|Grammas Back Door - Discography|
Grammas Back Door has produced 5 and a half CDs (four of which were originally cassette tapes, the half is unfinished), newest to oldest:
Links from song titles will take you to the song page, where you will see the lyrics (if it's not an instrumental), and can download the MP3 version of the song (if there is one). You can also find some highlights and breakdown by genre at the main song page.
These songs have been gathered together here today to pay tribute to our dear, departed Gramma. This is the album that never was, originally tentatively titled Sik [Sic] Six, but here given a more fitting moniker. Grammas last gasp included:
Cashmere, Mindful, That Kind, Bien Agiter, Consolation Prize, Of Love, The Bitter End, and East Texas (Reprise).
In a startling break with tradition, Grammas Back Door presents an album with a title that has no reference to alcohol! Oh, yeah; and it is a CD not a tape. This represents a huge leap forward in cheaply-available digital audio production facilities. Yes, for the price of a mediocre sound card and a CD writer, you too can appear more professional.
These songs were all previously released, but have been re-mixed and re-mastered direct-to-digital, as people who like hyphens often say. The songs which got the nod were:
I Know I Don't Know (Plugged & Angry), Claire, Tell Me Something I Don't Know, The Carrot Song, #1 With a Bullet, Lone Star Stomp, Anecdoting (Over You), If I Woke Up, Emma, HWY 69, All I Can Think, I Like Women, Beelzebitch (Ballad for a Rich Man), Happy Guy, I Remember, That Was Now, The Devil Made Us Do It, East Texas, [Your Name Here], and I Know I Don't Know (Unplugged, Sour & Bitter).
Grammas Back Door is reminder of a simpler time, and child-like naïveté. It represents a warm, safe place, free from concerns like proper spelling and use of the apostrophe in the possessive case.
But there is a dark side to Grammas Back Door, a threshold where the innocence of youth meets the bitter experience of age. A lot of things have come and gone through Grammas Back Door over the years, and not all of them were pretty or pleasant.
These songs from the first four Grammas Back Door tapes were carefully selected, in part to capture this duality, but mostly to stay within the 74 minutes available on a CD. The result is 73 minutes and 35 seconds of our most fitting music.
The tracks originally appeared on:
I'm Drunk, He's Drunken - I Know I Don't Know (Plugged & Angry), Tell Me Something I Don't Know, The Carrot Song, #1 With a Bullet, Emma
I'm Drunken, He's Drunk - HWY 69, All I Can Think, Beelzebitch (Ballad for a Rich Man), That Was Now, The Devil Made Us Do It, [Your Name Here]
Still Life, With Bottle - Lone Star Stomp, Anecdoting (Over You), I Like Women, East Texas, I Know I Don't Know (Unplugged, Sour & Bitter)
Stirred, Not Shaken - Claire, If I Woke Up, Happy Guy, I Remember
More things GBD, including lyrics, can be found in the primordial soup du jour that is the World Wide Web: http://web.weirdways.com/gbd
Grammas Back Door would like to thank all the women who have loved us, or at least slept with us, or maybe just looked at us, or seemed to. Also many thanks to the brewers, distillers, and growers who made it possible for us to believe those women might be looking at us.
All songs Copyright 1994-1998 Bruce Armstrong and John R. MacMillan
Yeah, okay, so we ripped off part of the liner notes from the home web page. It's our material, we're allowed to plagiarise it.
Finished up in the wee hours of 1998, but mostly recorded in 1997, this tape is a return to Gramma's core family values: humour, drinking, and romantic angst. The humour comes in several varieties: some lyrical, some as a result of an odd juxtaposition of music with lyrics, and some because my love life is just so damn pathetic it's funny.
Included on the tape is a `hidden bonus track' (which is certainly not hidden, and may not be a bonus, depending on your tastes). This was done mock the current loathsome trend towards sticking unlisted songs after several minutes of silence on CDs. These really piss me off (sorry, Moe) because at best they're inconvenient, and at worst insulting. Do they think you have to be especially clever to notice that your CD player is still playing even though no sound is coming out? Or that anyone will find this in any way interesting after the first time they play the disc? But I digress...
The cover photo, designed and shot by Alison Finlay and Rich McMullin, gives a hazy glimpse into the life of Grammas Back Door. Taken at Rich's cottage over New Year, it shows the lyricist with a rye and coke in front of his face, and the musician's right arm and left hand. That's Fred that the hand is holding.
One more digression of a pedantic alcoholic nature: a martini is a drink made with gin and vermouth. It is not just any drink in a trendy lounge bar that is served in a cocktail glass (sometimes called a martini glass). The garnish may vary, but the basic drink ingredients do not. `Vodka Martini' is an oxymoron, `Chocolate Martini' is a heresy.
