Superchunk To Release Rarities Set; Teenage Girls To Swoon As A Result
Thoughtfully stroke your soul-patch and write a drunken late-night
email to your ex-girlfriend, 'cos Superchunk are releasing a two-CD
set of b-sides, rarities, compilation tracks, unreleased tunes and
"ephemera" on August 19th. The set will be called Cup of Sand,
and lead Chunker Mac McCaughan promises it will deliver the goods.
Neumu's Joseph Larkin exchanged emails with McCaughan recently to get
the lowdown on Cup of Sand.
Joseph Larkin: Why another rarities set? Why now?!
Mac McCaughan: It's been too long, hasn't it? The first two
comps came after only two albums each, but after that we would get to
the point where we had enough stuff and just go "nah, let's do
another real album first," hence the double-disc nature of this one.
Larkin: I noticed a few b-sides didn't make the cut for the
massive two-CD set. Why did the band choose to leave some songs off?
I mean, if you're already filling up two CDs, why not go crazy and
release all the b-sides that are available?
McCaughan: Well, there are a few reasons for this (btw, I'm
listening to the Rolling Stones Metamorphosis as I write,
reminding me that outtakes comps can be good albums!). One thing that
happens is: You think you've got the album all put together,
sequenced in a good way, everything included that you've intended,
and then you post the track-listing on your website and are
immediately reminded of the songs you have completely forgotten about
but would have put on, but at this point it's too late.
Another situation is that in this age of CD-singles (as opposed to
7"'s) there are usually multiple b-sides to a given single, and while
we are fairly prolific we usually don't have enough album outtakes to
fill multiple CD-5s from a given album session, so we will include
acoustic demos and versions of album tracks on the CD-5. Now, as a
fan, I personally enjoy hearing acoustic songs or different versions
of songs I like, and these demos and such are intended for the fans,
who will likely be the only ones to rush out and buy a CD single when
the album is on the way a month down the road anyway. So we have
chosen not to include every acoustic demo that we've ever released,
as it seems kind of unfair to the person who has gone out and found
every single of ours to then just collect them all in one place and
render all their conscientious band-support as obsolete in one fell
swoop. So we've included a couple acoustic versions that we felt were
the best, plus all the studio outtakes, but left those hardcore fans
with some unique items still in their CD-singles collections.
But the real reason we didn't just scrape the bottom of the
barrel is that we wanted Cup of Sand to be listenable as an
album that you can put on and listen to start-to-finish (ok, maybe
one disc at a time), so a lot of thought went into the sequencing
(though it ended up working as basically, though not exactly,
chronological) and song selection and making it a good record, not
just "can we fit everything on here."
Larkin: Any favorites from the two discs? Any songs that made the
cut that you personally dislike? Any songs missing that you feel
belonged on the CDs?
McCaughan: Some of my favorites would be "The Length of Las
Ramblas," the acoustic version of "1,000 Pounds" and "Never Too Young
to Smoke." I think if one of us had remembered it, we might have
included our cover of Devo's "Girl U Want," and while I like the
acoustic version of "Kicked In" that some have requested, I don't
think its omission will be too sorely missed (we may put it up as an
MP3 on our site, along with others we forgot). There's nothing on
here I dislike but there are definitely a couple songs from the
Foolish-era where we were recording a million songs in three
days or something and I think to myself, "you really should have done
another vocal take on that one."
Larkin: Are there more unreleased songs "in the can" somewhere?
McCaughan: Other than demos, not really!
Larkin: Could you explain the title Cup of Sand? Is this a
lyric from one of the songs that I didn't catch or is it a reference
to something else? It's a drug thing, isn't it? C'mon, you can tell
McCaughan: A drug thing? Ask Jim Wilbur, it might have
something to do with antacids or something. No, actually in our
vocabulary it came to represent what you would give someone in
exchange for something that was worthless, as in "do you want to buy
a Superchunk beer cozy?" "Sure, I'll give you what it's worth-how
about a cup of sand?"...Basically just typically un-funny band
in-joke lingo (well, it's funny to us anyway!) coined by our guitar
Larkin: Any new "Clambakes" to look forward to? (Last year
Superchuck began a series of limited edition live official "bootleg"
releases that they call "Clambakes.")
McCaughan: The next "Clambake" will be a straight-up live
show (unlike the first two) and we do have lots of live recordings,
but I think to release it as a Clambake it would have to be an
especially good one (it's surprisingly rare that a show is both
recorded and played well).
Larkin: What of the long promised DVD? What can the fans look
forward to from this mysterious project?
McCaughan: Late Fall we are planning to release the
Superchunk DVD, which will include all our videos plus some "bonus"
material to be enumerated later!
Larkin: When can the world expect a new Superchunk CD?
McCaughan: We'll tell the world when we know ourselves! But I
would hope that we could start writing songs this fall.
Larkin: Anything you wanna say about Portastatic? Have at it, matey!
McCaughan: Well, Summer of the Shark is out as of a
couple months ago, and I wish we could have toured more for it, but
it's gotten some good press so that's cool, I'm really happy with
that record. There may be some more Portastatic in the fall, both
recorded and touring.
Larkin: Any new Merge releases to look forward to? (Merge is
McCaughan: Of course! The website (www.mergerecords.com) is
obviously the best source for that, but off the top of my head I've
been listening to the new Clientele album, The Violet Hour,
non-stop, and the new Matt Suggs (his last album was criminally under
looked) is another great leap forward for the former Butterglory man!
Larkin: What have you been listening to lately?
McCaughan: The new Fourtet record, the Decembrists, Peter
Brotzmann More Nipples reissue, Manitoba, Bob Marley & the
Wailers early recordings....
Larkin: Scott Weiland: Friend or foe?
McCaughan: Um, neither hopefully!
Joseph Larkin: Ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?
McCaughan: Only on Tuesdays, if I'm not busy. And it's raining.
Cup of Sand track list: (Disc One) "The Majestic," "Reg," "Her
Royal Fisticuffs," "The Mine Has Been Returned to Its Original
Owner," "A Small Definition," "Dance Lessons," "Basement Life,"
"Still Feed Myself," "Fader Rules," "Never Too Young to Smoke,"
"Detroit Has a Skyline (Acoustic)," and "Does Your Hometown Care."
(Disc Two) "Beat My Guest" (Adam and the Ants cover), "With Bells
On," "Clover," "Sexy Ankles," "White Noise," "Thin Air," "Scary
Monsters (and Super Creeps)" (David Bowie cover), "1,000 Pounds (Duck
Kee Style)," "The Length of Las Ramblas," "Becoming a Speck," "The
Hot Break" and "A Collection of Accounts."