L.S. Underground | Bring It Down Now liner notes

Life is like that. There are legends and then there are Legends. And Mike Knott is one of the few in the CCM industry who’s career’s work has spanned the borders of alternative music, the California scene, and most recently the mainstream market to influence numerous musicians. Through his ventures into label ownership, his distinctively spontaneous theatrical live shows, and his band L.S.U., Knott has made legend. In their final release, Mike Knott and Co. wrap up a decade of L.S.U. with reaffirmations of their foundational faith while living up to their reputation of challenging the church with the uncomfortable truths of human existence.

Gray Dot’s 1996 release from L.S.U. is the definitive look at the band behind the man (behind the legend). L.S.U.’s classic material is held up next to five new cuts and six first-ever live songs, accentuating the traits that make L.S.U. the pioneers of the last ten years, and keep them at the forefront of modern Christian rock today.

A full 74 minutes in length, the CD features the latest new work from L.S.U., produced by Gene Eugene, first-ever live cuts, produced by Michael Hawkins and J.C. Richardson, and a best-of selection spanning the band’s fifteen-year history.

Bring it Down Now is unique in its ability to reference the listener to all of the band’s work while presenting a current and thematic project as a whole. All songs segue together, emphasizing Knott’s consistent genius song writing wholistically. In 1986, Sacramento California experienced a revival that impacted Contemporary Christian Music permanently. An explosion of churches that focused on youth yielded the founding fathers of Alternative CCM – the bands that paved the way for today’s Plankeye, Prayer Chain, and others – bands like The Choir, The Altar Boys, Adam Again, and of course the most groundbreaking of them all, Lifesavers Underground.

Now, for the first time ever, the entire span of L.S. Underground’s career is offered up at once to a buying public who only knows of Knott & Co. through their Elektra Records incarnation, Aunt Bettys (formerly Aunt Betty’s Ford, a name nixed when Ford Motor Co. threatened to sue.) For the uninitiated, meet L.S. Underground, featuring Mike Knott, Brian Doidge, Chuck Cummings, and Andrew Carter, as well as members of Arista’s Prayer Chain, Domo’s The Violet Burning, and Tattoo’s The Choir. For the well-versed, enjoy the masterpiece swan song from the ever-volatile L.S. Underground.

The Critics:

Mike Knott and Lifesavers had shown hints of promise in the mid-80’s, but nothing prepared us for the assault of Shaded Pain, released under the L.S.U. moniker in 1987. When I got around to rating the best of that year, I found Lifesavers Underground in good company: U2, R.E.M., Bruce Springsteen, John Hiatt, The Call, the Smiths, DA, and Mark Heard’s Ideola. The fact that there were only two other CDs from Christian labels on my list from that year will indicate how irrelevant much of what passes for contemporary Christian music had become.

Eight years later, it would be easy to discount the album’s impact. After all, it didn’t sell mass quantities or turn L.S.U. into international pop stars, even within the gilded framework of the ccm community. In fact many Christians found the aggressive pop/punk music and brutally honest perspective of Shaded Pain a difficult listen at best. However, like Daniel Amos, Undercover, the Choir, and Adam Again, Mike Knott & Co. had begun to chronicle the reality of human experience and reflect on Christianity from a less idealistic perspective in music that mattered within the broader cultural context.

In 1990, as editor of Harvest Rock Syndicate I polled some of the most-aware music critics writing about Christian rock. Asked to name the “Best Christian Rock” of the previous decade, the voting named that album the 8th most influential recording. I wrote back then: “Seldom has a Christian label produced an album that is totally dark, Shaded Pain is one such effort … Knott growls over the feedback-driven guitars … Gritty, real, and searching, L.S.U., dripping with attitude, delivered an album for every young Christian (and some of us older ones who still have those feelings) struggling with identity and meaning in an age of doubt and disappointment.”

While L.S.U. built a strong alternative Christian rock following on the West, only on rare invitations to perform at the Cornerstone festival did they bring their music within reach. Two such shows stand out. One, at the county fair north of Chicago in the large tin shed on a hot afternoon, found Knott performing music from Shaded Pain and the latest L.S.U. outing, This is the Healing. Standing stoic, nearly motionless on the stage, with a large white cowboy hat covering his eyes and a large white hollow-bodied guitar that fed back relentlessly, Knott held all eyes hypnotically.

