on this collection, "Nazis In Oregon."
Big ups to the folks who helped bankroll these records, notably the EPs and "curators" of this collection, Danielle Smith, Christie Lau, Brandon Parkhurst, Ken Diamond & Jane Von Mehren, Maria Loginova, Elliott Vanskike & Julie Schmid, Patrick & Jeanie O'Shaughnessy and Jon Berry.
I should also note that this lovely record cover and the art for the entire project is the work of my favorite living fine-artist, the immaculate living-breathing muse, hotshot photog and synesthete, Ms. Brandy Gale, whose work you can see at her website.
These records, both Vol. 1 and 2, are ONLY available digitally for now, but [maybe] I'll be releasing a hardcopy in a three-disc set once all three volumes are ready to go. Volume 3, out [sometime in the future, if there is one], will continue the revision process with some stylistically adventurous new arrangements.
Again, my thanks to anybody who's given a shit this far. I'd pretty much given up this racket a few years ago, and I'm less and less confident about going out and playing for people as the years pass, but I like making songs, so if anybody's still listening, I'm glad and I appreciate it. If nothing else, it's a voice with which I can shout when I feel powerless and the only other option is bashing my head against the wall, and I and a lot people will be pretty powerless for a while.
This is Trump's America now. It is a dark, cold, polyester, hate-infested and uncertain place, run by the most categorically awful people imaginable. So it's no coincidence that, even as I wrap up this project, I find myself writing songs again. Not that that means anything in the grand scheme, but in between the mass which I imagine I will be part of soon — I don't have a ton of other means of abiding horror other than to shout at it, or any redress against bad people with disproportionate power other then to tell them to go fuck themselves with as big a beat as possible.
I don't have the time or politesse or the intrinsic respect for my betters to mince words. And if anything should tell you your heroes are shit, it is rock & roll.