Died Pretty - Lost (1988)
By Ian McFarlane
This piece comprises the original liner notes I wrote for the 2013 CD reissue of Lost (on Sandman).
DIED PRETTY – Lost (originally released as Blue Mosque L-36924, June 1988)
1. Lost (Brett Myers)
2. Out of My Hands (Brett Myers)
3. As Must Have (B. Myers/R. Peno)
4. Springenfall (B. Myers/R. Peno/S. Simpson)
5. Winterland (B. Myers/R. Peno)
6. Caesar’s Cold (B. Myers/R. Peno)
7. Crawls-Away (B. Myers/R. Peno)
8. One Day (Brett Myers)
9. Towers of Strength (B. Myers/R. Peno)
10. Free Dirt (Brett Myers)
It was a meeting of the new and the old, the alternative and the mainstream, the upcoming and the established and it resulted in one of the key moments on Died Pretty’s second album, 1988’s Lost.
Sydney indie-rock heroes Died Pretty had been recording the album at Trafalgar Studios with producer Rob Younger and engineer Alan Thorne in early 1987. It’s important to note that Trafalgar, of course, is where the legendary Radio Birdman had fashioned Radios Appear, still one of the greatest Aussie rock albums ever. Younger had been an important part of the process and he represented the benchmark of quality assurance for which the members of Died Pretty were aiming. They were acutely aware of the significance but they weren’t so much emulating Radio Birdman as channelling the same spirit.
They’d just put down a song by guitarist Brett Myers called ‘Free Dirt’ which only featured his acoustic guitar and plaintive vocals plus understated tambourine in the back ground. It was far removed from Died Pretty’s overall squalling sound and expansive repertoire but Myers knew he had something special on his hands. Even the absence of the rest of the full band – lead singer Ronald S. Peno, keyboard player Frank Brunetti, bass player Mark Lock and drummer Chris Welsh – couldn’t detract from the song’s strengths.
It was a superb song, with a simple arrangement, heart-wrenching and melancholic, but it needed something extra. It was worth pursuing to get it right, so they invited singer Astrid Munday to add duet vocals and her pure voice lifted the recording with a lovely after midnight feel but it still wasn’t quite there...
As it happened, song writer and former piano player with one of Australia’s greatest and best loved bands Cold Chisel, Don Walker, had also been recording at Trafalgar and he dropped by to pick up some tapes.
Myers takes up the story:
“The song ‘Free Dirt’ was about a girl I knew. I’d written it when I was feeling a bit sad (laughs); being completely honest, I was broken-hearted. I actually wrote it for the Free Dirt album and we practised it and we even recorded a version which I didn’t like very much. I really liked the song itself and I wanted to give it another go. We got Astrid in to sing; Ron wanted a female backing voice on it and she was right for it. She was in a band with Clinton Walker called the Killer Sheep and then I remember we were driving to Melbourne for some shows and a Paul Kelly song came on the radio, ‘Before Too Long’, and Astrid was singing the backing harmonies and she sounded fantastic. So we got her in and she sang it beautifully and I was really happy with it, it just made it a little bit more haunting, you know?
“So then we got Don Walker to play piano. I think Cold Chisel had recorded their first album at Trafalgar, I could be wrong. Anyway Cold Chisel had split up by that stage and Don was doing some recording there and he dropped in to pick up some tapes or something and because of the configuration of the studio you had to walk through the control room to get to the tape storage room. So he walked through, none of us knew him, I mean we knew who he was and we just said hello and then he was on his way out and he stopped to have a listen and just in a flash I thought ‘I know what this song needs’.
