Reclinerland (2001)

Track Listing

1. Miss Haze
2. Eight (edit)
3. 19th Century Boy
4. As Paranoid As I Am
5. Vegas Remains
6. Meet Me Later In The File Room
7. Dirty And Clean
8. Pound Coins
9. Yours
10. Pears


The Story Behind the Album

Recording piano overdubs at Jackpot Studios.

Recording piano overdubs at Jackpot Studios.

At the time I wrote the songs for this album I was listening to a lot of Velvet Underground, Luna, and Galaxie 500. You can hear a direct rip-off of Galaxy 500 in Pound Coins, but I don't mind. I wanted to get a band together again and make a collection of big, swishy pop songs, so I bought my first electric guitar. At the same time, I also wanted to preserve the eclectic nature of my aesthetic, so I mixed quiet acoustic songs with big loud pop songs and sparse string quartet songs. One of the latter was Pears, written by Chad Crouch. His version of the song appears on the very first HUSH Records release, LESS. I basically took Ben Barnett's guitar lines from that recording and made them into a string arrangement. 

Piano overdubs.

I recorded the second Reclinerland album in several different places throughout 1999 and 2000. Chad Crouch assembled the diverse recordings at Hush Records for release in July 2001. Because of the differing character of the songs, plus the time frame in which they were recorded, they were recorded in groups. The quieter solo acoustic songs were recorded at Chad Crouch's home studio. The bulk of the big pop-rock songs were recorded at Jackpot Studios. One song was recorded at Jealous Butcher, and the string quartet songs were recorded at Studio 13. On the record, I play the usual guitars and pianos, but I also wrote the string arrangements. Bob and Pat play drums and bass respectively. The string quartet included Devon Burke on Cello, Kathryn Shuh and Michelle Stone on violin, and Erica Wong on viola. Feedback tracks and additional guitars were provided by Chris Streng. Mastering was done by Ron Guenshe.

More overdubs.

In between recording the album, I toured the US as a trio with Pat Gamble on bass and Bob Martin on drums. I'll never forget our first show at the Roseland Theater. It was my first band since The American Girls, and I'd forgotten everything about playing with a band. We played all over the west coast, and even went to Austin, TX to crash SXSW when we didn't make it in. This tour culminated a national television appearance on Jimmy & Doug's Farm Club TV show on the USA Network.

The story of the release of this album is complicated. Originally, we made about 100 CD-R copies. Adam Zacks, my manager at the time, flew to New York to meet me in summer, 1998 with a box of CD-R's with a cover design by Bob Smith. I wasn't living in New York yet, but I flew back into New York from England to play the CMJ festival. After a week of schmoozing and passing out CDs to everyone we possibly could, we returned to Portland, where I begged Chad Crouch to release the album. By the time the album came out, I was living in New York, and I went on a cross-country tour, playing shows by myself before catching up with Pat and Bob in Portland and doing the rest of the tour with them. Despite extensive touring and a television appearance, the album didn't do very well. Still, I feel it was a nice, diverse, eclectic, emotional collection of songs.


Michael Johnson - guitars, vocals, Rhodes 73, piano
Bob Martin- drums
Pat Gamble- bass
Chris Streng - Guitars, feedback
Devon Burke - cello
Kathryn Shuh - violin
Michelle Stone - violin
Erica Wong - viola

Recorded between 1999 and 2000 at Jackpot Studios, Studio 13, Jealous Butcher, and HUSH HQ. Engineering by Pat Kearns, Chad Crouch, Rob Jones.

Mixed and mastered by Ron Guensche.

All songs: words and music by Michael Johnson
© 2001 Zubsongs, ltd.