Turn Up The Suck - Live Board Tapes 1990​-​1995

by Willie Wisely

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about

Touring up to 150 shows a year, the original Willie Wisely Trio developed a musical language unlike anything before or since. These live recordings, culled from a massive archive of cassette board tapes, are proof. Peter Anderson (drums), James Voss (upright bass), Willie Wisely (guitar & vocals), and Greg Wold (trombone).

Lo-Fi Heaven: Boom Box On The Dash

As a musician it is easy to know what you’re doing in the moment, but to remember what you were playing 22 years ago is very difficult. Over time, the mind alters sonic memory. What we think we heard ceases to be what actually occurred.

I remembered Trio shows as loud, sprawling affairs. Turns out, they were often quiet and diminutive. I remembered Trio shows as a repeating set list of my more effective songs; but in reality we knew over 100 songs, and played a lot of stuff we didn’t know so well. I also remembered the malignant band disagreements and the foulness of hard work, far from home, for low money. Turns out our shows sounded joyful and idealistic. The most distorted thought I had was that our albums were precise documents of our sound. But those studio chronicles contain a fraction of what we accomplished on a nightly basis. Turns out, only rarely did a studio recording sound like the shows I recently heard while listening to over a hundred cassettes of the band playing live. Hard touring had created a singular sound and I’d forgotten most of what we did together on stage.

The inspiration for releasing TURN UP THE SUCK is to fill the memory gaps. It certainly isn’t to show off the high fidelity of these crunchy recordings, or the steadiness of the grooves, nor the perfect pitch of the players. We were a mess, but also a cocktail of joy. None of us would likely again endeavor upon such a formative musical voyage. We were compelled by youthful idealism, stemming from a believe that our vision was unique and that the world ought to hear our music. The business of music is based upon bottling this idealism. But the Trio’s lack of widespread renown is evidence that we were better at letting genies out of bottles than putting them in.

It’s only luck that the archive of cassettes survived. Back in the day, we never listened to them–just threw them into the middle compartment of the van at 2am. After a show, we would usually be too disappointed or drunk to care. Plus, the tape deck situation in the van was dangerous, with a big late-80′s boom box resting unteathered on the dash, soaking up not a little of the driver’s peripheral vision. At night, it was best to keep that monster on the floor where Cheetos and Coke could spill on it.

Turns out the decades were kind to the cardboard boxes that housed the archive––narrowly escaping a basement flood and mold; magically not being erased by long years stored next to the magnets of loud speakers, and hiding deep enough in my mom’s attic to avoid her unsentimental purges. Against all odds, evidence of our wild-eyed years survived.

SUCK is 16 songs (culled from roughly 1,000), each containing a different aspect of our peculiar abandon. We dig the way the lo-fi, unmixed quality makes the band seem even more weird and old than we were. Certainly we never felt understood in the moment of our first run (1989-1993), as evinced by the several tracks on the album which are NOT followed by applause––and on one occasion, only the ridicule of hyena-like laughter (thanks Mike Ruekberg). There’s an old proverb I wrote just now, and it probably went something like this: laugh if you like, but like it when you laugh.

Following are some of the comments made via email by the Trio as we first listened to 60 of the prime performances I found in the archive:

“The sound of cocaine.”

“OK. So we just played the most evil, vibey version of “Good Morning Little School Girl“. At our rubbery best with drums and bass totally solid, but Greg and I painting this pushy-pully masterwork. Most instruments are hard panned. The fidelity is as if the tape is crumpling and warbling off the reel. It’s so wrong that it’s a bit bone chilling. The song ends. Nobody claps. AWESOME!!!!!!”

“I’m telling you guys now. We’re gonna make another record someday, and it’s gonna be on four track cassette.”

“You guys are some of the most attractive musicians I have ever known.”

“Stage banter indicates that some guy who had seen us in the Virgin Islands was in the audience–or perhaps he WAS the audience.”

“Nice! Were we opening for Trip Shakespeare?”

“Man, I don’t even remember that tune… was it originally recorded on wire?”

“There is a potent “jack White/Black Keys before jack white/black keys” record lurking in here with a few tweaks.”

“Mellow Down Easy is my fave I think. It reeks of Muddy Water & Beefheart. I had no idea it was that good. It was the essence/spirit of all of our hero’s.”

“Peter said he felt as if he wasn’t listening to himself play. I know that I’ve forgotten nearly every guitar chord progression and lick on there. Can’t imagine dreaming up this stuff now.”

