Gin and Innuendoes (SST 323) - May 1996

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1) Drywood Town (infoReal Audio)
2) Sleep (infoReal Audio)
3) It's Not That Way (infoReal Audio)
4) Sirens (infoMP3)
5) Don't Make No Sound (infoReal Audio)
6) Song - Unordinary Substance (infoMP3)
7) Guls
8) 7-21 (infoMP3)
9) You Won't Win (infoMP3)
10) Let There Be Naz
11) Withdrawal (infoMP3)
12) Blessed (infoMP3)
13) The Time is Gone (infoReal Audio)
14) Look For Me (infoMP3)
15) Slug (info)
16) The Time is Gone (reprise) (info)


How terribly sad - the last (no pun intended) of my song histories. Hmmm, clearly, we'd better start making some new albums!

Of course, I've promised to add a making of/marketing of/destruction of set of notes for each album, so...

After that, we'll be delving into ANCIENT past, i.e. early '70's, and possibly even MP3-ing some of that stuff. If I can find any of it.

Anyway, the "Gin" album.

Awakening was our follow-up to SST album #1 Confession. Awakening bombed. Miserably. SST, saints that they are, were nevertheless ready for another Last record.

I wasn't.

The '89 tour had left me somewhat disillusioned, and restless. We did one or two gigs when we got home, and then I took a year off.

Of course, I wasn't idle during 1990 - I put together an outfit with brothers Mike & Dave, and Dave's wife Kristi Callan (were they married then? Can't remember). I saw it as initially an acoustic singing aggregation that might develop into a lovely psychedelic little electric outfit. We practiced a lot, worked out lots of songs.

And played twice.

Ah well, there didn't seem to be much of a buzz for what we were attempting (although if we'd done it a year & a half later, who knows...), and I was looking for something else by the end of the year.

At which point I had new songs suited for The Last, and within a week in December I'd gotten impromptu calls from SST and all the Last members. It was a sign. It was time to get back together, and do the Magnus Opus, the SST album that would finally do -

Well, I don't know what it was supposed to do, but it didn't.

Brother Dave hooked me up with producer extraordinaire Earle Mankey, and we began recording in mid-'91. Realizing that we could have any 2 of "do it fast, cheap, or good", we opted for "cheap" (had no choice) and "good" (somewhat obviously).

"Fast" was therefore thrown out the window, and we continued recording in spurts, subject to Earle's studio schedule and my school schedule.

Which meant that we didn't finish till 1994.

Now, by that time I'd experienced yet another epiphany or two, and we actually ditched a couple of tracks to make room for some brand new ones.

Then Ed Urlik came in on bass after the thing was done, and we ended up getting caught up in a strange renegotiation phase with SST that put the release of the disc on hold from fall '94 till early '96.

"Gin" came out, and sank without a trace. It's one of my favorite Last albums.
I don't even think it's available, except perhaps at the SST site (see our links page).

Doesn't matter - even as I began to sink into my withdrawal from the world we recorded, in early '97, the three songs we've had up on this site for a while, and as you know I am now reemerging into the world, and am writing songs as we speak.

Maybe we shoulda gone with Fast and Cheap, and gotten the thing out in early '92...

—Joe Nolte

Drywood Town (Joe Nolte, Feb 12, 1991)

Are you going to Drywood Town when the leaves are turning brown?
I had a friend in Drywood Town till I lost my way
Ride Ride – where are you bound when the walls are burning down?
Run Run – what was that sound? Only the best in Drywood Town

All along the outskirts of the city that I knew
Looking for the right skirt, I was looking out for you
Tried to find a reason to forget your name
Trying to remember why I rode this way

Are you going to Drywood Town when the leaves are turning brown?
I had a friend in Drywood Town till I lost my way
Ride Ride – where are you bound when the walls are burning down?
Run Run – what was that sound? Only the best in Drywood Town

This must be the season, it must be the time of year
What we say is treason, what we see and what we hear
Everybody’s running, someone else can lose their head
Thought you would remember – guess I’ll ride instead

All along the outskirts you can hear the lion’s roar
Roaring in their hunger, wonder who they’re lying for
Now the darkness swallows every sinner, every sin
Riding into nightmares – well come on in

Are you going to Drywood Town when the leaves are turning brown?
I had a friend in Drywood Town till I lost my way
Ride Ride – where are you bound when the walls are burning down?
Run Run – what was that sound? Only the best in Drywood Town

What do you mean, Neil Young influenced? I've never heard the guy!

