Greg Wood and his band of merry men known as Horseshoe slide into Under The Volcano Wednesday night for the late-'90s warhorses' second "reunion" gig since getting back together at Rudyard's three months ago. Wood has been described as a songwriter extraordinaire in the local press going all the way back to Horseshoe's beginnings in 1995. The band's first CD, King of the World, stood H-Town on its ear, but it took five years for the band to issue its second album, 2000's Moving the Goods, as it spiraled toward oblivion.
And what a mish-mash Moving the Goods was, like a 50-car pileup on the Southwest Freeway. Openers "First Car" and "Last Concert Café" seemed to pick up right where King of the World ended, our jaunty ne'er-do-wells finding the slippery, trashy old groove that was as comfortable as a smoking jacket and a good cigar.
But midway through the album, it quickly became apparent that we were no longer in Camelot but in some lower level of Dante's inferno. It didn't take a genius to figure out that there were serious problems. Serious, serious, serious problems.
And, just like that, it was over. There was no Horseshoe. Wood had a heart attack and other health complications that took him completely out of the picture. Guitarist Scott Daniels moved on to Carolyn Wonderland's band and eventually to Austin. The rest of the band - Ben Collis, Eddie Hawkins, Cary Winscott - scattered like scrap paper in a tornado.
Lonesome Onry and Mean recently caught up with Wood and asked him to explain five of the most fucked-up songs on Moving the Goods.
Greg Wood: Since this one's about an actual person, etc, I don't want to say too much. I wanted to write a song about the drugs - heroin in this case - that didn't "glamorize" the whole stupid deal. But once this was recorded I realized that I was STILL romanticizing that ridiculous, sick lifestyle - the one I'd been living and hating for so long. (I don't remember writing this at all; since the words don't rhyme I assume it's "poetry" I scribbled down and then later figured out a melody.)
GW: Another song all about drugs. I mean, pretty much every line is about where I had sunk and what drug(s) had sunk me. This is another song that started life as a cassette tape from Scott Daniels. He'd recorded these cool chords on a patio somewhere, and in the background of the recording you could hear a train whistle off in the distance.
Something about those chords and that melancholy train whistle inspired me. The words to this came pretty fast. No more songs about drugs after this one. Not too long after writing these words I got sick, had heart surgery, etc. I had played that shit out as long as I could. I was glad to finally be on the way out of that mess, as opposed to just being on the way out.
GW: Scott Daniels had recorded those chord changes on a cassette for me to add lyrics and melody. I'd lived with that tape for weeks and come up with exactly nada. One day, driving to a convenience store just up the block, I popped that tape into the player and...well, it's just one of those things.
The entire melody and lyrics just came pouring out. This one is strictly a story-song, complete fiction. All those drugs I was doing had to come from somewhere, so I just imagined some poor small-timer from Texas, runnin' down to Mexico as often as he could and barely staying out of trouble with the law and the ladies. I also wanted to write a song that mentioned Texas and Mexico and wasn't just completely cheesy. Don't know that I succeeded.
GW: The character is fictional, though we share some things in common. Just another attempt at incorporating Texas into a song without slipping into utter silliness. Wrote this specifically for Johnny Falstaff. He never touched it. I never intended to sing this song myself, so it's always seemed like a cover song to me. It's not my style at all, actually, which might explain why people like it.
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SHOW ME HOW
GW: Three verses, three people who were pissing me off for various reasons. Two of them I now don't remember. One of them was this chick who had been really playing a friend of mine - really messin' with his head. She was a total man-eating bitch, but had this rep as a cool, sweet lady if you didn't know her too well.
My friend would tell me about the insane, cruel stuff she'd say to him privately, etc. Hence, "A brand new way of lookin' at your face..." (I've also always been kinda proud of '3 Bad Apples'' relatively elaborate rhyme scheme, which I recall laboring over for quite a while. I was such a schmuck.)