The second was at the ramshackle impromptu stage down by the lake at Cornerstone’s Bushnell, Illinois property. Backed by Doidge, Hindalong, and then-Choir bassist Mike Sauerbrey, Knott bounced up and down on the quickly-constructed stage, causing the p.a. to rock back and forth precariously. Dressed all in black, Knott tore his T-shirt and painted his face white at one point, and wrapped his hands and body in duct-tape at another. Legendary stories that he had performed in a dress and poured red paint over his face became immediately believable.

Amazingly though, the best memories that I have of those shows is how the performance served the music, and drove home its meaning. Mike Knott was a great rock performer, perhaps exhibiting that rare star quality that under other circumstances would have promised success. However, only 25 or so people saw that show by the lake. Too bad.

And, too bad that Knott’s business acumen has never quite matched his creative sensibilities. Blonde Vinyl Records and other attempts to get his music and that of friends out to a broad listenership often ran into financial set-backs and organizational limitations. Knott always ran with a lot of juice, but often the machinery wasn’t prepared to carry the freight.

The commercial unavailability of Shaded Pain, and many other of L.S.U.’s fine albums for that matter, is reason enough to be thrilled that this collection finds its way to gray dot records, Mike Knott, with lead guitarist Brian Doidge and a variety of drummers (including Steve Hindalong of the Choir, Chuck Cummings of Dakoda Motor Co. and Michael Hawkins of Sundays Child, who played live with L.S.U. in ’94 & ’95) have collected a strong assortment of tracks from various band and solo recordings and live shows.

Few songs capture the genius of Mike Knott and L.S.U. the way “Tether to Tassel,” “Die Baby Die,” “There’s a Time” and “English Interpreter of English” do. For that matter, few careers warrant this kind of retrospective. However Lifesavers Underground have been a source of encouragement and enlightenment, and to some, controversy. Still, to those of us who turn to the laments of the Psalms and to Jesus’ words upon the cross to make sense of the chaos of consciousness, L.S.U. was a positive witness. Faith does not wither in the face of doubt, it makes us better Christians, better people.

As Knott sings in “Shaded Pain:”

“What about the love we never find
Cut by the body forced to run and hide
What about the human, the human I am inside
How can we be forgiven if we don’t live our lives
We throw off the shackles and then we wear the chains
shaded pain
we find out who we are and then we lose our names
shaded pain.”

We are meant for more than this life. By loving one another, accepting our individual experiences and seeking to grow in caring and understanding, we can make a difference. We can leave the shade for the bright, warm light of love, where we are lonely boys and girls no more.

Brian Q. Newcomb
Former Editor and Founder, Syndicate

Is this the final final album from Mike Knott’s innovative band? Well, with an artist this enigmatic, you never can tell. But one thing is certain–if this is Knott’s wake for L.S.U., it’s a grand celebration.

This eclectic collection surveys nearly ten years of L.S.U. history, from the classic “Shaded Pain,” to the controversial “The Grape Prophet” to recent live and studio recordings. It’s a must-have for Knott fans, and at 72 minutes on CD and 88 minutes on cassette, it’s a fantastic buy!

CCM Update

To say that Mike Knott is a “maverick” would be understating the obvious. This gifted artist has not only flown in the face of commerciality throughout his career, he’s shot himself in the foot so many times, his shoes must look like Swiss cheese!

Knott is an observational songwriter; the “Sherlock Holmes” of Christian rock songwriters. He can look at the stain on your tie and tell you what you had for breakfast. And he can also tell by body language, facial expressions, etc., what’s going on in people’s heads.

But if you’re at all familiar with Mike’s work, you know that his favorite subject is himself. Not that that is necessarily an egotistical way to write (though Knott’s ego is ever present in his work.) It’s simply that the subject Mike knows best is … Mike.

There is a veritable “X-Files” of odd folks which populate Knott’s songs; some so strange that you can’t believe they have any basis in reality whatsoever. If these characters are indeed all made up, it supports the theory that Knott is as nuts as people have often suggested; if they are drawn from real life counterparts, it underscores the hypothesis that Knott is one of the best songwriters around. In either case, it doesn’t make his music any less enjoyable.

Knott has always been fortunate to orbit the same universe as several great musicians, many of whom are represented on this project. Much of the music here comes from albums recorded for the great love and disappointment of Mike’s career, Blonde Vinyl Records. Knott’s boutique label served up a platter of amazing alternative sounds in its brief existence, not the least of which are the cuts from his own Wakin’ Up The Dead, The Grape Prophet and This Is The Healing albums.

