ManicPhaseShifter. VoL Live @ Schubas, Chicago,Il 4/27/2000
This historic performance was/is dear to my heart. So it needed some liner notes.
It proved to be one of the band’s “last hurrahs.”
This mastered recording from the board was a storming, mercurial set played Chicago in one of our favorite rooms, Schuba’s. The set was as intense as the day is long.
The little band that could. And did.
Here’s how it all felt at the bitter end…
Enjoy the essay/liner notes.
Love & Grace, friends,
~ Bill Mallonee
Liner notes for MANICPHASESHIFTER
“FUNERAL SONGS” by Bill Mallonee
I think songwriting is a type mourning. The older I get, and the more miles I log on the road, the more I am convinced that a wordless, intangible spirit emanates beneath the veil of this reality. And it seems to be something akin to grief.
It is as beautiful as a heart-beat of a new-born or the passion between two lovers. All nuanced with a certain transcendence.
How else to explain it?
I think from day one I’ve always tried to give that heart-beat a nomenclature, if only to make sense of it for myself.
You learn that one can mourn with both tears of joy & grief in the eyes at at he same time.
Grieving. In a world of no guarantees perhaps grieving is the loudest declaration of faith left to modern man.
From the git-go, there was always so much inside.
So much needing to get out, then hold up to the light. Fine tuning (in the form of songwriting) came later.
So much to place on the table of the marketplace. Back then, I wrote a a clip of something like 75 songs a year. And while the clip is down to something like oh, 40 songs a year, the thrill of making new songs is still the same as it was in the early days of the band. Writing is a salve.
“Good work, if you can get it,” I say.
But always first: I wrote to save myself, to make sense out of a broken world within.
I have never written a single song with a particular audience in mind.
We’re all living in the same skin. Tell the truth, or some shabby, well-intentioned version of it, and we’ll all “get it.”
Me? I played out my quest make sense out of the world within & without via a little rock band called Vigilantes of Love. I divulged as much as I could to everyone who passed through it’s ranks.
I was lucky/blessed to have great band mates, those other passengers on the trip.
Sometimes all one can do is throw on the last shovel-ful, breathe a sigh and then walk away.
Love, Loss & Transcendence.
Those are the songs that interest me.
This whole live set sounds freighted with a desperation that is bleeding with such things. Such things always takes you by surprise.
I included the studio song “Hat in Hand.”
The coda. A symphony of grief & and feedback.
The swan song in this collection.
I included this studio song in this collection because it has such a “parting shot” feel to it.
A garage anthem.
In essence, a funeral song.
“And then they were gone…”
People ask me if I miss Vigilantes of Love.
Of course, I do. Every incarnation, but especially this one here. It had a chemistry that I have rarely seen in any other band. It was brutally honest, gutsy and authentic. We always knew the “end was near.” How we laughed and wrote our way through it is, I believe, a testimony to each individual’s sheer “cussed-ness.”
And the grace of God.
Mostly, though, I miss the friendships.
And yes, I mourn for what should have been and could have been if the right folks in our industry superstructures (managers, labels, agents) had done half the amount of work we did as a band.
I DON’T miss the truck loads of BS we put up with from suchincompetent people.
BUT, I will say this:
Being victimized consistently by incompetent industry people opened my eyes to one thing: You don’t need any superstructure to give you “permission” to be an artist.
How does the song go?
“Sew your heart onto your sleeve…and wait for the ax to fall.”
I don’t know any other band that released so much work & toured so hard over 10 years (and 15 albums) with so little results than VoL.
What to say? I think we took as much of it as we could, romanticized it for another 10 albums over the last 5 years of the band’s run and then said: “Enough.”
This finale is about the “enough.”
At the end of the day we were about the song & the moment; the delivery & the spirit…and the rock & roll.
Jake, Kevin & I hope you enjoy the set here as much as we did playing it.
Oh, and just what is good rock & roll?
Love, Loss, & Transcendence….(Rinse & Repeat.)
~ bill mallonee
(Copyright by “Once More, This Time With Feeling” BMI 2015)
released April 16, 2015
Bill Mallonee; Guitars, vocals, harmonicas
Jake Bradley: basses (guitars of Solar System, Judas Skin)
Kevin Heuer: drums
(Michelle Thompson; bgvs on Nothing Like A Train, She Walks on Water,
Good Luck Charm & Starry~Eyed)
(All songs by Bill Mallonee except “My Back Pages” by B. Dylan)
Administered by BMI.
Mastered by: Bruce Neher at: Disc & Dat, Monument, CO
“The “source tape” for this was double disc soundboard recording from Schuba’s Tavern, recorded 4-27-2000. All in all a great, high energy show, and I’m very happy with how it all turned out after mastering and some editing.” ~ Bruce Neher/mastering engineer for “Manic. Phase. Shifter”~ Vol Live at Schuba’s