“I’ve spent so many years trying to do things other than continue my musical illuminations. Minding click tracks, worrying about merch sales, proving I can hit the high notes, making sure the wedding party can hear the lyrics, building an audience, constraining artistic vision to labels, formats, genres, peer pressure, chasing fads, writing sound a-likes for clients, blah blah blah. After a couple decades of that, it’s easy to forget that illumination and inspiration is everything.”

credits

released March 9, 2012

Peter Anderson: drums, backing vocals
James Voss: upright bass, backing vocals
Willie Wisely: electric guitar, vocals
Greg Wold: Trombone, backing vocals

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about

Willie Wisely Los Angeles, California

Willie Wisely released his first full-length album in 1992, touring the US and Japan ever since, building a following for his evocative pop. He is a songwriter’s songwriter, often compared with Elliot Smith, Ron Sexsmith and Paul McCartney. His latest CD marks the 18-year reunion of his Minneapolis-based group the Willie Wisely Trio, road warriors noted for their circusy, jazz-anti-jazz aesthetic. ... more

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Track Name: Willie Wisely Trio - Good Morning Little School Girl (Kirby's '92)
Good morning little school girl
Good morning little school girl
Can I go home
Can I go home with you
Don’t want to hurt your feelings
I once was a school boy too

Sometimes I don’t know what
Time’s I don’t know what
Woman what in this world
Woman what in this world’s with you
Don’t want to hurt my feelings
Either get mad with you

Oh, who’s that coming
Who’s that coming
She’d all dressed up and pretty
She’d all dressed up and pretty, oh yeah
Oh who’s that my baby
Just as soon see her dead

Going to buy me an airplane
Going to buy me an airplane
Going to fly all over shitty
Going to fly all over shitty part of town
Don’t want to hurt my baby
Ain’t going to let my airplane down

Good morning little school girl
Good morning little school girl
Can I go home
Can I go home with you
Don’t want to hurt your feelings
I once was a school boy too
Track Name: Willie Wisely Trio - Violent Love (Rathskeller '92)
Good morning little school girl
Good morning little school girl
Can I go home
Can I go home with you
Don’t want to hurt your feelings
I once was a school boy too

Sometimes I don’t know what
Time’s I don’t know what
Woman what in this world
Woman what in this world’s with you
Don’t want to hurt my feelings
Either get mad with you

Oh, who’s that coming
Who’s that coming
She’d all dressed up and pretty
She’d all dressed up and pretty, oh yeah
Oh who’s that my baby
Just as soon see her dead

Going to buy me an airplane
Going to buy me an airplane
Going to fly all over shitty
Going to fly all over shitty part of town
Don’t want to hurt my baby
Ain’t going to let my airplane down

Good morning little school girl
Good morning little school girl
Can I go home
Can I go home with you
Don’t want to hurt your feelings
I once was a school boy too
Track Name: Willie Wisely Trio - Slow Burn (Livestock '92)
Give me a slow burn
I’ll sing a torching tune
Give me a slow burn
Oh I’ll sock it to you good
Not too hard or too soft
Just as steady ahead as she goes (steady as she goes)
So give me a slow burn
And don’t turn up your nose
Turn up your nose
Turn up your nose

Give me a dew drop
Oh, I’ll suck the fuck off your ear
Give me a wet spot
Oh I’ll gladly tighten my rear
Not too much just enough
Just as long as I lay in repose (I curl my toes)
Give me a slow burn
And don’t turn up your nose
Turn up your nose
Turn up your nose

Give me a rug burn
Oh you’re so damn hard on the knees
Let’s move to the sofa
I’ll be much more eager to please
Not too far or too near
Just as long as our lips can compose
So give me a slow burn
And don’t turn up your nose (don’t)
Turn up your nose
Turn up your nose
Turn up your nose

Yeah, turn up your nose
Turn up your nose
Your panty hose
Tear off your clothes

Tear off your clothes (Tear off your clothes)
Tear off your monster (Tear off your clothes)
Take out your monster
Tear off your clothes

Knock on the window
Knock on the door
Holy bejesus can’t stand it no more
Rip them off
Track Name: Willie Wisely Trio - Robe In Glory (Champp's Alley '95)
You and I
We held our codes
Long before toting heavenly loads
Let’s go home right now
Let’s go home and tell the story

I’m going to put on my robe in glory (on this robe in glory)
Let’s go home to tell… (let’s go home)
I will put on this robe in glory (on this robe in glory)
Let’s go home to tell the story (let’s go home)

You and I
We stole the show
Long before toting heavenly loads
Let’s go home right now
Let’s go home and tell the story

