Another Friday in early March with the Sun starting to heat things up here in Central Florida. Today we have a ‘Track by Track’ by Cheap Cassettes. The idea behind all of this is that I care more about what the Artist have to say about their record than what I think about it. This is some stellar rock ‘n’ roll the rest of this is all written by the band..
All Anxious, All The Time”- Cheap Cassettes Track By Track
Chaz Matthews: A little background first. This record was recorded in several different states, long distance, with the two musicians- Kevin Parkhurst and myself- never being in the same room together. We had played together in our previous band, The Dimestore Haloes, in Boston in the 1990’s/early 2000’s. When that band broke up, he moved to Hawaii. But we stayed in touch, drunkenly emailing dumb shit back and forth, and then texting when that became a thing. I was kind of over being in bands- I had done a solo album on Full Breach Kicks Records that flopped right after the Haloes, and I just felt like the rock and roll life was over for me, which was a huge bummer. I tried to be normal for awhile, which only resulted in me being even more abnormal than usual.
Kevin suggested at one point for shits and giggles that I record some stuff and send it to him so he could put drums on it, so I thought about it for awhile, usually while on the toilet. Kevin’s fave genre being power pop, I tried writing really poppy songs that he would like. I was listening to a lot of Tommy Keene, the Shoes, 20/20, The Beat, Material Issue, Rick Springfield, The Boys, Smoking Popes, etc. It worked, he liked the songs. The finished recordings we did were a little lo-fi but we knew we had something, so we kept going. I was moving around a lot at the time- Boston, Ann Arbor, Madison, Chicago. I recorded my parts in all those different places and he would play drums and mix the stuff in Hawaii. Eventually we put the thing on the internet, and a few people loved it- really loved it. And that made us want to keep going. We both moved to Seattle (Kevin’s fave city in the world) about three years ago on my part, two years or so for him. We decided to make the band a real thing, and long story short- here it is, on Rum Bar Records. The record is rough around the edges and in spots really raw, but I think that keeps the sweet melodies from being too sweet. Here is my take on what the songs are about, as I wrote all of them but two (and a half).
ALL ANXIOUS, ALL THE TIME- Kevin had the title, and just texted it to me one day. He just said it, referring to himself- we both have terrible anxiety issues, like a lot of people do. I said “Holy fuck franks- that’s a perfect title for the record.” A couple of days later I was working on a riff, kind of a Jam/Paul Weller thing, and the phrase popped up in my brain hole and I started singing “All anxious, all anxious, and all the time”. BONAFIDE SMASH HIT! This is the only one we kind of wrote together.
MY LITTLE TWIN- First thing we recorded. Literally first thing, in 2011. Just as you hear it here. This is the one we always have to play, because it was our first step, and people seem to really like it. It’s about being scared by and paranoid about the person you’re with. Thinking that they’re a little too much for you, or that they’re up to something. “I don’t know where she ends and where I begin, my sinister shadow”. It’s about relationship anxiety. Anxiety is definitely the theme of the record. A lot of people seem to relate.
WRECKLESS- This is another one that seems to resonate with people. It’s about getting older, and losing people, and losing time-but still feeling young and alive. I know that I do that through rock and roll music, I dunno about you fuckers.
SIEG HEIL (MEANS I LOVE YOU)- It’s about being told what to do, and that you suck, and that you’re horrible, by a significant other- but being so into them that you don’t even care. The other person only thinks that you love them if you’re doing everything they tell you to. But you find out that you DIG THAT. What’s wrong with you?
GOOD AND SHITTY- Kevin wrote this one, and I didn’t even play on it! It’s a fucking great song, one of my faves on the record. Here’s Kevin to explain utt: “I had the title and chorus melody for this one kicking around for a few years. Towards the end of tracking the record, I decided to go ahead and write a song around what I had. For some reason I ended up recording and playing everything. At the time I was listening to a lot of Flop, Best Kissers In The World, Bill Lloyd, Adam Schmidt and late 80’s Replacements. I just wanted it to sound huge. The song itself is more or less about being frustrated about the situation I was in at the time. As hard as it was to write and record everything, it was pretty rewarding in the end and I am psyched it made it on the record.”
GET LOW: Sequel to “Sieg Heil”. “I get a little bit high when she is on my side, I get a little bit down when she abruptly turns around”. Relationship shit.
DISAPPEAR WITH YOU- Kevin and I recorded this last. The original version of “All Anxious” was already out on CD- this was before Rum Bar Records picked us up like lonely call girls in a Wal-Mart parking lot. We recorded this song for what we thought would be our post “All Anxious” record. When Rum Bar Lou heard it, he insisted it be added to the Rum Bar version of the record. It’s about wanting to get out, to escape. Next town, next life. Toss it all and hit the road.
SECONDS OF PLEASURE- A huge pain in my ass to this day. Kevin made me re- record this at least once. The version we ended up with on the record was great, he was right. It’s still a pain in my ass because we have to play it live, and it’s always too fast, and fuck it. I can’t even, at this point. This was my attempt at writing a Buzzcocks song. I got the minor chord right. It ended up sounding like the Buzzcocks and the Professionals wrote a song together. Coulda Been Worse! Kevin’s drums on this are massive.
BIG DUMB TOWN- It’s about Chicago, but I was trying to sound like NYC- Ramones, Patti Smith, maybe Tuff Darts? Kinda sorta almost worked.
GIRLFRIEND- Written about someone I know who had an awful, abusive relationship with a sociopath. I wrote it from the standpoint of someone looking in to that relationship and wanting to rescue the person who was being hurt. It wasn’t about me or anything I had gone through at all. “Ain’t it hard to be his girlfriend, when you know you’re not the only one/when he is out there somewhere having fun-could be with anyone”.
BLACK VINYL!- I wanted to write a fun garage song about records. Songs being important to culture and to people’s lives. Somebody recently compared this song to what they imagined that the Beatles in Hamburg sounded like live- that’s an insane comparison, but I’ll take it. When I wrote it I was going for Little Richard meets the Georgia Satellites, as covered by Material Issue. Just so you know, I’m kind of at least half drunk right now. Just so we’re clear on that piece of business.
WHIPS AND FURS- It’s a Vibrators cover, but we filtered it through the Only Ones “Another Girl, Another Planet” and every over the top 1980’s beer commercial you’ve ever seen. If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing wrong. I believe that. I do. I really do.
SO THAT’S THE RECORD.