I am quite certain the title of this song originated in a comment my dear Argentine friend Pino Marrone once made to me. He is very astute, with an uncanny ability to come up with unusually evocative uses of English as a second language. I am confident he used the phrase to describe some kind of disallusionment, which no doubt stuck in my mind when I later was thinking about an approach to telling this particular story.
I demoed this track fully on a Fostex 16-track during the mid-1980’s, long before its commercial release on There Were Signs. I had just come back from a trip to Africa when my old friend, the Brazilian guitarist Nelson Faria, arrived in LA for a visit bringing his friend Antonio Magalhaes, a bass player from Brasilia. I showed up at LAX to pick them up, but they had never told me Antonio had brought along his upright bass. I have no idea how we managed to cram everything into my car, but I do recall it was quite an ordeal, though we made it home.
One night, after a feijoada and numerous cachacas, Nelson overdubbed his canny lydian-mixolydian guitar solo on top of my demo-in-progress which years later wound up on the record… and Antonio (who, I am told, shortly thereafter “purged” himself by vowing never again to play any style of music other than classical) originated the ostinato that, years later, was performed and enhanced so ably by Lloyd Moffit on the track as released.
My favorite synthesizer during the 1980s was my PPG 2.2, which of all things I bought from Ozzy Osborne. I always loved its ability to produce unexpected results, some of them surprisingly organic sounding. Late one night I programmed the folksy “sanfona” patch I wound up using on this recording, and played the entire take in one pass. Later that same night, I found a flute patch on the PPG with which I improvised the modal coda flute parts. The PPG was all over There Were Signs.
The song is a baiao from Northeast Brazil. As the final overdub, Airto came in one afternoon to play kick drum, brushes on a magazine, a pandeiro part on a Remo drum head I had laying around, and triangle…a big improvement on my Linn Drum sketches (though we kept on Linn Drum part in there we actually liked the sound of). The Remo head is still in my studio with his tape on it, but I guarantee I will never be able to play it quite like that.