I’m going to put on my robe in glory (on this robe in glory)
Let’s go home to tell… (let’s go home)
I will put on this robe in glory (on this robe in glory)
Let’s go home to tell the story (let’s go home)

Well I’ve been coming over hills and mountains
I will drink from that Christian fountain
And you know all of God’s sons and daughters that morning
Will drink that old healing water

I’m going to put on my robe in glory
Let’s go home to tell… (let’s go home)
I will put on this robe in glory (on this robe in glory)
Let’s go home to tell tel tell (let’s go home)
I’m a going to wear this robe in glory
Let’s go home and tell the story
Track Name: Willie Wisely Trio - Six Buckets Of Kerosene (Stebb's '93)
They wouldn’t pay to fix it up
Now they’re going to pay, they’ll see it burning down
They wouldn’t pay to fix it up
Now they’re going to pay, they’ll see it burning down
We’re going to take six buckets of kerosene
We’re going to burn it down

Mr. & Mrs. Jones live upstairs
For slightly more than forty years or so
Mr. & Mrs. Jones live upstairs
For slightly more than forty-four years or so
We’re going to take six buckets of kerosene
We’re going to burn it down

Spill a quart in every room or so
Wake up little suzy they ain’t found her yet
Spill a quart in every room or so
Wake up shit-head put out your cigarette

Better listen up now ain’t nobody going to raise a fuss
Just help old Joe out on down, out on to the street
Yeah, ain’t nobody going to raise a fuss or make a stink
Just help old Joe out on to the street
We’re going to take six buckets of kerosene
We’re going to burn it down

Six buckets of kerosene (Six buckets of kerosene)
Six buckets of kerosene (Six buckets of kerosene)
Six buckets of kerosene (Six buckets of kerosene)
Six buckets of kerosene (Six buckets of kerosene)
We’re going to take six buckets of shit
We’re going to burn it down
Track Name: Willie Wisely Trio - Mellow Down Easy (Kirby's '92)
Shake shake it here
Shake shake it there
Shake shake everywhere
Mellow down easy
Mellow down easy
Mellow down easy when all you want to do is blow your top

You shuffle shuffle here
You shuffling money over there
You shiffly shaffly shuffling you dealing drugs everywhere
Mellow down easy
Mellow down easy
Mellow down easy and selling your aspirin all over everywhere

Shake shake it there
Pepper shake salt pepper over there
You drip a little blood and oh you’re off to the races anywhere
Mellow down easy
Mellow down easy
You bet on your horses and you don’t care how much money you lose anywhere

Shake shake it here
Shake shake it there
You spring a lout you sprout a sproke you broke your string everywhere
Mellow down easy
Mellow down easy
Mellow down easy when all you want to do is blow your top
Track Name: Willie Wisely Trio - Changes Made (Livestock '92)
There’ll be some changes made
There’ll be some changes made

Me and my best friends
Are going to see our favorite band
The crowd is reeling
On down at Union Hall

If tonight’s like any other
We’ll spare the details from our mother
But tonight, maybe tonight
A different breeze begs to blow

There’ll be some changes made
There’ll be some changes made
There’ll be some changes made
How else am I going to break those chains
You’d better get your gears engaged

We’ll be dropping from the rafters
A real natural disaster
We’ll be smashing chairs on tables
Trashing anything fell our way

If tonight gets kind of crazy
I’ll be slipping it to my old lady
And I’ll be nose down in the saw dust
When the breeze starts to blow

There’ll be some changes made
There’ll be some changes made
There’ll be some changes made
How else am I going to break those chains
You’d better get your gears engaged

There’ll be some changes made
There’ll be some changes made
There’ll be some changes made
How else am I going to break those chains
You’d better get your gears engaged

There’ll be some changes made
There’ll be some changes made
I know it may seem strange
There’ll be some changes made
How else am I going to break those chains
You’d better get your ass in gear
Track Name: Willie Wisely Trio - Potatoe Chips (Kirby's '92)
Potato chips
How my mouth just drips
Potato chips
How my mouth just drips
Crunch, don’t bring lunch
All I want is chips

Potato chips
drip
Potato chips
drip
Drip, drip, drip, drip, don’t bring lunch
Just chips

It doesn’t matter where I am
I’ll always find a bag around
In a bar or a picinic
Or a baseball ground

Potato chips
How my mouth just drips
Potato chips
Drippy…
All I want is chips

Potato chips
The roof of my mouth is slit
Potato chips
Oh the salt just gets in there, it’s the pits
Crunch, crunchdon’t bring lunch
All I want is more chips

