Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley
The first time that we met Bobby Burg, he was riding shotgun in the van with Cale Parks, when the former member of Aloha and now Brahms lead man was here taping a solo session. They'd driven in from Chicago that overcast day and Burg wanted to kill his two hours of time here outside of the studio and asked where the skatepark that he'd heard about was. We pointed him in the right direction, just under the Centennial Bridge and over by the minor league baseball diamond, and he returned having enjoyed himself immensely. We saw them off with a guarantee that we'd have him to the studio sometime soon, to lay down his own music - which he makes under the name Love of Everything - and for some more skating. He returned this spring, as the band was making its way down to Wichita, Kansas, for a show, leaving no time for recreational playtime, but the short and sweet session heard here shows the interesting points of entry and exit that Burg brings to his writing. He drapes his concise stories of assumed misery consumed despair over snappy and propulsive garage riffs and spunky drum beats. It's music that's filled with the kind of energy of a youth or an adult who still have a pipeline to that part of him - in this case, we know it's there, coming from a grown ass man who still makes time for his skating, maybe to get his mind off his rent, taxes and anything else that bears concern as a grown-up - and it's music that shows the refinement of lyrical structure, a depth in substance that can come only from someone who has gotten himself into and out of all sorts of slippery situations.
The songs that Burg wrote and recorded for his latest record, "Best In Tensions," are not the breadth of a universal life lived, but it most certainly shows the breadth of a particular life lived and this life of Burg's (or, we should say, in respect to the author, the potentiality of the altogether fictionalized life) is one that thrives on odd peculiarities and loves on some of those bittersweet tones that Owen Ashworth uses in his endlessly interesting tales on his soon-to-be-ending Casiotone For The Painfully Alone project. The troubles that seem to crop up in Love of Everything songs are those of folks we'd associate with living those hand-to-mouth existences that so many are living, where the only stability comes in knowing that everything coming to you is going to come at the hands of a struggle. What you earn is going to be hard won and what you lose is going to hurt you deeply for there is little middle ground to provide any footing. We picture many of these characters banging away at minimum wage jobs and getting only so far. Their lifelines are their friends and their family and they rely on both of those groups heavily to get them through their errant times, to make sure that they at least have someone to hold hands with in the dark, or call when they lights are off. And yet, Love of Everything is not built around the solemn or the hard luck. It's built on anecdote and it's built on sheer feeling, unfettered reality - watching one's boss getting broken up with, telling your friends that you love them through the thick and the thin. It's built on the knowledge that living life is not simple and such a situation can only lead to unpredictable, verse-ready tangents.