So as Knott enters what may become the most celebrated phase of his career with The Aunt Bettys, enjoy this slice of history; a decade of excellence from one of the finest artists to ever earn the reproach of an often short-sighted industry.

Bruce A. Brown
Rock / Alternative Editor, CCM Magazine

I’ve always said, Mike Knott realizes where the edge is, then finds the fastest vehicle to launch him as far over that edge as possible. He and his various musical manifestations serve to define how far is too far. He is a living example of dangerous art. In the early days I identified with his pain. Now I see in his current work the logical extrapolation of where that pain leads. I count him as a close friend, but sometimes he scares the hell out of me. It’s good to be scared. Thank God for him.

John J. Thompson
Editor, True Tunes News

Produced by J.C. Richardson and Michael Hawkins
Executive Producer: David Vanderpoel for gray dot records
Sequenced at 360 Studios, Norcross, GA. on 12 November 1995
Mastered at Griffin Mastering by Chris Griffin on 13 November 1995

Total running time: 01.28.09 (cassette), 01.12.25 (compact disc)
Cover art by Gerard.
Inside live shots from The Strand, New Year’s Eve show 1994-95, I.S. Fest 1993 and Whiskey A Go-Go 1995 by Marty Poston, Marty Bush, Sam Walton, Jeff Elbel. Additional art courtesy of respective labels
Releasing in February 1996.
All songs (p) and © gray dot records or (p) and © gray dot records under license from Blonde Vinyl.
* denotes cassette only.

01) RED SWINE

For the most part, this album remains in the order that we approached it in production. After the live cuts were mixed down and we were ready to sequence the record, we wanted to begin with a task that would set the mood for the rest of the project, both for us as well as for the listener. So we took 1993s “Red Swine” and ran it through a VOX Pacemaker, mic’d the amp, and tweaked the tremolo. Then we sent the signal, with some processing back to the amp again. We only tried it once and bailed in the second verse because we nearly blew the amp up.

The phone thing admittedly could have been a cheap shot … except that that particular sound was relevant to Knott and his personal life at the time we were making the record. Sometimes you have good reasons to not answer.

from Cash in Chaos World Tour 1993 Siren Music
Ttonk Publishing, BMI
(Knott. Doidge)
Ttonk Publishing, BMI Produced by Michael Knott
Mixed by Gene Eugene
Engineered by Chris Colbert and others Remixed on 16 October 1995 by J.C. Richardson, Michael Hawkins, and David Vanderpoel
Vocals: Michael Knott
Guitars: Brian Doidge
Bass: Erick Coomes
Drums: Ed Benrock

02) THE BOMB / NOT A CUSSWORD (LIVE)

Since 1991, L.S.U. has opened all of their shows with this song. It is an L.S.U. necessity, and serves as sound check as well as a live way of setting the tone. On this performance, the band went on around 12:30 a.m. and was as tight as they were going to get for the rest of the night.

In production, we discussed live records. We liked the “absolutely live” recordings best, a la Jane’s Addiction, Rod Stewart, etc., and we thought too much was made of crowd noise, so we pulled it all out here. The end effect is slightly haunting because the stage sound is so classic rock, and the hall sounds so empty. It, like all L.S.U, shows, defies explanation.

Original version of “The Bomb” appears on Wakin’ Up the Dead
1990 Blonde Vinyl Music
(Knott)
Original version of “Not a Cussword” appears on This is the Healing
1991 Blonde Vinyl Music
Ttonk publishing, ASCAP (Knott)
Recorded live at The Strand on 1 January 1995 by Marty Bush and Eric Cagle
Mixed by Richardson, Hawkins on 28 August 1995
Vocals: Mike Knott
Guitars: Mike Knott
Bass: Brian Doidge
Drums: Michael Hawkins

03) THE GRAPE PROPHET SPEAKS

L.S.U.’s most enduring recorded works correlate directly with the quality of the production. When Mike Knott had a budget and a studio, he made thematic exploratory records. Story records. 1992’s The Grape Prophet was probably the best. This song was, though obscure, a must for inclusion because Steve Hindalong (as the Grape Prophet) is so irresistibly funny. That’s Caryn Colbert on the BGVs.

