Pants on Fire! | Solid State

Pants on Fire!


Good morning, Solid State!

Last week, I hinted at an upcoming post about my pants, but due to some pesky time constraints, said post never materialized. Red Sox - Yankees game at Fenway, orrrrrrr blog post? Hmmmm . . . The blog's gonna lose that one every time — even with a 5 run lead in the eighth . . . sigh.

Anyway, I returned safe and sound from Boston — though slightly bruised and battered from witnessing the worst Red Sox game of the year — and now that I've shaken off the cobwebs, let's get down to it.

You've probably heard about Bill Simmon's upcoming projects involving late local rock icons iThe Pants!. If you haven't, here's the synopsis:

A little over a year ago, Tommy Law, Pistol Stamen, Hutch and Tad Cautious reunited for a one-night-only blow-out at the Higher Ground Ballroom. The crown princes of  Burlington's alt-rock renaissance rocked like it was Club Toast in 1996, enthralling a room full of aging hipsters eager for a nostalgic romp down memory lane. Or so I'm told. You see, I wasn't there.

That same day happened to be my grandmother's funeral in Jamestown, Rhode Island.

Aside from the obvious emotional distress, the real added insult to injury was missing the only band reunion I've ever been truly excited about — though The Pixies and Big Star had their appeal, I must admit.

I've written this before, but The Pants were hugely important in my formative years, and Tom Lawson's songwriting is directly responsible for my decision to pursue music as a youngster and beyond. Whether he knows that — or cares — is kind of irrelevant. But it's the truth.

I was a Pants superfan starting at age 15, eagerly devouring anything Pants-related I could get my hands on — I still have an over-sized Pants T-shirt. I even joined the prom committee during my Junior year of high school to recruit the band to play at my prom. They did. It rocked. And half of CVU's student body wanted my head on a stake. Good times.

But back to Bill Simmon. The Candleboy is producing a pair of DVD projects centered on the reunion. One is a concert film; The other a documentary retrospective on the band and the impact they had on Burlington's music community.

In the concert film, there's a scene in which Neil Cleary  — more on him in tomorrow's paper — relays a message to the band, sent by my sister, Ariel, that my siblings and I had done a version of the classic Pants ballad "Wounded (You're So Fine)" at my grandmother's wake — we're Irish, so drinking and singing is a big part of any family gathering, especially the sad ones.

We performed the song in tribute to a band that we all loved, out of remorse for missing the show. In our weaker moments, each of us toyed with the idea of trying to make it back to Burlington in time to catch it — and I'm honestly not so sure my grandmother wouldn't have approved. But obviously, we stayed.

Flash forward to this year. I met Bill at the Seven Daysies awards party and he proposed the idea of The Bolles Family Singers recording our version of "Wounded" to be included in the documentary. Flabbergasted and more than a little flattered, I eagerly accepted without consulting Ari or Tyler. Honestly, I would have done it solo, if I'd had to — thank God I didn't.

A few weeks ago —  after no small degree of schedule wrangling and a hastily abbreviated practice session — we descended on Egan Media and recorded the song that served as the soundtrack to all of my romantic follies from age 16 to, well, now. It was surreal, to say the least.

We recorded it live, with acoustic guitar, upright bass and banjo and had to drop the key a whole step — my range ain't quite what it used to be, and I've always had trouble matching Tom's tenor. But it sounded good. Really good.

I think.

Tyler and Ari and I don't have as many opportunities to play together as we used to, and to be able to reunite to show our appreciation for a band that — in very different ways — meant so much to each of us at various points in our lives was an honor.

I'm not sure when the finished product will be available, but when I know, so will you. In the mean time, you can keep an eye out over at Candleblog — which you should anyway. It's really good.

So that's it. You got into my pants. And after only only 4 months, you sly dogs.