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Watershed Rankings Day 5 (Songs 22-12) by Nick Jezierny

 

Originally published in 2015 - Watershed returns to Comfest June 24th, 2017. Click here for details on that show and other gigs

Day 5 (Songs 22-12) 

Click here to read Watershed Rankings Day 4 (songs 33-23)

 

If That’s How You Want It (22): The original version on Twister is a good song. It just lacks the balls of the remake on Star Vehicle. It’s like Jim Steinman overproduced it. It’s the only song on Twister that sounds like it is being held back.

Joe O. - Nah, Steinman didn't hold this one back. What held it back on Twister is that it was really new, and we didn't know how to play it yet. When we went into the studio to record it, I don't think we'd ever played it live. But by the time we re-recorded it for Star Vehicle, we'd been playing it for two years, so we decided to give the song the performance it deserved. 

Colin G. - Listening now, both versions sound pretty much the same to these ears. Good song though. Maybe we should recut for the third time charm. We must have played this every night for about ten years and then we just sorta stopped. Go figure. Couldn't help but watch the video below. Why is the dude taping stuck on Joe while it's obvious I am doing a bunch of exciting shit off-screen? Also of note, Joe has two waters on amp, I have one Bud and one water. Johnny Thunders would not approve.

Watch this! "If That's How You Want It" in all of its glory at the Newport Music Hall in 2000.

 

 

You Need Me (21): The thunderous drums are awesome. Really got to appreciate this song hearing it live at Slim’s on a Sunday afternoon while drinking cheap canned beer.

Joe O. - I like the way the line runs up the back of the stockings. I've always liked those kind of high heels too. You know, I... No no no no, don't take 'em off, don't take... Leave 'em on, leave 'em on. Yeah, that's it, a little more to the right, a little more....Everybody wants some. I want some too.

Colin G. - I know, right? And the crazy thing is: 1) We weren't influenced by "Everybody Wants Some." Wasn't even on our radar.  We were going for some kind of Bob Mould meets Cheap Trick thing as crazy as that sounds and 2) Nobody ever once said, "Hey guys, ya know, that sounds a lot like Van Halen." It wasn't until years later we actually noticed. A big shiny acoustic guitar was recorded to make it sound more like the band Sugar but it got lost in the mix. So yeah, I kinda do like the way the line runs up the back of your stockings

Watch this! You guys don't seriously want to watch ANOTHER youtube clip of Watershed performing "You Need Me" do you? Yeesh, that shit was played out years ago. How about State of Green covering "You Need Me?" That's the stuff.

 

Plan B (20): “Working on a Sunday night / Something didn’t go right” and “When you get to be my age, you shouldn’t be wearing a name tag” are yet another example of great songwriting. “I was going to write short fiction stories and now I’m writing bad checks just to pay for my groceries” also deserves recognition.

Joe O. - One of the best ever songs about what happens when the dream doesn't work out. This is essentially a precursor to Hitless Wonder.

Ricki C. - As a product of Catholic school in the 1960's - where I was smacked by nuns on a semi-regular basis - I've always been a stickler for good grammar in all instances, including rock & roll songs.  That being said, "It was funner when we were younger," is one of my favorite Colin lyrics of all time.  And the fact that he wrote it in his twenties makes it even better, though I have the uneasy feeling that line rings a lot truer in Colin's 40's (and my 60's) than it did then.

Colin G. - Considering Nick's aversion to our darker songs, I'm pleasantly surprised by this ranking. I think most everybody would agree this is a pretty cool song and also that it is virtually unplayable in any format of radio then and now. Thanks to Frank Aversa for giving it a shot on Star Vehicle. Also of note, if Pearl Jam wrote and recorded it, "Plan B" would be one of their five most popular songs. no?

Watch this! From Slim's in Raleigh.

 

How Do You Feel (19): This song has hit single written all over it, except for it was about a minute too long.

Joe O. - This is the song that got us our deal with Epic. It was a hit, kind of, in Chicago and Appleton, WI. Hearing this song played in drive-time on a big Chicago radio station is definitely one of the career highlights.

Colin G. - We did learn from mistakes other bands from Columbus made in the sense that we knew "How Do You Feel?" was the single and we didn't try set it up with something else or down-play it. Let's dance with who brung us and dance we did. It didn't work out, but at least it had it's chance. It always reacted great. It never failed. It just never succeeded. Nick's right though, it is too long.

Watch this. Promo video for "How Do You Feel?"

 

 

Lucky Day (18): If someone said to play a song that sounds like Watershed, this would be a candidate. I think it encompasses the greatness of the band.

Joe O. - I wrote these lyrics while camping on a beach in Sayulita, Mexico. Not much to complain about in a situation like that - except, you know, all the sunshine and sand. 

Colin G. - Dave Masica is a world class drummer and this track proves it.

Watch this! Click here to watch Lucky Day at Columbus Arts Festival 2013

or

Watch this! Video shot 8 hours and 5,000 beers after 5th of July video.

 

 

American Muscle (17): Brilliant word play in this song. The first few times I heard it I wasn’t necessarily a fan, but once I dissected the song, it became easy to love.

