Holy Mackerel - Highball with the Devil

1. Running The Gauntlet
2. Holy Mackerel
3. Highball With The Devil
4. Hendershot
5. Calling Kyle
6. Rancor
7. Cohibas Esplenditos
8. Delicate Tendrils
9. The Awakening
10. Precipitation
11. George E. Porge
12. El Sobrante Fortnight
13. Granny's Little Yard Gnome
14. Me And Chuck
15. Carolina Rig

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Setting up shop in the guest-house-cum-home-studio of Rancho Relaxo - his spacious, "Wayne Newton meets Mike Brady"-style spread in the idyllic rolling hills of Northern California - Les began by working up grooves and rolling tape. "A lot of these songs started with me and Jay Lane just jamming," he explains. "Jay's my favorite drummer on the planet, so whenever we get together we tend to have a pretty good time. We just laid down a bunch of grooves, and when one of 'em sounded cool, I'd hit RECORD and we'd lay it out for a few minutes. Then we'd shut it off and say, `That was cool. Let's do a different one.'"

With rhythm tracks in place, Les summoned several stellar sidemen - all old friends, of course - and told 'em to go nuts. "I've known Les since he was a teenager, and he hasn't changed that much," quips guest guitarist Joe Gore (PJ Harvey, Tom Waits). "He has more than a little Saturday morning cartoon-show host in him. Plus, he has the most extraordinary free-thinking, do-it-yourself ethic in the studio I've ever encountered. He goes strictly by what sounds good to him--whether it's achieved with some very expensive, sophisticated piece of gear or some junk from Radio Shack. He encouraged all of us to just freak out."

Guitarist/electric-saw virtuoso M.I.R.V. seconds that emotion. "I just played what I felt like playin'," he says. "It was one of the cooler recording situations I've been in. Les offered some direction because obviously they're his tunes, but there was none of the `big studio, time is money' pressure that makes it hard to concentrate. I'm another big proponent of the technology that makes it affordable to bring large-studio quality into the practice room. It lets you relax and get weird tracks done--which is what we did!" Other guests include jazz-funk 8-string guitar whiz Charlie Hunter and spoken-word maestro/publishing magnate/angry young man Henry Rollins.