. . .
One thing I didn’t realize before I started researching this post was that it was Michael Quercio who came up with the phrase “The Paisley Underground” to describe the non-hardcore L.A. scene of the early-mid 1980s.
Said scene included not just The Three O’Clock, but also The Bangles, Rain Parade and The Dream Syndicate. At least, and certainly early recordings by Green on Red and the Long Ryders could be tossed into that stew as well, even both bands went towards what we now call Americana pretty swiftly.
But here’s the funny thing: maybe because the name was so catchy, or maybe because at least one of the bands — The Bangles, duh — because massive stars, The Paisley Underground as a thing, as a concept, as a fixed point in alt-rock time, well, it never went away, even as everybody’s fortunes waxed and waned. And when the Three O’Clock reunited to play Coachella in 2013, they followed it up with few shows with reunited versions of the Bangles, Rain Parade and Dream Syndicate, the latter of which have released as many albums since they reunited as they did when they originally formed.
Anyways, they all had so much fun playing together again that when the Three O’Clock’s drummer, Danny Benair, suggested they each cover three songs by the other three artists, everybody loved it. And while it took awhile to come to fruition, the resulting album, 2018’s 3 X 4, was an absolute pleasure.
And while my favorite part was the Dream Syndicate’s cover of “Hero Takes A Fall,” a song co-written by Susanna Hoffs and Vicki Peterson about what an asshole Steve Wynn was — and featuring Vicki Peterson on backing vocals (which we got to see her do when the Dream Syndicate played the Troubadour in 2018) — it was all pretty great, including the Three O’Clock’s version of the Dream Syndicate’s “Tell Me When It’s Over.”
Fading in on a cloud of keyboards, shimmering percussion, quietly atmospheric guitar from Louis Gutierrez and a doomy bassline from Michael Quercio, The Three O’Clock’s version of “Tell Me When It’s Over” focused more on the melody of the song than the intensity, as Quercio didn’t even bother to replicate how Wynn sang the original, singing even the most psychotic parts in a calm, matter of fact voice.
Hey, that’s some kind of answer
Yeah, but no questions were posed
Oh, you’ve got a real imagination
With Adam Merrin’s synth playing Karl Precoda’s guitar hook and Quercio trailing off into a falsetto when he sang “oh let me know when it’s done,” this cover would have driven me absolutely nuts back in the 1980s, but now I absolutely love it to pieces, because no matter how you slice it, it’s a great song.
“Tell Me When It’s Over”
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