Crippled Minds

One Friday in 1999, probably August, I was in a covers band called Shagpile, with Brad Douglas on drums and Jason Curtis on bass. Excellent band name.

Absolutely genuine photo of Shagpile, circa-1999.

Absolutely genuine photo of Shagpile, circa-1999.

We discovered, through a friend, that a prominent Australian alternative radio station (known for “un-burying” hitherto unknown and unsigned bands) was holding a competition for our city of Brisbane. Only trouble was, the deadline for song entries was the following week. This was the period before songwriting competitions had exploded across the internet, and way before I had figured out that (a) when they say recording or performance quality don’t matter, they’re lying and (b) the judging process is frequently more politically motivated than artistic.

Brad and I had already started writing songs together. Enough About You and If You Knew were in the can, but were nowhere near recorded or ready to release. We needed another song, and we needed it yesterday.

So I conscripted some music from one of the demos I had previously filed away for a project that would one day become greater and more terrible. Over lunch, we wrote lyrics for Crippled Minds, a cheery jaunt about the pleasures of working life. What followed was a whirlwind recording effort. We cut the instrumental track over the weekend and recorded vocals one night after work. Then the song was mixed down using cheap headphones. I thought the garage-like sound quality would fit the spirit of the competition. The package was express posted and we sat back and reflected on how clever we were.

Apparently Crippled Minds didn’t impress the one person at the radio station who maybe listened to it.

Shortly afterwards I became dismissive about the song. I felt the subject matter was too heavy and the production unrealised. So that was that.

Cue 2013.

How would Crippled Minds have sounded if I’d been able to mix it today? That’s what I suddenly started wondering. Perhaps I could have done a better job of hiding the limitations of the equipment we used at the time. I tracked down the original files and gave it a go. Many years later, I now realise that the lyrics Brad and I put down were way ahead of our years, and spot on.

So here is the 2013 remix of Crippled Minds. No re-recording, no new overdubs, and no prizes in the songwriting competition.

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