“You’re falling deeper and deeper asleep. Deeper and deeper asleep. Deeper and deeper asleep. And now, we’re going to turn back. We’re going to turn back through time and space. Just like turning back the pages in a book. Pages in an old, worn, favorite book.
And when I next talk to you… and when I next talk to you… and when I next talk to you… you will be three years old. You will be able to answer my questions. When I speak to you next, you will be three years old. And you will be able to answer all my questions.
Now… now you are three years old. Now, you are three years old. And you are still falling deeper and deeper. Now rest and relax. Rest and relax. Because you’re going to go even further back through space and time. We’re going back now to the time when you were six months old. We’re going back to the time when you were six months old. When I talk to you again you will be six months old.
Now… now you are just six months old. And you can still answer all of my questions. And you are still falling… falling… And I want you to keep going back and back and back in your mind. And surprising as it may seem, strange as it may seem, you find that there are hidden corners in your memory, obscure regions… far away lands and timeless places in your memory.
When I talk to you again… I talk to you again in a little while. I will talk to you again in a little while. But for now, your mind is going back and back and back… until, oddly enough, you find yourself in some other situation, in some other place, in some other time. Somewhere.
And when I talk to you again, you will be able to tell me about it. You will be able to talk to me about it, answer my questions about that brief interlude. But now rest and relax… rest and relax… while these remembrances come into your mind.
Now. Now, you’re going to tell me… what were the visions that came into your mind. Tell me. Tell me. Tell me now what you see.” (“Regression Session” by MC 900 Ft. Jesus).
There’s a lot of going back through space and time for a guy my age, and I always found this track to be doing exactly what it says, sending me back to distant decades, moments popping up like bubbles from the past, jumping from boulder to boulder by the seashore, watching Santa in a helicopter, picking raspberries in the forest, looking at movie posters with scary monsters on them, lots of small moments. Strangely enough I’m always by myself, and I can see myself as if the memory was one of looking at myself back then, from behind, watching what I was doing.
A few days ago, I went back just a few months, to when I last wrote something here. Seems ages ago. I felt like picking something that would fit the occasion. This whole 8000records thing is one gigantic regression session. Every record taken from the shelf sending me back to some time, some place, sometimes just a few days ago, sometimes as much as half a century.
Mark Griffin still has a sizable followership, and they keep up their hopes in sending him back to the 90s, to return to his unique way of telling stories, not caring much whether it’s the wacky ones about Bigfoot stealing his car, the creepy ones from inside the minds of killers and arsonists or the ones from his last album when he finally paired something that was close to Jazz with something that was very close to classic short stories.
Together with “New Moon” and “New Year’s Eve / Bill’s Dream”, this B-Side of “If I Only Had A Brain” forms some kind of trilogy, the music accompanying the stories (and even more the instrumental follow-up to “New Year’s Eve”, “Bill’s Dream”) feeling like masterful jam sessions based on the sound of Miles Davis’ “Shhh / Peaceful”, and no matter which of the stories is laid out on top of it, it always works just fine.
Oh, yes, you’re right, I keep talking about the B side of this 12″, not about the main event, “If I Only Had A Brain”. I keep wondering how all of this happened back then. “Welcome To My Dream” had been an unexpected success, and it seems obvious that American Recordings had signed Griffin in hopes of selling a lot of records and getting big time airplay on MTV.
Which would lead to a need that feels like it works against the whole idea of MC 900 Ft. Jesus. Hit singles. “If I Only Had A Brain” was one of the two tracks they had put their hopes on, “But If You Go” being the other one. Spike Jonze came in to direct the video, great choice of course, he was mostly busy shooting Beastie Boys videos that year, and the whole thing went quite well, with the single eventually being included on Billboard’s list of Top 25 Modern Rock Tracks.
And yet. When I rest and relax, go back in space and time, and look what might have gone on in my brain in those days when I watched MTV, seeing the video, hearing the lyrics, trying to connect to the 90s sound of the track – it feels like I might just have decided that this is not necessarily what I would have hoped for after “The City Sleeps” and “Killer Inside Me”. It will have worked fine for American Recordings. Did it work for Mark Griffin?
In my memory, I didn’t really connect enough to dig deeper. It would explain why it took me about seven years to discover the genius of “One Step Ahead Of The Spider”. To me, it clearly isn’t found in these two hit singles, it’s in the Jazz side of the album, along with the stories, a world that is so much deeper and so much more artistic, but yes, so very much not hit single material.
Sometimes I think about spending some money on having vinyl copies made of albums that I love and which have never seen a vinyl release. “One Step Ahead Of The Spider” is way up on that list, along with Black Gold 360’s “LM6iX”. I still have my hopes on some smart re-release label picking up on at least one of them. But my patience is wearing thin.
Why would that be important? No, it’s not DJing material, really, except for some weird bar in a strange part of town. That’s not the point. I just think that really great music should be on vinyl.
Release for review:
MC 900 FT. JESUS – IF I ONLY HAD A BRAIN / REGRESSION SESSION – American Recordings – 9 41554-0