From The Whole Shebang
In the tradition of “Record Stack,” “Paperweight Machine” draws heavily on Eastern European grooves. But whereas “Record Stack” is one of the easier Fluid Ounces songs to play, every member to whom I’ve talked mentions this as one of the most difficult Fluid Ounces songs. I can’t help but wonder if that has led to the curious evolution for the song, getting faster and faster over the span of live performances since its debut in December, 2000, at Sebastian’s. The demo for it was pretty slow, and it had grown faster by the time the Sam/Trev/Doug/Seth line-up worked it up in summer of 2001 (as you can see from the video from the Boro on July 7, 2001—which begins with Doug Payne paying tribute to a spider crawling on his amp). When I heard the song as the opener on The Whole Shebang, along with noticing that it sounded like something Matt Mahaffey would have produced, was that this song had reached new roaring heights with this light-footed tempo. The final line-up would maintain this tempo and eventually speed it up a little more as they grew more comfortable with its difficult music (as you can hear in the live mp3 below from December 9, 2005).
I have thought for the past few years that The Whole Shebang was a couple of tracks short of being good enough to stand alongside the other CDs. There were just too many good tracks that I knew were written that could have cohesively fit on the record and made it soar all the more. The most glaring thing to me was the choice of “Paperweight Machine” as the opening track. I always felt that “Amount to Something” or “Mountain Man from Mole Hill” would have been the perfect track to say “hello” and introduce the record, leaving “Paperweight” to come in right after and take things up a notch from there. It works well enough the way it is, but that’s one change I would have made if I were in a position to be asked about such things when this record was made.
Download Live mp3