Wednesday, April 20, 2011

One Great Song - "The Mistake" - Urge Overkill - 1995

Urge Overkill went out on a high note at a low point with 1995's Exit the Dragon. With drummer Blackie Onassis arrested on drug charges and an album more or less ignored by radio, they simply disappeared from the scene. And it was a downright shame as Exit the Dragon was easily their finest album to date and one of the best of its era. Not a concept album but with a consistent feel, nonetheless, Exit the Dragon was made for the rain and the dark as much as Saturation was designed for sun and sparkle.

At the heart of this masterpiece, seven tracks in, sits "The Mistake." Given the band's fabled excesses at the time it would be hypocritical to digest this as an anti-drug song. In fact, it doesn't strike me as anti-anything-in-particular but instead feels as though it is a straightforward melancholy observation of life as it was: "travellin's across the USA/ it's hard sometimes to keep it together / nothing but the songs that you play / and a couple kids believing your sound."

"The Mistake" would fit in perfectly anywhere on Neil Young's own smack odyssey, Tonight's the Night. The vocals, just like the lyric, are ragged, plaintive and brutally real. Instead of "please take my advice / open up the tired eyes" we hear "it's stronger than you know / beware the overdose." And the end results, be they for Bruce Berry, Danny Whitten or Urge's unknown rock star, are the same: "look inside, inside my soul / there's a catchy song, a catchy song / it's coming through the radio / there's a certain song, a certain song / stuck inside my soul / it's a catchy song, it's number one / too bad you overdosed."

Frame all this beautiful misery with absolutely gorgeous fuzzed out guitars and you have one of the very best songs you may have never heard. Exit the Dragon is, shamefully, out of print on CD but can be found used all over the place. Additionally, downloads are available on iTunes and If you haven't heard it yet, don't waste another day without it. If it's been a while, crank it up, roll one up and do as you please... just be certain not to fall with the wrong kind of crowd...

Exit The Dragon

1 comment:

  1. "The Mistake" came up in a fan question on Urge Overkill's facebook page. Ed Roeser gives an explanation.

    I like the bit about the "only anti-anything song" being about the death of vinyl.