Klassic Detholz! Demo: “Cinema Verite”

Welcome to Detholz! Mp3 Blog, Episode XVI!

Today we continue our stroll down memory lane with an old, decrepit Detholz! B-side:

CINEMA VERITE

I don’t recall the exact date of conception, but I’d guess the vintage is from late summer 2002. This was among a wave of songs penned after the release of “Who Are The Detholz!?” that share the painful nerdiness of that period, which we had yet to shed at that point. [“Who Are The Detholz!” = Detholz! first LP, released in 2001 (out of print). If you’re curious, it’s available for download on our website: www.detholz.com ] In fact, given its jerky style and musical whirligigs, “Cinema” could have easily fit with the other zitty paens to unbridled dorkdom on “WATDH!?”

This song enjoyed a year or so in the limelight of Detholz! live set rotation, and as I remember it, the little music-school gnomes inside of us enjoyed playing this one a lot. Given the consistently lukewarm response from audiences– and as we began adding better songs, some of which ended up “Cast Out Devils” (“Spectacula” and “IMA Believer” were written during this period)– we retired “Cinema” sometime in 2003. [“Cast Out Devils” = 2nd Detholz! LP, released 2006, NOT out of print and available for download and/or on compact disc at detholz.com!]

The vocal delivery on this track is embarrassingly dorky. This was recorded long before I had discovered that one shouldn’t to try so hard when recording vocals.

Speaking of which, as you recordists know, vocals are usually the toughest thing to get right on record. The reason the vocals sound so tense and strained on “Cinema” is because I was overcompensating for colossal vocal problems we’d had the year before. We had recorded nearly ALL of the vocals for “Who Are The Detholz!?” with picture-perfect precision– a process that took many, many weeks– before we discovered that picture-perfect precision can transform even the greatest song ever committed to tape into an insufferable bore. We scrapped ALL of the vocals and redid them with one- or two-take passes, and it saved the record… well, heh, such as it is.

The lyrics to “Cinema” are also an almost total miss. I’ve always felt like a fish out of water when writing lyrics over the years– I’m a musician, not a poet, Captain!– so a few of these old Detholz! songs are real dogs lyrically, and this is one of ’em. The lyrical miss I shan’t ever live down is a song the rest of the band STILL mercilessly teases me for: “Time Traveling Peterbilt Semi.” *shudder*

“Peterbilt Semi” got one spin at a Chicago show and was received so poorly that it was downright laughable. It was deep-sixed posthaste.

Anyway, enough of this self deprecation. There are parts of this song that work really well, and parts that don’t. In all it suffers from what will likely be graven in stone as my epitaph: “HE TRIED TOO HARD.”

I’d be curious to hear what you all think.

Tune in next week for another B-side from the bottom of the VORTECS Corporation’s circular file!

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10 Responses to “Klassic Detholz! Demo: “Cinema Verite””

  1. Jim Says:

    I’m lovin’ the old B-sides, Cooper. The real dorky stuff is what hooked me right off the bat. These wild expressions of musical acrobatics gets me pumped. I’m listening to this for the first time at work, so I can’t hear the lyrics yet, but I’m digging the hyperactivity that the instrumentation and vocal performance exude. Do you have a recorded version of Time Traveling Peterbilt Semi, and if so, were you planning on posting it? You know, for the sake of the die hards.

    Oh, and Who Are the Detholz is a beautiful album.
    I’m a dork.

  2. bp Says:

    I must say, the little music-school gnome inside of me enjoyed listening to that one a lot, because, you know, “I don’t listen to the lyrics”. At least I didn’t this time. (Is that the same thing as saying, “I only read the articles”?) I do remember this one from shows past, so thanks for the nostalgic rush of a geekier detholz era!

  3. detholz Says:

    Jim: Well, as you know, I’ll always be a dork at heart as well. It doesn’t pay to try to shed it– you just end up looking more dorky! Viva la Unbridled Dorkdom!

    There was a demo for “Semi” that unfortunately was nuked– along with a lot of other old deep cuts– on a hard drive that recently went down in flames. I’ve asked an old DH! confidante to send me copies of older demo recordings, so hopefully I’ll be posting some more DH!-die-hard-friendly material forthwith.

    BP: Your comment made me laugh aloud– I DO think there’s a correlation between those of us that focus on music in rock ‘n roll and those of us that focus on “the articles” when reading Asses of Fire magazine.

    Though the older I get, the more of lyrics person I have become. I recently turned a corner in my lifelong aversion to all things Bob Dylan. Despite churning out music that I’ve always considered sub-standard and overrated, the man knows the deep magic of an effective turn of phrase.

    His is an interesting case in that regard. The lyrics truly make the music, and the more I listen to him, the more fascinating that relationship becomes.

  4. Jim Says:

    Yeah…I didn’t listen to the lyrics once I got it into my van. The music is just so good. Articles all the way. I’m sure they’re very nice. Sorry.

  5. Amy Says:

    Nerdiness is part of the Detholz! charm.

    You’re right about the vocal delivery, though. Trying a little too hard.

    Dylan kicks ass. I discovered him last year — inadvertantly heard some vintage live performance stuff, and was hooked.