Joe O. - This is us trying to do a persona song, where you sing as a character that's clearly not you. (Ray Davies is the best ever at this.) I give myself a pat on the back for working the Davos World Economic Forum into a song. And, of course, for rhyming rupees with groupies.

Colin G. - Only Joe O. could write this song. And only Watershed would encourage him to keep going.  A rock song about bankers? Hells, yeah. Peppercorn and Landolt really fleshed out the vision and extra special thanks to Jerry from O.A.R. for putting together the horn section and just killing it.

Watch this! American Muscle Video

 

 

Anniversary (16): Songwriting is fantastic. The live version is spectacular. As I type this, I wonder how the hell this isn’t in the top 10?

Joe O. - This would probably be my #1 favorite Watershed song. I was playing the chords one day when the band was hanging around at Route One Recording, a studio in Mississippi. I had a vocal melody line in my head, but Colin was listening to me play, and in his head he had come up with a different melody. We decided to put them both together into a kind of duet, like Watershed's version of "Baby, It's Cold Outside." 

Colin G. - I would agree with Joe that up to this point, this is the definitive Watershed track. Tim deserves as much credit as the band. When we finish playing it live you can always feel the breathe kind of come out of the crowd. Even people who don't like us or don't care, can't help but to subconsciously acknowledge something special just happened. "Superior" has some of that too. Not sure if any of our other songs do. Maybe "5th of July."

Watch this! Anniversary 2011 Bootleg version 

Or Pro shot from the LC. 2007

 

 

Little Mistakes (15): The first time I heard this song I was thrilled because it showed Watershed was continuing its mastery of pop gems.

Joe O. - "Mastery of pop gems" is a stretch, Nick, but we'll take it. 

Colin G. - I cannot overstate how bad Dave Masica's health was when we recorded "Brick and Mortar." Two weeks before we were scheduled to begin Rick Kinsinger and myself got together with Dave and he could barely keep a beat. Mike Landolt asked me, "How is Dave doing? Is he ready?" Without hesitation I answered, "Hell yeah, Catman is ready to rock." Recording 101: Never show your producer any sign of weakness. Dave assured me he would be good to go but I had three drummers on my speed dial just in case his ailing back wouldn't hold up. Damn, if Dave didn't just manage, he crushed it. The first song we recorded was "Little Mistakes" and If I didn't believe in miracles before, I almost do now after watching him lay down this drum track. Listen to those fills at the end. Praise the lord. And booze. It's a miracle.

 

 

Laundromat (14): “Two dimes buy a little more time” and the chorus make this one of my favorites. Was kind of bummed it wasn’t played in any of the three Watershed shows I’ve seen. (Hint, hint.)

Joe O. - I like the line, "Or maybe you could hold my breath for me." The specific laundromat I have in mind here is the one at High & Maynard on North Campus in Columbus.

Colin G. - The very last song written for 5th Of July and we were really just running on fumes at that point trying to pull something out of our ass. Not much fun to play live without Pooch on guitar.

On another note, for you bootleggers, it's not a good idea to record right next to a Watershed stage. The volume will blow out your audio. It's not that we are Motorhead or anything, but....we side-wash our big 100 watt amps and turn them up for that  natural distortion ala Pete Townsend, Malcolm Young, Rick Neilsen, and so on & so forth. No distortion pedals.  The upshot is it makes us sound really big and the guitars don't bleed into the vocals. The downside for you front-row types in small clubs is that our stage volume is sorta deafening.

evidence is below.....

 

Don’t Be Honest (13): Another great song full of energy that really comes to life when seen performed live.

Joe O. - This is a good example of the Peppercorn/Gawel/Oestreich partnership. Catchy and rocking.

Colin G. - Sounds just like a Joe O. song but actually Joe P. came up with initial idea. Landolt chipped in with slow intro part.  Sounds just like Watershed.

 

 

New Life (12): Damn, I wish this song was on Three Chords II. OK, I will quit bitching now.

Joe O. - Tim Patalan can either accept the credit or take the blame for this one. I'll let Colin tell that story. Still, I like this tune because, as with "Anniversary," it ended up being an interesting blend of Colin's style and mine.

Colin G. We wrote three different versions of this. I liked #2 the best but Tim had other ideas. "I dig it. Let's just change one more thing. Change all the words to the verses and put in twice as many words and I think we will have it." I like this version too. It's the best one actually.

Ok, not much footage of New Life so let's address the elephant in the room.....

What's up with that other band Watershed from South Africa? Well, make no mistake, we are the actual Watershed as evidence of the video below when they claim they started in 1999. Sorry dudes, we were bad and we were nationwide way before that. We do occasionally get e-mail from confused fans inquiring about a song that isn't ours and we, naturally, claim it was on one of our records. This is funny. Those uptight bastards from across the pond do not find it as amusing and occasionally send us a message telling us to knock it off. To which we respond, "Oh yeah? Why don't you come over here and make us?"  

Watch this! The fake Watershed from South Africa showing no sense of humor and even less a sense of rock n roll. I suspect Train is their favorite American band.

 

Let's wrap up Day 2 on a positive note with a super-rare version on the never-recorded Watershed cult classic "Five for Two" from Ruby Tuesdays recorded at a 1927 rally to end prohibition.