from The Grape Prophet
1992 Blonde Vinyl Records
Ttonk publishing (ASCAP)
(Knott)
Produced by Michael Knott
Mixed by Derri Daugherty at Neverland, Cerritos, CA
Engineered by Phil O’Keefe
Second Engineer: Chris Colbert
Third Engineer: Brian Davis Tracked at Ashwood Studios
Mastered by Doug Doyle at Digital Brothers
Voice of The Grape Prophet: Steve Hindalong
Voice of The Interpreter: Mike Knott
Followers: Caryn Colbert
Lead and Rhythm Guitars: Brian Doidge
Additional Guitars: Michael Knott
Bass: Mike Sauerbrey
Additional Bass: Michael Knott
Drums: Chuck Cummings
Percussion: Steve Hindalong
Keyboard: Michael Knott

04) FUNKY SPACE CAT

A new song, recorded in 1995 at the Green Room about the time Knott was working on Elektra’s The Aunt Bettys project there. Gray Dot released a non-segued version to radio and briefly to consumers at Cornerstone 1995 on a blue-green singles disc packaged in a small paper bag with a limited edition print by Knott on the outside of the bag.

Unfortunately, the disc also contained a hidden track by Mortal with Matt Goldman, an unplugged version of “Running to Stand Still” and when Frontline Records threatened to sue, Gray Dot ceased production and sales of the summer singles sampler. Those same singles, without the Mortal cut, were later released to retailers on a magenta-colored promotional CD. This version was mastered differently.

Like most of Knott’s material, this is thinly veiled (maybe unveiled) autobiography. Critics fail to acknowledge this directly to absolve themselves from the responsibility of admonishing artists to get things straight personally. We like this music’s perspective too much to want to fix it.

1996 gray dot records
Ttonk publishing, ASCAP
(Knott)
Produced by Michael Knott
Mixed by Michael Knott
Engineered by Gene Eugene
Vocals: Mike Knott
Guitars: Brian Doidge
Bass: Erick Coomes
Drums: Ed Benrock

05) HOUSE OF LOVE

When Knott didn’t have a budget or much of a studio, he wrote songs. “House of Love” always sounded so much better live, but ironically, when we listened back to the album version, it sounded amazingly current, in light of the pseudo-industrial works in the mainstream. Especially when couched between better-sounding songs, the effect of the assumption that these tones are intentional proved interesting enough for us to decide to leave well enough alone.

from Wakin’ Up the Dead
1990 Blonde Vinyl Music
Ttonk publishing
(Knott)
Produced by: Michael Knott
Engineered by: Greg Heil
Vocals: Michael Knott
Background Vocals: Michael Sauerbrey
Guitars: Michael Knott
Bass: Michael Sauerbrey
Drums and Percussion: Kevin Lee Annis

06) THERE’S A TIME*

Another of the lushly-produced records, Cash in Chaos World Tour contained this gem buried in the middle. Admittedly, I’m a sucker for the muted guitar solos – Dave Gilmour or Brian Doidge… but this song deserves a lot more listening than it got the first time.

from Cash in Chaos World Tour
1993 Siren Music
Ttonk publishing, BMI
(Knott)
Produced by Michael Knott
Mixed by Gene Eugene
Engineered by Chris Colbert and others
Vocals: Michael Knott
Guitars: Brian Doidge
Bass: Erick Coomes
Drums: Ed Benrock

07) SHADED PAIN*

This is, of course, the one must-include song from L.S.U. It is also the only one like it they ever recorded. Shaded Pain was a turning-point record for the genre, and for the band, as it marked the birth of L.S.U. from the new-wave Lifesavers (Lifesavors, Lifesavours). The title cut managed to lyrically condense the message into a couple of verses.

While rarely performed live, there are samples of L.S.U.’s live rendition from Cornerstone 1993 on “I’ve Got This.”

from Shaded Pain
1987 Frontline Records Tapes & Video
Broken Songs (ASCAP)
Rereleased 1993 by Metro One
Ttonk publishing (BMI)
(Knott)
Recorded at Asylomar Studios, Huntington Beach, CA
Produced by Chris Brigandi
Engineered by Chris Brigandi
Vocals: Mike Knott
Keyboard: Mike Knott

08) G.G.G.*

The This is the Healing release was highly underrated because of its nearly intolerable brittleness. Even the darkest songs were obscured by horrendous extensions of eighties’ gated drums and chunky guitars. We thought it best to flaunt these traits. In succession, these songs just sounded cheap. In a mix, they sound psychotically barren, like a room that keeps extending away from you. Knott’s instinctive attention to detail (often overlooked in light of his one-night records) presents itself in the background buzz – the kind of touch that lifts the song from the realm of Old Wave and aligns it with the likes of Peter Gabriel or Trent Reznor. This song was actually a single release, but radio wasn’t ready for anything other than over-compressed, tonally balanced pop songs. I guess we need some constants in life.

