September 21, 2000
Los Angeles, California

DOG IN THE SAND is our third record. We attempted a fourth in San Francisco a few months ago, but maybe I was getting cocky. But we did get some good B-SIDES for the single release of ROBERT ONION. Hopefully there will be other single releases, maybe BLAST OFF or IF IT TAKES ALL NIGHT, but as I have never been known for conquering commercial radio, I have no fantasies. DOG was recorded live to 2 track, as has become our artistic commitment, although it has no razor blade edits, unlike FRANK BLACK AND THE CATHOLICS, which has two edits, and PISTOLERO which has one edit. I was very insistent about no editing on DOG. I foresee a time when we will record to wax cylinder, or perhaps a release only on sheet music. Further and further back in time.

The regular Catholics (Scott Boutier-drums, Rich Gilbert-guitar, David McCaffrey bass) and I hit the wintry roads of the Great Plains for a few weeks last February, and we brought keyboardist Eric Drew Feldman (Black/Beefheart/Harvey/Ubu) along to work out the new songs. I asked Eric if he would be willing to only play straight piano, because I wanted a more dramatic, classic rock sound. Eric shed a few tears and asked if he could play just a little Wurlitzer electric piano, and when he tried it on nearly everything I just couldn’t get enough. It sounded so smoky, so ROXY MUSIC, so GOATS HEAD SOUP.

My past experiences of playing unknown songs to an audience have been mixed, but we tried hard to deliver, and the lonelier towns of the hinterland appreciated our work-in-progress effort. It was a gritty yet beautiful tour. Every morning in the van we listened to EXILE ON MAIN STREET and BLONDE ON BLONDE in the afternoon. At night we "kept ‘em drinking" as we like to say. Having a fifth player really lifted our performances in a way that caused everybody to PLAY LESS. Also, Rich brought his pedal steel guitar and tried it on everything. The pedal steel first came to popularity in the early 1950’s, and it is a sound that evokes visions of all things Americana.

When we got to Los Angeles for a two week rehearsal we added auxiliary guitarist Dave Philips, who was so good he ended up playing on every song. Though we had become a six piece band, we wanted more "production" for the session, and when you record live to 2 track you can’t overdub anything, of course, so we asked Joey Santiago and Moris Tepper to join in on some of the songs. They really found their niche, which I suppose was challenging considering how many people were blaring away in one room. Veteran drummer and producer Nick Vincent sat in the producer’s chair and once again proved himself to be master of diplomacy. This was our training. We made the record in 10 days. I hope you love it.

Frank Black


 

 




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