Although reception for ‘LP1’ was delightful, this record did not garner such a favorable response. So let’s discuss: what the hell is this thing, and why is it so different from the first album?!?!
We had years to come up with material for the first album. All of our time together between that record and this one was spent in rehearsals and shows. A familiar story, for anyone who follows the life of band-people. About the time we were to come up with new stuff, we had a difficult separation from working with Knott. In light of this, it seemed appropriate for us to make an entire record that is a biographical tribute to him.
It starts with the early 1970’s, where a movement happened here in Southern California that ended up affecting all of us. Music and message were combined in a new way. If you listen and read through this album, you will see it progress from hippie to punk rock, new wave to alternative, and end with CUSH.
It is difficult to say how important Knott was to us. We grew up listening to Knott’s bands, going to see them play, and listening to the bands he was listening to, as well. He paved the way musically and artistically for so many, ourselves included. He interpreted the best of what was going on, and brought it to our slightly-younger ears at a time when options were few.
Although some of the lyrics refer to things that you would only know if you lived in this area at that time, you can still follow along if you are studious. There are references to timely popular culture, Knott’s own career music (Lifesavers, etc.), artists that we all shared a deep love for (like Echo and The Bunnymen), and places nearby where many late night gatherings took place (the Green Room studio, the Helm bar, etc.).
We were very fortunate to be able to be in a recording and performing group with Knott. It is rare that you get to play with a hero. Which made it even more uncomfortable when it became uncomfortable. Regardless, this record was intended to be a tribute to the fact that he is a living legend amongst us.
As for the recording itself, the last-minute shift to this concept album idea required all-new material. It was composed and recorded quickly, and it’s recklessness was intentional. Knott himself recorded this way, and his own records had this indelible spirit (with better songs). The first two songs have guitar strings being broken as part of the final moments of music, due to the furious nature of the performances. The styles are supposed to reflect their historical time frame, as well, which is why they sound so very different from ‘LP1’. The variety of vocalists was truer to the original idea of CUSH and, you must keep in mind that, for the core members of the CUSH coalition, doing something unexpected gives us a distinct thrill that has its heritage in our previous bands.
There are too many songs on this EP, for sure, but sorting through them with the lyrics and the above storyline in mind might be a bit more rewarding than it has been before.