from This is the Healing
1991 Blonde Vinyl Music
Ttonk Publishing (ASCAP)
(Knott)
Produced by Michael Knott
Engineered by Christopher Colbert
Vocals: Michael Knott
Guitars: Michael Knott
Lead Guitars: Jeff Sebens
Bass: Michael Sauerbrey
Drums: Kevin Lee

09) RADIO SWINE

We took our time producing this record, and began another day enthused by previous mixing success. We felt we were in constant danger of going over the top sonically, which meant we were right on track with Knott’s thinking. This is actually a remix of the remix, and a nod to Knott’s point in “Radio Satan.” The samples are all from the New Year’s Eve Atlanta show, all of them near-titles for the project.

“Red Swine” from Cash in Chaos World Tour
1993 Siren Music
(Knott, Doidge)
Ttonk Publishing, BMI
Produced by Michael Knott
Mixed by Gene Eugene
Engineered by Chris Colbert and others
Remixed on 29 October 1995 by J.C. Richardson, Michael Hawkins, and David Vanderpoel
Vocals: Michael Knott
Guitars: Brian Doidge
Bass: Erick Coomes
Drums: Ed Benrock

10) ELLIS IN THE ORCHARD

One of L.S.U.’s brightest moments ever. An excellent song, lushly produced, it works great in and out of context and is a live standard. It’s about the third time Knott has written the same song, and probably the most successful at being what it is.

from The Grape Prophet
1992 Blonde Vinyl Records
Ttonk publishing (ASCAP)
(Knott)
Produced by Michael Knott
Mixed by Derri Daugherty at Neverland, Cerritos, CA
Engineered by Phil O’Keefe
Second Engineer: Chris Colbert
Third Engineer: Brian Davis Tracked at Ashwood Studios
Mastered by Doug Doyle at Digital Brothers
Vocals: Mike Knott
Background Vocals: Caryn Colbert
Lead and Rhythm Guitars: Brian Doidge
Additional Guitars: Michael Knott
Bass: Mike Sauerbrey
Additional Bass: Michael Knott
Drums: Chuck Cummings
Percussion: Steve Hindalong
Keyboard: Michael Knott

11) I’VE GOT THIS*

Hardly a song, this selection is a sonic experiment that almost didn’t get released. There are others that were made as well. The audience is, of course, Atlanta. The background singers are mostly old reel to reel tapes from the fifties, played on a deck from that period as well. The stereo blitz of samples is a reel manually run and stopped, and consists of bits of every project Knott ever was on, including Blonde Vinyl records, a Throes record, the first Lifesavers/Lifesavors records, in addition to numerous bootlegs and phone conversations. I have very few regrets about this record, and they are of specific phone conversations and bootlegs that didn’t make this selection.

While most of the listeners don’t have the ability to pick this song apart, to “break” its code, one day they will, and there are some rewards waiting in here for that day.

L.S.U. played Atlanta three times (four shows), and did a southeastern tour once. Those who saw the third Atlanta show will recall the title. For the less fortunate, the secret is probably out on the Internet. Thanks to Brad Caviness, Jeff Elbel and others for many samples.

1996 gray dot records
Produced by J.C. Richardson and Michael Hawkins
Mixed by Mark Blackburn at B-side studios in Douglasville, GA, and J.C. Richardson, Michael Hawkins, and David Vanderpoel at 360 Studios, Norcross, GA, 8 November 1995
Audience: Atlanta
Background singers: The Mood Music Reels
Samples: taken from every release Knott has ever appeared on, plus interviews and bootlegs.

12) PLAGUE OF FLIES

One of the most overlooked aspects of L.S.U. is the band’s tendencies toward instrumentals. This one was essentially the first, and there has almost always been one since, when the technology afforded a decent enough sound for the music to hold its own.

This song’s foundation is a live spontaneous jam inspired by a fly-swatting session in the studio.

