LONELY DEMOS - “JESUS DESTROY THEM”

I HAD A BAD FUCKING YEAR. I TAUGHT MYSELF GUITAR BY MAKING IT SOUND THE WAY I FELT EACH DAY. I WOULD RECORD THESE SOUNDS AND THEN SPEND MY TIME SITTING AT A CHINESE RESTAURANT OR WALKING THROUGH THE MALL WHILE LISTENING TO THE DEMOS, GIVING THEM NAMES & FIGURING OUT WHICH ONES I COULD STRING TOGETHER INTO ACTUAL SONGS. EVENTUALLY I WOULD JUST GRAB THE GUITAR AND SING ABOUT HOWEVER I WAS FEELING. THIS WOULD USUALLY RANGE BETWEEN SUICIDAL & OVERWHELMED. IT WAS A BAD YEAR. I KEPT WRITING, AND BY THE END OF 2015 I HAD A SOLID COUPLE HUNDRED OF SNIPPETS. THESE ARE REALLY EMBARRASSING TO SHARE. BUT IF I CAN DO IT, SO CAN YOU.

THE HALFWAY SESSIONS “DESTROY THEM” DEMOS

I KNEW ENOUGH TO KNOW THAT I HAD SOME DECENT SONGS. BUT I ALSO KNEW THAT I COULDN’T DO THIS ALONE. I HAD ALREADY TRIED AND FAILED AT HOME-RECORDING. I NEEDED SOMEONE WHO KNEW A LITTLE MORE THAN ME. I STARTED ASKING AROUND. WHO COULD PLAY WITH ME? WHO KNEW HOW TO RECORD? AT THIS POINT I WAS STILL CALLING THE PROJECT “JESUS DESTROY THEM”. AND I FOUND THE FIRST ANSWER TO MY QUESTIONS AT A SUSHI JOINT I CALLED “CLUB FUCK-UP.” I CALLED IT THIS BECAUSE EVERYONE WHO WORKED THERE AND FREQUENTED THE PLACE SEEMED LIKE A FUCK-UP (MYSELF INCLUDED). MOST O THE STAFF ALL LIVED TOGETHER DOWN THE STREET FROM ME IN A BIG EMPTY HALFWAY HOUSE FOR RICH KIDS. ONE OF THE GUYS, WE’LL CALL HIM “B”, HAD GONE TO BERKLEY. HE LIVED IN THE HALFWAY HOUSE ALONE, A SMALL HAUNTED MANSION THAT WAS FILLED WITH EMPTY COTS. THE MANAGER AT CLUB FUCK-UP TOLD B THAT HE HAD TO PLAY WITH ME. B AGREED AND WE SET TO WORK. I BROUGHT 2 AMPS OVER TWICE A WEEK AND WE PLAYED. I SHOWED HIM ALL OF MY DEMOS AND HE LEARNED THEM PRETTY QUICKLY. B TOLD ME (IN A SORT OF CONFUSED AND EMBARRASSED VOICE) THAT THE CHORDS I WERE PLAYING SHOULDN’T GO TOGETHER, BUT THEY DID ANYHOW, AND THAT HE HAD MY SONGS STUCK IN HIS HEAD. WE PLAYED TOGETHER FOR A MONTH, WALKING AROUND THE HOUSE WITH THE LIGHTS OFF BLASTING OUR AMPS FAR TOO LOUD FOR THE NEIGHBORHOOD TO BEAR. WE EVEN PLAYED THE NGHT A MASSIVE TREE FELL THROUGH THE CEILING DURING A STORM, THE SOUND OF OUR GUITARS JOINING THE RAIN THAT FELL INTO THE HOME. I CANOT STRESS ENOUGH HOW MUCH I NEEDED TO MEET SOMEONE WHO WOULD GIVE ME A CHANCE AND TELL ME WHAT I WAS DOING WAS WORTHWHILE. IT JUST TURNS OUT B WAS THE WRONG GUY FOR THAT JOB. HE HAD SOME PRETTY MASSIVE ISSUES, EVEN FOR A GUY LIVING IN A SMALL HAUNTED HALFWAY HOUSE.

