I was signing prints for Geffen's "A" list, when I was informed by an alarmed friend that my first two albums had been cut out. For one reason or another, they were viewed as being out of sync with the '80s. Materialism became a virtue; greed was "hip." You heard the word "victim" bandied about, but never the word "victimizer." I seemed like everyone was dressed in black everywhere. When Geffen Records sold to MCA, they announced with pride, on the radio, all of great and near great artists transferred in the deal. In '98, when the conglomerate possessing my masters merged with another conglomerate, Poly Gram, again the roster was highlighted in the media and again I was not mentioned.I called up the company president and I said, "You mean I'm sitting here, getting writer's cramp, giving you these lithos for nothing and you've dropped "Wild Things" and "Dog Eat Dog? When this "multiglomerate" announced its intentions to sell itself to France, I called the CEO and requested that he return my masters to me. To be in sync with these times, in my opinion, was to be degenerating both morally and artistically."They're like an old pair of slippers at the back of your closet. You don't even know they're there." He agreed that he didn't.
It's full of drunk teenagers, coming back from the beach. We made a video of this song with some animators who lived in Portland. I looked out the back window and saw a car coming at us sideways. When he straightened out, he was so pissed-off that he chased us for 25 minutes through the alleys of Portland. Time after time my car was nicked or grazed or rammed. "The Three Great Stimulants" The three great stimulants of a morally decaying culture, as Nietzsche observed in Germany prior to World War II, are artifice, brutality, and innocence, or should I say, the exploitation and corruption of innocence. And when the record came out, it appeared that some of the churches had been keeping an eye on me.
Twenty year later, as rock 'n' roll continues to push the envelope, becoming more and more pornographic, I find myself reflecting again on that pink and black billboard. " OK, my brand was out, so I hit my second favorite brand... I dropped in the coins again, 'cause that sounded good too. " "I play guitar, piano and cigarette machine." "Dog Eat Dog" As the first few lines imply, this was my political awakening. We had come through the optimism of the '60s, then the apathy of the '70s and finally, the accelerated consumerism of the '80s- the hippie, yippie, yuppie. They're coming to a crossroads; one road leads to slavery; the other leads to death by the side of the trail... You think they're gonna be walking along to an Everly Brothers triad?
"Smokin' (Empty, Try Another)" Out in the A&M parking lot was a cigarette machine and it wasn't well maintained. Then I played the machine for about five minutes... " At the end, you can hear me taking the coins out. I was robbed by my bank, by the government of California, by everyone around me who could- all at once. "Shiny Toys" "Ethiopia" This was my reaction to all those "We Can Save You" songs which raised so much money for corrupt Ethiopian leadership. " "Impossible Dreamer" This is a tribute to Martin Luther King, John Lennon, and Robert Kennedy- to all those who gave us hope and were killed for it.
Much thanks to Mike Ragogna and Andy Mc Kaie and Bruce Resnikoff and Jimmy Iovine- friends on the inside.
Special thanks to David Geffen for the file in the cake.