“So, whatever Frank’s strengths he’s not technically the greatest keyboard player in the world (Ed note: Frank admits this himself), so I thought what this song needs is some really beautiful piano and I was thinking ‘Flame Trees’ and I went ‘hmmm’. I don’t know how I thought of that and being really bold I just said to Don ‘hi, look you don’t know me but would you like to play some piano on this before you go?’, so he went ‘umm, ahh’. He had a listen to the song and he was very gracious, he was very nice and he just went ‘yeah, okay’ and he went into the studio and played the piano, did two takes and it was fantastic, just beautiful, I was very happy. It was exactly what I wanted. We said our goodbyes and off he went!”
At the beginning of 1987, Died Pretty had returned to Australia following an extended overseas tour – their first, taking in close to 70 gigs across Europe and America – with the members in various states of mental and physical fatigue. Even so, they’d been buoyed by their overseas experiences and were in a positive frame of mind. In certain territories (France and Italy, in particular) they’d been treated as rock ‘n’ roll royalty, which was a far cry from the complacency the band sometimes experienced at the hands of hometown audiences.
Died Pretty had been well established on the local independent, inner-city scene since forming in May 1983, yet there was an element of uncertainty about the band’s future. Not as far as the band members themselves were concerned, mind you; it was more a perception on the part of local audiences.
The band’s recorded output to that point encompassed the singles ‘Out of the Unknown’ b/w ‘World Without’ (Citadel CIT 007), ‘Mirror Blues I’ b/w ‘Mirror Blues II’ (CIT 010) and ‘Stoneage Cinderella’ b/w ‘Yesterday’s Letters’ (CIT 020), the 12-inch EP Next To Nothing (CITEP 901) and debut album Free Dirt (CITLP 504). All were brilliant recordings and highly successful on an independent level yet the band’s status had hit a plateau locally, so all eyes had been turned to far shores. The records had sold well in Europe with What Goes On issuing them in the UK and Closer in France; interest there was at a premium. At that point their future overseas was well assured.
As soon as the band had settled back in Sydney, they were ready to record again. Still and all, there were changes on the horizon with Lock announcing his departure.
Myers recalls that there might have been problems but as far as he was concerned the band had plenty more to offer.
“We basically came back and I had a bunch of new songs and we had a bit of trouble in that the bass player Mark had decided to leave. He didn’t leave straight away but he said ‘I hate touring, I never want to tour again, I’m not leaving the band but I’m never going on tour again.’ We had a chat about that and decided that wasn’t a viable option, so we decided to part company and we embarked on the arduous task of finding a new bass player.
“Mark was hard to replace, he was a great musician and he was an intrinsic part of the sound that made Died Pretty unique. He was a hard person to replace, so that went on and on. He was very amicable about it, he was happy to keep playing with us in Sydney and he helped us flesh out the new material. He’d come to rehearsal and play live, so we were trying to get this album together and instead of getting a new bass player he played on the record, it was hard getting motivated to find a new bass player, Mark was happy to play with us, he just didn’t want to leave Sydney! (laughs)
“So even though he was officially out of the band, he rehearsed the new material and recorded the album with us while we were still looking for somebody new. The second album, it wasn’t quite as... The first album is always very exciting and it was all shining. This one I find just as exciting because of all the good songs, but we played it pretty safe, we used the same studios Trafalgar, we used the same producer and engineer, Rob Younger and Alan Thorne, you know, everything was pretty much the same. That has its advantages and disadvantages. Look, it was pretty easy, I’ll say that, we had a lot of confidence as a band, recording and playing the stuff we knew it could work, and the whole production process we were pretty happy with. It was good.”
Brunetti has similar memories:
“We were buggered from that overseas tour; we’d been on the road for a couple of months, something like 70 shows. But at the same time it had been very exciting, very energising, our horizons had expanded. When we got back we were absolutely highly energised, like ‘something’s really happening now, the band is a viable enterprise’, you know? Even though we weren’t making much money out of it we could see that people were taking an interest, not just in Australia but in the States and Europe.
“There was demand from people to make another record, for example and a demand for us to play overseas. That was incredibly exciting and when we came back even though we were buggered physically and mentally, there was only a short time before we were ready to go again, like ‘come on let’s do the next thing, let’s tour again, let’s record a new album’.”
