In January 1989 THE SWOON recorded a live demo for Charlie Peacock to review prior to the Neverland sessions. The song titled “Epiphany” was at the beginning of the tape because we assumed that one was going to make it to the final cut. We were considering including it on the Neverland recording all the way up until we did our first rehearsal in studio. At that point, for whatever reason, we decided to ditch it, and I’m not sure we ever played the song again.

Emmett recalls that Derri Daugherty of THE CHOIR liked Epiphany a lot and really wanted us to put it down on tape but that Charlie Peacock was less confident about the song’s value. Peacock was right. Austin points out that, despite the clever lyrics, it doesn’t hold up musically. It’s a silly and pretentious composition. One can hear a lot of U2’s Joshua Tree era at play. Nevertheless, Emmett still speaks fondly of the drums for the song, and I still likes the story of the bride’s transcendent out-of-body experience that leaves the things of this world strangely dim.

As we considered the lineup for the Neverland recordings, Charlie Peacock asked me, “What do the lyrics to Epiphany mean?”

I replied, “Whatever you want them to mean.”

He said, “I really hope that’s not true.”

I wish we had a studio version, but this cassette-demo version from the AGRAPHA material is the only extant recording of the song. I embellished it with some backing vocals to fill in a few holes, but other than that, it is what is was.

Lyrics:

A million angels danced on the head of a pin that was held by Rose as she sewed her wedding dress. Her father was downstairs, in his chair, snoring softly, dreaming just how costly it would be to give her up. Her mother’s in the kitchen doing dishes and she wishes she was young again and soon a young man’s bride. With an anxious, simple sigh, Rose let go, learned to fly, left her body sitting listless and aloof. Rose came down the stairs unaware that her stare, devoid of cares, betrayed her empty state of being. Epiphany, speak to me. You’re a symphony. Set my soul free.

Here’s an old song from THE SWOON you might not have heard before. “Medicine” was in the set list for a long time, and it was one of the songs that we submitted for inclusion in the Neverland project, but it didn’t make the selection for the studio work. This version, recorded during a live rehearsal in January of 1989, in preparation for the Neverland recordings, captures the song’s energy and REM-inspired guitar riffs. Thirty-two years later, the message of the song seems no-less pertinent, nor the petition less urgent.

Swooner Loyd Harp of Indie Vision Music selected our song SWEET ALLY for the “Song of the Day” (December 4, 2020) and did a write-up on the band. Well that’s a surprise! So far as we know, this is the first press THE SWOON has had since 1994 (when Stephen Knight of the arts-and-lit rag Kamikaze did a feature story titled “Whatever Happened to THE SWOON?”) Very cool. Here’s a link to the whole article. Give it a read.

Harp gives us a little back story about how he first heard the band on cassette, later got the CD, and ultimately fell in love with the music, referring to the CD as one of his desert island picks. That’s pretty high praise, so, gosh, thanks!


Harp introduces SWEET ALLY and speculates over the meaning the song:

“Sweet Ally” is a piano-led indie pop composition about falling in love with a girl who was a tightrope performer at the circus. The sentiment is either downright silly or youthfully romantic.

Harp’s right, but it’s not either/or. The sentiment is both downright silly and youthfully romantic. And it’s just one out of many similar unrequited-love songs that we wrote. But the inner meaning of the song intends to paint a metaphor about aspiring toward a spiritual vision and failing to obtain it. Isn’t that the story of every spiritual journey? It’s certainly been the story of my life. It’s like when you fall head-over-heals but later realize that “she’s out of your league.” It’s the way Salieri felt about composing music after he met Motzart in the 1984 movie Amadeus.

I was the comic, I was the clown. She was the angel, angel high above ground.

Harp says, “The piano ‘solo’ (if you can call it that) starting at the 2:00 mark slays me!” That’s Jeana Gillispie’s little diddy in the middle of the song where she makes the keys of the piano bounce like Sweet Ally’s feet balancing act on the high-wire. Good stuff.

Thanks to Indie Vision Music for helping us boost the signal on theswoon.band and for helping us build a little momentum for the re-release of the THE SWOON album and the new hoped-for new release of SPECTACULAR ILLUSIONS. Why not return the favor by going over to Indie Vision Music, checking out their work, and subscribing to their feed?