We remixed the song, and added tracks. On one, Knott is describing his business philosophy, taped during the heyday of his label. On another, my radio interview with Knott experiences interference from a 50,000 watt broadcast of Bob Larson’s Talkback show, and the resulting synchronicity of the spontaneously crossed subjects was preserved to tape.

from Shaded Pain
1987 Frontline Records Tapes & Video
Broken Songs (ASCAP)
Rereieased 1993 by Metro One
Ttonk publishing (BMI)
(Knott, Doidge, Lee)
Recorded at 3-D Studios, Costa Mesa, CA
Produced by Chris Brigandi
Engineered by Joey Taylor
Vocals: Mike Knott
Les Paul gold top, Ibanez 12 string acoustic, Yamaha 6 string acoustic and a black bass: Brian Doidge
Drums and Cymbals: Kevin Lee
Remixed by Hawkins, Richardson and Vanderpoel at 360 Studios, Norcross, GA on 8 November 1995

13) BABY FLIES A COMET

Another new cut, also recorded about the time as The Aunt Bettys debut. This is a stellar choice for the project because it both reflects directly on the new material by The Aunt Bettys and it manages to combine noticeable elements of Lifesavers, L.S.U., and Knott’s solo music. It also is a musical nod to Knott’s love for Hole and other 50’s-90’s melody-punk bands. Lyrically, the song takes a refreshing hard right turn from introspection to commentary.

1996 gray dot records
Ttonk publishing, ASCAP
(Knott)
Produced by Michael Knott
Mixed by Michael Knott
Engineered by Gene Eugene
Vocals: Mike Knott
Guitars: Drue Cartand
Bass: The Brain of a Greyhound
Drums: Chucky

14) DIE BABY DIE (LIVE)

Later that morning … This is the only live song with an edit in it. There is up to a minute missing from this, as tapes were being changed during tracking. The end result didn’t seem too much the worse for it though.

I was particularly fond of the “absolutely live” aspect of this song. It was a New Year’s party and it sounded like it. As Knott had done the previous three shows, he waved me out from behind the board and handed me his guitar to free him up for various stage antics.

One night on the tour, I was baptized with clam chowder and exploded animal stuffing while I bled my way through a fifteen-minute version of the song. On another, the performance was actually very good as the band watched Knott beat the snot out of a Santa Claus dummy. On this night, Knott duct-taped dozens of audience members together and shoved them off of the stage. He performed some quick surgery on stuffed animals, smashed a chocolate cake into a stagehand, and instigated a war between the band and audience with the mountains of shredded newspaper that had dropped from the ceiling at midnight. We’ll come to that later.

The owners of this CD do not have these notes, and have no idea what’s happening at this point in the show, which is how I experienced U2 at Live Aid, listening to the show on the radio. That feeling of “I know something is going on,” during “Bad” was incredible and tortuous. So don’t tell them.

Original version of “Die Baby Die” appears on Shaded Pain
from Shaded Pain
1987 Frontline Records Tapes & Video
Broken Songs (ASCAP)
Rereleased 1993 by Metro One
Ttonk publishing (BMI)
(Knott)
Recorded live at The Strand on 1 January 1995 by Marty Bush and Eric Cagie
Mixed by J. C. Richardson. and Michael Hawkins on 4 September 1995
Vocals: Mike Knott
Guitars: Mike Knott, David Vanderpoel
Bass: Brian Doidge
Drums: Michael Hawkins

15) DOUBLE SISTER

A studio creation again. There are actually about six or seven things going on here. Suffice it to say that we attempted to acknowledge the two released records that we had no legal access to – those owned by Frontline – Browbeat and Grace Shaker. Bridget Knott is Mike’s sister, and like his whole family, is an artist.

1996 gray dot records
Produced by J.C. Richardson, Michael Hawkins, and David Vanderpoel
Mixed by: J.C. Richardson, Michael Hawkins, and David Vanderpoel at 360 Studios, Norcross, GA
Vocals: Bridget Knott
Percussion: Steve Hindalong, Wayne Everett, Kevin Lee, Jeremy Wood
Acoustic Guitar: Michael Knott
Cello: Melisa Hasin
Violin: Mirium Mayer
Created with samples from various Knott-related recordings. Crack is whack.

16) THIS IS THE HEALING

Cheap production or not, this is a powerful song. Without the initial burst of guitars though, it takes on a more pensive tone. Even with L.S.U., sometimes you luck up and the angels stop begging not to have to really do swoop in and save the day.

from This is the Healing
1991 Blonde Vinyl Music
Ttonk Publishing (ASCAP)
(Knott)
Produced by Michael Knott
Engineered by Christopher Coibert
Vocals: Michael Knott
Guitars: Michael Knott
Lead Guitars: Jeff Sebens
Bass: Michael Sauerbrey
Drums: Kevin Lee

