Music is healing.
Since Ben's passing, I'm not going to lie… it's been rough. The roughest, even.
But there's also a bright light at the end of this tunnel, and that's the fact that even though he's gone, we have all of this music we made together to celebrate, and even more music we haven't shared with the world yet to explore.
So, as I move forward through my grief, I have been going through all of the Gorky archives and finding treasures.
I believe it is also important to share the stories behind these songs, or at least what I can remember. Going through it chronologically is going to be impossible, so I am going to try and go through the songs as alphabetically as possible. Recorded, unrecorded, released, unreleased…all of it.
Eventually, I will rebuild the band. There are some plans now, but nothing set it stone.
In the meantime, let's get rolling with Gorky A to Z!
First in the queue… “About The Good Times”! Here's a picture of us and a couple of fans outside of the old Rumor's bar in Show Low, AZ where we played a few times. I feel this picture captures the attitude of the song.
ABOUT THE GOOD TIMES (Valencia/Aldridge/Holladay)
This song's about the good times, buddy
So grab a seat and hug somebody
I'm headed to the fridge and I'm grabbin' a brew
I'll grab one for me and I'll grab one for you, too
Everybody's here having such a good time
It's the party of the year and the party of your life
The radio's playing and it's much too loud
The radio's playing and it's singing to me now
And it's singin' woah-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
This song's about the good times with old friends
“Hey, man. What's up?” and “how have-a you been?”
She takes her drag and passes to the left
The smoke is so thick, I can smell it on her breath
And it looks so fine I can nearly taste it
She won't know ‘cause she so fuckin’ wasted
Never had a chance but I've got a chance now
Everybody's dancing and they're singing to me now
And they're singin' woah-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
Everybody clap your hands with me now
‘Cause we’re singin' woah-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh…
This song was very much a party song. It came about because Gregg couldn’t get the notes to “Waiting For Your Love (Hey Now)” right and started jamming the bassline to this instead, and we started playing around it. Boom. Instant song once the “Woah-oh’s” came in, and a lot of songs were written like that in the early days, us just jamming around. To us, back then, it was always about ‘the good times’...hanging out, drinking with your friends and blasting music as loud as you can. Being stuck in Show Low, there wasn’t much else to do.
The second verse could be easily seen as problematic these days, but it wasn’t meant that way when I wrote it. When I was in high school and my early twenties, it was the mid-2000’s, and as can be seen in many of the movies I grew up with from the 80’s and 90’s, there was a lot of what we now call “toxic masculinity” and “rape culture” that was the butt of many jokes we now find tasteless. That kind of crude, crass, shock culture was heavily prevalent with my generation, and so the second verse came out of that same spirit: “Ooh! Score! She won’t realize she’s coming onto me because she’s faded! Now, at last, is my chance…” much like the virgin who scores with the drunk girl trope in those cringey teen movies so celebrated by Gen X.
With no one around to tell you how to practice safe, responsible sex, particularly in rural America where abstinence-based sex ed is the norm, our response was to get drunk and high and hook up when we were drunk and high with whoever would take us.
Still, when I play this live now, I change the lyric to “I won't know ‘cause I’m so fuckin' wasted" just to make it less cringe-y.
Whatever the case, the song was a set-closer around this time, 2005-2008, and at its core is a celebratory song praising debauchery itself. Whenever I hear it, I remember those old parties and late nights partying in little mountain towns. There’s a guitar solo that was supposed to go in the blank space where one was supposed to be, but we ran out of money before we could record it - Jesse