The first fruit of the band’s new recordings was the single ‘Winterland’ b/w ‘Wig-Out’ (Acoustic version) (CIT 035) which came out on Citadel in October 1987. This remarkable single went to #1 on the independent chart, going on to be the best-selling indie single for the year. ‘Winterland’ was the perfect taster for the second album, a heady, swirling brew of slashing guitar chords, St. Vitus Dance rhythms, rumbling drums, sliding bass lines and Peno’s unhinged vocals. It was quintessential Died Pretty, reinforcing Myers love for the Velvet Underground – in particular the mesmerising wall of sound on the likes of ‘What Goes On’ – as well as tapping into the same essence that made some of the Doors material so intense at times.
And Peno spitting out an abrasive “ppttuurrgghh!!” – as if he’d just chomped down on a particularly nasty bug that had flown into his mouth and he couldn’t get it out quick enough – is one of the greatest openings of an Aussie rock song ever!
As with a lot of Peno’s lyrics it’s difficult to determine what he’s actually singing about; his vocals always conveyed a mood with broad brush strokes rather than telling a succinct story. He raises questions that you get the feeling he has no intention of answering. The only distinct words come in the song’s coda, at about the four minute mark, when Peno announces “I live in an igloo in the polar zone / And tonight I dream” which harks back to the song ‘Igloo’ he wrote with Mick Medew while in Brisbane band the 31st and later recorded by the Screaming Tribesmen. Of course, ‘Igloo’ also came out as a single on the Citadel label.
Myers laughs when he recalls the recording of ‘Winterland’:
“Look, I’m the world’s biggest Velvets fan and I’ve been really influenced by them but that song honestly wasn’t a rip off of ‘What Goes On’! I was trying to write a sort of backwoods, folksy song that you could play with an out-of-tune fiddle, up in the Appalachians or something, ‘cause Ron was into those kinds of songs. As it progressed the song just sort of grew and grew and it ended up being what it is, but it started out a pretty folksy sort of song. Yeah, it turned out to be that heads-down-go-for-it thing in the end.”
Watching the film clip made for ‘Winterland’ – shot in what looks like a disused, rubble-strewn underground car park which Myers recalls was somewhere in the inner-city Sydney suburb of Woolloomooloo – it’s hard not to be enthralled by the band’s performance. With the members dressed predominantly in black or dark blue, the passionate Peno does his idiosyncratic, hyperactive Whirling Dervish dance, the commanding Myers looks set to take on the world, Brunetti is ever brooding over his keyboard, drummer Welsh invokes the spirit of the Velvet’s Mo Tucker as he hunches over his kit and pounds the skins with mallets and newest member Steve Clark plays along to the bass line as originally laid down by the departed Lock.
‘Winterland’ was the band’s last recording, to that point, issued on manager John Needham’s Citadel label. Needham was in negotiations with major Australian label Festival Records to sort out a distribution deal which he felt was necessary to push Died Pretty to greater heights. The deal was eventually done but the negotiations were so drawn out that it effectively delayed the release of Lost for nearly 18 months. Nevertheless, for the next three years all Died Pretty records were on the Festival / Citadel subsidiary label Blue Mosque.
Lost and its second single, ‘Towers of Strength’ b/w ‘From a Buick 6’ (Blue Mosque K-563), eventually appeared in June 1988. Lost was a more expansive and versatile album than Free Dirt in some ways, a refinement of what had gone before. It debuted on the independent albums chart at #1, at the same time as the haunting ‘Towers of Strength’ occupied the same spot on the singles chart. On an interesting collectors’ note, ‘Towers of Strength’ was the only Died Pretty single ever to be pressed on limited edition coloured vinyl (red).
