Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Evolution of a Grifters Song

I was late to discover the Grifters. In the process of acquiring records by the Grifters and Dave Shouse's subsequent bands, I found several versions of one of my favorite songs, "Spaced Out". The song first appeared on the final Grifters album, 1997's Full Blown Possession. Later I found a version on a Darla Records compilation that was credited to Those Bastard Souls, but which was in fact Dave Shouse singing and accompanying himself on electric guitar, which leads me to wonder if it may have been recorded as a demo prior to the Grifters album.

Those Bastard Souls: Spaced Out

Below is the version I heard first and still love best, from Full Blown Possession. There are a number of Grifters songs in 3/4 time (or maybe 6/8, I never understood the difference), which gives them a sort of old-timey feel (despite the druggy lyrics). In my mind, I can make a mashup of this song by grafting on the synth line from the Who's "Love, Reign O'er Me". Not that the song needs anything more.

The Grifters: Spaced Out

Those Bastard Souls was originally a vehicle for Dave Shouse's home recordings, as documented on the excellent album 20th Century Chemical (1996). Shouse recruited a band to tour and record with, and the results are documented on the second Those Bastard Souls album, Debt and Departure (1999). Shouse reworks several of the songs from 20th Century Chemical, and he revisits "Spaced Out" as a piano ballad, which opens up the rhythm but makes the song so somber as to become pretentious. Debt and Departure is a lot like the first few Paul Westerberg solo albums. (Don't turn up the volume, wait til the piano starts.)

Those Bastard Souls: Spaced Out

Dave Shouse now leads the synth-heavy Bloodthirsty Lovers. I respect the man's talents, and I love his voice. I'm not going to be one of those fans who whines about the Grifters breaking up, especially since I missed out on them when they were together. But I do wish he would step away from the keyboard and bring back the rock.


At 3/11/2006 4:25 AM , Anonymous coworker said...

hi jon... my name was jon too...

i was 'lucky' enough to live in memphis right at the grifters heyday... they were really best live,,,

lovely song, i'd never heard that last version, but had imagined doing something like it myself... well now i can focus on 'eureka'... afterall, i did see the aftermath of the fatal carcrash that song is about...


At 3/14/2006 3:57 PM , Blogger jon manyjars said...

I didn't know "Eureka" was about a fatal car crash. It's a great song, and if you do a version of it I would love to hear it! If I ever do a mashup of "Spaced Out" and "Love Reign O'er Me", I will post it for you.


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