An old friend reached out to me about something randomly tonight, looking for an old Gadget recording. I launched into search mode, because I’m totally a great friend.
I let that old friend down entirely and completely. I might be a great friend, but I’m also truly useless- unable to ever produce any results whatsoever.
During this deep archival dive, I happened to realize that the first smalltime vault album was finished ten years ago this very week. It was an extremely weird coincidence, specific to what my old friend was lookin for. The song he wanted to hear was Gadget’s version of Zombie. This was one of the songs that I stripped away every track except for the drums, and then used Merv’s Zombie drums as the foundation for a smalltime vault song (1000 Year Sleep).
And it just hit me weird… ten years. Ten years making music in this house.
Ten… fucking… years.
So to help get over the shock I decied to listen to the album. And I know I’m saying “album” here, but I really mean to say “effort”. Because it’s not an album. It’s really just a demo with a great, great, great amount of effort.
That’s not to say I don’t love the effort. I do love it. I love the songs, and I love the effort that I put into them at the time. But, I still can’t call it an album. It’s a high quality basement demo. It is what it is.
In celebration of this anniversary, I looked into remastering the songs to make them sound a little more polished. And holy shit! Turns out it only costs $19.99 to do something like that now.
We live in an age of capitalistic and technological wonders, my friends.
So Smalltime Vault (10th Anniversary Remaster) will soon be available on all streaming platforms.
Why would I do this? Honestly, I’m not sure. I don’t even know why I do any of the smalltime vault stuff. But to get me out of focusing on any real self-examination, let’s reminisce on Nothing To Show.
I think I was 19 when I wrote this song. I was upstairs in my parents’ garage, where Einstein would practice. We were all doing our college thing, and I was feeling unsure about my direction. But I knew that some of that direction didn’t matter as much to me as it did to everyone else. Because I had people that I loved, and because I did things that I loved to do. A lot of that is more important than direction. So that was what I wanted to express with the song.
Then 16 years later I recorded a bluegrass version of it. Why? Fucked if know. I guess wanted an upright bass and needed a reason to buy one? I found it on Craigslist and met the guy in the parking lot of the Hartford CT police department. When the guy got out of his truck, it was the single largest human being I’ve ever seen in my entire life. The upright bass looked like a ukulele in his hands. I thought “Shit. If this guy’s plan is to just take all my cash, I don’t think there are enough cops here to stop him.”
Forgive my digression. The dude was freakishly huge though.
Anyway, here I am 10 years after recording that version, and re-releasing it. I still have absolutely nothing to show for it. And the only reward is inside of me. So here are those lyrics that that 19 year old kid wrote-
Nothing To Show
Called my house as someone else,
said “I’d like to talk to your son if I can.”
I heard my father sigh,
he answered “So would I.
He’s on his own to try and be a man.”
What I love will stand above,
in what leads me down any course.
Regret all that I can.
But try and understand-
I’ve got to live my own dreams,
not live yours.
Nothing to show that you can see ‘cuz,
only reward’s inside of me.
I’m starving poor, but I am living free.
Some old friend came to defend,
his new-found life and his degree.
He tried to justify. But I saw in his eye,
he had no more success than you or me.
All tied down and trapped up town,
well his parents’- they sure are satisfied.
What else could have been?
He’ll never know because he never tried.