WARNING: WE REALLY HOPE THIS WILL OFFEND SOMEONE
- Little Tex, for staying
- Still Thanking:
- Women, for inspiration
- New Thanks:
- Lars, James & the boys for the snarls
Neil, for the Shots (outright, blatant & intentional plagiarism)
Dino, for the `Somebody' line
Moe, for being even more S&B than us - he's had a lot of girlfriends
- Alison Finlay & Rich McMullin
- We don't drink martinis of any agitation method
This tape was a longer labour of love than the first two. It was written and recorded in 1995, but the final mix was not complete until early 1996; something about falling in love and getting married seems to slow down the production (though I've noticed that falling in love and breaking up seems to speed up production, at least on the lyrics side).
`Still Life, With Bottle' marks a few breakthroughs for Grammas Back Door. We realized that instead of a 90-minute tape with songs we don't like, it would be better to do a 60-minute tape with songs we do. It also marks the appearance of real cover art, by an authentic artist named Alison Finlay whom our friend Rich met on a bus. (Seriously, she is a great artist, even if she can't spell `Grammas' and was foolish enough to be associated with GBD.) And it contains our first cover version of one of our own songs (a sour and bitter, unplugged version of I Know I Don't Know, as opposed to the loud and angry version on `I'm Drunk, He's Drunken').
The production quality continues to improve; this is the best sounding of the first three tapes by far. It also contains what are in my opinion some of our best songs. But to be honest, it lacks some of the diversity and humour value of the earlier works.
WARNING!! WE WANTED THIS TO BE MORE OFFENSIVE
John didn't play much other than the drum track on A Symbol since he was busy drinking.
Bruce stayed relatively sober (which explains a lot).
Artwork: Alison Finlay
Thanks East Texas for coming back.
Thanks Lee Lowis for the light.
Other Thanks To:
Women for inspiration
Bo & JJ for the grooves
Lynchberg, TN., Quaddy Winery, CA.
Rich for cooking (where's the cover??)
We still need endorsements and black [sic] tapes. Give this to a friend (or enemy??)
Written and recorded in late 1994, Bruce continued at his breakneck speed. (Well, no necks got broken, but I think a few strings did.) This was originally a 90-minute tape, and was both better and worse than the first tape. Better in that the production quality had improved and some of the songs were much better, but worse in that some of the songs sucked. Really, there were a few even we couldn't listen to. So in early 1998, Bruce went back and re-recorded a few parts, re-mixed and re-mastered, and came up with a 60-minute tape that is much more palatable. He also added the cover photo at that time, a picture of what would one day grow up to be Grammas Back Door. My mother took the photo on a 110 Kodak Instamatic (which helps explain the image quality), probably sometime around 1978.
The information below reflects the 1998 re-mix. For the curious, the songs that disappeared were On My Side (The 2nd Law), Paper Umbrellas, Bad Aptitude, If You Shave Your Hair, The Love Song (sorry Christina), and Season's Greetings. This last was cut (I think) not so much because it was lousy as because it was probably our singularly most sick and disgusting tune. I'm sure we must have thought it was funny at the time; maybe I'm getting old and sensitive, but I cringe a bit when I hear it now.
WARNING!! THIS WILL OFFEND EVEN THOSE WHO WERE NOT OFFENDED BY `I'M DRUNK, HE'S DRUNKEN'.
John MacMillan played more stuff this time, some bass, some voice (the rumbly low stuff) and some cheese-free percusso-gadget.
Blame Bruce Armstrong for the rest.
Thanks to Women for inspiration
Thanks Hiram Walker, South American Vintners, Sleemans Brewery, Camille & Murray, whoever makes Doritoes
Thanks Buddy, Holly, and JJ for the harp licks
Bruce and John would love to accept any instrument / accessory / alcohol endorsements; we need guitar strings too.
Annette is not her real name.
Written in early 1994 and recorded in Bruce's parents' basement, this 90-minute tape is where it all began. The production quality was not great, as Bruce played around with all his new gear, but on the upside the novelty value is high. This is probably the most diverse and in some ways most entertaining of the tapes, if not the `best'.
The songs appeared on the tape in the order they were done, so Tell Me Something I Don't Know is really the first Grammas Back Door song. It can also be seen only three songs into the project why John doesn't sing on the rest of the tape. The tape also had a song called Grammas From Hell, a backward song with forward not-so-subliminal messages, that (mercifully) disappeared when the tape became a CD.
WARNING!! THERE IS SOMETHING HERE TO OFFEND EVERYONE
All performances by Bruce Armstrong except:
Vocal on Skinny Butt Blues: John MacMillan
Special guest vocal on Tell Me Something I Don't Know: Lurlene
Thanks to FZ for YAHONZA sideways
Thanks Mom & Dad for the basement
Thanks to Women for inspiration
Bruce Armstrong plays too many guitars, and he can't get his amp past 3.
John MacMillan uses Flexgrip pens and whatever hardware works.