Thank you everyone who submitted their entries to the contest celebrating the 20th anniversary of The Blue Moods Of Spain. For those who haven’t heard about it, a few months ago I asked fans of my band Spain to submit stories, anecdotes, experiences, and/or observations about how Spain’s 1995 debut album The Blue Moods Of Spain affected them over the years and made an impact on their lives. I read every entry and was overwhelmed by the heartfelt stories, sincerity and graciousness. Picking my favorite entry was a difficult task indeed!
Before I announce the winner and post his entry for the world to see, I’d like to first share a message left on the Josh Haden Facebook page in response to a notification about the contest - from none other than Blue Moods producer Norm Kerner:
“For me it meant a month of my life spent with Josh and his band working on music that I loved and respected - and I can’t say that for much of my 20 years I spent as a record producer.”
That’s what it was all about for me, too. As I recount in the liner notes for Blue Moods Of Spain: A History Parts One and Two, the one month we spent recording the album was a truly magical experience, one of those providential moments in time one could never plan for or ever be able to repeat, no matter how hard one tried. Everyone there, musicians, family and friends, producers, engineers, and studio assistants, even the winos who lived in front of the studio, were symbiotically placed there to make Blue Moods into the beautiful reality it is. At twenty-six I’d made the best album of my life, even twenty years later I can’t equal it, and without Norm, Ken, Merlo, Evan, Petra and Tanya, trumpet player Larry Cady, photographer Ed Colver, and everyone at Brilliant Studios and Restless Records it never would have existed.
And with that I announce the winner of the 2015 Blue Moods Of Spain 20th Anniversary Contest!
VINCENT MASTON - MY EXPERIENCE WITH THE BLUE MOODS OF SPAIN
One reason why I like Vincent’s entry is that it’s not only about Blue Moods proper, but about the 1996 limited edition 2-disc version that paired the original album with four live tracks recorded at L.A. radio station KCRW. That shows fan dedication!
Not to make light of Vincent’s teenaged would-be romantic entanglements, but I experienced the same thing growing up as a teenager in the 1980s, giving a girl a mixed cassette tape of music I liked, only to be met with incredulousness and sometimes complete apathy. (What do hopelessly romantic musically-inclined teenagers give each other nowadays? Mixed thumb drives?) And Vincent, don’t feel too bad, we ALL, male and female, have to cycle through the relationships that don’t work until we find that one person who’s as crazy as we are! Good job and congrats.
For his winning entry, Vincent will receive a copy of the two-record, 180-gram blue vinyl version of The Blue Moods Of Spain, released by Omnivore Records. For anyone interested in purchasing one or all of the first three Spain albums in the glorious lovingly cared for hi-fidelity only Omnivore vinyl can give, check out Omnivore’s Spain page.
Thank you so much to everyone who sent in an entry, it was inspiring, nostalgic and sometimes even wistful reading everyone’s thoughts, memories, and opinions. Again, it was very hard to choose a favorite, I loved all of them and it meant so much to me to read them. EVERYONE who sent in an entry will be receiving a free download of Blue Moods Of Spain, A History Parts One and Two. These are compilations of demo recordings made prior to the 1995 release of Blue Moods, accompanied by 40 digital pages of liner notes, archival photos, flyers, and more, available exclusively from the Spain Bandcamp page.
So, without further ado, take it away Vincent!
My Experience With The Blue Moods Of Spain, by Vincent Maston
It was a bad idea.
A really bad idea.
And as befits a really bad idea I tried it often, always to catastrophic results.
But I don’t really blame myself: I was young, I didn’t know better, and it didn’t even seem like such a bad idea at the time.
No, I don’t blame myself.
I blame you.
I wouldn’t have been in this mess if you hadn’t decided to release The Blue Moods Of Spain on that ill fated 1995 day.
Of course I loved it the very first time I heard “Untitled #1” on the radio! I still love every single song on this LP, but you know as well as I do that that is not the point!
No, sir, the point is that you chose to release a special edition of the album, bundled with a four track ep called “the KCRW session". And that is the version of the album that I had the bad luck to purchase.
What a mistake! What a terrible mistake I had made there! Because on this ep was the devil: Six minutes of dangerous beauty titled “I Love You”.
This was not the kind of power that should have been sold without at least a warning on the cover. “Beware, child, this record is cursed. Do not touch it, buy it, or even stare at it for too long! Unseal the plastic wrap at your own risk, for what’s inside might very well ruin your entire life.”
Could you imagine, sir, the effect that this song would have on a sixteen year old kid lost in the French south west countryside? Could you imagine the hours spent listening to it on repeat?
This is on you, sir, these hours are on you, and the dreadful decisions that I then made are on you.
No, this record should never have found its way to the hand of the young, impressionable, hopelessly romantic sixteen year old I then was. It made me do things. Things that I’m not proud of, but I have to tell so that you can appreciate the seriousness of the crime you committed.
See, I was then in the same class as a girl whose name I won’t reveal as to not shame her all those years later. I was in the same class as several girls, but this one was of a particular interest to me. Alas, I was in no way of a particular interest to her, I knew. So I devised a fiendishly clever idea to change this: a mix-tape. I spent hours selecting songs, getting them in the optimal order, and recording them on a C60 cassette tape. I wrote all the titles on the cover, and on the next day I found the courage to give it to her. “You know, you said you liked that Radiohead song when it played on the school bus the other day, so here are a few songs you might like too”, I said. Or something approaching. She looked at the tape. Then looked at me. Then at the tape again and muttered “errr… Thanks, I guess”. Or something approaching.
I was getting ready to get back in class when I heard her scream “You put a song called “I Love You” in there? Are you fucking mad?”
This should have been a wakeup call. This should have opened my eyes to the blindingly obvious unsubtlety of my wooing techniques.
I had no such luck.
For years I recorded C60 cassette tapes, burned CD-Rs, sent mp3s of your song, sir. For years it ruined my love life, until I finally found a girl just as raving mad as I am.
Years wasted because you could not help writing that one song. That song that perfectly summarized the feelings of a young, impressionable, hopelessly romantic sixteen year old.
So yes, mister Josh Haden.
I blame you.