Potato chips
In Cananada they got salt and pepper chips
Potato chips
In Canada they got salt and vinegar chips
Potato chips
Oh and they smell like
All I want is my chips

I can’t control myself anywhere
Even when there’s no bags around
I get desperate, I get antsy
Oh and I start seeing them on the ground

Potato chips
Chips, oh potato chips
Potato chips
yummy… pooh
Crunchy crunchy, don’t bring lunchy
All I want is more chips
Track Name: Willie Wisely Trio - Gospo Feel (Stebb's '93)
A vacant lot
The tent goes up
The poster shouts
You saints and you moaners come gather your kindred and go

They’re filing in
They’re falling out
The preacher grins
Cecil Biumphrey will lead us to Zion again

You go to God
You speak in tongues
Ya’ll getting real
In shanty town
You’re lost, you’ve found
The gospo feel

The organ pumps
The thunder thumps
Of pending doom
Well Sister will sing jubilee if you’re all clapping hands

The clouds descend
The flaps blow in
The preacher grins
A stranger appears at the rear and he’s here and he’s gone

You go to God
You speak in tongues
Ya’ll getting real
In shanty town
You’re lost, you’ve found
The gospo feel

You go to God
You speak in tongues
Ya’ll getting real
In shanty town
You’re lost, you’ve found
The gospo feel

In shanty town
You’re lost, you’ve found
The gospo feel
In shanty town
You’re lost, you’ve found
The gospo feel
Track Name: Willie Wisely Trio - You Ain't Goin' Nowhere (7th St Entry '91)
Clouds so swift the rain falling in
Going to see a movie called Gunga Din
Pack up your tent get all your bags McGuinn
You ain’t going nowhere

Oo-wee riding behind
Tomorrow’s the day that my bride’s going to come
Oo-wee we’re going to fly
Down into the easy chair

GHenghis Kahn and his brother Don
Couldn’t keep on keeping on
We’ll climb that bridge after it’s gone
After windward passage

Oo-wee riding behind
Tomorrow’s the day that my bride’s going to come
Oo-wee we’re going to fly
Down into the easy chair

I want a bird that sings and dog that takes wing
A horn that toots and a bee that stings
A rubber that flies and a bird that cries
A dog that snores and some skin with pores

Oo-wee riding behind
Tomorrow’s the day that my bride’s going to come
Oo-wee we’re going to fly
Down into the easy chair…
Track Name: Willie Wisely Trio - Blues For Two Big Ears (Livestock '92)
Blue for two big ears
Ears big like bells
Poor old Theodore
Pity my man Ted

The kids would hide
Sneak up behind him with rulers
(Ted you better watch your ass)
'Cause you'll run home with your ears split like cauliflower

Blue for two big ears
Big ears ears big like bells
Poor old Theodore
Well pity little Ted

Well he asked hi ma,
"Please can I grow my hair long?"
(Ted you better turn and run)
‘Cause she comes back with a razor, a bowl, and a towel
(she’s gonna cut your fucking hair off, run)

But then Ted met Michelle
She said, "With flaps like that you ought to be a jazz cat."
(Better to hear your sharps and flats)
Now when Ted blows all them ladies they circle more like crows
When he sings gossamers all take wings
When he plays their all fighting like blue jays

Blues for two big ears
Ears big like bells
Poor old Theodore
Well blow my, my man Ted
Track Name: Willie Wisely Trio - M'Druthers (7th St Entry '92)
I'll get your love
I'll take your wheels
I'll get m'druthers

You've got them legs that kill a man
You've got that part in your hair
You've got the wind behind you
You've got the world in despair

You've got the earth between your knees
You're hummin' like an old Frigidaire
You've got the world bent down behind you
You've got the world in despair

You've got the bellie that chides
You’ve got the earth besides
You’ve got that belly full of brew
And a pithy disposition, tan me black and blue

I'll take your love
I'll get my wheels
I'll take m'druthers
I'll take your love
Get m'druthers
Track Name: Willie Wisely Trio - St. Louis Blues (7th St Entry '91)
Well I don’t feel tomorrow
Like I’m feeling today, hey, hey, hey
If I do not feel tomorrow
Like I’m feeling today, hey, hey, hey
I shall pack up my belongings
And make my getaway

Well I don’t need nothing, no…
Just my shoulder and my pack (potato, potato)
Well I don’t need nothing, no…
Just my shoulder and my pack (potato, potato)
Well sometimes all I want is
Just to see the preecher ball the jack