17) TRAVELS

The ever-underrated instrumental, “Travels” is an excellent soundtrack to a visual history of the band Inspired by Chris Colbert’s ticklish ear, hard-panned remix of Dan Michaels’ “Reveal,” we created a depth ofsonic space with this song that sounds neat on a stereo, and staggering through headphones. Equipment: a cheap guitar amp, a dusty stereo speaker from the sixties, two fifty-sevens which J C. swung. I breathed. Michael made the moves and we mixed it live in real time.

from The Grape Prophet
1992 Blonde Vinyl Records
Ttonk publishing (ASCAP)
(Knott)
Produced by Michael Knott
Mixed by Derri Daugherty at Neverland, Cerritos, CA
Remixed by Michael Hawkins, J.C. Richardson, and David Vanderpoel on 8 November 1995 at 360 Studios, Norcross, GA
Engineered by Phil O’Keefe
Second Engineer: Chris Colbert
Third Engineer: Brian Davis
Tracked at Ashwood Studios
Mastered by Doug Doyle at Digital Brothers
Lead and Rhythm Guitars: Brian Doidge
Additional Guitars: Michael Knott
Bass: Mike Sauerbrey
Additional Bass: Michael Knott
Drums: Chuck Cummings
Percussion: Steve Hindalong
Keyboard: Michael Knott

18) ENGLISH INTERPRETER OF ENGLISH

It is a strange thing to segue two songs from a release that has already segued them with other cuts. Kind of like cutting a story into sentences and reordering them to change the entire plot. This song works in an endless number of interpretations, and is an example of L.S.U as the quintessential Rock Band.

This song contains the key to the very real character of The Grape Prophet, “Christ is so much like him.” Songwriters like Knott are very conscious of when truth is stranger than fiction.

from The Grape Prophet
1992 Blonde Vinyl Records
Ttonk publishing (ASCAP)
(Knott)
Produced by Michael Knott
Mixed by Derri Daugherty at Neverland, Cerritos, CA
Engineered by Phil O’Keefe
Second Engineer: Chris Colbert
Third Engineer: Brian Davis
Tracked at Ashwood Studios
Mastered by Doug Doyle at Digital Brothers
Vocals: Mike Knott
Background Vocals: Caryn Colbert
Lead and Rhythm Guitars: Brian Doidge
Additional Guitars: Michael Knott
Bass: Mike Sauerbrey
Additional Bass: Michael Knott
Drums: Chuck Cummings
Percussion: Steve Hindalong
Keyboard: Michael Knott

19) TETHER TO TASSEL (LIVE)

After servicing some folks with pre-releases from this project, more bootlegs poured in, with assertions that the live stuff was not the best there ever was. Indeed, through the crappy tapes surfaced documents of several incredible performances.

But the goal was to offer up a “typical” live sound, not a best-of. And while L.S.U. was a band that was newborn night to night, there is one typical element to it all – unpredictability.

This track expresses that gloriously. Notice how Hawkins and Doidge are very definitely following Knott… all drummers did, with the exception of the tour supporting The Grape Prophet, when the band was at its tightest. I recall walking across the stage at I.S. Fest ’93 during “Tether” to tell Knott that behind him were two police officers come to take him off of the stage. The band played as I shouted at Knott, who then, with his back to them, said simply, “Stop.” The band did, as if rehearsed, on that beat. Only Adam Again is that tight today.

There exists an unreleased cut, a hilarious loop of Knott live alternating between “Tether,” “Kitty,” and “Skinny” choruses. We’ll sneak it out someday.

Original version of “Tether to Tassel” appears on Shaded Pain
1987 Frontline Records Tapes & Video
Broken Songs (ASCAP)
Rereleased 1993 by Metro One
Ttonk publishing (BMI)
(Knott)
Recorded live at The Strand on 1 January 1995 by Marty Bush and Eric Cagle
Mixed by J, C, Richardson, and Michael Hawkins on 18 September 1995
Vocals: Mike Knott
Guitars: Mike Knott
Bass: Brian Doidge
Drums: Michael Hawkins

20) IT FITS INSIDE

This new track was recorded live in studio at The Green Room, although some tinkering was done at Neverland’s Cumberland Branch. The effect on the vocals is a naturally occurring phenomenon called phasing, caused by the placement of the guitar mic and the vocal mic in relation to each other. When they are somewhat out of phase and both receiving vocal and guitar signals, the tracks are milliseconds behind each other and result in a rounded, sluggish effect. The signals cancel out much of each other. Usually you can bring one back into phase, the guitar in this case. Similar recordings were recently released by Michael Penn and Live.

Lyrically, Knott’s writing directly contradicts his beliefs from when we were on the road together. Then, he had elaborate explanation for why.

