Dave Herndon is an itinerant journalist who's been knocking around New York for decades. Most of the songs on "Nine Slices of My Midlife Crisis" grew like fungus on the walls of Dave's Cave, an undisclosed location that over the years provided several hundred bednights for touring Mekons and Waco Brothers; Dave was always a dutiful Mekoncierge. Someplace along in the early '90s, Lonesome Bob taught Dave the rudiments ("Table for One" is the strange fruit of one of the Loner's weekly homework assignments), and the debt of influence is obvious: name another twanger who talks about couples therapy. So it's largely Bob's fault. But mainly it's Jon Langford's. Every so often when the circus was in town, Dave would scrape a new tune off the walls, and one day Jonboy said something deep and thought out like, "We ought to record this shit." So over the course of a few sessions in Chicago in 2002-3, Dave and Jon recorded the basic tracks, and then the Waco Brothers each added their own voices: Deano's and Durante's guitars took things in a Southern rock direction; Alan Daughty set some sort of record by putting down his bass parts in one two-hour blurt; Tracey "Future" Dear chirped like an insane chicken; and the drumming duties were shared by the Wacos' Chicago-New York tag team of Joe Camarillo and Steve Goulding. Dave asked Jon to find a Charlie Rich piano for "Only Star," and Barcley McKay delivered it. Sally Timms broke the gender barrier by dropping in and chirping a few lines to close out "Face of the Earth."
Throw some cave songs into the Waco-izer and this is what you get: a tragicomic Battle Cry of the Lonely Guy, who wants to know where love goes when it's gone, and at some point pokes his head out of the cave long enough to see that there's a path that leads into the morning light.
"This turned out better than anybody expected it to," said engineer extraordinaire Ken Sluiter. Maybe that's because there were no expectations. But perhaps it was la Timms who put it best: "What I like about your record is that it doesn't sound like anybody else," she told Dave. "It's singular. In twenty years somebody's going to find it and say, 'What the fuck was this guy on about?' "
- Unca Dave, New York, 2004
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