  6. kebabdylan Says:

    i still can’t get into dylan. yes he can turn a phrase but the music is just so boring to me.

    there are some truly great moments in this song. I am not much of a lyrics person over all (as a songwriter, my only goal with lyrics is to “not sound stupid”).

    two notes, there is at least one live version of this song on emusic.com and DJ or myself probably have peterbuilt somewhere.

    also, if you need content for the blog, I would love for you to pick your least favorite track off who are the detholz and your favorite track of that album and blog about this. Which all the trash you talk about that album, it would be an interesting read

  7. detholz Says:

    Jim: What are you doing with my poor song in your van?

    Pervert.

    Amy: I’m still easing into Bob Dylan. I’m frankly pretty wary since a cult of personality seems to follow in his wake and, as Kebabs points out above, music takes a back seat in the Dylan Ethos. Plus, he stuck it to Joan Baez, and she seems like such a nice lady!

    ‘Bab: Yeah, I’d second that emotion. That’s why I’ve never bothered with him before now. The Dylan Ethos is not about the music, though. If you listen to what he has to say, actually, the straightforward music shores up a Dylan Pathos, which I find appealing and intriguing.

    Also would proffer that you music geeks out there ought to yank your heads out of the sand a little and focus on lyrics, if you’re writing songs with vocals. Nothing can assassinate your music more efficiently than weak lyrics.

    Here’s an example of some of my favorite bad lyrics, from the Bee Gees song, “World,” from their pseudo-psychedelic period:

    “Now
    I’ve found
    that the world is round
    and of course it rains everyday.

    Living tomorrow,
    where in the world will I be tomorrow?
    How far am I able to see?
    Or am I needed here?”

    Hoo, nelly! I’d love to hear a live version of “peterbilt.” We only played it once @ the Double Door many moons ago– a terrible performance that was horribly received!

    I don’t mean to shit all over what we’ve recorded in the past, ‘Bab. “Who Are The Detholz!?” holds its rightful place in DH! history, and definitely has its moments. It’s directly responsible for building a faithful legion of DH! supporters– many of whom, like you, still take an active interest in the band. All of us in DH! are very grateful!

    “Sunburned in the Sun” STILL holds the band title for best Detholz! song ever, at least last time we discussed it. There is an unreleased B-side recorded by the full band for “WRTDH!?” that I’ve thought about posting here… might win the prize for my least favorite track.

    I know Ben [DH! bassist] has a special distaste for “Scientific Eye” — even at the time, he campaigned vigorously that we leave it off. In retrospect, he was probably right!

  8. kebabdylan Says:

    sunburned is my all time favourite dh song as well. I still remember getting chills the first time I heard it.

    I would be with rebirth control as maybe the weakest on the disc.

    There is a live version of Cinema Verite, not peterbuilt but I think dj does have that song somewhere.

    speaking of bad lyrics, I have an unfinished song for years ago called “the strength to be strong” taken from a particularly bad christina aguleara (sp) ballad.

    my other favourite is “only time will tell if we can stand the test of time” –van halen. the alteration seals the deal for me

  9. Jim Says:

    Am I hearing all of this correctly?! Rebirth Control and Scientific Eye are HUGE favorites of mine off of that album. Man, I’m not that out of touch am I? I would at least say that maybe Robot Insurrection Hymn seems the most arbitrary. Fitting with the whole robots and space thing, and the harmonies are tight, but Rebirth Control? Really?

    And your poor song is fine, Jim. I even made it breakfast in the morning.

  10. detholz Says:

    ‘Bab: I remember at the time we wrote Rebirth Control, I was WAY into playing that song. It had a long, illustrious shelf life in those early shows from 1999 – 2002 or so.

    It’s funny, we dragged it out in rehearsal about a year and a half ago (I think) just for shits and giggles and everyone in the band was, like, “Unghh….!”

    We promptly returned it to the dustbin.

    Jim: To quote a wise man I know: “Stretch out with your FEELINGS.”

    You are in touch with your own taste. Taste is unassailable and unarguable.

    Speaking for myself, I’m just glad someone somewhere out there still gets something out of those old songs– it’s kind of thrilling, honestly.

    One of the crowning moments of my music career thus far was when a violinist from NW University showed up to one of those scrappy early DH! shows at Underground Lounge (pre-Jon Steinmeier era, even!), and informed me that he and his girlfriend had listened to one of our demo discs on infinite repeat on a recent road trip.

    I am going to reveal my reluctant but deep-seated idealism for a moment. As I was discussing with Abraham from Baby Teeth last week, one cannot be a musician and NOT be an idealist:

    The highest compliment a songwriter can be paid is to have his/her music incorporated into someone else’s day-to-day experience. Seriously.

    To have a total stranger interacting with your music, or even just having it playing in the background, enhancing a mood or situation, is mysterious and magical.

    Nor do I take it likely. So, Jim, I’m thrilled that these songs have meant something to you over the years. And that goes for everyone that’s come to DH! shows, bought our records, reads the blog, etc.

    I speak for all of the band when I say: we DEEPLY appreciate all of you!

    Thank you!

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