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“Peculiar Way” is from a batch of songs recorded back in the 90s at Kris Woolsey’s apartment in the West Village. In those pre-Garageband days, if someone got their hands on a decent four-track machine you simply had to take advantage. I forget who left the device at Kris’s house, or why, but its very presence in his living room demanded from us a long day of single-malt recording. I think we worked on 3 or 4 songs, new stuff of his and mine that we wanted to whip into shape.

The skeleton of this song came from a bunch of scratch cassettes I made in Florida, at my grandmother’s house, during one of many New-York-nervous-breakdown sabbaticals. I wanted it to foretell of a life-changing encounter, but in reality my life wasn’t changing that way and the song never got finished.

The nominal chorus came later, separately, and was a more characteristic expression of drunken resentment. I thought this provided a nice, truer-to-life counterpoint to the imagined epiphany. So, at Kris’s, with the help of a few tumblers of Laphroaig, I simply stitched the pieces together. And not completely successfully, I might needlessly add. (The All-Girl Band only played this song once, at a Coney Island gig where some poor kid got shot on the Boardwalk and we had to make our getaway dash in a loaner Humvee.)

But the song made more sense to me balanced out like that, despite the slapdash needlework. Occasionally you meet a person whose brief appearance in your life is both decisive and abrupt — someone who simply bowls you over, as instantaneous and elemental as a tidal wave. When the wave recedes (often carrying away many things you thought irreplaceably dear), the effect can leave you feeling disoriented and traumatized, or reawakened and revitalized. And more to the point, sometimes all of the above.

Peculiar Way

What is peculiar ’bout the way
You came to me
Is I had nothing more to say
And suddenly

Knocked my eyes wide open
Like a castle by the sea
You knocked my eyes way out of focus

And then a most peculiar thought
Occurred to me
Going against all I’d been taught
And suddenly

Knocked my eyes wide open
Like a castle by the sea
You knocked my eyes way out of focus

You thought I was too drunk to remember
All the little lies that I was told
But the simple fact is I remember
Every single one
Every single one