Vice | Haunted | I U She After 11 days of red carpets, concerts, parties,…
- Posted on Jul 12th 2010 11:00AM by Steve Baltin
The three of them shared an interest in music, but also, it turned out, in aliens. "I had just signed a deal to publish my first book, it was a humor book called 'The Official Alien Abductees' Handbook: How to Recover From Alien Abduction,'" Tripician says. "Fred was saying, 'Joe has written this book about aliens,' and he was immediately interested in the subject."
Though Buckley had never played mandolin until that day, he took to the instrument, to no one's surprise. "Jeff picked it up and started playing it like he was born playing it. I'd never met anyone so naturally gifted musically in my life," Tripician says. "He was just sitting there strumming mandolin and making jokes about aliens, 'Oh, the aliens are coming' in this kind of hillbilly voice, so I went to the other room right next to the studio and started typing up some lyrics. I printed out a couple of sheets of lyrics and handed them out to Fred and Jeff. Jeff looked at them [and said], 'Hey, this is pretty cool' and they started working together on the melody, the chorus, and the bridge and I kept writing more lyrics. Within four hours, we had the song written, scored, recorded and it was just a complete natural session I'll never forget."
'Ozark Melody' was originally released on a website Tripician had set up for the book in April of 1997, but Buckley tragically died a month later, drowning in the Mississippi River. Reed still recalls the tragedy vividly. "His memorial service was like the saddest event I think I ever attended because he just had so much talent," he says. "It was just such a criminal waste for someone like that to die at the age he did and the way he did."
"I find it hard still, to this day, to listen to 'Grace' and to 'Live At Sin-E,'" Reed says, but he has no such problems with 'Ozark Melody.' "It was just kind of such a silly song, but every time I listen to it, it makes me laugh," he says. "This wasn't a regular recording session for Jeff -- it was just like hanging out with friends. At the time he recorded this with us, he had enormous pressure on him. I think 'Grace' had come out a year or two before and they were working up on a follow-up, so he was just having fun on a weekend afternoon, and I was having fun too. We were joking around with the lyrics, no pressure. It was just the Jeff I knew, who liked to jam, liked to fool around. "
Tripician and Reed want fans to see that side of their friend and they found Buckley followers were anxious to hear the song. "Just recently this year, I had posted it up on again on a community bulletin board, MetaFilter, and it received an enormous amount of interest," Tripician says of 'Ozark Melody.' "I asked some of the people posting comments on it, 'Hey, would you like to hear some of the original unmixed tracks?' 'Yes, sure, absolutely.' I called Fred up and asked him to go through his vault and pull out the original recordings, so we decided to do the same thing we did with the song, release them for free, let people who are fans of Jeff enjoy it and put it out there."
To hear more from Tipician and Reed, head to iTunes to hear their 'Remembering Jeff Buckley' podcast. After listening to 'Ozark Melody' below, head over to Indaba to hear the unmixed tracks of the songs.
Listen to 'Ozark Melody'
Download: 'Ozark Melody' (MP3)
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