Ok, it's true. An obvious Neil rip-off. I do like the song, though, and the lyrics clearly owe more than a bit to Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower". I was almost asleep one night when this came to me, and I realized I could simply close my eyes and forget about it. Literally. I knew that if I didn't get up and write the thing down I'd lose it forever.

Obviously, I got up, as the thing exists.

Thematically it's your typical post-apocalypse vision.

—Joe Nolte

Sleep (Joe Nolte, Mar 16, 1989)

I'll sing you a song but you never can tell
It might sound like someone you thought you knew well
It might but it's not, yeah I rose and I fell
She smiled very sweetly and sent me to hell

She asked me no questions, she told me no lies
She said that the difference was all in my eyes
The whiskey and water and all that implies
She tried and she cried but I never did rise

I asked for champagne and she gave me advice
They said that the playing was not without price
At such implications, I had to think twice
Now I chase my own tail like the rest of you mice

So go to your stranger who softly does creep
And waits at your window with woman who weep
They watch to be sure that your slumber is deep
It's all much too dangerous, I must get some sleep


Another song for K1 (remember Awakening?). This, as you have already observed, was written at the same time as Awakening, but being an electric song had no chance of being included on that album. We also did the 3rd K1 song for "Gin", whose title has changed so many times I can't recall which version I currently use, but scrapped it for "It's Not That Way" and some others. It will return someday.

Anyway, fun little song, inspired by real events (a welcome change of pace), and, as with other songs from this era, I'm not sure myself what some of the words mean. I only know they're true...

—Joe Nolte

Its Not That Way (Joe Nolte, Apr 30, 1994)

What do you do when you find The One?
The one they talk about in those books
That you're fated to meet if you only look
So you look and you look for 20-odd years
Through desire and fears
And too many beers
Then you get up one day and you say "No way
It isn't real - there's no such thing
It's what you pretend when you put on that ring
Cause love is love but the Soul Mate thing
The idea that just one person can be
Everything - all your hopes and dreams
Is a fallacy - a fantasy - it's mythology
It isn't real and it doesn't exist"
Then you turn around and there she is
And you almost die
You just can't sleep - you just can't eat
You can barely breathe
So you give it a day and you say "OK"
She turns around and says "It's not that way"

I don't believe I could get like this
But I would die for half a kiss
Someone tell me how to behave
What do you do
When it's not that way

I didn't mean it to be like this
I wasn't looking - I'd given up
Had no idea
It wasn't a matter of choice at all
But it hit too hard - it hit too fast
And I already knew that I hadn't a chance

I didn't mean to fall for you
I'll only be what you want me to
I'll only say what you want me to say
And hide the rest
Cause it's not that way

I know I should be satisfied to occasionally hang out by your side
And walk with you and talk with you
Since obviously that's all I can do

I know we're friends but there's something else
There's something there - I saw it there
And it calls me back again and again
And I wonder sometimes if you're even aware

There is so much that I could say
But never mind - it's not that way
I'd hate myself if you took it wrong
So I stay where I am
And write this song

For I would rather stay your friend - and just your friend
Than have anything else with anyone else
It isn't about the usual thing
And it's not bloody likely to happen again

One good thing when you find The One
At least you know that your searching's done
There'll always be new hearts to be won
And it's easier
When your own is gone

For I will never kiss your lips
Caress your hair - your fingertips
Or even hold your hand - or anything else
It's not in the plan
There is no plan
It doesn't exist and I understand

No one's fault it's not that way
It's just a dream I had one day
To those dreams I'll turn instead
And be with you
Till the day I'm dead

Totally true story. Never fall in love with a lesbian.

Written for "J", as are 2 others on this disc, and a few more yet to be recorded.

Mostly written in a car while negotiating packed freeways, and finished just in time to play for friends at a rather strange Van Nuys party.

Grim and strange time for me, but ultimately it, more than SST or any previous situations encountered since 1980, was the thing that finally returned me to myself, that conjured Old Joe up out of wherever the hell he'd been hiding.

And he's still here, writing to you now.

—Joe Nolte

Sirens (Mike Nolte)

In my head, sirens are screaming out your name again
When you're not home with me, their bells do ring
Pealing out a dirge for you, their sirens scream in my head
In my head, crying and crying in my head, in my head
End with a cop at the front door sighing, in my head, in my head

In my head, the wheels are turning backwards, groaning in my head
You're nearly half-asleep and suddenly I hear death
The screeching of fate moaning in my head, in my head
In my head, crying and crying in my head, in my head
End with a cop at the front door sighing in my head, in my head


Mike wrote it, I didn't. I'll talk more about this in the "how did we record the song and why" section, but the lyrics are probably self-explanatory, at least until Mike finally contributes his long overdue submissions and enlightens us all.