1996 gray dot records
Ttonk publishing, ASCAP
(Knott)
Produced by Michael Knott
Mixed by Michael Knott
Engineered by Gene Eugene
Recorded live at The Green Room, Huntington Beach, CA
Vocal: Mike Knott
Guitar: Mike Knott

21) ROCKET AND A BOMB / KITTY (LIVE)

If I could make a movie of the history of L.S.U., this song would be the soundtrack. This version is from the New Year’s Eve show, early in the a.m. The crowd had thinned significantly, night had taken its toll on all of us.

At midnight, I had dropped about 75 pounds of newsprint tickertape from the 30-foot high ceiling onstage. It exploded when it hit and was the stuff of audience/band paper fights for the night. Twice during the song, you can hear Knott take a missive to the head, the second just before the song explodes. When you don’t hear Doidge, he is attacking the audience.

A mutilated Kermit in his back pocket, and a rubber chicken hanging from his guitar head, no one can remember exactly what character the “Mr. God” verse is sung in.

Eric Cagle mixed a very different version for the singles samplers. Cagle’s is tighter; with better drum tones, free of the drum checks and the paper wad smacks. It also fades out during the feedback. The guitars and vocals are significantly rougher though.

“Kitty” started good live, and the bottom fell out soon thereafter. Knott pulled a half of a dozen people on stage, and taped them together with Gaffer’s tape and then shoved them onto the rest of the audience, who then responded by rushing onto the stage. Knott and the mic were separated and lost in the crowd for the rest of the song. We had to include it though, because of what it is from a songwriter’s perspective.

Original versions of “Rocket and a Bomb” and “Kitty” appears on Michael Knott – Rocket and a Bomb
1994 Word Records
Stormie Laine (ASCAP)
(Knott)
Recorded live at The Strand on 1 January 1995 by Marty Bush and Eric Cagle
Mixed by J. C. Richardson, and Michael Hawkins on 28 September 1995
Vocals: Mike Knott
Guitars: Mike Knott
Bass: Brian Doidge
Drums: Michael Hawkins

22) INDUSTRY, INC.

In 1990, A.C.M. Journal compiled their first annual subscription incentive indie sampler CD. Cut #3 (of seven) was a 1:52 “song” by L.S.U. called “Industry, Inc.” Knott was just forming Blonde Vinyl at the time and offered 5 cuts from his evolving roster for the sampler. The L.S.U. cut, however, was never released again.

When we contacted Knott for this project, that cut was specified as one of our tracks, due to its rarity. Then, with only the summer sampler out, we discovered at Cornerstone 1995 that it had been released by the indie/undie Flying Tart label on their Sub Tart, Vol. 1 sampler along with “White Trash,” an outtake from Cash in Chaos that rips Perry Farrell blatantly.

This rerelease was in flagrant violation if our contract, as was a good portion of the CD, which broke any number of copyright laws. But since we felt a degree of solidarity with such moves, we chose to simply return the favor and lift “White Trash” from the Tart CD.

This obviously is a very extended mix from the original song and it is my favorite example of analogue and digital techniques in tandem. It obviously contains numerous samples, including the Tart material.

My only other regret from the project is my wish that we could have stretched this into fifty-seven tracks on the CD instead of fifty-two.

In school, they always stressed a “main idea” sentence in thematic writing. From a producer’s perspective, this is the main idea of the Bring It Down Now project, saying a great deal of what we perceived about the contradictory brilliance of Knott, Doidge, and their baby white guitar – L.S.U.

Original version of “Industry, Inc” appears on ACM Journal 1st Anniversary Compilation under license from Blonde Vinyl Records
1990 ACM Journal
Rereleased on Live Long and Perspire, Flying Tart Records, 1995.
Ttonk (ASCAP)
(Knott)
Produced by Mike Knott
Engineered by Greg Hile
Additional vocals taken from L.S.U.’s New Year’s Eve show at The Strand and from The Green Room sessions
Remixed by J.C. Richardson, Michael Hawkins, David Vanderpoel on 8 November 1995 at 360 Studios, Norcross, GA
Vocals: Mike Knott
Strings: Kristie Vanderpoel

– David Vanderpoel, executive producer

© 1996 GRAY DOT RECORDS
1991 SOUTH COBB DRIVE
MARIETTA, GEORGIA 30060
U.S.A.
770.384.0001
GRAYDOT 45@AOL.COM
WWW.CLEVER.NET/GRAYDOT/


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *