Toxicity 4

Posted: August 16, 2013 in Toxicity
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

By Glen

This week in Toxicity, we tackle a mystery that’s been brewing for almost a year now. We also hear our first clips of new tracks Dublin and The Way Home, and listen in as Mikel waxes poetic over his appreciation of the foot. What more could you want?

Solving a Super SECRET Mystery

Last September, The Airborne Toxic Event debuted a new song called The Secret – first at a small benefit show at The Troubador, and then more publicly at Red Rocks: four and a half minutes of tumbling thoughts as the narrator drives through town, struggling to let go of a relationship that’s crashed and burned. Here’s how it sounded at the time:

In the run up to the release of Such Hot Blood, the band regularly performed The Secret, and it was always this same version. Meanwhile, I was listening to the Red Rocks performance on a daily basis, having long since committed it to memory.

Fast forward to late February. The band had announced a delay in the release of the album, but planned to placate anxious fans by releasing The Secret EP in March, with four songs from the album, including, of course, The Secret. Around that time, we got our first listen to the studio version of the track when KCRW added it to their rotation.

Those of us who were familiar with the live rendition were a bit jarred by the truncated version they aired. Four and a half minutes had been trimmed to under three and a half, with a number of lyrical jewels cast aside in the process. A song that had once meandered its way toward the “Out now!” payoff now arrived there too suddenly, with transitions that seemed a tad abrupt.

It’s not that it was bad, of course; for me, it just wasn’t what I was expecting, and so I was left wanting more. I’m sure other fans who’d never heard the longer live version and came to it with fresh ears wouldn’t have been struck the same way. Serves me right for spoiling things with bootlegs.

Below are the original, extended lyrics as performed at Red Rocks (HT Mike Wilmoth). The words in bold were eliminated from the studio version.

The sound of the engine, the feel of the tires
Your hands on the wheel, the smell from the fires
The streetlights and headlights on this road that goes nowhere
She left you, she left you, but you know she’s still out there

Somewhere they’re dancing the night away madly
They clutch each other tight, as they’re swaying sadly
So you drink to forget, or you drink to remember
But the smoke fills your eyes from the ashes and embers

But somehow it always seems
Like you would wake up from a dream
Like you were waiting for something
And you find your in-between

And somewhere they’re dancing the night away madly
They clutch each other tight as they’re swaying sadly
So you drink to forget or you drink to remember
And each night that you spend is another surrender

To the roar of the engine on a road that’s just endless
And her ghost is with you everywhere in the darkness
You struggle for words, you could never say somehow
But there’s nowhere to hide

Cause the secret’s out now
Out now Oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh It’s out now
Out now Oh-oh-oh

Somehow it always seems
Like you would wake up from a dream
And it would crush all of your screams
And then nothing’s what it seems

She never knew you
She only knew what she heard
So just once you’d pull her close
And you’d whisper the words

That you hated yourself for the things that you gave her
That you stole with your mind when your heart was impure
So you think you’d forget all these nights like a sickness
And there’s nothing for miles everywhere in the darkness

But somewhere they’re dancing the night away madly
They clutch each other tight as they’re swaying sadly
If you look to yourself, you cannot find an answer
And the feeling grows inside you like a cancer

And the roar of the engine on a road that’s just endless
Her ghost is with you everywhere in the darkness
You struggle for words, you could never say somehow
There’s nowhere to run, cause the secret’s out now…

Out now…Oh-oh-oh…oh-oh-oh
It’s out now…out now…oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh…somehow she always knew…

When I heard the track on KCRW’s website, it struck me immediately as a radio edit, which is not uncommon. It made sense: I figured The Secret would be the second single from the album, following Timeless, and four and a half minutes is a bit long for radio. Surely the album would contain the full version. I spent the next couple weeks confidently proclaiming as much to any TATE fan who would listen to me.

A couple weeks prior to the release of the EP, my theory was vindicated, or so it seemed. The band debuted each song from the EP online, through various websites. I got word that The Secret was posted just as I was headed out the door for my 45-minute commute to work. I quickly clicked the link, and was relieved to note that the track length clocked in at the expected four and a half minutes. I gave it one listen, ecstatic to finally hear the full song that I had come to know and love with studio quality sound. So you drink to forget, or you drink to remember… it was all there.

Just under an hour later, I settled into my office and decided to give it one more listen before getting to the tasks at hand. I called up the website again… and discovered that the file had changed. The full version had been replaced by the radio edit.

After my initial confusion passed, I figured, okay – they just want to save the full version for the EP release, and someone posted the wrong audio file by mistake. No big deal. Now that I had actually heard a studio recording of the full-length track, I had zero doubt that this would be the album version.

Until it wasn’t. As we all know, when the EP (and, later, the album) finally came out, it was with the short version of The Secret – the only version that many fans have ever heard. And when the band kicked off the Such Hot Blood tour, they shelved the original arrangement in favor of the streamlined one. It seemed as though the full-length version would be lost to history.

