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Case and Queen of Tomorrow
Posted: 04 December 2009 10:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
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So exactly which 4 songs were on that cassette tape?  I’m trying to accurately categorize this stuff in iTunes!

psh - 19 June 2009 07:28 AM

You’re right about the 4 track cassette that Matt released under the Planetmaker label.  That thing is great.  I’ve lost the original tape, but have a poor quality copy of it.  I swear my wife still listens to that version of QOT almost every morning.  What a great, and universally appreciated, song.

I can’t stand that I missed the Main Output days.  I was far away, impecunious, and had no regular internet connection.  What a visionary Matt was with that project.  As far as using the internet, releasing music, and fan outreach, it seems that RadioHead, Trent Reznor and the like are just catching up.  I so wish I could have watched that as it happened with Matt.

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Posted: 05 December 2009 06:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
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The 4-song cassette included:

Raking Service (Lady making Lemonade upbeat version)
Descender
Queen of Tomorrow
Susannah

Is that right? I don’t think that’s the correct order….I believe my brother still has the cassette unless he’s lost it which is probably more than likely.

And Dan, I’m also going to the Philly show…and then the D/M Duo show…pretty awesome!

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Posted: 05 December 2009 07:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
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I’ve still got my original Matt Wilson/PlanetMaker tape but it’s back in the US.  I’ll be heading back home for the holiday so I will check it then unless this gets cleared up on the Forum ahead of time.  I’m pretty sure Kara is correct regarding the songs.

Back at home, I’ve also got another demo tape of Matt’s that was around before the PlanetMaker tape came to light.  Sometime in ‘95 (or maybe ‘96?) I was back in Ames visiting my family.  I called up a college buddy of mine and stopped over at his place to have drinks.  Trip and Matt came up in conversation so we decided to call up another friend in the Twin Cities to see if he knew anything of new music.  This friend said he thought he heard Matt was with some music agency (I forget the name but it was like MidAmerica or something).  So we found the number and decided to call the agency.  We were good friends with the manager of the M-shop and owners of Peeples so we dropped their names, said we were interested in what Matt had been doing and a week later, my buddy got a demo tape with 4 songs and hand written song titles.  Times seemed so simple back then….

Anyway, I’ve still got that tape too.  Honestly, I can’t remember which songs are on it but I definitely remember it has a different version of “Landing”.  For some reason, I also think that it had a rocking version of “Call Me Up” but I just dü not remember and dü not recall.  Anyway, when I get home for the holidays I’ll take a look and let you all know.  Maybe we can add these original versions of Matt classics to DrNeau’s “DS” site.

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Posted: 05 December 2009 08:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
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Thinking back, I really can’t remember if that was ‘95, ‘96 or even ‘97?  Hmmmmm.  Anyway, a funny thing to add regarding that call to MidAmerica (or whoever they were).  Later that year or next ‘Great Divide’ came out and Semisonic was doing a Chicago show.  They did an appearance early in the day at a Virgin Records in Lincoln Park.  I had seen them like 4 times in the previous 3 weeks because I had arranged my work travel schedule to coincide with some of their MidWest shows.

So, after their Virgin, acoustic 3-song promotion I was chatting with John about whatever; he recognized me from seeing me around their shows.  Shortly into the conversation, I mentioned something about Matt and the call to MidAmerica to pick up Matt’s tape.  I’ll never forget the look John gave me.  It was a transition from music John to an unrecognizable business John.  As I recall, he stood a little taller than before and asked, “excuse me but what’s your job.”  I remember chuckling and replying that I was not in the music business but just an interested fan.  John’s posture and expression returned to that of a man expecting to be idolized and we returned to whatever our discussion was about Matt.  I think he even told me that Dan had produced that first demo tape.  Which, of course, made sense since Dan would definitely know how Matt sounds best.

Actually, another funny part of the tale comes a year later or so.  I had moved out to Hermosa Beach and I was dating a girl who was producing some content for HBO.  She got us some industry tix to see Semisonic at the Troubadour.  I was standing there after their show with all of these industry clowns and everyone was shaking hands with Semisonic and showering them with compliments.  I remember thinking to myself, “I’m the only one here who really knows this band”.  Anyway, John got to me and shook my hand.  He did a little double take and I reminded him, “yeah, we’ve met a few times; I’m Robbie V.”  Anyway, he moved on but I saw him look back with his eyes flickering between the music and business John.  Remembering that still cracks me up. 

Wow, it’s fun pretending I’m in my late 20s again…..

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Posted: 05 December 2009 10:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
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I have lost my original Matt Wilson/Planetmaker demo, but I fortunately have a photocopy of the cover.  Interestingly, the demo is titled “Descender.”  I had forgotten that.  Here are the songs, in order:

1.  Raking Service
2.  Descender
3.  Queen of Tomorrow
4.  Susannah

Another thing I had forgotten.  “Descender” is written by Matt AND someone called “David Z.”  Somebody fill me in on this David Z. 

