As the man responsible for the "act of colossal incompetence"
which you hold in your hands, it falls to me to inform you that
somehow, in mastering this music to CD, I have mastered it backwards.
For several days I have been holed up in my office, drinking whiskey
and getting stoned on marijuana in an attempt to write this and
to block out the gloomy prospect of my future and the complaints
of the janitor, who’d like to get in here and do a little
cleaning up. Can you imagine ho fast, and with what relish, word
of this kind of thing gets around? "Get rid of that nincompoop!"
the president of the record label was heard to say. I’m told
George Cartwright Accepted the mishap in a spirit of forgiveness
and good-humor. That is, until the label head decided, "Well
what’s done is done! It’s already been pressed; let’s
just release the damn thing! No use throwing good money after bad."
George asked for my head on a plate.
I choose to temper his reaction by reminding myself that George
is known for a certain shell we say fastidiousness concerning his
work, and also that an artist is as vulnerable as anyone else to
the occasional lapse in perspective. Basically the whole thing’s
been blown out of proportion. It was such a simple mistake. Nothing
like the charges leveled at me in a crowing, malicious Internal
Memo, circulated here at work to my enduring shame. Citing my "glaring
ineptitude", my "incomparable idiocy", the "manifest
shoddiness" of my character, my "unpardonable inattention"
to my duties "or even to the matter at hand", and noting
that my grasp of the responsibilities which I am paid to fulfill
is "rudimentary at best" the memo proceeds onward through
a load of hyperbole like "never in the annals of recording
history" to a declaration that I simply "lack…all
common sense". The document is so thorough in its enumeration
of my crimes that I’m considering having it framed as a sort
of diploma of failure.
While I agree that I’m guilty of a moment’s distraction,
I feel I must defend myself against the memo’s accusals of
"sheer obtuseness where anything musical is concerned"
and "shameless disregard for the band’s intentions".
Actually I’ve got a pretty good ear, and although I admit
this might not be the place to bring it up, I’ve got to say
that I, for one, like this record as it is. I stand by it. Hearing
it backward gives one a glimpse of the music’s precision and
grace. It’s a reminder that the world is a wild, exact system
of near-disasters. Time is interesting either way you run it. What’s
the big deal? "Of all the wrong-headed slip-ups!" indeed.
Curlew flings us backward through violent intersections to open
squares and wide easy boulevards where things seem to be happening
just as we want them to. Ann Rupels nimble rumbling Deuce-and-a-Quarter
bass keeps us veering and rolling (backwards), absorbing the shock
and inviting me to run an affectionate handover the dashboard. Kenny
Wolleson’ attentive, slapstick drumming corrals us along,
delineating our margins while suggesting ways to break through them.
Davey Williams’ and Chris Cochrane’s guitars vie and
slice at each other, they help navigate the(backwards, against traffic)
trip, bopping each other with the maps, encouraging the horn, aggravating
it, squealing for dominance, like a string section dragged through
a small vortex in time. George has it hard in reverse, headed downtown
full speed. On the way, he’s laughing, careering, steering,
declaiming, scattered like manhole steam and meditating upward like
moonlit rooftop smoke… He’s the3-D voice at the center
of all this. Blue secrets have their say, night is falling down
2nd Avenue, the lights congest…and dawn breaks above East
Broadway. He’s always got another valentine up his sleeve.
Depending how you hear it, he’s either giving it or getting
While we were still on speaking terms, George told me that the week
he spent back in New Your, rehearsing and recording this material,
was among the best weeks of his life. And although his songs at
least were written beforehand, Fabulous Drop is the document of
an excited week of crashing around the city. Intended or not, it’s
Curlew’s valentine to New York, Here it is, holographic. In
other words I do not agree that I am "the supreme fuckup of
the music industry". Rather I think of myself as the man who
brought you this music in all its (backward) majesty. I can only
hope I’m not alone in this assessment. Nevertheless, I know
where I stand, and for what they’re worth, I hereby tender
both my apologies and my resignation.