—Joe Nolte

The few times I was in love, I always used to think that the object of my affection was going to meet with a ghastly end... car crash or something along that line. It still haunts me to this day and I guess writing this song was just my own way of dealing with this psychosis. Everytime I would be waiting for my new love to come over, and I'd hear a siren outside, I'd be absolutely positive that siren was for them... it put a lot of pre-mature gray hairs on my head! Silly!

—Mike Nolte

Don't Make No Sound (Joe Nolte, Jan 31, 1991)

Now is the time to prepare your feast
They drill you full of holes and pump you full of yeast
And then they send you off to fight the Beast
Who sleeps in the sand

I am a martyr - I am Everyman
I see them marching off to Bethlehem
Another slouching creature waiting to be born

Don't make no sound

Now is the time to review your lore
The Center never held so well before
Not since the First World War

How many poets do they gas this time
To leave survivors with a different rhyme
A thousand plotting Hitlers waiting to be born

Don't make no sound

Now is the hour you were waiting for
Put down your books and put away your whore
Another War that's sure to End All Wars
We sleep in the sand

I am a butcher - I am Everyman
We are united in our TVLand
We tie our ribbons and we never understand

Don't make no sound

As you may have discerned from the date, this is indeed a Gulf War song. Thanks to recent events, it's as topical as ever. Based on T.S. Eliot's The Second Coming.

What strange beast now shambles off to Bethlehem to be born?

—Joe Nolte

Song - Unordinary Substance (Joe Nolte/Larry Matthews/Mike Nolte)

Listening to a song
While sitting here alone
Wishing and hoping to live that song
For my life weeps

Now in the silent air
Where no one can hear
I sing my lonely words with no needed fear
For I'm truly alone

At a movie I see
A bit of life portrayed
I listen instinctively, and a little bit afraid
For love can also be lonely


Tie up that boy, you see he's
He's ripping fantasy, he's
Conquering remedies, he's
Conferring ecstasy
He's organ you organically
Jerking foam and wretching meat..
He's made you believe...

You said you loved him, but you
You know his bottom and you...
You know his topside and you
You know his inside
You got him in your soul
You got him and he's whole
Ripping out his strength, you know
He's out to control

There's nothing to subdue, you
Cut energy in two, you
You've missed your final cue, your
Story's been misconstrued
So hard to see
You just can't believe
This demon's got you living out his battery dream

You said you loved him, but you
You know his bottom and you
You know his topside and you
You know his inside
You got him in your soul
You got him and he's whole
Ripping out his strength, you know
He's out to control

Unordinary substance

He don't need no team
He's just out to lead
He's your rock 'n' roll


Had a friend named Larry Matthews, who wrote the lyrics. I still need to track him down, if he's still alive. He could then get his share of the royalties - oh wait, there aren't any!

He basically had lyrics sitting around, and I whipped up some appropriate music, and thus one of the few songs I wrote in '75 was born.

Unordinary Substance

I was getting ready, that summer, to do a 4 track demo of the aforementioned "Song," when I chanced on some Mike lyrics. Inspired, I came up with the music for "Substance" in about five minutes. Rather than worry about recording two demos, I simply put them together for expediency's sake.

It worked well enough to leave them joined together for the next 16 years, at which point we finally recorded them, pretty much in the style we would've at the time, with the exception of the ebow I play, which did not exist in 1977.

Thematically a look at Mike's Mental Hospital years.

—Joe Nolte

I wrote the lyrics, Joe wrote the music. I remember when I wrote the lyrics, I showed them to some co-worker's boyfriend who was a musician himself. He slammed the entire song from beginning to end... actually making notes next to each line on how it could be drastically improved.

Thank God I never changed them and gave them to Joe instead. He wrote a wonderful melody to it and it remains my all-time favorite! I only regret we never perform it live. it's one of those songs that was meant to be "performed"!

As far as what inspired me to write the song, MENTAL INSTITUTION!

Need I say more?

—Mike Nolte

7-21 (Joe Nolte, Apr 3, 1994)

There are no words that could describe
What I would say if I had the right
And though I know there is no hope
It doesn't change – it doesn't change a thing

The day we met, do you recall
The things you said? You said you thought we'd met
You'd seen me somewhere else
And as I looked into your eyes
I said oh yeah, but not in this life

And then that night I opened up my eyes
And was awake and I had been asleep
For many long long years
And now at last I found I could see
But all I saw was your face

Where have you been? When I did dwell
Inside the dark, inside a living hell
And walked alone these many years
And looked for you and did not know


Another J song thrown in at the last minute - 7/21 being her birthday. This was the first song I wrote for her.

