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>>I'm listening for all of the clever things that are in there that really make
>>the song interesting. Compositionally, Sam and I really worked at weaving
>>parts in and out...it's far more baroque than anything else Premonition
>>threw together.

>Actually, I would really like to re-record it with Sam. But since that just
>doesn't seem either possible or relevent for a non-existant band so much
>time after the fact. I do maintain your old idea that it would at least be
>nice to have a decent representation of that part of our lives, for
>postarity if nothing else. To say "Hey, I did this!" is a nice feeling
>sometimes. I just doubt if we'll ever have anything more than we already do.

Yeah, I think I agree with pretty much the entirety of the above sentiment. I actually don't mind what's there so much as I wish there were reasonably good versions of everything with everyone involved. At this point, the quality of what's there is a little less important, as a document of that period of time. But, then again, I've got coming up on 10 hours of the band in one environment or another, with one configuration or another. What's there is farther than a lot of other folks have gone.

I'd expect that my musical pursuits would be a continuing part of my life, though they certainly seem to be at a low ebb here. In any event, I imagine I'll take another whack at the tunes at some point in my life, just 'cause I think they're pretty cool.

>>Oh, I don't think there's a whole lot of doubt in my mind that what's mostly
>>there for "Fist On Fist" is better than the abomination that is four-fifths
>>of Premonition doing the tune in Daynon's garage. I'm exaggerating a
>>little, of course... In fact, I kind of LIKE the version, because I think
>>Steve really kicked some ass there. It was funny, 'cause I really spent a lot
>>of time working with him on a good vocal approach to the song, he disappeared
>>into the studio to record the song that day, and I was beyond
>>pleasantly surprised when I heard that what he'd laid down.

>I'll agree that for what Steve's style was, that was definately the best
>approach to the song. Part of me likes it, but part of me is really annoyed
>with it, which is probably just because it's so different from how I did it.
>You can't blame me for being attached to the part I wrote. If I could get
>him to sing it that way over the version I have on tape, I would probably be
>pretty happy, actually. My wife, however, HATES it!! When he hits the high
>notes ("keeping the nooooooorm!") she cringes and tells me to shut it off.
>But, yes, you do have to sound kind of pissed off for what I'm saying

It isn't even being PISSED, as such, but having an emotive delivery. And Steve succeeds in spades there. I can understand what you're saying about liking what you've done, and there certainly is an implication there if I'm so pleased about what Steve's done. But I think think Steve's performance drives an otherwise so-so reading of the song. That your wife isn't fond of it....well, a lot of people don't like Geddy Lee's vocals, at least up to "Moving Pictures" or so. A lot of people don't like Chris Cornell's vocals. If Steve did something similar on the recording of "Fist On Fist" that you have, I think we'd essentially have out "Slaves and Bulldozers," which, as you know, I think is an amazing tune...the best of Soundgarden's catalog and, perhaps, the best piece of work in the Grunge cannon.

>>I'm relative happy with that
>>recording. Part of the reason I have a greater tolerance for the song is,
>>of course, the reason you mention. The larger factor, I think, is that,
>>compositionally, the song works better with his recording style than "The

>Actually, I agree with you. It's pretty well a straight ahead metal song.
>I kind of wonder how What's Wrong With Women would have turned out if Daynon
>had been given it to record. It's so "80's metal" it's laughable now. I
>think Epoch and The Premonition are a little less dated and more worthwhile.

