Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Down From The Skies: Silver Anniversary

OK, here's a song that's always held a dear place for me. I wrote it 25 years ago today during the on phase of an on-again/off-again relationship. I'd recently been to some kind of Laser Rock show (as was the style back in the late '80s/early '90s), with a mix of psychedelic music rather than the usual Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin focus. I remember coming out of there and thinking I wanted to write a song like "Magic Carpet Ride", that Pat could use his fancy new phaser pedal on.

I'd also just TA'd the Intro Observational Astronomy class the previous semester, at a point when the aforementioned relationship was off again but she was taking the class. The second verse was a nod in that direction, with its mention of "so many nights spent under the stars" and reference to bringing her home (since as TA I dropped everyone off at their dorms after driving them back from the observatory in the Mighty EAPS Van (tm)). Between the time the semester ended and the time I wrote this song we were back on again.

This immediately entered the Dr. Lüst setlist, and we played it at both Battle of the Bands appearances.  Dan came up with the riff, which has stuck around ever since. When the relationship was off again, and as we came up with more and more songs we wanted to do, the song slipped out of the setlist. Without Pat and his fancy phaser pedal (or Dan and his keyboard), none of my subsequent bands picked the song up.

However!  I've happily stayed close friends with the subject of Down From The Skies, and it remains a favorite of hers whenever we're together and there's a guitar available. Of course, she also purports to like the songs I wrote about her during the off-again periods of the relationship, so the bar may be low. And while it didn't get onto The Red Album (which was mostly songs that Science Diet did), it did make it onto a subsequent album.

I present here four versions of Down From The Skies, because apparently I can't help myself.  They span the entire period from 1990-2015, from live with Dr. Lüst to live solo to a couple of Gedankenband versions.  Enjoy. But even if you don't, I know at least one person who will. :)

Down From The Skies (Dr. Lüst live at 1990 MIT Battle of the Bands)
Down From The Skies (solo live on Mars Hill, 1995)*
Down From The Skies (from 2005's Do Not Tip Or Rock)**
Down From The Skies (Gedankenband Unplugged version***)

*also about an octave too high for my actual range.
**Yeah, I'm sending you to the Bandcamp page to download or listen there.
***Blame Katsumi for the harmonica, I don't know what she was thinking.

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