Fade To Black (MP3)
That's Just Life
(Real Audio)
(Real Audio)
Subway Song
(Real Audio)
(Bomp 12132) - 1982
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Fade to Black (Vitus Mataré/Joe Nolte, Jan 19, 1980)

Sometime - Anytime
Anyway - way inside
I sit and I wait
And then the world goes black

Every morning when I rise
The glare of the sunlight shatters my eyes
And I have to recall my celluloid dreams
But wait
This time it's not the same
This time - anytime

And I fade to black
I was thinking of you
I was thinking of all the things that we could do
Fade to black
Then I'm talking with you
And I'm telling you things
Did you see what happened to
See what happened to me?
Well it's so very hard to sleep at night

Time - anytime when I'm all alone
In the cold
In the dark
Sometimes I feel it all could be real
Sometime - anytime

'Cause I can't sleep at night
My head spins round and round
You won't go away
The walls scream with no sound
Of you in the night
It's you, and it's just not right with you
It's so very hard to think of you
I'd do anything to know you knew
Or that you really understood what I've been through

And then the world goes black
When the screen goes black
and my mind goes black
I just fade to black

Vitus had written a song called "Eight After One" in March '79, and when in early 1980 we were approached to do a title song for the upcoming Dennis Christopher film Fade To Black I started playing around with the song, changing the words "Eight after one and I'm here with a gun" to "I fade to black - I was thinking of you".

It worked really well, so I took all the parts to the original song and shuffled them into what I thought would be an appropriately cinematic/dramatic sort of movie theme. (I think I added a little bit, musically, but the melody is essentially Vitus'.)

To this day, I don't think Vitus has forgiven me.

Anyway, this was recorded during the Look Again sessions, and we were actually filmed for the movie.

Unfortunately, they ditched the song, and cut our scene out (though supposedly we did get a credit for about four seconds of "Every Summer Day" that played in the background during some burger stand scene - this is unconfirmed), so the song languished till Bomp put it out as a 12 inch in '82.

To this day I have never seen the film.

—Joe Nolte

That's Just Life (Joe Nolte, Feb 17, 1978)

People turn their heads to me
Happens all the time
Only shoulderblades I see
Every single time

Guess I outta know by now
I'm just not wanted anyhow
One more club that don't allow
The like of me around

I don't mind
That's just life
It's all right
It's the only one I know

Had enough of politics
It's just a lot of words
Everything's been tried before
Nothing ever works

People try and change the world
Say they'll make a better world
They get in and they get old
Same as all the rest

Rock 'n' Roll is here to stay
So they said in '58
All the rest is history
You know what I mean

Guess we oughta know by now
No one wants it anyhow
The world's a club that don't allow
The likes of us around

You don't mind
You call it life
But is it right when there's nowhere else to go?


We had played a show at the Whisky A Go Go in February, sharing the bill with the Zippers, among many others. Watching another band from the audience, I noticed the current drummer from the Germs bouncing around in front of me, just to my left. Immediately to my left was a surly, mean and getting meaner by the second looking biker dude who was probably twice the guy's size. Said biker was directly behind Germs drummer guy, who, unwittingly, kept bouncing up and down and back and forth, and accidentally and unknowingly repeatedly bouncing slightly into the biker dude.

Biker dude finally decides enough is enough, makes a fist, and begins to rear back his arm.

Well, Germs fan that I am, I had to do something. So I grabbed Biker dude's arm (remember, he was probably twice as big as me as well), and attempted to give him my most earnest "we're all just having fun" smile. Biker dude looks at me incredulously, begins to rear back the aforementioned arm in my direction, and I shudder to think what would have happened had not the Whiskey bouncers shown up at that moment.

Now - if you're a Whisky bouncer and you have a choice between an 800 pound biker or a 120 pound me, who would you choose?

So I was thrown out of the Whisky, scant hours after having been on its stage.

In retrospect, the bouncers probably saved my life, as far as I know no violence ensued subsequently, and I probably could've gotten back in the club ten minutes later.

At the time, however, I was outraged. I hadn't started the trouble - I was trying to prevent a fight! (Remember, I was young and stupid.) Anyway, this song came out of all that, the first line conceived being "One more club that don't allow the likes of you inside".

—Joe Nolte

Obsession (Joe Nolte, Jan 20, 1980)

Once in a dream - a time
Long years ago I recall
I found myself before a wall of stone and bricks cracked with the years
And I swore to free them all
For it lay between me and someone
A girl I had never seen
Once that was me - watching and waiting
That was my dream till I found you

Once in a dream I cried
At the foot of a gate I could not pass through
Once I denied, I locked it inside
But you felt the same way too
And girl, I'd do most anything to be your friend
I'd stay with you - I know I could - right to the end
I'd do most anything you say

Once I was wise - I laughed
At the very idea that I would succumb
To the pain and the madness - the stuff of my dreams
Then I laid eyes on you

Now I can't concentrate - it's hard to live from day to day
The things I feel for you I don't dare even say
But that's alright because you know anyway

Now in my dreams I see your hair
Caressed by the winds that brought you there
See the days just die in the sunlight - oh

Once I had dreams - you know
You had the same dreams too
Years take their toll, but somewhere inside
Something led me to you - to you

See the days just die in the sunlight
Stars explode with the truth
See the days just die in the sunlight
Stars explode with the truth
Stars explode, turn gray in the morning
All on account of you
Sunlight strives - through the haze I tried
To find a memory of you - I cried

The mid-part ("See the days just die in the sunlight, etc.) was written, words and music, on December 3, 1976 as a bridge for a current song of Mike's called "Garden of Youth". Since we'd never done anything with that song, I stole the bridge for this one. The rest of this song evolved out of a fake Dylan thing I'd come up with October 8, 1978, but never finished, and the resulting combination as revised was written for "G", who I actually may end up naming.

Lyrically the usual over romantic nonsense, although I have actually had the dreams described in the song.

—Joe Nolte

Subway Song (Vitus Mataré)

The city and the streets are getting tight
But I can't sleep at night
There's a shadow hanging over me

No city sleeps at night
The sky caves in and the streets get tight
Dark shadows crush the light
'Til nothing's black and nothing's white
Way below and out of sight
A city cellar full of fright

Can't keep my distance anyway
Can't wait up for the light of day
I haven't got a lot to say

I take the subway home
I stand for all to see
I sit here all alone
There's something wrong with me
I feel the engines drone
Ah, must be the enemy

Can't control my destiny
I'm the one sprung from the seed
Lord, what's hanging over me?

I take the subway home
I sit here all alone
I feel the engines drone
I must be the enemy


Ah, yes, speaking of Vitus and my meddling, this is the definitive example. I really wanted to do a rockabilly song, but hadn't come up with anything. Vitus had demoed a song earlier that year that was essentially a slow, creepy, gothic, million voiced chant, with the haunting refrain "I take the subway home" repeated over and over. It was chilling and cool, and I had no idea how we would ever be able to do it live. The arrangement was, literally, a whole lot of Vitus voices chanting over a subdued organ.

Just for fun, I was sitting in the basement of the Church and goofing around, and started doing the thing with a rockabilly rhythm.

It worked - real well, in fact.

The lyrics are Vitus', and emerged (relatively) unscathed. Ditto for the music, though I did add enough room for some cool rockabilly licks.

Vitus hated the arrangement.

Then people began congratulating him on an outstanding composition.

Hopefully that mollified him, somewhat.

For me, I never worried about ruffling feathers in the late '70's. My concern was to create the best versions of the best songs possible, and I did not differentiate between dissecting and mixing up my own songs, or anyone else's.

By early 1980, I began to feel bad, that I had been meddling too much. I backed away, just in time for the Look Again sessions, stopped meddling as much, and let The Last become a more democratic organization.

Which is partly why we fell so fast from our exalted position in the early 80's, and which is probably why this album was never released.

—Joe Nolte

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