Saturday, October 03, 2009

by Brian Andrew Marek

For those of you who enjoyed the Rocket Park albums posted last year, here's a couple more...

Rocket Park - Up Against Goodbye (2002-2003)

After 1999's "Teenage Folklore" and 2000's "The Effects of Eating Too Much Television", a third album was surely right around the corner for Rocket Park, right? Well, after cranking out two full length albums in two years at our expense while still working day jobs, we needed a breather. So we spent 2001 gigging, recording demos and tracks for various artists compilations, and responding to some indie label overtures. When 2002 rolled around and we were no closer to being signed, we thought about all we'd learned from Mike Martin (engineer and co-producer of the previous albums), bought our own recording gear and decided we would paint our own masterpiece. Little did we know the final brushstrokes wouldn't be in place for another seven years.

The actual recording of the album wasn't that problematic, aside from the occasional arguments that always emerge from a shared artistic endeavor. It's everything that followed that got sticky - a ridiculously protracted mixing process taking place in another city, personnel changes, a lack of effective leadership resulting from a debilitating divorce (mine), indecision, self-destructive perfectionism and, eventually, the demise of the band itself. Our friend Lauren warned us that putting the word "goodbye" in the title of our album would curse us. I can only counter that we were probably already doomed and were just reflecting that!

It's all a damn shame, really, because it really would've been (and, I guess, is, now that it's floating around) our best album. The material is stronger, the arrangements are more sophisticated, the performances are more assured. It's more of a band effort (and less naive) than "Folklore", more consistent (and less openly derivative) than "Television", and I think the engineering compares favorably to both albums. Eric Moore pounds the drums better than ever (the fill at the end of "Tell It to Samantha" may be one of his finest moments) and Dave Harris' bass lines always find that happy medium between rhythmic simplicity and melodic adventure. And, uh, I like the stuff I did, too.

Steve Minnis handled all of the guitar solos during the original sessions, and while there's no questioning the brilliance of the work that made it to the finished product, we were less convinced by a few of his efforts and used his departure from the band as an excuse to have Brian Henneman of the Bottle Rockets replace them. Thus we have his solos on "Fade to Grey" and "Tell It to Samantha" and a credible imitation of a meowing cat on, uh, "Stray Cat". And speaking of "Fade to Grey", Steve's short-lived replacement Scott Swartz played pedal steel and our old friend Mark Stephens of The Highway Matrons sang the lead vocal.

In closing, all I can say is - sorry it took so long! I would also like to dedicate "Tell It to Samantha" to the memory of Scott Edwards, who I learned had passed away a few years ago. He was an excellent bassist and harmony vocalist who provided the riff that ended up becoming central to that song. Our collaboration in Not Actual Size (1991-1992) was short and turbulent and it's a shame we never got to try it again without the impediment of youth. Rock on, brother.


Rocket Park - Ghosts, Villains, Sirens and Superstars:
The Alternate Teenage Folklore (1995-2003)

September 17th, 2009 is the tenth anniversary of the release of my old band Rocket Park's first album "Teenage Folklore", and I'm commemorating that milestone with this collection of live recordings and solo demos, presented in the same running order as the original album. Just to sweeten the deal, track thirteen is a previously unreleased song from the "Teenage Folklore" sessions, "Running Through the Night" - for the life of me, I'm not sure why we left if off. The fidelity of many tracks is questionable, as is usual for something like this - think of it as an official bootleg for Rocket Park and/or Brian Andrew Marek freaks only. Plain ol' freaks might dig it to.



Blogger Dharma Bummer said...

For no good reason that I can discern, my links for "Up Against Goodbye" and "Ghosts, Villains, Sirens and Superstars" (and none of my many other albums) were suddenly deleted from their respective and separate servers, suggesting that somebody targeted them for deletion from this very post. I wish to make it absolutely clear that no record label, publisher or other entity has claim over these recordings. They are owned only by the musicians that made them, of whom I am one, and none of the other parties has raised any objections. Thus, I ask that, in your zeal to protect "intellectual property", you do not trample upon my right to freely share mine. Thank you.

Here are the new links:
"Up Against Goodbye" -
"Ghosts, Villains, Sirens and Superstars" -


07 October, 2009 13:30  
Blogger Dharma Bummer said...

I've heard from a number of people who said they don't have RAR, couldn't run it on their computer, et cetera, so I've changed all my upload links to ZIP archives for everybody's convenience. Enjoy!

Rocket Park - Up Against Goodbye (2002-2003)

Rocket Park - Ghosts, Villains, Sirens and Superstars:
The Alternate Teenage Folklore (1995-2003)

09 November, 2009 23:51  

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