We were flying over to Perth to play a show with our new buddies Adam Said Galore and Braving the Seabed. It was some time after The Pointless Gift had come out but before Fake Our Deaths. When we were still giggling in radio interviews and not knowing what the hell we were doing but having a lot of fun anyway. The band was starting to experiment with instrument swapping, largely due to Dan joining the band and being able to play a few instruments other than drums. Simon was keen to switch from bass to drums for a song, so we worked up this tune from a slow riff in rehearsal.
By the time we flew to Perth I was seriously ill with a flu. The pressure in my head when landing was monumental, leaving me with a serious ear ache and swollen neck glands. I couldn’t talk, found myself on the floor of Rob from Braving the Seabed’s house, in the middle of summer, sweating and shivering, in a bedroom with just long beads hanging from where a door should’ve been. All over the house were trinkets and Betty Page pictures and psychedelic lamps and knick knacks that were each individually beautiful but thrown together created an insane, woozy dreamscape. Rob’s Mum was boiling me heroic amounts of garlic and ginger, which I’d struggle to get down, stinking, before lying useless on the floor in sweat and shorts, listening to the band and our friends mill barefoot around the open house in the still heat. At some point Rob played me his favourite Talk Talk song and it still reminds me of lying comatose in a warm wood house in Perth, drifting, delusional and somehow comforted by being completely resigned to the illness.
They got me to a doctor at some point who said that my flight home to Melbourne could be dangerous, potentially causing a punctured eardrum if I wasn’t careful. All I remember is that the gutters in the street were red, being completely disappointed I couldn’t hang out with everyone and wanting a can of Coke.
At some point we had a show to play. That day about midday we went into a boxy little black room that was Simon Struthers (ASG) studio, with borrowed amps and (I think) a short reel of 1/4 inch tape. After a long time setting up, we fiddled around with the song a few times and recorded ‘The Point In The War Where We Knew We Were Lost’ live, with Simon on drums, Dan on bass, me fingerpicking and Leigh on a beautiful second guitar line. Simon was thrilled with his drum roll near the end. We had to cut the song a bit short so it would fit on the tape; in hindsight, a good thing. I recorded a few vocals but I was so sick and clogged up it sounded like I was singing through my nose. That night we played a show somewhere; maybe with Braving the Seabed and Adam Said Galore at the Amplifier. I don’t remember it much, except for wanting to be there and not really being able to. And drinking a lot of scotch.
I spent the next day trying to record the vocals at Struther’s suburban sharehouse. Dan from Bluetile Lounge was there drinking longnecks, and at some point Struthers played us stuff from the joke country band they’d started together, called ‘Still’. It was – like everything those guys touched – amazing. (I still have a copy). I could barely sing a note; every time I tried to breathe my lungs wouldn’t take any oxygen in. I’d try and hold a note and my chest would wheeze and the snot and phlegm in my head would rattle and bounce against my vocal chords like a marble down a slide. It was brutal. Somehow, through drinking copious amounts of hot water, on a boiling hot summer day, in a floorboarded room with a patient Struthers in the room next door; headphones on, leads trailing down the hall, we got it done.
The song came out on a split 7″ with Braving The Seabed in about 2001. I sound sick and distant, but it makes the song (and what it’s about) sounds just the way it should.