So why do I bring this up now? Because, after finally accepting that this was the only version of The Secret that we would ever get, a sliver of hope appeared this week suggesting that the original version may yet see the light of day.

With the European release of Such Hot Blood finally approaching, the first Euro album reviews have started cropping up. And this review is particularly noteworthy for its first two sentences: “‘Do you drink to forget or do you drink to remember?’ The gritty and ashy vocals of Mikel Jollett fulfils the dark ambience that ‘Secret’, the first track off their album ‘Such Hot Blood’ signifies for The Airborne Toxic Event.”

Unless the reviewer pulled that line from a YouTube video of a pre-March performance, it would seem to indicate that the Euro version of Such Hot Blood may include The Secret as it was always meant to be. Along with the two bonus tracks tacked onto the disc, it’s just one more reason for North American fans to spring for an import next month.

(*Disclaimer: A counterpoint to the above is that the Such Hot Blood album page in the UK iTunes store lists a run time of 3:23 for The Secret. If that’s accurate, then we’re not getting the extended version after all. Just another wrinkle in the mystery!)

First Listen: Dublin and The Way Home

Speaking of those bonus tracks, you can now get your first listen to both Dublin and The Way Home through the UK iTunes store, where previews of both songs are now available. We previously posted a live video of Dublin. As for The Way Home, from the sounds of the preview it’s quite different than anything previously released by TATE, with a noticeable Irish influence (the song was written while Mikel was in Dublin). Tempo-wise, it’s similar to Bride and Groom, so both new tracks fit right in with the laid back vibe of Such Hot Blood.

Mikel on Euro Label Problems

With the band preparing to head overseas in about six weeks’ time, Mikel has shed a little light on the label problems that delayed the European release until the fall:

“Our first album was released ourselves in the UK before a major label picked it up. We had more success doing it ourselves,” says frontman Mikel Jollett. “While our second album was having great success in the States, our new Major Label partner in the UK wouldn’t even try to work our US hit song “Changing.” The major label system is broken world wide for artists who are not massive pop stars. Small staffs that are overworked and understaffed inherit too many artists from other countries. You see it going the other way with bigger UK bands getting inherited into major US labels. We’d rather do it ourselves and control our own destiny. Ultimately, we paid out of our own pockets to get out of the deal.”

Whatever the issues, our friends overseas are just glad they have been put to bed. Such Hot Blood will be released on TATE’s own label through Membran Distribution. Hopefully this is a long-term solution that will prevent delays on future releases.

Mikel on Assorted Random Topics

Eschewing the tendency of many well-known personalities who offer up the same sound bytes in interview after interview, Mikel is always full of surprises. You never quite know where a conversation with him will lead. Case in point: this recent 15-minute sit down with a Salt Lake radio station in which he barely touches on music, but has plenty to say about Mormon dance parties, the remarkable construction of the human foot, and the benefits of running sans shoes.

YouTube Gold:

And finally, while we’re in the mood for Mikel hilarity, here’s a classic clip of Mikel calling Noah from the stage when the latter was late arriving for a show in Seattle.

Glen is the founder and editor of This Is Nowhere. He’s grateful for an understanding wife and kids who indulge his silly compulsion to chase a band all over the Pacific Northwest (and occasionally beyond) every time the opportunity arises.

  1. Jen says:

    That phone call is AWESOME!!!! And doesn’t my love have a gift for finding lyrics???? ❤


  2. Anna says:

    Hahaaaaaaa LOVE the interview. Now I’m curious about what the inside jokes are, and if 23 actually means something. 😛


  3. Nick says:

    I love the Toxicity posts, Glen! It feels like a little TATE newsletter or something. I can’t wait to hear the whole studio versions of Dublin and The Way Home. Mikel’s lyrical talent is limitless, and the band members musical talents are astounding. The interview with Mikel made me laugh audibly for everyone to hear, and I love that Mikel just trolls with people. I am pretty sure if I witnessed someone running out of the woods barefoot as fast they can in my direction … I would pee in my pants. And what if when they all start having kids…and their kid’s form a band! Whoa, mind blown! Haha those kids will have so much musical talent it is ridiculous. For some reason I can’t imagine Anna pregnant though… Huh.


  4. Thanks so much Nick; glad you’re enjoying them! They’re fun to write. If the band members want families, I really hope it happens for all of them… but it would likely mean we’d have to be content with less touring. I wonder how Mikel’s writing might change if he was happily married with kids?


  5. Nicole says:

    Yeah, I have wondered that as well! I bet it would be less focused on relationship heartbreak and more on the heartbreak of loved ones passing away. 😦 I have read in interviews that Mikel is constantly thinking about death and dying. He even confesses it in some of his tweets. It must be really difficult living life that way, but maybe it means he is more appreciative of all he has and the people he loves…


  6. […] and “It Doesn’t Mean a Thing,” but was overruled by the powers that be, and that cutting a minute off “The Secret” was the first and last time he would be overruled by a label. Combined with his recent interview […]


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