Fried came up with that title, as well as Less Yackin', More Snackin'. Our first live album, gathered at a time when our live show was shifting radically from full band hard rock shows to acoustic gigs, often with just Speranza and myself. These songs are typically either pulled direct off the Paris or Mercury board by John Steideman (the clean, nice-sounding ones) or else recorded on a tape recorder sitting on a table (the grittier ones). Taken individually, there are some nice songs here, but the real problem with this album, and the reason I don't much listen to it, is that we were still finding our sea legs acoustically, and these songs aren't the best live stuff (i.e. full band shows) that we were doing at the time. Factoid from John Fried: You can use the "next track" methodology to distill all of the Flip Nasty live albums into a single 25-minute CD. ;-)
Too Much: That's John Steideman introducing us at Paris on the Platte. As mentioned earlier, our signature "acoustic" sound at the time was actually a clean Fender Strat beefed up with either chorus or flange, a tone of Speranza's invention. Speranza was very good at getting good guitar sounds throughout the entire time we played together. This version of the song is a snapshot of the very early stages of its performance evolution --sticking pretty closely to the recorded version. Since we played this song in almost every set we did, it eventually changed quite a bit. Boy, I forgot that crowds actually occasionally dug us.
As Rome Burns: Nice subdued version. One thing I immediately notice in listening to this album, is how I still hadn't really developed my vocal chops for acoustic songs. I'm holding back way too much. Some of that was, admittedly, nervousness --it was a big adjustment for me to stand up and sing with no drums. Shouldn't have been, but was.
Do It: This song was a lot of fun. There's Speranza counter-heckling some lady who was snickering at us "Hey, I wrote this!" I needed to thank every tip. This eventually got re-recorded as a Leaky Joe song on the Tongue Meets Eyeball sampler. This is one of the first songs where I really tried my now-infamous . That's Glenn Levy at the end. That's Fried asking if we skipped "Perfect." What a hi-llarious segue to....
Perfect: I really have a soft spot for songs that work in different arrangements, and I was surprised how well the stripped-down arrangement worked here.
Something Out: Very representative of the more laid-back standard acoustic arrangement of this song. Speranza is an extremely flexible guitarist, and a very selfless player. His ability to adapt and play new arrangements of these songs where he provides fuller chords and more rhythm was critical to pulling off the transition to acoustic gigs.
Jozo: Totally different arrangement, mostly reworked by Speranza. Nice ideas.
I Want You Now: This is more representative of how we had been gigging up until this point. This was recorded with the full band (Less Yackin' lineup) upstairs at the Mercury. I like how I have to tell people to "take it!" Was that first solo Speranza? Man, I loved playing in this band. You can hear my sticks hit the floor because everybody wants a souvenir from a ROQUE show.
October Air: Fried, Speranza, and myself (covering a little extra guitar --the lead at the top, and the rhythm under Speranza's solo).
Who Am I?: Fried, Speranza, and me again. Nice feel. This is almost convincing me to re-record this. I swear "chiva" is slang for heroin, but Annie Stamper, my most drug-savvy friend, claims that this is total BS.
Velvet Woman: I didn't own a djembe or have any inkling about incorporating that into these acoustic shows, so I guess tamborine was the best drum surrogate I was prepared to offer up. Incorporating djembe was definitely a real turning point in these gigs for me. Nice variation in the vocal, something I didn't do then as much as I do now. I guess we really got to that guy!
Skulls of Angels: I probably shouldn't have included this on the album. I like the song, but this version is shaky. Well, maybe it's not so bad, but I'm definitely hearing a better version in my head.
Sleep: I have no idea why I nicknamed Neil "The Glove." I'm sure he hated it. Sorry, Neil, I just have mental imbalances that can't be corrected or medicated. Nice version, but the recording is terrible.
Winter Heat: Apparently, I've decided after a strong start of board-direct recordings to now wade through a stretch of sucky boom-box recordings. This version is pretty good, it might even transcend the terrible recording. Scratch that, it might transcend international injustice! At the time, this song meant a lot to me personally. I always liked singing it, and I think you can hear the feeling in my voice. I had an epiphany of sorts several years later that if I did nothing else as a singer on a particular song, I needed to express this kind of intensity. Subsequently, my live recordings were markedly better. That quiet intensity is really the cornerstone to playing intimate acoustic shows (in my opinion).
Running Away: There's Speranza running through those wacky chords like it's nothing. Contrast this vocal with the last and you can see how my philosophy at the moment was to simply sing the song with good tone. I wasn't really considering the full spectrum of my performance responsibilities.
Gem: Something about this works for me. I can hear myself connecting to the sound of my voice better than in other songs.
Daddy: Needs something more. Of course, now, I wouldn't hesitate to scat the crap out of this :)
Tell Me: I like this song. The version could use more from me.
Don't Slam That Door: We added an extra verse to the song this night. This is missing Fried in a big way. Just doesn't sustain the energy.
Fire & Ice: Every amp is about to meltdown. You can't hear them over the rock and roll, but there are a number of people singing along. My friends were very supportive, even memorizing this drivel to make me feel happy. This was at the end of a very long gig, and unfortunately, I think you can hear it a little bit. We're definitely flagging, and my voice is well-past shot. Still, this was a really fun gig, and everyone is still really into it. Oh nice little endpoint with Steideman.
Missing from the CD re-release: Vianwidra and N'Deivi Blue Sand were non-live sequenced instrumentals originally included just to have them on an album. I also included Eyes (now on Separate Ways) and an alterante karaoke take of Tell Me which will probably make it on to a future box set disc.