Robbie, good memory.  The liner notes indicate that Mid America is the booking agent.

I also found another copy of the demo I have.  It also includes the Semisonic demo that was released at about the same time.  I never caught the Semisonic bug, so I haven’t listened to this thing for at least 10 years.  You probably all know that Semisonic was called “Pleasure” at that point in time.  The tracks on the Pleasure demo are:

1. FNT
2.  I Wouldn’t Want to Leave you Behind
3.  Temptation
4.  Kneel Down

All undeniably good pop songs.  I just wasn’t able to connect with them on a deep or personal level.  Sadly, I didn’t copy the liner notes, so I can’t provide any more info on the Pleasure demo.

Robbie, your note about John switching personas reminds me of a fascinating experience I had.  I am a big Tom Waits fan and I got tickets to see him at Town Hall when my wife and I lived in Manhattan.  It was a phenomenal show, and the theatrical details on the stage were truly remarkable.  In any case, my wife is one of the best givers of gifts I know, and as a surprise she somehow got me front and center tickets to the Letterman show the next day—feautured guest, none other than Tom Waits.  Waits was his same brilliant shambolic self on camera and hilariously promoted his record and tried to hawk chocolate Jesus mints and told Dave that he had named his black Suburban his “bourbon,” etc.  But, what was most fascinating was that during commercial breaks, he’d snap out of his slouch, drop the gravelly mumble, and speak with Dave about being the father of a teenager and reminisce with Dave, who had a new child, about parenting infants.  It was remarkable to see those two converse like normal, middle aged men.  We all know that, to one degree or another, stage personas are just that, fictional characters.  But, to see how complete Waits’s fabrication was and how facile he was at shifting from one persona to another was just stupifying.  After a moment of shock and disappointment, I was in awe, and I have been ever since.  It makes me respect him all that much more.

To bring this all back to what is most important, I’m pretty sure that the first time I ever heard Waits was thanks to Matt Wilson, himself.  It was either Black Rider or Bone Machine that he was playing before one of his solo shows as the stage was set up.  I just remember being drawn to that dark, clangy swirl around brilliant and often hilarious lyrics.  Captain Beefheart was probably the only thing I’d ever heard that was even remotely like it.  It seemed totally out of character, but also perfectly in keeping with what one would expect Matt to draw on for ideas or inspiration.  I was sheepish as I asked him what it was.  He told me, “Tom Waits” without a hint of condescenscion at my having been such a musical naif. 

-psh

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Posted: 05 December 2009 10:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
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Right on psh!  Great story about Tom Waits and Matt turning you on to him!  I’ll admit that I was uneducated about Curtis Mayfield until I heard the Flops cover “I Can’t Stay Away from You” and “Man oh Man”.  I picked up a bunch of both Curtis and The Impressions after that.  Actually, what’s funny is that I had always loved the Fishbone cover of “Freddie’s Dead” and never had heard the original until seeking more Curtis via Matt and John.

For any interested, I think you can still download the Pleasure tape you mentioned on the Semisonic website.  (actually, I just checked and it’s still there)
http://www.semisonic.com/music/default.asp

They had a second tape “Pleasure 2”.  That one is also back at home in Hermosa so I can’t look at it right now.  But I know at least it had ‘Brand New Baby’ and ‘The Prize’.  Yeah, it’s funny; I loved what Dan, John and Jake were doing as Pleasure (and I still think ‘Great Divide’ is a complete masterpiece) but I’ll never remember being quite as excited as when we received that Matt demo tape.

Cheerio,
Robbie V.

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Posted: 05 December 2009 10:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
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You know, Robbie, it’s funny that you mention another version of Landing, because I know I heard that first version and I remember he changed a lyric in a really meaningful way that I should try to track down…the new lyric as on the album is ....“then I came to crawl..I believe I can change again”....the previous version had something more to do with “making you crawl…or something”...and then he turned it around on himself on the album version..which to me showed his resistance to putting all the onus on “her”....but I can’t recall exactly where that is….I suppose now I’ll have to find an old cassette player too!

I really do enjoy reading all these remembrances!

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Posted: 05 December 2009 10:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]
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Coolness.  Thanks to all for the clarification and all the interesting fanaticism!  Anyone else seeing the lads in Brooklyn?

Kara - 05 December 2009 06:44 AM

The 4-song cassette included:

Raking Service (Lady making Lemonade upbeat version)
Descender
Queen of Tomorrow
Susannah

Is that right? I don’t think that’s the correct order….I believe my brother still has the cassette unless he’s lost it which is probably more than likely.

And Dan, I’m also going to the Philly show…and then the D/M Duo show…pretty awesome!

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