The previous parts to this project were mostly about pulling apart what other people said about fIREHOSE the band and the fIREHOSE albums. My opinions, although mostly positive, were based off of putting others down. To be more constructive, I decided to venture to the heart of the album and to the heart of its creators.
I found a Crawford, E in Pittsburgh, PA in the White Pages. I wrote a bunch of questions about everything from getting input into the Watt and Hurley machine, his new power trio in Pittsburgh, Pirates fan? Penguins fan? Steelers fan? I got my wiretapping device all hooked up and I called. Here’s a transcription.
SWR: Hi, is Ed there?
SWR: I’m looking for Ed Crawford.
Woman: He doesn’t live here.
SWR: Oh. Sorry.
Feeling defeated, I sent out a bunch of e-mails to variations of Gmail users with the words ED CRAWFORD FROM OHIO. I put periods all over the place. I had dashes. Some came back as MAILER DAEMON, and I got 2 responses from Eds who weren’t the EdFROMOHIO, just Eds that either had the last name Crawford or were Eds not named Crawford but happened to live in Ohio. One guy told me to ask Watt for Crawford’s information. I did that, but haven’t heard back yet. Now I’m realizing Crawford’s new power trio doesn’t even have a website or MySpace so how inclined is he to have a Gmail account? He probably has Hotmail or AOL or something equally ancient. Dammit.
In the spirit of Crawford, I should have bought a car, packed up my shit and drove to Pittsburgh and knocked on Ed’s door. But I don’t have a car or money for a car. Well, that’s how it goes.
To leave you with something rather than nothing, here’s a piece of a Mike Watt interview from April 2009. I asked him why he decided to record his 3rd rock opera in Brooklyn.
I thought the best way to prac, I mean you can prac in a prac pad, but you play in front of people that’s the most intense prac (laughing)
So that was the idea.
Make the album in the middle of a tour.
I did that once with fIREHOSE. The 3rd album FROMOHIO, we made it in Ohio in the middle of the tour.
Maybe try that idea with Tony Studio G boss…
used to be the Bass player from Pere Ubu.
A huge influence on me, me and D Boon saw Pere Ubu in 77…78 at the Whiskey, it was a mind blow of a gig for us, man it was a trip.
So there’s another reason it’s called FROMOHIO. The album is actually FROM OHIO, not just Ed Crawford.
My quick spiel on the album:
The lyrics on “Softest Hammer” are some of my favorite Mike Watt lyrics of all time. I love hearing him do backup, or co-vocals with Crawford singing “IT’S ED FROM OHIO!” I think this is the best closing track to any of the fIREHOSE albums. On the whole, the album doesn’t grab me by the throat like Ragin‘ or soothe my fear and disillusionment like If’n, but a good album. “Whisperin While Hollerin'” is one of my favorite Watt tracks and Crawford’s own take on Elizabeth Cotton’s take on “Vastopol” is great. Hurley gets 2 drum tracks, a couple of interesting curveballs and more proof that fIREHOSE like the Minutemen were truly democratic. Mike Watt has the Walt Whitman democratic soul.
According to Jargon Database, which is a cool site, Vastopol means
Open D tuning for a guitar. Supposedly it’s the name when Russian Sailors from the Black Sea city of Sevatopol were in port in New Orleans and the sailors had a guitar tuned this way.
Done. I think I’ll do Flyin’ the Flannel in haiku.