I’ve got them St. Louie blues
Well I’m as blue as I can be
Well my woman’s got the heart like a rock
Like a rock cast in the sea

Well I don’t need nothing
Just my bowl and my pipe, hey, hey, hey (potato, potato)
Well I don’t need nothing
Just my bowl and my pipe, hey, hey, hey (potato, potato)
Well sometimes all I need is just King Cole
And his old fiddle fife

I got them St. Louie blues
Well I’m as blue as I can be
Well my woman’s got the heart like a rock
Cast in the sea
Track Name: Willie Wisely Trio - Good Understanding (Barnacle Bill's '90)
When you see two women walking hand in hand
Neither one jealous of the other one’s man
They got a good understanding
They got a good understanding
You know a good understanding
Can make everything alright

When you see two dogs licking on the same bone
There ain’t no fussing no fighting going on
They got a good understanding
They got a good understanding
A good understanding
Can make everything alright

The lion and the lamb lay there side by side
Then Grover comes over and licks the tom cat right in the eye
They got a good understanding
You know a good understanding
You know a good understanding
Can make everything alright

A good understanding
Can make everything alright
A good understanding
Can make everything alright
Track Name: Willie Wisely Trio - You Really Got A Hold On Me (Barnacle Bill's '90)
Well I don't like you, but I love you
Seems that I'm always, thinking of you
Oh, oh, oh, you treat me badly
I love you madly
You really got a hold on me
You really got a hold on me

Oh baby now, I don't want to stay here, don’t want to sit here
Don't wanna spend another day here
Oh, oh, oh, you I want to quit now
My love can’t sit
You really got a hold on me
You really got a hold on me

Baby, I love you and I all I want you to do
Is just hold on me, hold me, hold me, hold me

Well I don't want you, but I need you
Don’t want to kiss you, but I got to
Oh, oh, oh, just can’t stay
You really got a hold
You really got a hold

Baby, I love you and I all I want you to do
Is just hold on me, hold me, hold me, please hold me

Tied up, tied up

Well I don't like you, but I love you
Seems that I'm always, thinking of you
Oh, oh, oh, you treat me badly
I love you madly
You really got a hold on me
You really got a hold on me

Baby, I love you and I all I want you to do
Is just hold on me, hold me, hold me, hold me

==========as published===========
I don't like you, but I love you
Seems that I'm always thinkin' of you
You treat me badly, I love you madly
You've really got a hold on me
(You really got a hold on me)
You really got a hold on me
(You really got a hold on me)

Baby, I don't want you, but I need you
Don't wanna kiss you, but I need to
You do me wrong now, my love is strong now
You've really got a hold on me
(You really got a hold on me)
You really got a hold on me
(You really got a hold on me)

Baby, I love you and all I want you to do
Is just hold me, hold me, hold me, hole me
Tighter, tighter

I wanna leave you, don't wanna stay here
Don't wanna spend another day here
I wanna split now, I can't quit now
You've really got a hold on me
(You really got a hold on me)
You really got a hold on me
(You really got a hold on me)

Baby, I love you and all I want you to do
Is just hold me, hold me, hold me, hole me
(Please, squeeze)

You really got a hold on me
(You really got a hold on me)
I said you really got a hold on me
(I said you really got a hold on me)
You know, you really got a hold on me
(You know, you really got a hold on me)
You know, you really got a hold on me
(You know, you really got a hold on me)

I said you really got a hold on me
(I said you really got a hold on me)
You know, you really got a hold on me
(You know, you really got a hold on me)
Track Name: Willie Wisely Trio - Potatoe Chips (Rathskeller '92)
Potato chips
How my mouth just drips
Potato chips
How my mouth just drips (drip)
Crunch, don’t bring lunch
All I want is chips (bring it down)

Potato chips
Potato chips
Drip, crunch, munch, munch, crunch, crunch

Potato chips
How my mouth just drips
Potato chips
How my mouth just drips
Crunch, crunch, don’t bring lunch
All I want is my chips

How my mouth just drips
Potato chips
How my mouth just drips
Crunch, crunch, don’t bring lunch
All I want is my chips

It doesn’t matter where you are
You can always find a bag around
In a bar or a picinic
In a baseball ground

How my mouth just drips
Potato chips
How my mouth just drips
Crunch, crunch, don’t bring lunch
All I want is my chips

It doesn’t matter where you are
You can always find a bag around
In a bar or a picinic
In a baseball

Chips
How my mouth just drips
Drippy, crunchy…
Crunch, crunch, don’t bring lunch
All I want is my chips