On April 27, 2000, the band Vigilantes of Love walked on to the stage at Schuba’s in Chicago, Il and played one of the most incendiary and mercurial sets it’s ever played anywhere.
They played 22 songs. (A bonus studio version of the “swan song,” Hat In Hand, is included here.)
The source tape was mastered & edited by Bruce Neher from the original soundboard recording.
The whole album is available NOW in a download format at: MANICPHASESHIFTER VoL Live @ Schuba’s, Chicago, IL
23 hard hitting songs. A mere $14.99.
(A studio version of “Hat in Hand,” the band’s “swan song,” is included in this collection.)
Here are Mallonee’s liner notes for the album.
They are reflections on the magic of the evening captured here in this recording, his love for his band-mates & his reference points as a songwriter, one shaped by these experiences of writing, recording and touring behind 16 records over 9 years with Vigilantes of Love.
~Funeral Songs~ by Bill Mallonee
I think songwriting is a type mourning. The older I get, and the more miles I log on the road, the more I am convinced that a wordless, intangible spirit emanates beneath the veil of this reality. And it seems to be something akin to grief.
It is as beautiful as a heart-beat of a new-born or a lover.
I think from day one I’ve always tried to give that hear-beat a nomenclature, if only to make sense of it for myself.
You learn that one can mourn with both tears of joy & grief in the eyes at at he same time. Grieving. In a world of no guarantees perhaps grieving is the loudest declaration of faith left to modern man.
From the git-go, there was always so much inside.
So much needing to get out, then hold up to the light. Fine tuning (in the form of songwriting) came later.
So much to place on the table of the marketplace. Back then, I wrote a a clip of something like 75 songs a year. And while the clip is down to something like oh, 40 songs a year, the thrill of making new songs is still the same as it was in the early days of the band. Writing is a salve. Salvific, even.
“Good work, if you can get it,” I say.
But always first: I wrote to save myself, to make sense out of a broken world within. I never wrote with a particular audience in mind.
Why bother? We’re all living in the same skin.
Me? I played out my quest make sense out of the world within & without via a little rock band called Vigilantes of Love. I divulged as much as I could to everyone who passed through it’s ranks.
I was lucky/blessed to have great band mates, those other passengers on the You Sometimes all one can do is throw on the last shovel-ful of earth, breathe a sigh and then walk away.
Love, Loss & Transcendence. Those are the songs that interest me.
This whole live set sounds freighted with a desperation that is bleeding with such things. Such things always takes you by surprise.
I included the studio song “Hat in Hand.” The coda. A feedback symphony.
The swan song in this collection.
I included this studio song in this collection because it has such a “parting shot” feel to it. A garage anthem.
In essence, a funeral song.
“And then they were gone…”
People ask me if I miss Vigilantes of Love. Of course, I do. Every incarnation, but especially this one here. It had a chemistry that I have rarely seen in any other band. It was brutally honest, gutsy and authentic. We always knew the “end was near.” How we laughed and wrote our way through it is, I believe, a testimony to each individual’s sheer “cussed-ness.” And the grace of God.
Mostly, though, I miss the friendships. I miss them very much.
And yes, I mourn for what should have been and could have been if the right folks in our industry superstructures (managers, labels, agents) had done half the amount of work we did as a band. I don’t know any other band that released so much work & toured so hard over 10 years with so little results than VoL.
That’s simply an observation, not an accusation.
I DON’T miss the truck loads of BS we put up with from such incompetent people.
BUT: Being victimized consistently by incompetent industry people opened my eyes to one thing: You don’t need any superstructure to give you “permission” to be an artist.
How does the song go?
“Sew your heart onto your sleeve…and wait for the ax to fall.”
What to say? I think we took as much of it as we could, romanticized it for another 10 albums over the last 5 years of the band’s run and then said: “Enough.”
This finale is about the “enough.”
At the end of the day we were about the song & the moment; the delivery & the spirit…and the rock & roll.
The bottom line is somply this: For all the mourning; for all the axes that fell; for all disappointments we experienced together as a band, I think what we did was way, way cool.
Jake, Kevin & I hope you enjoy the set here as much as we did playing it.
Oh, and just what is good rock & roll?
Love, Loss, & Transcendence….(Rinse & Repeat.)
~ bill mallonee
(Copyright by “Once More, This Time With Feeling” BMI 2015)