Never Gonna Stop

August 4, 2008 12:29 AM

I was in a band called gleaner in the late 90's and we recorded four songs at a "real" studio. This was an attempt to make a (power)poppy, happy thing about a stalker-y kind of person. This is the second of the two songs from this session that were mine. The first is here.

Apropos of nothing, and even though this isn't a particularly great song, I have a bunch of different versions of it that I'd like to share, for better or worse.
This is horribly, sickeningly self-indulgent but maybe some might find the evolution of the song interesting. I know I always like that kind of stuff, archiving/songwriting process, etc. When I got the first Beatles Anthology CD I remember thinking that I had so many shitty recordings of my songs in different stages that I could do a kind of bad-recording, anti-Anthology. How not to be a good band.

So, here is the evolution of Never Gonna Stop:

-A riff recorded on a Tascam Porta05 in my tiny orange music room in 1997.

-After words were written, I did a demo on same Porta05 with words/harmonies and a bit of arrangement mapped out so I could "introduce it to the guys" and we could play it at shows, if they liked it.

-A while later, we did an 8-track ADAT demo of it at our rehearsal space, Umbrella Sound. We called this place the "spore room" because it was so moldy and mildewy it felt like we were inhaling spores. It was a shitty little shed in the backyard of a house (which held the main studio) off Dundas East in Toronto. We'd drink so much beer and before we realized that it was easier (or had the courage) to just piss in the bushes we would go into the main house washroom to pee and you'd have to walk past the mixing room. Mopey Can-rock legend Hayden was there mixing his album one time, I felt like such a loser walking by to pee, with our shitty noise in the backyard. He was nice and said hi and that we sounded good. Ha!
Anyhow, we did this demo the day after my daughter was born and so it was called The Olivia Sessions.
I always hated how sluggish the drums were on this, and how it slows down so much by the end. We changed drummers pretty soon after this.

-The only live recording of it, at the Big Bop in Toronto, January 15, 1998. It was always our first song, and the sound guy turned on the tape recorder just as we finished. It's probably for the best.

Then our new drummer had studio time owed to him as a favour so we recorded the "real" version, above, around August, 1998. So, a bit more than a year after writing it.
I remember liking it for about a day.

posted by chococat (9 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

Under the right circumstances, mostly involving a lot of luck and connections and possibly a sexual favor or two.. I could have easily seen this being a one-hit-wonder type song for you.. Catchy in the right ways, poppy but with an odd sense of menace so teens will dig it.. With the marketing blitz, it could have been big.. I could hear it sandwiched between Tonic and Fastball on any given Clear Channel radio monolith circa 1998.
posted by mediocre at 3:26 AM on August 4, 2008

I love this.

Promise that if you're ever touring in the NW of England, you'll invite me on stage to do super-gay clapping and background Aah's.

And mediocre's comment reminded me of this - and so now, I'm even happier.
posted by Jofus at 5:02 AM on August 4, 2008

This is really cool. I like the song, actually, although the recording is really sterile. The aaahs are fantastic.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:57 AM on August 4, 2008

Like uncleozzy I like it though the recording is bloodless -- it's catchy, clever pop-a-rama goodness brightly radiating from the center of a shrink-wrapped Mtv.
posted by February28 at 6:42 AM on August 4, 2008

I got a laugh out of the one-chord live recording! Handclaps make everything poppier. Really nice chord progression in the chorus . . the combination of the two verse chords is somewhat unusual, and I'm not sure if I've ever heard that before, although I'm flashing on "Kingdom of Love" by the Soft Boys.
posted by arcanecrowbar at 11:59 AM on August 4, 2008

I loved the intro guitar riff, but I must admit that after that it kinda went downhill for me, compared to the more contemplative (and awesome) songs I'm used to hearing from you. I mean, obviously there is all the songcraft in the world going on here, but it's almost like you sent it to a team of hitmakers and they ran it through their fantastic machine to create this version. But that's really just further evidence that you're a very skilled musician. As if we needed more proof. Thanks for posting the different files showing the construction of the track, I think that stuff is really interesting as well. Maybe I'll do the same thing for some future song.
posted by edlundart at 4:01 PM on August 5, 2008

Thanks for all the comments.
It's funny, I felt the same way about the finished result of this song at the time, so it's kind of validating to read these comments, even though some of them sting a bit. The session was a little like that Johnny Bravo episode with Greg Brady; you should hear all of the swirling effects and crazy reverby shit he put on my brother's song.
The producer/engineer guy actually did 4 mixes of this one but I couldn't bring myself to post yet another version. One version had so much echo on my voice that it was comical when it wasn't so horrifying. I am only thankful that there was no autotune available back then.
I can't blame him for the song, though, that was my fault. And so was the "super-gay clapping and background Aah's."
posted by chococat at 5:05 PM on August 5, 2008

Hey! Super gay is a GOOD thing!
posted by Jofus at 11:14 PM on August 5, 2008

I actually like the sterility of the recording; it verges on parody, especially when the harmonized "ahhs" kick in. Pop is often a pretty shallow medium anyway -- I sometimes wonder if the bigness of the production is meant to compensate for the smallness of the lyrics. In this case, you've taken a classic pop theme -- the obsessed lover -- and pushed him over the edge into being a stalker, and, coupled with classic pop arrangement, the whole thing works as satire for me.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:36 AM on August 9, 2008

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