—Joe Nolte

You Won't Win (Joe Nolte, Jan 12, 1991)

One o'clock two o'clock where have you been
Somebody saw you walking with him
I got lost and I can't get in
Looks like you move again 'cause I can't win

I used to think you were different with me
I used to live in a fantasy
Now I got eyes, baby now I see
I'm just the guy you used to get your drinks for free

And if you get the call to let me in
I won't try your door again
It isn't in me to pretend – I'm still on the losing end
So I won't try and you won't win

In a year or two when I've had time to think
When I've had enough to drink
I look at the telephone and dream
That it's about to ring
But it's off the hook, baby you won't win

So one o'clock two o'clock where did you go
There was a time when I wanted to know
The way you are it's a crying sin
But I won't cry and you won't win


Larry submitted this to us back in '87 when he joined, but though I liked the song I thought his lyrics ("just call me up I'll be right there") were a little too obvious and happy. Still, I wanted to do it at some point.

Finally, as we were about to get together to rehearse songs for "Gin", I came upon the grim, country-goes-to-hell in a trailer lyrics that we ended up using.

Not about a specific girl, but I dearly hope every girl who broke my heart assumes it's about her...

—Joe Nolte

Withdrawal (Joe Nolte, Apr 16, 1994)

I open the window and close my eyes
Look through the darkness and I see a light
Open my eyes and it all goes black
And it ain't never coming back

I look to the day, the day just before
Swear I saw you through an open door
I crawled like a fool to that happy place
The door slammed shut and it broke up my face

I used to dance and I used to sing
I used to wear a different ring
I used to be like you wanted me to
But what the hell do you expect me to do?

For I wake in the morning, I see no sun
I see no hope when the day has begun
Why did you have to be the one
When there's not a thing that could ever be done

Yes and why do the walls just stare back at me
I look to the mirror and all that I see
A vision of things that will never be
I talk to the walls, they fall down on me

I look to the left, the right, and I stay
No one know nothing, there's nothing to say
Neither of us wants to go away
But I've already lost, so why do I play?

I close the window, I tear out my eyes
Crawl to the room of the suicide
Someone said they were trying to hide
But it was just too dead, so I crawled back inside


The 3rd J song. It was a Saturday morning, and I realized that I needed to either write a song or kill myself. I chose the former, as self evidenced by the fact that:

A. it exists.
B. I'm still here.

Grim and true, true and grim. Don't go there.

—Joe Nolte

Blessed (Mike Nolte)

Lord preserve us, Lord don't let 'em hurt us
We always try to do our best with what You've given us,
We're blessed

Lord contain us, Lord don't judge our failure
This crazy world don't want us following You, following The Way
Allah ye Yahveh


Lord preserve us. The Irish in Mike gone mad. He'll have to tell you more about it. He did a lovely job with this, the backing vocals are all his, made up on the spot, in fact, and I'll elaborate on this in the "making of" section.

—Joe Nolte

I wrote this song as my way of railing against people who get in the way of people who are generally sincere about finding their purpose in life and getting shit for their searching from these so-called "born again" religious fanatics.

You see, I knew from the age of five that God wasn't looking for converts who congregated in churches every Sunday... I knew He saw through that whole game that was being played. I knew He wasn't a big fan of organized religion and I knew He was looking for the simple man/woman who just tried to do what was right and not make any airs about it. Hence the lyrics "we always try to do our best with what You've given us... we're blessed".

I wrote the arrangements Brian Wilson style and sang it Neil Young style.

Interesting combination, huh?

—Mike Nolte

The Time is Gone (Joe Nolte, Nov 30, 1990)

The time is gone, the time is gone
Everywhere you look around, the time is gone
It's been and gone, it's been and gone
Like everything that touches it just had to move along
A yellow fog that passes on
And no one ever notices until it's gone
The time is gone, the time is gone
You thought you were immune to it but you were wrong

They're weighing baggage at the door
No one has got their arms around you
You wonder what you're waiting for
You get in line but there's no time

When every thing is said and done
You realize that you live like almost everyone
The curtain falls, the race is run
They called the game because of rain, you hadn't yet begun
And all the world you knew before
Is hanging like a leaf behind a different door
When time is gone, when time is gone
There's no time to turn around when everything goes wrong

