scott miller

Game Theory: Tinker to Evers to Chance

[album cover]

Released: 1990 (Enigma Records)

The band: Scott Miller, Jozef Becker, Nancy Becker, Dave Gill, Gui Gassuan, Mike Irwin, Fred Juhos, Shelley LaFreniere, Michael Quercio, Gil Ray, Donnette Thayer, Suzi Ziegler

Producers: Mitch Easter, Scott Miller, Michael Quercio

Liner Notes by Scott Miller:

Beach State Rocking: Originally from the 1981 record Painted Windows by my old group Alternate Learning. This version and the next two songs were redone in April of 1989 by Michael Quercio (bass), Jozef Becker (drums) and Nancy Becker (keyboards) in Dave Wellhausen's studio in San Francisco.

Bad Year at U.C.L.A.: Nancy re-creates her wonderful backing vocals; the original version of this was on the first Game Theory record Blaze of Glory.

Sleeping Through Heaven: I wrote this while having a truly ecstatic vision of how do-able and workable life really is. More of those, please, whoever doles them out. Another Blaze of Glory re-record.

Something To Show: This is the actual Blaze of Glory recording. There's nothing obviously crummy about the original that I couldn't live without re-doing, but this is about as far back down Memory Lane as I'll go willingly.

Penny, Things Won't: Original tracks re-mixed by Dave Wellhausen and me in September 1989. I'd forgotten what great bass and drum parts Fred Juhos and Dave Gill wrote and played.

Metal and Glass Exact: This and "Penny" were from the 1983 E.P. Pointed Accounts of People You Know. Fred thought of the E.P. title; if they are pointed accounts of someone you know, sue him.

Shark Pretty: Except for my usual obnoxious vocals, this is a brilliant cut. Michael Quercio produced and got great sounds from the Tascam 8-track and spring reverbs. Dave Gill and Dave Millington did some smart engineering.

Nine Lives to Rigel Five: "Shark," "Nine Lives" and "Red Baron" are from the 1984 E.P. Distortion (these and all later ones are original recordings and mixes). After this one was done, I checked the distance to Rigel and it turned out to be very close to nine human lifetimes if you go at the speed of light. To this day, science foolishly ignores my psychic gifts.

The Red Baron: "The Red Baron" crystallized the style of a class of my songs I've called young-adult-hurt-feeling-athons. Also features my usual obnoxious vocals, which we will abbreviate as U.O.V.

24: The first record (Real Nighttime) produced by the godlike genius of Mitch Easter, and our first record to reach national obscurity, as opposed to regional obscurity.

Curse of the Frontierland: A little weirder and more depressing than anything I'd written previously. Michael Quercio does some backing vocals on the chorus.

I Turned Her Away: Jozef Becker does knee percussion. Nancy and Michael do some really pretty vocals.

Regenisraen: Like the Beatles, I've somehow managed to write lyrics a lot of people think have hidden meaning to be deciphered, but I've done it without any of the burdensome worldwide superstardom the Beatles had to put up with. Gil, Shelley and Suzi, the new band, sing some good harmonies on this song. Gil on guitar. Incidentally, "Regenisraen" is Latin for "kill the pigs, acid is groovy."

Erica's Word: If you haven't felt really stupid in a while, try mouthing the words to a song during a video take. Actually, Jan Novello and Modi Karlsson made us two striking and economical videos, this being the song for one.

Crash Into June: By the way, this bunch is from 1986's The Big Shot Chronicles LP. Features Y.A.H.F.A., U.O.V.

Like A Girl Jesus: Maybe my strangest song yet. A lot of it was improvised in the studio, which is unusual for me, my strengths leaning more toward dogged persistence than talent.

We Love You, Carol and Alison: Originally written with lyrics that sounded more like wedding vows, for Shelley's wedding to our photographer and light man Photo Robert. Donnette puts in a great vocal part and Gil handles an extremely difficult drum arrangement. These songs are from the 1987 double album Lolita Nation.

The Real Sheila: Tied with "Erica's Word" for being the closest thing to a single release we've had. There was a video and promo 12" for this one. Donnette did a lot of the guitar arrangement. Great bass by Gui.

Together Now, Very Minor: An inspired production by Mitch using Leslie speakers.

Room For One More, Honey: I was interested in multiple vocal parts along the lines of '66 Beach Boys. I think I also wanted to do something poppy but with a symphonic feel, kind of like Peter Schickele's score for Silent Running.

Leilani: I remember about when this was mastered someone told me there was a Hoodoo Gurus song called "Leilani" and I was petrified I'd somehow unconsciously stolen someone's whole song. You never know when you write a melody if it's not really some pre-existing tune that's just far enough in the back of your mind you don't know if you wrote it or not.

Throwing The Election: The last young-adult-hurt-feeling-athon, so far.