‘Winterland’ and ‘Towers of Strength’ still hold their ground as two of the best Myers / Peno-penned tracks ever. While ‘Winterland’ had already been the best selling indie single for 1987, the two were among the top selling independent singles for 1988 (‘Winterland’ at #4 and ‘Towers of Strength’ at #8). Likewise Lost was placed at #2 – between Ed Kuepper’s Everybody’s Got To and The Church’s Starfish – on the best selling Australian independent albums chart for 1988.
Reviews in the Australian rock media were uniformly positive.
Murray Engleheart writing in Juke magazine said:
“The music of Died Pretty has no allegiance to any time zone of geographic base. It is purely music of and from a free spirit. The essence of Died Pretty therefore is by implication rather than concise definition. For years they have been the uncut jewel amongst the grubby social politics of inner Sydney, though those boundaries are extending rapidly. They offer up beauty instead of teen angst and learned classicism instead of thrash and come out of it all sounding intense, demanding and utterly essential... In 1988 few records leave me breathless and exhilarated. Lost does both.”
Jaffa Bombelli writing in RAM (Rock Australia Magazine) had this to say:
“Whether the result of age or dissipation, Died Pretty’s collective eye has seen through the glass darkly. Filled with signs and portents of a new approach Lost has a balance uncharacteristic of a band who both live and on record have an all or nothing reputation but, that hung up, strung out legacy is on the wane... Points of reference are scattered all over this album. Structure has replaced desperation, passions are now directed. Zealots may mourn the loss of urgency but what price for survival?”
As well as being issued locally on LP (L-38924) and CD (D-38924), Lost came out on vinyl in Europe (French Citadel CIF 03; German Citadel CGAS 801) and CD in the USA (RCA 9805-2-H) and the UK (Beggar’s Banquet BEGA 101 CD).
TRACK BY TRACK
Myers recalls that they spent a great deal of time sequencing the album tracks. He wanted to create a mood and flow in the manner of his favourite classic rock albums, from the Velvet Underground and Television to Neil Young and Bob Dylan, when the two individual sides of a vinyl record had an incredible sense of importance. And surely the album title itself was not an affront to their artistic direction, merely a reference to existential demands.
The album opens with a delightfully droning organ figure from Brunetti – he achieves some amazing atmospherics with the minimum of notes across the album – and then it’s off into the garage-rock roar of the title track, which was an old song from Myers’ first band The End.
‘Out of My Hands’ follows in hot pursuit in the same garage-rock vein yet it’s buoyed by that typical Died Pretty pop format breaking through in the melody. As with ‘Lost’, Myers wrote ‘Out of My Hands’ solo and the uplifting chime of his Television-like guitar figure and the playful bass lines almost belie the grim tale he spins with his vocals; “Two o’clock in the afternoon and I wish that I was dead” is the opening line.
‘As Must Have’ is the first acoustic number, with just Myers on guitar and Peno on vocals. It has the lyrical and melodic feel of Bob Dylan circa 1965/66, and in particular calls to mind ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue’. The full band had actually recorded an earlier demo of the song, for the Free Dirt album, but it hadn’t worked as well as the other material so it got relegated.
The shimmering ‘Springenfall’ is the first of two epics and the first of four melancholy numbers on the album. As with ‘Winterland’, it’s got all the archetypal Died Pretty elements in place. A wash of delicate electric guitar chords opens the song and a flourish of chimes heralds the arrival of the bass and quiet rim shots tapped out on the snare drum as Peno solemnly intones a gentle tale of lost love. In a case of emulating classic song writing standards the chorus arrives and the music swells with added organ and full drums and then Peno comes in with the payoff: “I love you in the spring / I will love you in the fall”. The pattern is repeated until Myers’ gloriously soaring guitar takes the song out on a high. It’s absolutely brilliant and even at almost seven minutes long the song never once allows the listener’s attention to drift off.
Interestingly, Myers had told Murray Engleheart at the time, in a feature for Juke, that he had a strong desire to add strings to some tracks on the album. Obviously a limited production budget had put paid to that idea but it’s not such a stretch to imagine ‘Springenfall’ delivered intact with soaring strings.