ZACH’S HOUSE - BEGINNING OF EFFORTS

ZACH HAS A RECORDING STUDIO. THAT WAS WHAT I HEARD. I KNEW NEXT TO NOTHING ELSE ABOUT HIM—HE WORKED WITH MY WIFE AND HE USED TO BE IN A BAND THAT TOURED A BUNCH. THAT WAS ALL I KNEW. I RAN INTO HIM DURING A PARTY—ONE THAT NEITHER OF US SHOULD HAVE BEEN AT. WE HAD BOTH GONE ON A WHIM. AT THIS POINT B AND I HAD BEEN PLAYING TOGETHER FOR ONLY A WEEK OR SO. I TOLD ZACH ABOUT THE PROJECT. “WE STILL NEED A BASSIST & A DRUMMER” I TOLD HIM. “I PLAY BASS AND DRUMS!” HE REPLIED. THEN WE TALKED ABOUT THE POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE ISSUES WE MIGHT FACE RECORDING THE SONGS THE WAY I HAD ENVISIONED: TO PUT THEM ON VHS TAPE, AND THEN CRINKLE THE TAPE ON PURPOSE BEFORE PLAYING IT BACK INTO ANOTHER RECORDER. I GENERALLY DON’T KNOW WHY ZACH KEPT TALKING TO ME. BUT I PROMISED TO SEND HIM SOME DEMOS. AND HE TOLD ME HE WAS BUST UNTIL THE MIDDLE OF OCTOBER, BUT THAT HE WOULD LISTEN TO THEM. TO MY SURPRISE, HE WROTE ME BACK THE SAME DAY I SENT THEM. ALL I HAD WEERE SHITTY VOICE MEMOS RECORDED ON MY PHONE BUT HE LIKED THEM. WE MADE PLANS TO PLAY TOGETHER AT HIS PLACE. I TOLD B AND WE GOT EXCITED. IT WAS ABOUT THIS TIME I FIRST CALLED JASON GILMOR AND ASKED HIM TO BE A PART OF THE BAND (WHICH WAS NOW JUST CALLED “DESTROY THEM”). GILMORE CAME OVER FOR ONE PRACTICE AT THE HALFWAY HOSUE HE WAS EXCITED BUT PRETTY BUSY AT THE TIME. I THINK IT WAS THE DAY BEFORE WE WERE GOING TO ZACH’S HOUSE THAT B SORT OF SNAPPED AND SHOWED HIS TRUE COLORS. THE NEXT DAY AHE SORT OF EMBARRASSED HIMSELF AT ZACH’S AND LEFT EARLY. I STAYED BEHIND AND PLAYED WITH ZACH FOR A COUPLE OF HOURS. I HAD BEEN SO NERVOUS THAT DAY. MOSTLY BECAUSE I HAD NEVER PLAYED WITH A DRUMMER, AND WHEN ZACH TEXTED TO ASK HOW MANY MIC’S WE WOULD NEED I PANICKED—I FORGOT I WOULD HAVE TO SING. BUT IT DIDN’T MATTER. FOR ZACH AND I, OUR CHEMISTRY WAS SORT OF IMMEDIATE. THE NEXT TIME I SAW B I KICKED HIM OUT OF THE BAND. GILMORE SORT OF DRIFTED OFF INTO HIS LIFE FOR AWHILE, AND IT DIDN’T PURSUE IT FURTHER. I COULD TELL ZACH AND I HAD SOMETHING SPECIAL GOING ON AND THAT I NEEDED TO SORT OF FOCUS ON THIS WEIRD SPARK WE NOW HAD TOGETHER.

GEOFFREY MAYBE’S DEMO SUBMISSIONS

I MET GEOFFREY IN NOVEMBER OF 2015. THE SAME MONTH ZACH DECIDED (DURING OUT THIRD PRACTICE TOGETHER) THAT WE SHOULD JUST START RECORDING THE ALBUM, SINCE THE ROOM WAS ALREADY SET UP FROM A PREVIOUS SESSION. GEOFF AND I BOTH WORKED FOR A MARKETING COMPANY. WHICH SOUNDS NICER THAN IT WAS. OUT JOB WAS TO WALK OR DIRVE AROUND NASHVILLE AND ITS SURROUNDING CITIES, AND HAND PEOPLE CIGARETTE COUPONS. WHENEVER GEOFF AND I WERE PAITED TOGETHER, WE WOULD PLAY EACH OTHER OUR DEMOS. IT WAS DURING OUR SHIFTS THAT HE FIRST HEARD THE DEMOS FOR WHAT WAS NOW CALLED “EFFORTS”. HE LIKED IT. “I’LL PLAY BASS FOR YOU.” HE WOULD MUMBLE FROM TIEM TO TIME. BUT I WAS HESITANT. GEOFF KIND OF FREAKED ME OUT BECAUSE I COULDN’T READ HIM. AND I’M PRETTY GOOD AT READING PEOPLE. I SPENT MONTHS SORT OF QUIZZING HIM ABOUT HIMSELF, LIKE SOME WEIRD WIFE ABOUT TO BE BETROTHED AGAINST HER WILL. AND HE WOULD PANIC EVERY TIME I DID THIS HAHA. BUT HE KEPT ASKING. “I MEAN, NO ONE ELSE IS ASKING TO PLAY WITH US.” ZACH REMINDED ME ONE DAY, WHEN I HAD BROUGHT UP BOTH GEOFF AND MY CONCERNS FOR THE ONE DOZENTH TIME. AND HE WAS RIGHT. SO I SENT GEOFFREY SOME OF OUR EARLY RECORDINGS AND WE WAITED TO SEE IF HE WOULD ACTUALLY WORK ON THEM. I WAS ALONE AT MY CIGARETTE JOB WHEN GEOFF SENT US HIS FIRST BASS DEMO. I SAT DOWN IN MY CAR TO LISTEN AND I COULDN’T BELIEVE WHAT I HEARD. I’VE NEVER TOLD HIM THIS BUT WHAT GEOFF SENT ME THAT DAY WAS ONE OF THE COOLEST THIGNS I HAD EVER HEARD IN MY LIFE. THAT TRACK IS NOW AN ARTIFACT OF ONE OF TH EARLIEST VERSIONS OF MY YOU ABSORB ALL EVIL—I COULDN’T EVEN SING YET! BUT WHEN I PLAYED IT THAT NIGHT IN THE CAR FOR MY WIFE, MEAGEN. SHE TEARED UP. AND I UNDERSTOOD HOW SHE FELT. GEOFF FINISHED THE REST OF THE DEMOS OVER THE COURSE OF THE NEXT MONTH OR SO. HE DID THEM ON HIS OWN AND IT SORT OF SET A PRECEDENT TO HOW WE WERE GOING TO MKAE THIS ALBUM.

TRACK SPECIFIC DEMOS

EVERYONE WILL LEAVE

MAY YOU ABSORB ALL EVIL

ASH TO DUST / WORD WASTER

THE BRIDGE SONG

WEST COAST

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TAKE OFF YOUR HELM

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