Michelle

September 8, 2015 5:15 PM

Cover of the Beatles' 'Michelle' as recorded by The Lucky Sperms, a band I was in with Daniel Johnston and Jad Fair. From our Jagjaguwar Records release Somewhat Humorous.

It's been over eight years since I've posted any songs from these sessions so here we go. In the late 90's I played music with Daniel Johnston and for a while we had a band with Jad Fair from Half Japanese. I was in my early twenties and totally intimidated by these two titans of indie rock. My way of dealing with this was to gobble handfulls of percocet and valium that I'd obtain from my frequent trips down to Mexico, then balance it all out with bumps of cocaine throughout the day. In hindsight, probably not the best way to cope.

We recorded Somewhat Humorous in 1999 in Daniel's parent's garage, the same spot featured heavily in the documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston. No, I'm not in the doc. By the time the filmmaker started shooting, Dan and I had had a big falling out and I had moved on from both our professional and our personal relationships. My loss. Dammit.

Dan was sick when we did the recording - I went into that a bit in my older song posts. I arrived with no material ready as I was under the impression I'd just be a sideman (and was ultimately pretty much credited as just that when the album came out - thanks, Jagjagwuar), not knowing I'd be expected to carry a third of the sessions. All the songs I contributed were written literally moments before they were recorded and with the exception of 'She Starts Fire', it shows.

This was the first song we recorded and (I think) this was the only take. I was not very fond of the Beatles at the time, although Daniel thought I was and I wasn't about to argue with him. For those of you who don't know, he's a HUGE fucking fan of that group. The song features Dan and myself on guitars and vocals and Jad on drums. Listening to it now, I guess my snotty vocals are higher in the mix than Dan's though it could just be an issue with this copy I've posted. It was downloaded off of Youtube because at some point I sold every CD I owned and no longer have a copy, so the fidelity of the actual release is slightly higher. Slightly. Whatever the case, Pitchfork gave it a 6.1 and the rest of the reviews were just as mixed.

If y'all like this or are interested enough I'll post more from these sessions. If you aren't I totally understand. This music is both awful and great and represents a unique chapter in my life, one that's kind of painful but is interesting to revisit nonetheless.

posted by item (3 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

And after looking at the sidebar, I think this totally and accidentally fits in with this month's Mefi Music Challange. Tagged!
posted by item at 5:18 PM on September 8, 2015


This has got to be the 'busiest' version of Michelle I have ever heard... Jagjaguwar is the label that Dinosaur Jr. is on, isn't it? Quite a cool history if so...
posted by Brodyaga at 3:49 PM on September 9, 2015


It is indeed Dinosaur's label. They're an all-time favorite of mine.
posted by item at 9:52 PM on September 9, 2015


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