Liner Notes For Collector Choice's Re-release of Dreamtime
An oral history of Dreamtime (originally released 1981); Interrogations done
by Jason Gross, editor/perpetrator of Perfect Sound Forever online music
"Dream we dream our dream!" poet Paul Verlaine, 'O'er the Wood's Brow'
CAST OF CHARACTERS
Bruce Brody: Keyboardist: Patti Smith Group, Pretenders, U2.
Jay Dee Daugherty: Drummer: Patti Smith Group, The Church.
Ritchie Fliegler: Guitarist: Former SVP Fender Guitar. Now runs Fearless
Donnie Nossov: Bassist: John Waite, Pat Benatar, Lita Ford.
Fred Smith: Bassist: Television. Co-owner of upstate New York winery.
Rich Teeter: Drummer: The Dictators, Twisted Sister. Does education sales
for Sam Ash Music.
Tom Verlaine: Guitarist, singer: Television, solo career.
Jay Dee Daugherty: I'd played with Tom at sound checks at CBGB's when Patti
and Television were on the same bill, and we'd always see each other. For
his first 1979 record, he would just say, "Show up at the studio.". For
Dreamtime, we did prepare for it. It was a little more cohesive and planned
out. Most of the attention was paid to what Ritchie was playing....
Getting the parts with the guitars was more of a preoccupation with Tom.
Fred Smith: He asked me to play on his first record and we remained friends
for all these years so I continued working with him on Dreamtime.
Ritchie Fliegler: I knew Fred already - we worked at a guitar place
together. Bruce Brody and I were playing with John Cale, who shared
management with Television and Patti Smith. Also, Bruce and I were playing
in a band with Donnie and Teeter called VHF before working with Tom.
Bruce Brody: Everyone was so close - you just knew everyone.
DREAMTIME, VERSION I
(Mr. Blur', 'Down On The Farm', 'There's A Reason', 'Without A Word',
Ritchie Fliegler: We did lots of demo work first. I also played all the
12-string parts. Tom did all the solos and the color work, but a lot of the
other parts were played by myself.
Jay Dee Daugherty: When you play with someone over time, you know what to
expect and anticipate.
Fred Smith: Recording with Tom was pretty much the same as recording in
Television. The only difference was for Television's album Marquee Moon, we
played that stuff for years live. You have a year or two to develop a part
if you're touring. But when you get into a studio to do new songs for the
first time, you may only have a week to figure out what you're going to do.
So most of the time there was stuff that developed in the studio.
Ritchie Fliegler: Bob Clifford (engineer), who co-produced (Dreamtime), had
a lot to do with its sound. He was a big part of it. He engineered the
demos, and was there for all the rehearsals. It had a lot of that 'big
room', early 80's sound to it.
Tom Verlaine: It's good to give engineers production credit as it helps
Ritchie Fliegler: For 'Mr. Blur,' I'm playing (Henry Mancini's) 'Baby
Elephant Walk' and the intro too.
Jay Dee Daugherty: Tom oscillates between being funny and
serious/demanding. But we've known each other for a long time so it's a
Bruce Brody: There were problems where the tape was shedding. It was one
of the 24-track, 2-inch tapes and the oxide was coming off onto the playback
heads. The tapes weren't made well.
Jay Dee Daugherty: Fred and I had recorded the whole album with Tom and
Ritchie. Tom spent a lot of time in the studio and did a lot of overdubs,
and it's great on the tapes but he got a bad batch to use. One of them fell
apart and he had to re-record some of the songs, but Fred and I were
unavailable for that.
Fred Smith: We were working with Willie Nile so maybe we were busy. But
(as) for the tapes, Tom used to do a lot of editing. Those tapes would go
flying by - you'd see a lot of splices. Some songs he would compose in the
studio, edit things together or chop them in half. The tapes did get
punished a bit.
Tom Verlaine: There was a problem with the tapes. At the same time, I was
interested in working with some different players.
DREAMTIME, VERSION II
('Always', 'Mary Marie', 'Fragile', 'The Blue Robe', 'A Future In Noise')
Donnie Nossov: I got a call from Ritchie saying, "You wanna play on a
couple of songs?". The three of us played together for some time (VHF) so
it was easy to drop in as a rhythm section.
Rich Teeter: When I got there, we recorded the songs pretty quickly. It
only took a few days. We recorded live in the studio.Tom overdubbed vocals
and some guitar later too. It was well established in Tom's mind so it was
easy for him to tell us his ideas for the arrangements and have them all
fall into place.
Donnie Nossov: It was really fast and really musical. He knew what he
wanted and was a very down-to-earth guy. He was business-like in terms of
getting the music down and across ... very clear in his concept of what he
wanted to hear.
Ritchie Fliegler: During the demos, Tom would play a part, I would come up
with a part as a response, then he would come back with another part ...
that's how we worked out 'A Future In Noise'.
Bruce Brody: After they recorded the basic tracks, I came in later to do
some overdubs - just for a few days (on 'Always', 'Marie Marie',
Rich Teeter: I left a (Twisted Sister) gig to get back to the city to do
this session with Tom. It was funny to go from playing goony rock to
something extremely artful and sophisticated that rocked just as hard.
Donnie Nossov: Just to be able to go in there and not even care about what
kind of music you were playing was refreshing - rather than saying, "I'm
gonna play this kind of song!". Instead he just let the music happen.
Rich Teeter: I still freakin' love 'A Future In Noise'. It's an incredibly
powerful piece of music.
Donnie Nossov: 'Always' is a song that really sticks out for me. It's got
that post-punk edge, but it's really melodic too.
Rich Teeter: I didn't think he'd put 'The Blue Robe' on that record. It
was just a really fun jam that we did.
Donnie Nossov: I like that experimental side of his music with
'Penetration' and 'The Blue Robe'.
Jay Dee Daugherty: I thought that the second rhythm section was faithful to
the way we originally played it.
Rich Teeter: It's amazing how art happens . to see a guy with creativity
oozing out of him and knowing what he wanted. It was his vision - his
Jay Dee Daugherty: There's an improvisation and intensity to his music with
dynamics and tension that builds and subsides.
Ritchie Fliegler: I remember this album fondly, much more than a lot of
other things I've worked on.
Donnie Nossov: After doing Tom's record, I guess I gained a certain amount
of 'post-punk cred.
Rich Teeter: I got tons of respect from the community from being on that
record at that time and since then.
Donnie Nossov: I thought that artistically it was a very successful record.
I'm sorry that more people didn't get to hear it but maybe that will change.