As we’ve been known to do for records that really excite us, we decided to ask Sackville legend Shotgun Jimmie to give us a track by track breakdown of his latest, guitar/drums/bass/synth opus, Transistor Sister.
We will have much more to say about this record a bit closer to the release date, but for now let me just say that this is how nostalgia should be presented (I’m looking at you Hold Steady). It’s a fond look back at love and inspiration, but Jimmie never fixates or wrestles with the idea that that those were in fact, the best days of his life.
MP3:: Shotgun Jimmie - King of Kreuzberg
LATE LAST YEAR (a tribute to the chase)
The song is about those first few dates with someone super exciting. I admit
that the disco beats and horns at the ending are questionable. I was going for
this idea that sometimes it gets cheesy when you are falling in love. Cheesy
SUZY (back-to-back early courtship songs)
Suzy was my grade nine girlfriend; she was the coolest. She liked the Violent
Femmes, and the Flaming Lips. She also introduced me to Kids In The Hall. The
song was written in Berlin on a day off. I spent more time wondering where it
came from than I did writing it. Now, I figure it was cause my European
adventures had me just as full of excitement and pure joy as hanging with Suzy
did back in the day.
KING OF KREUZBERG (dance music?)
I worked on this one for a few weeks. Its debut was very very early in the
morning on a beach in Sant Feliu de Guixols, Spain. It was kind of a post
show, acoustic guitar around the campfire affair, only instead of a campfire
there was a big bin filled with beer and booze. The song is about being stoked
about touring and wishing I had payed more attention in high school French
PAPER PLANES (proud anthem)
When I think of the community of people that I make music with, I feel pretty
damn lucky to be part of the gang.
CONFIDENCE LODGE STAIRWELL RECORDING #1 (a tribute to studio experimentation)
The Confidence Lodge has many rooms. There are really big rooms, and really
small ones; some are echoey, and some are dead sounding. One idea I had was to
make a record with a song recorded in every room. We didn’t get around to that
with Transistor Sister, but we did record all over the Lodge. We used the
stairwell to get some drums sounds, and I had a lot of fun with that. The
Confidence Lodge stairwell is three stories high. We mic’d a drum kit at the
bottom and then had these really nice Royer ribbon mics on each landing all the
way up to the top. I thought it would be nice to have a hi-fi recording of the
stairwell with someone running down the stairs, as a tribute to the sweet
acoustics of the stairwell, and ’cause we had to run up and down those stairs a
million times while working on the record.
TRANSISTOR SISTER (update)
This was the first song I wrote for Transistor Sister. I was thinking about
all the stuff that had happened since the last record and wanted the song to be
like an update or a postcard home. “Everything is fine, I’m having a great
time, wish you were here.”
TOO MANY FLOWERS (in the heart of the heart)
A straight-up Sackville summer love song.
STEREO AND THE STOVE (turn it up)
This one is a really old song. Originally it appeared on an Out Of Sound
compilation, then we tried to record it for Still Jimmie but it was cut. Ryan
Peters had heard the song a bunch of times live, and I remembered him saying
that it was his favorite of my songs. When I first thought of asking Ryan to
play drums on the record, I thought of recording this song.
SWAMP MAGIC (sink or swim)
SappyFest and the parties that surround it. Campfires, drinkin’, smokin’,
sittin’ on a haybale and singin’ a haybale song.
I had words for this little ditty: “There’s nothing wrong with a sad song, as
long as it ain’t too long.” I liked it better without the words.
PEACE AND LOVE (what?)
I’ve never written a song like this one, and I have no idea where it came from.
Ryan Peters came up with the backup vocals: “bop, bop, bop, bop,” and he sings
all of them. He made the song for me. During mixing, we did a mix of just the
backing vocals and it sounded delicious!
MASTERPIECE (art rock)
This one is supposed to be a pretty light-hearted look at the heavy subject of
making art. I was on the front porch of the Confidence Lodge, with a mic taped
to a gas-powered weed whacker running through a wa-wa pedal and into a guitar
THE HAZE (ballad)
There was a time when Strong John, Dick and I were living in Dawson Towne YT.
Strong John and I refer to a period of that time as “The Haze.” We lost
guitar straps, picks, tuners, tempers, button-up shirts, and golden song ideas.
My excuse was “everybody goes through this when they are young.”
Jay playing the flute. I’m really happy with how this turned out; I thought it
would be great to have a really nice recording of my buddy playing the flute
and it is.
BAR’S OPEN (party time)
I wanted there to be a difference between the vinyl and the digital/CD, so this
little guy was recorded to be a separate track and lined up in mastering. I
also liked the idea that it would be played on its own from time to time.
Kinda sounds like Shotgun and Jaybird?
If I had known that this was gonna be the last song, I would have made the
ending twice as long. The talking at the end is from a special SappyFest
edition of my radio program Good Morning Duders:
“I’m still here at the breakfast here at the Legion Hall, the performers’
breakfast, and I have some real dandies right now just come in. Apollo Ghosts
just showed up to have something delicious to eat; Darren’s already got a big
plate and is quite excited by it; Jay is grabbing some carrot sticks. But
Sappy Times are going out. Still no sign of Paul Henderson.”