"Evidence suggests that The Elastic No-No Band's frontman, Justin Remer, is from another world. His world is one in which a man can tell a woman how he really feels without the risk of getting a drink thrown in his face. 'I'm In Lust' is a sort of tongue-in-cheek reaction to the typical love song. The concept is refreshing, but the most striking element of the track is Justin Remer's vocals, which bring to mind the sincere croon of Evan Dando." -- Neil Kelly of Huggabroomstik
If this song works at all (and I think it does -- it's one of my favorites on this rekkid), I think it is because of the drumming of Doug Johnson (left) and the singing of Sammy Shuster (right). It certainly has very little to do with the writing.
Now, I don't mean to put down the other players on this recording -- Tianna Kennedy plays the shit out of that cello, and Preston and Herb know their business and they just do it -- but when Doug and Sammy added their respective magics, I began to believe in this song as something worth playing or listening to.
This song has always been troubled -- a guitar sound without much to say. The song doesn't have that many lyrics, and the ones it used to have really didn't bowl too many people over. They were a sort of laundry list of physical attributes the singer found appealing about the lust object in question. Impromptu performances of the song were greeted with shrugs and with general unimpressed facial expressions.
My best friend Zach told me essentially that the song was dishonest -- that I was skirting the key issue -- and that I should talk about what it was about me that led to this sort of lust situation. That's where the second verse and bridge came from, trying to admit my faults and expose why it's a song about lust, not love.
Gram Parsons and John Bonham
Gram Parsons (left) is the shit. I started listening to him because Elvis Costello is such a big fan and covered a few of Gram's songs on his country album, Almost Blue. One of the notable things about Parsons's short recording career is the numerous duets he did with Emmylou Harris (who has since become a duetting fool, singing on songs with Costello, Bright Eyes, The Pretenders, Willie Nelson, and... well... just about everybody else).
When I wrote "I'm in Lust," I imagined it having that tight-harmony, Parsons-and-Harris sound. Fortunately, I met Sammy Shuster, whose near-immediate ability to come up with an interesting harmony or countermelody is something I'll never be able to understand or do myself. When I first heard Sammy sing on "I'm in Lust" during a rehearsal for some show, I knew the good song I had always hoped was there was finally showing its face.
And then months after it had shown its face, the song learned how to move its ass thanks to Doug Johnson. This album was recorded with every part recorded separately, usually scattered unevenly over the course of the entire process (for example, the first guitar part on "(Everywhere I Look) I See Your Face" was recorded in November '06, and the final goofy Spike Jones backing vocal was recorded in August '07). So there were months and months where "I'm in Lust" was mostly recorded but had no drum track -- and we had never played it live as a 4-piece band at that point. Doug said, "How 'bout I try a part kind of like John Bonham [pictured right]? You know, like 'BWACK a-BWAT a-BWAT-a-BWAT.' "
John Bonham, really? I was skeptical. And, in fact, even after the drums were laid down, I wasn't quite convinced. But after a number of listens, I really grew to like it. And that's when Doug told me he didn't think it worked. But we sat down and listened to it again as a team, and realized our hesitancies were nonsense. The tune had a serious groove.
BONUS TRACK (FREE DOWNLOAD!) - What's up with this?
*Jeanette Is Working (live, with Sammy Shuster - 24 September 2006) - Another example of Sammy's brilliant harmony/countermelody work. It's kind of shaky in the first verse because I keep singing flat, but nonetheless, I'm a big fan of this recording.