I’m sorry if this has been asked before, but I can’t find anything in my search.. I’ve listened to the WTF podcast interview you did a while back many times, and each time the lyric you mentioned sticks out, and strikes a heavy chord in me. “You were an evil man most of the time, but on our best days we were partners in crime”. You said this was from a song that almost made the Sunset Tree, but didn’t. Unless it’s something you plan to hide, it would mean a lot to me if I could possibly hear it.

johndarnielle:

It didn’t make it to the studio. The process is this – I write all the time, I fill bunches of notebooks. The stuff I think I might want to record I send in demo form to Peter (and now also to Jon and Matt) and to whoever’s producing the record (the producer used to get them later than than the band, but now everybody gets them as they come off the griddle). When we get to the studio, we prioritize, and record as many as we have time to do well. This is a simplification; sometimes there’s a more firm idea of sequence when we arrive, etc. Back then it was “record as many of the best of the bunch as we have time for.”

That song may have gotten demo’d at some point, but I’m certain I never sent it to Peter – it was uptempo and over-long, really all it had worth remembering was that final two-line resolve. I think the song was called “Olympic Auditorium Niacin Blast,” I have no idea why I’d remember that but I do. That will be all that survives of it, since I have to destroy notebooks once they’re full, which is a little sad, but not as sad to me as the idea of people later publishing lyrics I didn’t consider good enough to share, so that’s how it has to be and I’ve come to accept it. 

But I did consider that two-line resolve memorable enough to retain it, and it came up in the interview and so is preserved forever, and if it’s useful to you, then I celebrate that – it was extremely unlikely that even that much would see daylight, but it did, which is kind of cool, if you think like I do – I am a person who really loves the fragmentary poetry that survives from Ennius, there is value in the fragmentary, or at least my spirit thinks so. 


March 18, 2016