‘Winterland’ follows and then it’s into the grandiose epic ‘Caesar’s Cold’ which originally opened Side 2 on the LP. Myers’ acoustic guitar again announces the song and sax player Tim Fagan adds just the right touch to the instrumentation. During the instrumental break Myers contributes one of his patented guitar freak-outs (as on the likes of ‘Just Skin’ and ‘Next to Nothing’). Most tellingly, Peno’s lyrics and the song title itself harbour an especially playful pun for such a sombre song: “I’m drowning in seas so cold / I’m caught in the eyes of the world / in seas so cold”
‘Crawls-Away’ is another compelling Died Pretty pop-rock song (in the manner of ‘Blue Sky Day’, ‘Round and Round’ or ‘Stoneage Cinderella’ for example) and it may seem throw-away at first but it adds significantly to the refined balance of the album as a whole.
‘One Day’ features such a ghostly melody and wistful instrumentation that it’s almost not there. The spectral beauty of the bass line in particular is highly compelling and the overall melancholic mood is only broken by a tasteful Myers guitar figure which enters at about the one and ½ minute mark. It only lasts for about 30 seconds but it’s highly evocative of something that English guitarist John McGeoch might have added to some quieter moments on the early Siouxsie and the Banshees albums.
‘Towers of Strength’ is another reflective number which is full of hope for a better future. Peno sings “Towers of strength gather standing waiting for the day” and you know the expectation is so great that he puts in one of his best vocal performances for the album.
Finally, ‘Free Dirt’ strips away the instrumentation and grand gestures, taking the album out on a beautifully pensive note with its hushed vocal tones and striking piano playing.
Myers offers some more personal reflections on individual tracks:
“The first song ‘Lost’ was probably the last song we recorded for the album and it wasn’t really supposed to be on there. It’s an old End song, the band I was in before Died Pretty started; we played that song for years in The End. John Needham had seen us play it and then when Died Pretty started out we played a bunch of End songs, including ‘Just Skin’ and ‘Through My Heart’ and ‘Lost’ and that was just to flesh out the set until we’d written enough new material. Frank and Ron had been fans of The End, so as we got more new original material in Died Pretty we dropped the End material.
“After we’d almost finished the album John came into the studio and said to Rob ‘you should ask them to record this song’. So Rob said ‘what about this song ‘Lost’, do you want to have a run through of that’, and we all thought ‘yeah, okay’. We just thrashed it out and that ended up being the first song on the album, so that’s how that materialised.
“I think with a lot of the stuff on Lost I was trying to give a bit more space, a bit more light and shade to the music, there were a lot of open spaces. A lot of the tracks on Free Dirt were very dense; everyone’s playing flat out all the time. Even on the ballads everyone’s playing all the time. There’s not a lot of light and shade on some of the songs. On Lost I wanted to shift that emphasis and ‘Caesar’s Cold’ is an example of that process. I was trying to make it breathe a bit. It’s a pretty good song.
“The song ‘One Day’, that was about the same girl I’d written ‘Free Dirt’ for. I just really like the bass line and I think that I might have been mucking around on the bass in the studio and again that’s got a bit of light and shade, there isn’t even any guitar for half the song until the mid section. That’s quite a personal song, I wrote the lyrics for that as well.
“I’d forgotten how many of the songs I’d actually written the lyrics for, and I think I wrote four of the songs myself, there are 10 songs on the album and Ron wrote lyrics for six of the songs. It hadn’t occurred to me before but it was probably the least amount of input Ron had in the lyrics on a Died Pretty album. There’s no great significance in that, it just happened.
