Chicago Show video

For any of you who were unable to get to the Chicago debut of Maida Vale, a buddy of mine posted some of it ...


“I hope you know,
white knights and heroes are wasted in middle America.”

So the phrase goes. “Great Lakes” was born out of watching a relationship die. Or maybe a couple. Midwestern images tumble and fly around like birds, but the essentials are: what does someone do when they are with someone who has (had?) the best “heroic” intentions in the world, but has no ability, focus, or even desire to carry them through? Years into a marriage, maybe we need more than the white knights and heroes. We need someone to take out the freakin trash and make dinner for a change; to show love in that subtle, non-Hollywood way. Someone who cares enough to argue about stuff and and fight to make a collective life better (“… imaginary fights and words not spoken…”).

This is actually the oldest song on American Sun; at least 10 months. It went through a couple different rewrites before we hit on the vibe that’s on the CD. There was some Death Cab in it at one point, some Police. We kept fiddling with it and fiddling with it until it came together, pretty much all at once. I still remember the Saturday rehearsal when it started to peak its head around the corner. The first time we hit the harmonies. One of those times when everyone in the band immediately knew that the song had “found itself.” That’s how creativity works at times, you just keep approaching songs from different angles: varying tempos, feels, radical new ideas, and then one day everything clicks into place, and there’s a part of you that isn’t really sure how you even got there (but you’re thankful that you did).

Tracking it was another adventure. It was one of the first songs we did electrics on, and then immediately started adding vintage keyboards on it in selective places. Later, we still weren’t really feeling it, and so Justin re-did a part that knit a lot of it together, and then we added the tasty (literally) percussion and—yes, you do hear them—hand claps (courtesy of the Case children, Eric and Nathan).

You can download an acoustic version of “Great Lakes” from the Maida Vale website. You can hear the full version on our CD, American Sun (on iTunes and Amazon.com)


Before I go further, you can check most of the comings and goings of the band at www.maidavalemusic.com, but here are some of my thoughts...

Friday. Nashville.

Up early in the morning, take kids to school with regrettable goodbyes, load-up and take off driving.

Drive and drive and drive.

Sights seen?
• One of the more disturbing personal evangelism billboards (in Alabama, where else?)
• A gentleman’s club (who’d want to a club with all guys?) named, appropriately enough, “The Boobie Bungalow.”

Arrive in Nashville. We are 2 blocks from the Country Music Hall of Fame. Load in our copious amounts of guitars, with amused looks from sound guys and club owners. We are tired, and fighting fatigue after 3 nights of rehearsals, web redesign, listening parties and our “other obligations.”

Sound check, eat, play, talk with friends, avoid tornadoes.

Saturday: Chicago

Drive all day and get to Martyr’s right at sound check. Again a phenomenal room with a great engineer. Crowd shows up early and is engaged. We play a rockin, 12am set complete with punk rock pushing on stage and extended, uncomfortable silences. This my (our) tribe; people listening to good music and enjoying themselves.

We dispense to homes throughout the city; I end up playing guitar until 4:30 am with a good friend. Up early at 7:15am to start the long, long drive home.

Sunday: Trip Home

• Given enough time alone, grown men will surely revert to behaving like 16-year olds, including the following activities:
o Throwing food at each other from moving vehicles
o Using said vehicles as items of fun
o Off-color jokes (with much, much laughter)
o Much discussion about male genitalia (with much, much laughter).

Good trip. Great shows. Great friends. God is good.


Bad day.