HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE - If Wishes Were Glass Horses Page 2
by Martin Popoff
"I've never really worked with keyboards this much," reflects John, "especially... this is a real 250 pound Hammond B3 you're hearing, with a 1951 Leslie cabinet, 200 Watt speaker. It's a real Fender Rhodes electric piano, and it's a real acoustic piano. So just mic'ing up all this stuff and working with that, trying to blend it with the guitars and stuff, it's pretty tough. There's a lot going on musically. At one point, there are four tracks of guitars, five tracks of vocals and two tracks of keyboards going on all at the same time. And just trying to strike a balance with all that was really tough."
No detail is left untrammeled when it comes to making Hammers the intellectually rich artistic drenching that it is. Two jarringly opposite photos of the band confront and provoke, within a digipak presentation that keeps throwing up smokescreens and... spiderwebs o'er glass horses.
Explains John, "My brother - my identical twin brother, actually - is a professional photographer. And him and I have been talking about working on a photo shoot for a long time. He lives in New York City, so we finally did it. The front cover, the shot on the outside cover, is a shot I've been wanting to do for a long time. I knew for a fact I didn't want us to look like a rock band, or any kind of band. I wanted to look more like an orchestra or a political action committee or something, to fit the theme of the record. So I wanted to take a really, really good band photo, which you don't see very often. You rarely see good band photos anymore. You know, you used to see great photos. The cover of Kraftwerk's Trans-World Express was a major influence on that picture, and you know, just think about the cover to Highway To Hell, AC/DC - what a great band photo! Amazing! Now you stand in front of a f**king brick wall."
"So we got the tuxes (FYI: John, criminally talented for a paltry 40 years of age, is the one with the moustache), got them all picked out; we went to Macy's and bought all the dresses and jewelry. Of course, returning them later - got our money back for that stuff. And then my brother is a consummate pro. He did all the hair and the nails himself, everything. We bought a fabric for the backdrop etc. Makeup, everything. And then after that shoot was done, we had a box of glam clothes there, and we decided to have a little bit of fun and do a glam band shot, in the last hour of the photo shoot. And the rock 'n' roll shot inside the booklet came out of that, obviously. Which I think is kind of a fun juxtaposition to the tuxedo shot. So you couldn't really get more opposite."
HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE - If Wishes Were Glass Horses Page 3