For Your Weekend Listening Pleasure: Brent Best Explains These 42 Slobberbone Covers
Says he: About, oh, 10, 12 years ago a guy from East Texas used to follow Slobberbone around with a tape recorder. "His name was something like 'Low Dog,'" Best says. "That's what we used to call him. And he would travel. Like, he showed up in Duluth one night -- you never knew. But we turned him on to My Morning Jacket, and he started following them. But then he ended up putting out this two-disc set, and I was amazed -- there's stuff on there I never knew we did.
"I remember when I was doing a solo tour with Anders Parker and South San Gabriel. We were in Austin with My Morning Jacket, and Low Dog gave me a set of those discs. I was like, 'I don't remember half of these.' Anders said, 'You played 'The Temples of Syrinx' [off Rush's 2112]? And I was like, 'I don't think so ...'"
Ah, but he did -- at Dan's Silverleaf, on February 1, 2003. And it's not the only Rush song on the set list either ...
This isn't complete, if only because, well, about half the songs on the collection are Neil Young offerings, including a "Cortez the Killer" from Austin in '03 featuring the Truckers. Says Best of that song and the others: "All the Neil stuff was second nature to us. 'Cortez' was good because you got a lotta leeway, depending on how you wanted the night to end. Some versions are nothing but feedback and squalor. ... We never rehearsed much, but we toured a bunch and you'd get bored. So you'd work stuff up in sound check. May be why Crazy Horse is one of my favorite bands. It was all about big notes."
"Looking For Lewis and Clark" by The Long Ryders, performed at the Gypsy Tea Room March 3, 2003: "The Long Ryders were a big deal for us."
"Cartoon" by Soul Asylum from the same show: "We generally did that one OK. We always had a rule in Minneapolis -- we'd never do Soul Asylum or Replacements or Husker Du covers. That was 'The Motherland Rule.' We were up there this past summer doing some dates with Tommy Stinson ... and at the end of the night, for the second encore, we did Husker Du's 'Makes No Sense At All' and 'Cartoon,' and then there's fucking Dave Pirner, and I'm like, 'Son of a bitch.' And he goes, 'You did a little medley there, hunh?'"
"Wendell Gee" by R.E.M. at the Allgood Cafe on May 11, 2001: "I doubt we got through 'Wendell Gee.' That was one of the records I taught myself to play guitar to."
"To Love Somebody" by the Bee Gees at the Patronaat in Haarlem, Netherlands on May 2, 2003: "Before we went and recorded Slippage we used to rehearse at Muddy Waters, and Joe Butcher was sitting in with us. We played it one night, and he was the one who informed me it was a Bee Gees song. Everyone and their dog knew but me. And we were fucking around in L.A. making that record, and he just recorded us playing it, and he'd be sad if it didn't make it on the record. The version on the record was first the take."
"Lord's Trusty" by Mulehead at Dan's on August 17, 2001: "That was written by my best friend, Kevin Kerby, who also wrote 'Josephine,' which we had a little success with."
"Glory Days" by Bruce Springsteen at the Caledonia Lounge in Athens, GA, on December 1, 2002: "Typically in Athens by the end of the night we were pretty drunk and most everyone else was too. It's only two chords. I don't think I've ever known all the lyrics."
"The Temples of Syrinx" by Rush at Dan's Silverleaf on February 1, 2003: "I can promise you we didn't get through it, but it's the effort that counts."
"Haywire" by the Jayhawks at the Barley House on December 31, 2001: "Oh, that's cool. If we pulled it off."
"Makes No Sense At All" by Husker Du at that same show: "Kinda toward the last couple of years we did that one a lot."
"Have You Forgotten" by the Del Fuegos at the Barley House on July 1, 2001: "Probably the only time that ever happened."
"Champagne Supernova" by Oasis at Dan's on July 7, 2001: "I think any song we were closing a set with that ended with A, we'd go into it. We never rehearsed it. I didn't know all the words. There was a girl in Athens who did all our web work and hates Oasis, and once we heard she was so aghast by it, we took it upon ourselves to play it more often. She did good work too."
"New Madrid" by Uncle Tupelo at the Barley House on August 17, 2003 and "Tulsa County" by Pamela Polland at the Barley House August 10, 2003: "I don't remember ever playin' that. But I think I played that with Danny [Balis]." (Editor's note: Sure sounds like him. Balis thinks so too.)
"Underneath" by Kevin Salem at the Barley House on December 31, 2001: "By the time we did Barrel Chested his first record was out, and everyone was so country-rock crazy -- or gettin' that way -- and wanted to talk to us about those records. But guitar sound-wise, all we were trying to do was sound like Kevin Salem."
"The Dark/Picture of You" by My Morning Jacket at the Sons of Hermann Hall on May 31, 2002, and at Dan's Silverleaf on June 22, 2002: "I didn't know anyone who knew them then. I didn't know about them till I did an in-store in Holland. I got paid in records. I said, 'What's that playing?' and it was their first record. I brought it back with them, and years later they got big. You're welcome."
"Pretty Persuasion" by R.E.M. at the Barley House on December 31, 2003: "We might have pulled that off."
"Working Man" by Rush at the 400 Bar in Minneapolis on March 4, 2000, and "Limelight" by Rush at Dan's Silverleaf on October 10, 2003: "Everyone in my band except for me and Brian hated Rush. But we could get Tony on board because it was early Rush, simpler. Alex Lifeson was just doing Led Zeppelin. As for 'Limelight,' I played that riff a million times."