Some people need the hammer sound
Some people die before they hit the ground
Some people keep it all inside
I would not know, I never tried

The time is gone, the time is gone
And even as you turn to look, you see it's all gone wrong
It's been and gone, it's been and gone
You thought that you could fix it but you took too long
Oh save my soul or save my hide
Save me from those happy people running 'round outside
It leads you on, it leads you on
And no one ever really knows what side they're on

Watch as everybody runs
They know their time is almost done
Faces staring with no eyes
The rents come due and there is no time
Shadows hide an angry god
His feet are sinking beneath the sod
Torches singing in the night
The fires burn and there is no light


"Time" was written for the Joe-Mike-Dave-Kristi aggregation, and was created as a tongue in cheek look at aging. I was not getting any younger, and decided to mock the few pangs of mortality I'd begun feeling.

So, lyrically just a joke song, mostly, but musically I liked it, and wrote it with the vocal interplay in mind that we were somehow able to pull off. And, as you know, Joe Mike Dave & Kristi did indeed do the vocals for it.

—Joe Nolte

Look For Me (Joe Nolte, January 1988)

You were alone and in the rain
You tried to start your car in vain
And in the dark you can't see
And still you said you looked for me

Your friends and mine are laying odds
On reputations dearly bought
And all the rest are all asleep
And wanting what they cannot keep

You were so scared that I would say it
I didn't care, I was elated, I played it
They never knew what you thought they did
There never was any danger in it
There never was any time for it
No time at all

Do you believe the things they told you?
They said that I would only mold you or scold you
I only wanted the old you
They got there first and they sold you
And there was no time left to hold you
No time at all

And now I'm blind and I can't see
And no one's left to look for me


The latest of the H songs to be recorded. You remember H - Confession would never have existed without her!

Anyway, she did indeed have a car that would tend to Not Start.

Not much to say, the story's true, and self explanatory. I liked the idea, musically, of mixing Power Pop and Woodstock motifs. Flipside had someone review "Gin" when it came out, and he didn't like it. He did, however, understand what I was trying to do. I'd found my love for the '68-'71 rock era rekindled, and was moving toward attempting some kind of unholy synthesis. The reviewer remarked that "Gin" as an album sounded like what would have happened if the hippie era had evolved gradually and naturally into the punk thing, rather than the violent revolution that ensued instead. He went on to say that such a fusion wasn't his bag. Fair enough. He's still the only one who figured it out.

I do hope Flipside returns...

Anyway, this song is probably the definitive example of all that. It's equal parts vintage Who and Dead.

Sick, ain't I?

—Joe Nolte

Slug (Luke Lohnes)

Well, Luke spontaneously came up with this mutation of the "Sleep" riff, and we ended up jamming on it for way too long. Its subsequent inclusion was, of course, a given.

Great riff, Luke.

—Joe Nolte

The Time is Gone (reprise) (Joe Nolte, Aug 3, 1994)

What do you do when you find the one
And see your world undone
Now I have no words to say
Not even God could make you stay
And I think my race is run

I had a dream and I had none
I lost it sitting next to you and staring at the sun
There are no words to change this thing
I tried to make a difference here but all I do is sing
I lost my heart and found my soul
To lay right down and die for you could damn well make you whole

The time is gone, the time is gone
The whole world's caving in now and this isn't just a song
The time is gone, the time is gone
There is nowhere to run when everything's gone wrong
The time is gone, the time is gone
Every precious little bit of time is gone
The time is gone, the time is gone
And everywhere you look around, it's all gone fuckin' wrong
The time is gone, the time is gone


Yeah, so "Time" was, lyrically lightweight. Initially, anyway.

When we did the initial backing tracks in '91, we did this little reprise as well. I knew I wanted it for musical reasons, but hadn't a clue as to what lyrics I'd use.

So - back to J. I was about to go record overdubs at Earle Mankey's, when I learned that she (J) had just been diagnosed with an incurable, deadly illness.

Hoo boy - I wrote the lyrics in 10 minutes, recorded them within the hour. The reprise to the joke song had become all too real, and every word is heart felt. And was recorded that very day.

I won't recover from that, nor should I. Some things happen that simply change you. You can't quite get over them, or bury them. They simply change you. It's life.

All this would have been my ultimate traumatic life experience if the "Take Care of Her" scenario hadn't happened a year later.

And you wonder why I stayed a hermit for so long...

Final album done now. More magic to come, and if you don't come to us, we'll get to you.


Especially D.C.

—Joe Nolte

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