Like many of them, this song sounded very different for a long time. It had a different electronic drumbeat, Clem banjitar and bass, weird flange-y sounds. It was pretty out there. And I could never get the chorus words right. Believe it or not, it once contained the word WALMART in it. I won't tell you how that fit in. I'll take that to the grave.
I hung with it because this is the song that would run incessantly in my head on those lovely days when I had all the time in the world to spend in the studio, working. It reminds me of driving down the embarcadero to the studio, looking forward to closing that door behind me and entering the dark, fairy-lit room. Just my brain and a bunch of instruments. Sometimes I'd just spend the whole weekend there, sleeping on the hard floor with some Zepparella shirts as a pillow, waking up every couple of hours to try a vocal or a guitar pass. It truly was the Clementine Kingdom. I would go insane for two days, then pull it back together on Sunday night, getting ready for the week. Jim Bove saw me a lot during that time; his room is across the hall and he was in a similar state with his great songs. http://www.myspace.com/spacehatch1 We had many raving conversations, they helped me through it all. He's an amazing musician.
Going in to the final recording, the song just wasn't where it should be musically. I really wanted Ted Savarese, one of my favorite singer/songwriter/guitarists, to play on my record, and it became apparent that this was the song for him. If it was a perfect day, Ted would be there. He is the most supportive guy in the world and having him play on my record was like someone sprinkling a little magic spell over it for me. http://www.myspace.com/tedcsavarese (Isn't it funny that both guitarists on the record are vegan? Yay animals! That balances out Rob's crispy duck fetish.)
I laid down a new electronic drum track, it felt more lounge-y and sparkly. Recorded a scratch vocal and the backing vocals to give Ted two different melodic ideas to work from. Less than an hour in the studio, he nailed it. Of course. As Rob said, Ted can't play anything wrong. It's not in his DNA.
I feel a little bad for the Fuck the Kingdom lines. I never really condone tuning out and not being a part of the solution. But on those days, I didn't want to be pulled into reality. My escape was fleeting and temporary and necessary, and I wish for everyone in the world days in which they are sole master of their kingdoms.