I couldn't have been 10 seconds done with the last message before I started scratching me head, wondering what the hell I was thinking. That's the whole issue with "Sweaty Worm"...most of it's a pretty driving song, and it's in A, but it's a lot more sophisticated than that. The original version of the song was all sort of that driving sound, without too much variety. I threw a horrific hissy fit one day when I'd just played the original version one too many times and just said "we CAN'T do this....it sucks." Not the ideas, but the idea that we're going to throw out three slightly different rhythmic ideas in A for four minutes just seemed...well, lacking. So we opened up those verses (and I think my bass part in there just slays) and came up with some solo sections that didn't sound like UFO rip-offs and had a real song. Steve had to rewrite the melody and bitched a little (you can imagine how sympathetic I was) about having to do it, but then I was 1000 times happier with the song. It's actually kinda sophisticated. It's certainly more interesting to listen to. I remember one day when Pat was around and Drummer Dave was working, so he took a crack at some of those old tunes....it was really quite interesting, because we got to the point of playing this tune. Since it was new, we basically had to show it to Pat and it seemed like something worth working on, anyhow, instead of playing "Women" for the 80,000th time. And I just just wholly impressed with the way he played the tune....it was cool listening to the tune swing a litle more, with a few extra knocks here and there. It was a little more like I visualized it, and I'm sure a good recording of what we played that day would be one I'd really like to hang on to.

And that's no real knock on Sam's brother-in-law. He actually WAS a pretty good drummer, in several respects. He was really aggressive. He was probably even a little louder than Pat, which is nice when you're trying to crack one of Plunkett's rhythmic lapses. He could solo in a way that everyone can appreciate. And he's an easy guy to get along with, which is important in a band, especially one like Premonition was.

On the other hand, that day in the garage underscored a few things. That Pat and I actually got good togther was obvious. That is, we both developed individual sounds, but we developed musical vocabularies (at least in a rock context), for the most part, playing with each other. If you listen to that very first version of "Aces High" on "Aggregate Sum Vol. I," he's playing a straight, boring, four-on-the-floor beat, with very little filling. Ringo Starr doing Iron Maiden, you know? And I really wasn't far from that, playing a pared-down version of what Steve Harris was doing (my ear wasn't bad, then, but it WAS the first song I learned by ear). If you move forward a few volumes, Pat's kicking everyone's ass around, dropping beats here and there, giving you cymbal crashes in places you wouldn't expect, laying out where most drummer would beat their kits to Holy Hell. He developed a style that I would call "jazzier" than a normal rock band drum sound. It wasn't big, huge hits on everything and triplets all over the toms -- he was filling on his ride, using the kick prominently in fills. It was like Max Roach (or Tony Williams, with whom the world now know I'm enamored) running full speed into the Bissonette/McBrain style that he'd developed. And my playing wasn't that far from there, really. I certainly started with that whole propulsive Steve Harris style. In all honesty, I've ALWAYS wanted to play like Geddy, but, at that point, I didn't really have the appropriate right-hand chops. But I made the leap to the world of "Tom Sawyer" and "Distant Early Warning" during that period, and then built Jaco, Stanley, and Jeff Berlin into that infrastructure. With that little Gorilla amp I used until I got the Peavey, I had that Jack Bruce sound going, gain cranked, playing full blast, so that was a natural leap. And his improvisational streak gave me a wonderful direction to take my hyper-aggressive jazz interests....which worked because I was hearing something similar from Pat. The nuance and delivery of the tunes was very jazzy, even though the songs were most clearly in a rock/metal vein. There was a rhythmic and harmonic sophistication going on that just didn't exist at the beginning of the band.

And Pat was always fun to watch. One thing I never REALLY noticed until I played with a few other drummers is the extent to which Pat's always moving. Dave would beat the shit out of the kit, slam the toms, work the snare, get going on the ride, get your attention witha huge crash. You look at Pat, though, and, at any given moment, every mobile part of his kit is moving -- a cymbal is wobbling here, another there, you can see him giving you a couple of 16ths on the kick, and he's giving you an extra shot on the snare every couple of bars. He's tremendously fluid and he plays really musical ideas, which always made playing with him a blast, even if he never learned "Distant Early Warning" correctly.

And, since I wrote part of the song, I think I have to defend "Women." I mean, it's OBVIOUSLY the most "LA Rock" out of all the songs we wrote. BUT....

