Originally published in 2015 - Watershed returns to Comfest June 24th, 2017. Click here for details on that show and other gigs.
Day 4 (Songs 33-23)
Youth Is Confusion (33): Very strong song. Love the screaming background vocals on the original live version. “Youth Is!”
Joe O. - This song rocks pretty hard, which is impressive considering that it essentially borrows the structure of a "Cathy" comic strip. Except in "Cathy" it would be: "Middle age is (insert something about cats, cupcakes, or chocolate)."
Colin G. - Jim Steinman loved this song. Never should have been first track on original 3 Chords because the live version kinda sucked but... listening to the studio track it holds up well. Surprisingly, so do the lyrics which were written so long ago and we were even dumber than we are now, if that is possible.
Old School! Watershed from Ruby Tuesdays sometime around 1893.
The Habit (32): Great lyrics and definitely qualifies as one of the greatest songs ever under two minutes.
Joe O. - Lose the wanky, over-indulgent, noodling guitar solo and you could get this song down to 1:30. By the way, everything over 3:00 in most songs is excess fat. I say 2:50 is the ideal length for a song, which, coincidentally or not, is the length of both "Obvious" and "5th of July." Hmmm. I wonder where Nick has those two songs ranked.
Colin G. - Cut in one take after a million beers at 3 am. That funky part in the middle was planned. Sure it was.
Words We Say (31): This likely would have been a lot lower on the list, but after seeing Colin perform it acoustic in Raleigh and hearing his live version from Cleveland, it got bumped up. If any of you haven’t heard that live CD from the Springsteen fanfest, you are missing out. Great stuff.
Joe O. - Great lyrics. This is the recording session that brought Joe "Schroeder" Peppercorn into the mix.
Colin G. - Was recorded with Watershed but then we went on a hiatus so Joe could write some book about some band so it ended up on my first solo CD. Finally ended up on Brick and Mortar.
Something Wrong (30): “You say this town is too small, you big shit / You call it a cow town, oh how you milk it” is genius. And any song that mentions Ace Frehley is OK by me. I love the venom flowing and the bitterness. Fabulous song.
Joe O. - This is a song from back when we worried about "credibility" and "the scene" and "being cool" and all that crap that only matters when you're young and don't know any better.
Ricki C. - Absolutely one of my top 20 favorite Watershed songs, and only Watershed would bury it as a hidden bonus track on the reissue of Star Vehicle, rather than save it up for the next record. (But then again, in 1996, who knew WHEN the next Watershed record was gonna be?) I LOVE "us against them" songs, and "regular guys" vs. "hipsters" is one of my favorite topics, or hadn't Pencilstorm readers noticed?
The #1 Killer (29): “You crawl into a bottle and try and swallow all that pain” is so freaking brilliant.
Joe O. - Yep. Excellent title and true sentiment. We should play this one more.
Ricki C. - Great mysteries of our time: 1) The disappearance of that Malaysian airliner. 2) The continued popularity/existence of the Republican Party and Fox News. 3) How this song and "Sweet Kisses/Bitter Scars" were left off regular Watershed records.
Colin G. - So Ricki has to bring up politics and cut our meager audience in half yet again. Are we sitting by a hotel pool in Atlanta? As for the why, some songs just don't fit some records. This tune is best served kinda jammy and we never had the stomach to follow through on that sort of song. As much as we loved Crazy Horse, #1 Killer was always a 3rd set, late night barn-party type of song for us. It probably deserved/deserves better but whatever.
Slowly Then Suddenly (28): I really love the heavy metal slide guitar in the middle of the tune. The drums also kick some serious butt.
Joe O. - Colin stole the title from F. Scott Fitzgerald, and I ran with the lyrics from there. How the hell did we work a Bo Diddley beat into a punk song? This might be Dave Masica's shining moment on drums – especially on the live version from Three Chords II.
Colin G. - We had been working on this all day when Tim asked, "What is the title of this again?" "Slowly Then Suddenly." "Oh I get it. Very clever. But nobody else is going to understand what the hell you are singing about. So at the end why don't you just add a part where you sing 'Slowly Then Suddenly' over and over?" Watch this!
