Fun fact: The first time I heard the “‘Free Bird’!” heckle, I was watching Velvet Crush open for the Jesus and Mary Chain at Stanford’s Memorial Auditorium. (I can’t remember drummer Ric Menck’s comeback offhand, but given the excellence of his book about The Notorious Byrd Brothers, it must have been pretty good.) The long-running band continues to release great records, but here is one of the band’s earliest singles. Ken Stringfellow once cited this song as one he wished he’d written, which is high praise indeed. (With a riff like this one, it’s easy to see why…)
Since James Brown (sadly) is no longer with us, Joe Pernice may very well be the hardest-working man in show business. He led the Scud Mountain Boys and Chappaquiddick Skyline, and figures prominently in the Roger Lion Band and The New Mendicants. Pernice is also a respected poet and author, best known for the novels It Feels So Good When I Stop and Meat Is Murder. (That last book is inspired by Pernice’s teenage experiences with the Smiths album of the same name.) Some would consider the Pernice Brothers to be his crowning achievement, and I can’t disagree. With the help of his brother Bob and a revolving cast of under-the-radar indie-rock greats (such as former Lilys bassist Thom Monahan and fellow author-musician Ric Menck), Joe Pernice crafts perfect pop songs such as this one. If the ending harmonies don’t wow you, check your pulse!