Bill Gould has kindly trusted us to reveal that in 2016 this iconic album will be officially re-issued through Koolarrow Records with BONUS extra tracks and unseen photography.
To celebrate 30 years since the release of their very first studio recording we asked Mr.Gould a few questions on the production of We Care A Lot and how he views the record today.
Bill Gould Interview
Recording your début album is a really momentous occasion in a musician's career. Can you remember how you felt playing the vinyl record for the first time?
Yes, it was a massive thrill. It was the time we were able to put out something that was a full album, recorded in a nice studio, and having a label behind us. Great times and it sounded great to my ears then.
The story is that FNM pooled their resources to record some demos, and that those demos were noticed by Mordam who then helped pay for time at Prarie Sun in Cotati to record the full album. Is that true or were some of those demos used on the final album?
Yes, this is exactly what happened. We were into our songs but the demos we made weren’t really connecting with people. I had this idea that maybe if we could get enough money to record 4 or 5 tracks people could have a better picture of what we were actually shooting for. As it turns out, Ruth Schwartz from Mordam heard those tracks, which ended up being the album’s side one…!
You recorded WCAL in a very short space of time and with little budget. Do you think these limitations helped to create a more authentic sound to the album of what FNM were at the time?
I’m not sure about that, we were all very green…even Matt Wallace, who was the technician among us, was green too when it came to a 24 track studio. There are probably things we could have done better, but at the same time I think that the performances were pretty damned good. And that had to do with us keeping focused and needing to work within those budget restrictions. We rehearsed quite a lot before we went in to record, so we were ready.
Roddy Bottum has described the band temperament at the time as 'us against the world'. Is that how it felt to you? A kind of 6 musketeers ( including Matt ) thing?
Well, I would say that’s basically true. I had some issues with Chuck even then, but I felt like we all gave our best.
Even now you guys still include songs from the album in your set. As The Worm Turns is a fan favourite, more so than We Care A Lot. Can you tell us more about this song and why you think it remains so popular?
I don’t really know, it just has a natural flow to it…And it doesn’t seem to age the way some of the other songs have when it comes to playing them live.
The album also showcases other FNM characteristics: Your humour, sarcasm and attitude. This suggests that the band's approach to making music hasn't really changed all that much in 30 years. Would you agree?
I would totally agree. In many ways our approach is the same…we just try to be us.
The tribal rhythms that make Puffy's style so unique can be heard very clearly on WCAL. In fact these songs are some of the most rhythmic in FNM's catalogue. Was this heartbeat of the band something you were particularly keen on expressing?
Well, yes I suppose. One of the things that spearheaded us playing music together came from Puffy’s African lessons he took at school. It opened a lot of doors for him, and for us as well. And it felt good to play to.
There are also moments of that specific tone you perfected over the next two albums. Did you use an Aria guitar for the recording?
No, WCAL was recorded with a Gibson Grabber. Not the best sounding bass, it eventually broken in half on tour (!!). What makes the sound similar was the Peavey amp and cabinet that I used on every album up to the Real Thing. Actually, I continued to use the cabinet all the way up to Album of the Year….
There are alot of similarities between WCAL and Sol Invictus, did you actually use the 1985 album as reference? Did you think 'this time lets go back to our roots' or did just turn our that way?
I think it just turned out that way. It’s something that felt right…it felt familiar, but not self-consciously.
I believe yourself and Mike Patton have used the great metaphor that listening to your own albums is like looking back on baby photos. How does WCAL sound to you 30 years on?