Grant Lee Phillips' comments on Jubilee
"We wanted it to be more physical, more human endeavor. Typically, I've looked at recording and performing as two very separate things, but these days, I've acknowledged that I'm at my best when I'm flying by the seat of my pants." Source: Pollstar Magazine, 08-10-1998
"Joey and I worked pretty intensely on this record. It streamlined the whole process, I'd bring the song in some kind of rough form to Joey and we demoed a number of the songs in 8-track, 16-track, 24-track. It allowed us to kind of work through those songs and it gave us a model when it came time to bring some other musicians in." Source: Illinois Entertainer, August 1998
"I think of this as a more extroverted record. We sort of cast away a lot of the preconceptions about what we had to be, and broke through to a frontier where it seemed all things were possible." Source: Buffalo Roam In New Territory, Toronto Sun, 06-23-1998
SONIC: So, Paul, do you find it difficult to have the "distance" you
need to produce your own records?
GLBuffalo: Nope, never had that problem.
MR. SONIC: Have you tried working with outside producers?*
GLBuffalo: A long time ago we did. It was a disaster.
MR. SONIC: What went wrong?
GLBuffalo: He sucked.
GLBuffalo: It's just hard to turn your ideas over to someone else and expect to be happy with the results.
Source: SonicNet.com, Online Happening With Grant Lee Buffalo, 09-22-1995
* Jubilee was the first Grant Lee Buffalo album, which wasn't produced by Paul Kimble.
"From what I recall, the riff, melody, drum beat, etc. began on various trajectories. We were out with the Smashing Pumpkins when the song first came into some kind of vague focus. The parts were sort of laying around for awhile, but I hadn't seen how they might fit together. Backstage, Joey and I would set up a drum kit in the shower stalls of places like Madison Square Garden. I had a little mini-Marshall, and the reverb was so good in there that it just sounded huge. Billy Corgan and James Iha would sometimes pop into the showers with us and play a few chords. The words were written in one go, backstage in Toronto."
"Here's a song that's pretty unconscious. The words keep tumbling over and over like clothes in a coin laundromat. It started off with acoustic guitar and drum machine. I made a demo of it like that, and when we went into the studio we kept that element. It's got lots of "Shang, lang, langs" which I've always loved in a song."
CHANGE YOUR TUNE
"Landing on a few new chords led to the writing of this song. There's no real target of delivery, but I suppose it marks a shift in my own attitudes toward life, art, people, etc. My mom used to say, "You better change your tune little mister!" It stuck with me."
"The melody of this song came from the bass. I was wanting to trick my fingers into playing something different. I've had this Kramer bass laying around for years. I bought it from a fella' in a band called Psycom way back in the '80s, and for a long time that's the only kind of music it wanted to make. I'll have to admit it though, it gave me this song. The chorus came a few weeks later, over coffee in Providence. The bridge went through a few evolutions before settling in. I remember watching a lunar eclipse in Calvary and the moon looked like it was on fire. I was a long way from home and even the sky looked different. I went back to my hotel room that night and finished off most the words."
"One of the first songs written for the new album. It's a simple enough pledge, but I imagine its overtones are as complex as anything I've written in a while. I set out with the idea of saying something in a way that was more direct than I might have gone about things in the past. In short, let's just say it's very much a one-on-one kind of song, but if you feel like playing along, it's in regular old D."
"Spiritual Inertia is the theme behind this one. It chronicles a drowsy state of transition, both geographically and emotionally. I tried to finish it off in Amsterdam, then dove back into it in Wichita, Kansas. Ultimately I cut it all down in LA. On the cutting room floor lie the lines...
"Filthy engines were grinding low,
Humming gears of enormo-domes
Kept us pressed against the barricade
Standing still while the music played..."
By the time we came to record the song the atmosphere was more optimistic and so the song became more sensual. It would have been a different song a year earlier."
FINE HOW'D YA DO
"This was the embodiment of a growing desire to marry turn-of-the-century imagery and tones with a contemporary approach. I wanted to write "Parlor Songs" for the new millennium. I guess it's just a playful way of illustrating the resonance between the 1800's and the 1900's. I can't totally back it up, but I like the idea. This preoccupation in many ways directed the course of the art work, the general character of the album, as well as the title track, Jubilee."
COME TO MAMA, SHE SAY
"It's probably the most down-home recording of the batch but when I first began working on the music it was more like a Chemical Brothers track. I know that sounds crazy. The thing is, I was finding the breakneck tempo hard to get any words in. In fact I had to slow it all the way down to work it out. It was then I started hearing it more intimate at that point, and that's when it all fell together. Joey and I made a demo shortly before going in for the final phase of recording. Paul Fox heard it and loved it, so a few days later we recorded it for the record."
8 MILE ROAD
"The imagery is greatly culled from childhood places and notions. At the heart of it is the reckoning with things like growing and even mortality. Nuff said."
EVERYBODY NEEDS A LITTLE SANCTUARY
"I wrote the tune on the banjo, but the opening lines were extracted from a brief flirtation with the haiku. Michael Stipe, actor Tom Gilroy and myself had just signed on for the Haiku Challenge (write one a day). I was in D.C. and the Million Man March was about to get underway. I looked at that event as a kind of sanctuary for those who participated. The song is much more general. It's a conjuring of vignettes and emotions. The basic idea was that any one of us may find a personal sanctuary in various forms. It may be a faith, a lover, or the vastness of the sea, whatever works."
MY, MY, MY
"The lyric theme of this one is one of laughter in the face of chaos. It's about breaking down all the barriers we set up for ourselves and the dumping-off point for a whole lot of bad self-fulfilled prophesies. You can shake your butt to it; I love it but it tears up my throat."
"It really turns haywire, that song. We have to play it near the end of the set because by the time we get through the song, all the guitars are out of tune, the drum heads are busted, my throat's wrecked, and it's time to go home at that point." Source: Illinois Entertainer, August 1998
"It's a way of talking about betrayal and wicked situations. For some reason I always see "Bonanza" in the back of my mind when I sing this one. Sometimes I see "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance", but it's in color in my mind's eye, so it's probably just "Bonanza."
The original title for this one was "Dead Town" which is from the line in the song that goes, "In a big dead town where nothing is free...." Somehow this song just felt too alive to be called "Dead Town." It felt more like a seance of spirits neither dead nor alive but lost in the parlor of mysteries. "Spirit Raps in Broad Daylight" then became the title but that seemed way too long. Finally, on the last day of mixing the song was crowned "Jubilee."
THE SHALLOW END
I imagine this is one of my favorite things we've recorded in a long while. The song was written one night after Joey and I had spent hours talking about the future with Paul Fox. We hadn't yet committed to Fox at this point but I began to glimpse what was possible, like sunlight on the horizon. This song was born out of that reassessment. I took it as a good sign."
Source: GLB WB Site - Jubilee Review, 1998
an article about recording Jubilee written by Grant
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