I’d Be A Liar (27): Another song that would have been a great fit for “The Fifth of July.” Just a quick, easy listen that is full of energy.
Joe O. - A quick, easy listen? Who are we, Loggins and freaking Messina? Michael McDonald? Watershed goes Yacht Rock? Come on, Nick. There's nothing easy about this song. The drums hit like a mule kick. And the line: "I wouldn't cheat my friend at playing cards, but cheating on you, honey, ain't that hard" is brutal. Can you imagine Michael McDonald singing that? Listen here!
Sweet Kisses/Bitter Scars (26): When I learned this song was dropped from “The More It Hurts, The More It Works” I was shocked. This is a great song that has a different sound in a great way. Should have been a hit.
Joe O. - Whenever this song makes it into the live set, I can tell it's going to be a good show. I don't know if this should have been a hit, but it sure is fun to play.
Colin G. This video clip pretty much sums it up. Click here.
Nightshade (25): “Sipping cappuccino / well that’s just $3 coffee” ... just wonder what the folks at Colin’s Coffee say to that? Of note, I have never had a cup of coffee in my life. As a kid, I did a taste of coffee ice cream at Baskin Robbins and was so grossed out that I never have had the urge. Thankfully, there was no IPA ice cream to try back then.
Joe O. - Fun Facts: 1. I wrote these lyrics in a booth at the Blue Danube. 2. I stole "Go to hell" jacket and tie from Tom Wolfe. 3. When Twister came out, a critic slammed this song for the line "I bet you're uptown with the art school crowd, writing poetry that doesn't rhyme," saying that we were anti-intellectual. 4. That critic should have slammed us for the line "I spend my time waiting (wading?) in tears." 5. A good friend of ours had the line "It's better to die when you've got everything to live for" tattooed on himself. 6. That friend later died in a car accident, way too young, proving definitively that no, it's not better. It's not better at all. 7. Maybe these facts aren't so fun.
Mercurochrome (24): Fun song. The live version also is great, but not enough to elevate it into the top 20.
Joe O. - When I was a kid my mom always used to put this junk on my cuts and scrapes, and, as everyone whose mom did the same thing to them knows, it stung like hell. She called it "the ouchy medicine" and said that the sting was how you could tell that stuff was doing its job. I was fascinated by that idea, that the short term hurt was supposed to take away the even bigger long term hurt. I guess this song extends that concept to suicide, but really, unless you're in Cheap Trick or under the age of 20, you should have long stopped writing songs about suicide.
Ricki C. - Nick, COME ON, number 24, "Mercurochrome," seriously? Absolutely Top Ten Watershed here, even without the brilliant Watershed live tactic of injecting another entire song into the middle of the tune. I remember all the times I was just another audience member (before I was a roadie) when Colin & Joe and the guys would launch into a little number from The Kinks, Johnny Thunders, etc. during the break and I - along with the rest of the crowd - would forget they hadn't even finished "Mercurochrome" yet, and then they would ROAR back into the last chorus. One of the ten most brilliant live act stage-bits I have ever witnessed.
Here we go, footage that would make Ricki C proud.
One-Word Title (23): I’m a words guy (being a journalist for 22 years will do that) and this song with its great rhyming is one of my favorites by the band. “You make success feel like a disaster” is so true.
Joe O. - Another song that takes a dig at the hipster bands ("poster boys for the post-punk smart set") that seemed to get more critical attention than us. In fact, writing lyrics in a booth at the Blue Danube was probably me trying to do what I thought these same hipster bands did. I like the cool stuff I was able to squeeze into the words of this song, especially Ohio Blue-tip matches (strike anywhere!) and switchblade combs. Do they still sell either of those things?
Colin G. - Geez Nick, kinda of a stretch here. Actually, maybe the worst rating yet. Sort of a catchy Paul Westerberg idea that we never bothered to finish or even ever play live more than once or twice. Better than Mercurochrome? Seriously? As for lost Watershed classics, "Little by Little" or "Therapy" are light years ahead of "One Word Title". It has promise, but we never came close on this one. Our bad.
No footage of this song. Click here to enjoy Watershed covering Cheap Trick's "Reach Out."