Vintage Retrobuzz.com review of the GO FOR GLORY release show. “So best.”
"Program" from the GO FOR GLORY release show at the WAB.
Unused cover concept, rejected after Todd’s bony wrist “grossed out” test audiences.
Todd self-indulgently reminisces about the Prime Ministers’ first full-length album GO FOR GLORY, released 10 years ago this month.
Things were a little shaky going into GO FOR GLORY. Our lead guitarist Pete, (referred to hereafter as his PM alter ego “Rock McClain”) had moved out of state, and our drummer/my brother Joel was pretty much done with the band. (Or so he thought.) Ned and I didn’t hesitate: We found a new drummer in Lansing named Jason, and for a few months, made the 90-minute drive out to his house to practice. We usually stopped for dinner in Howell at a strange fast-food restaurant called Texas Taco, and listened to a lot of The Cure on the drive. (This has been the one constant since Ned and I started playing together in high school: driving around at night, listening to “The Hanging Garden.” Scary.)
Eventually we found a practice space closer to home at “The Loft,” which consisted of what seemed like a hundred little rooms, each containing multiple death-metal bands, and us, located above a Big Lots store in a Redford strip mall. (Rock visited us there once and dubbed it “the Terror Factory” due to the nonstop onslaught of chainsaw-like metal guitar bleeding through the walls). Married fairly recently, I would write songs in our newlywed apartment and bring them to the Loft each week, where Ned, Jason and I would arrange them.
We were emboldened to continue on with the PMs as a three-piece after Rock’s departure because hey, that’s how the Replacements made PLEASED TO MEET ME after firing Bob Stinson, right? In retrospect, maybe we should have found a second guitarist first. The first 10 songs we successfully arranged are the 10 that appear on the album — there aren’t any leftovers that I can recall.
We decided to make the record with Tim Pak at Woodshed Studios in Oak Park, which began a fruitful, long-running relationship — with the man and the studio. Unfortunately, with a start date already scheduled, Jason quit the band. Fortunately, in a soon-to-be recurring episode, Joel kindly agreed to step back behind the drums and bail us out.
Recording went smoothly, but was fairly indulgent by our current standards — mostly because I was responsible for all the guitar overdubs. Recording vocals dragged on as well, and it became apparent in later years that all my painstakingly added “oohs” and “whoas” were filling in melodies where guitars and keyboards could have/should have gone. A visiting Rock spent a brief afternoon in the studio adding guitar to two songs, and the peak of the entire experience came when a friend played saxophone on “Sunday Volume.” Total T. Rex/Mott the Hoople/Roxy moment that had me buzzing for hours.
Eventually the record was completed and sent off to a mastering company in California, who called and complained that the bass wasn’t loud enough. I did not have Caller ID at the time, and to this day am not sure it wasn’t one of Ned’s nefarious associates on the line. Dave Dominic photographed the cover with us (including a briefly reinstated Jason) standing on the top level of the OCC campus parking structure in downtown Royal Oak, and flattered us by saying we had a very “British look.”
GO FOR GLORY was launched with a sweaty, underwhelming performance at Woodward Avenue Brewers in Ferndale on June 24, 2004. Unfortunately, we didn’t put much effort into promoting the record or play that many shows to support it — I write this because it seems like we have way more leftover copies of that CD than the others. But GO FOR GLORY found a handful of enthusiasts among our friends, and we received the Prime Ministers Bare Minimum Encouragement™ we needed to continue on. Besides, we were already excited about the next thing: a new lead guitarist named Brandon, discovered through a Metro Times “Musicians Wanted” ad…to be continued in 2016 (BUDGET CUTS anniversary, natch.)
So don’t lay no quilt on me,
Album-title inspiration revealed: This paperback belonged to Todd’s dad and held a spot in the Wicks family bookshelf for decades.
GLORY-era PM lineup works it out in drummer Jason’s basement, Lansing, 2002-ish?
Forgive us this rare excursion down Memory Lane, but we can’t help but point out that our first full-length album, “GO FOR GLORY,” was released 10 years ago this month. While Greil Marcus finishes his critical reappraisal, we dug out a few era-appropriate pictures and quaint curios to share with you. As always, the album is available for streaming in its entirety here, so you can have fun counting how many of its songs begin with Todd singing “Welllll….”