I came back to reasonably good recording of the song, thinking much the same thing ("this song surely is as dated as Dokken"). But I found a song that was a little more sophisticated than I'd first thought, especially for Day Two of Sam and Adam as a (real) songwriting team (I'm not counting writing a bass part for Sam's Ode to Gretchen). I'm, again, giving myself a heap of credit. But hey, I like the verses quite a bit. You can start with the fact that you're not apt to see a hell of a lot of tapped harmonics from a bass player in an LA Guns tune. Is it necessary? Probably not, but Sam had that intro riff and chord progression and then we needed a bridge (okay, we were young and naive...we had a bridge in the first minute of the song). And I remember saying "Well, shit, every damn bass player on Earth uses eighth notes, why don't I back it off a little." So I did, and, influenced by the now-nonexistent harmonics that were in the bridge of "Deathmask," I decided to bounce around some ideas in A with those babies. So we had something slightly different there. I didn't really contribute much to the tune aside from that, but I was entering my Cream period then and I think you can hear it in the solo section. I think the PLAYING on the tune is tremendous. As a composition, it's a bunch of chords. It's concise (especially for me and Sam, who suffer from "...And Justice For All" Syndrome most of the time). And it actually sounded far less dated than I thought it would....but it all ties back to that delivery issue. Pat and I took the song in a slightly different direction, and, I think, really annexed the tune, which was originally VERY guitar-driven. If Daynon had the son of a bitch, I think I'd likely be embarrased by it.

Which brings me back to another point. I'm still not sold on your lyrics. I can laugh at them...well, laugh WITH them to some extent, but my own personal sensibilities wonder a little bit about the homophobia of the tune. You gave me a good argument for the lyrics and presented me with a real life bisexual to vouch for the coolness of the song, but, in all honesty, I feel very strongly that homophobia is a bad thing. A very bad thing. And I've run up and down arguing the "unnatural" and "abominable" aspects of homosexuality with too many people now for those lyrics to sit well with me. I'm certainly not afraid of offending anyone with what I think....I'm no more bashful about that than I was in '94 or '90 or '87. But I don't really think that way, and, while I'm up for laughing at any good joke and appreciate the wordplay in the song, the joke sits on a philosophical foundation I don't agree with.

"Epoch" is a hell of a song, but I think I forgot how indulgent the song must sound to someone who's not a fan of the band. I mean, "Epoch" is really a couple of really cool songs stiched together. It works well...it's really Premonition's "Learning To Live" -- it's about the same length, has a few different lyrical and musical ideas to chew on, features some pretty intense playing, though not at the outer limits of the bands ability, and it really takes you on a ride. And it doesn't really let up. I mean, Yes and Rush give you breathing room in their longer tunes almost invariably. And it isn't that "Epoch" doesn't have any dynamic content -- it has quite a lot -- but it never really gives you those 20 seconds of stasis to reorient you ears. The closest it comes is after the fast part, where there's a few seconds before Pat cracks us back into a reprise of the beginning of the tune.

"The Premonition" really slays. It's also a little bit stuck in place and time, too, though. I hear Megadeth, circa "Holy Wars"...and I really used some Steve Harris-like lines in the song. So it's a late-80's/early-90's heavy tune, to my ears. I still like that stuff, and prog bands like Altura and Shadow Gallery are still playing music that sounds a little like that, so I don't really think it's dated as such. But it IS something whose most receptive audience probably existed in 1991 or 1992.

Oddly, I think I'd say one of the more concise tunes, "Moderate Decadence" or "Sweaty Worm" probably stand up BEST, but, then again, I think they ALL actually stand up pretty well. That's the one thing I came away with. In the late-80's and early-90's, there were an awful lot of hair bands out there, and someone playing aggressive music without being a Slayer (or, at least, a Testament) wasn't playing to a big audience, in all likelihood. That aggressive but melodic framework still appeals, I think. Sam may not think much of Green Day, but I think one could conceivably like "When I Come Around" AND "Souls." Premonition was a band that wasn't much about image, and, in fact, celebrated the composition of music that reflected what we were into, rather than some attempted cash grab. And integrity, I think, is timeless.

>Keep it coming....

I think this should suffice.

Adam B.

Excerpt One -- Excerpt Three -- Excerpt Four
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