“Towers of Strength’, that’s another reflective number; I must have been very emotional at the time. If you think of that album you don’t think of it as being the sound of a reckless band. A lot of the songs – things like ‘Springenfall’, ‘One Day’, ‘Towers of Strength’ and ‘Free Dirt’ – they’re quite melancholy songs. For some reason as a whole I don’t think of the album like that, I think of it in terms of ‘Crawls-Away’ and ‘Lost’ and ‘Winterland’. I think those songs help carry the album. It’s quite well balanced; the melancholy side of it doesn’t really overpower the other stuff. In reflection ‘Towers of Strength’ was a pretty odd choice to put out as a single, especially in the late ‘80s, but then again we were never ones to follow tradition.”
Likewise Brunetti has strong memories of the songs:
“I think a song like ‘Caesar’s Cold’ is like the epic side of Died Pretty, the bleak dirges, the more free-form. Previously there were tracks like ‘Desperate Hours’, ‘Just Skin’ which were intense, not really free-form but that kind of pretty long and intense songs. But I think the only one on this album that would fit that mould would be ‘Caesar’s Cold’, the first song on Side 2.
“I’d forgotten there were so many singles from this album, we’d almost become a ‘professional’ band. It sounds horrible when you look at it like that, but I think it was a consolidation of what we’d been doing before. In our initial naivety as far as the recording studio went the early stuff had a certain quality, a sort of naive charm which sort of gets lost a bit. It’s not why we call the album Lost, by the way. Sometimes you want that to happen, to a certain degree, but sometimes in retrospect you see that and think, ‘oh that’s a shame’, you know?
“I think there’s a really high percentage of good songs on this album, it’s very consistent. I love ‘Winterland’, ‘Caesar’s Cold’, I love ‘Towers of Strength’, I love ‘Springenfall’, I really love those songs. So as far as a really good bunch of songs, they’re great.
“I should make mention of the cover. The picture was a French girl called Sophie and the photo was taken by Robyn Stacey, John Hoey’s girlfriend, she’s quite a famous photographer in her own right now. We used quite a few of her photographs on our covers. She also did Every Brilliant Eye, Trace and Sold. Lost was the first album she did for us. I basically went to her studio and had a look at a whole bunch of her images and I liked the idea of that one, it was a bit enigmatic.
“Also Sandra Glennon, who we dedicated the album to, she was just a friend of ours. She’d been living up the road from us in Surry Hills and she died as a result of an asthma attack. It was really sad; she was just a young girl, 22. She was really lovely.”
Almost as an afterthought ‘Out of My Hands’ came out as a single backed with a cover of Neil Young’s ‘When You Dance’ (Blue Mosque K-617) in November 1988. It was a great single; it just didn’t get the attention it deserved what with the album having already run its course. ‘When You Dance’ had been a regular feature in the band’s live set for some years, as had a cover of Lou Reed’s ‘Wild Child’ (sung by Myers).
In between the time it took for the album to be released, Lock had been replaced by ex-Glass bass player Steve Clark (who joined in October 1987). Clark added a freer, more fluid style to the band’s music. Also around this time, Tim Fagan joined the band for live shows as second keyboardist and sax player for a short while, which allowed the band to try out new approaches to familiar material.
At the same time there were more changes in the wind. The messages etched into the run-out grooves of the original vinyl pressing of Lost (“I’ll be back in five minutes” on Side 1 and “Trust me” on Side 2) were an in-joke reference to the wayward Frank Brunetti who had left the band in April 1988. Before he departed, however, the band had undertaken its second European and US tour (December 1987 to February 1988).
Brunetti did a lot of soul searching at the time:
“After we came back to Australia that second time I left the band, the album hadn’t even come out yet. So then the record came out with ‘I’ll be back in five minutes... trust me’. That was just a private in-joke between me and Brett. It got etched on to the wax. I was renowned for arriving late all the time, you know? And then I’d leave in the middle of rehearsals or turn up really late, whatever. So I’d say ‘I’ll be back in five minutes... trust me’. Apparently, although I didn’t realise it at the time, it became a bit of cliché. So that was Brett’s parting farewell, in a nice way. It’s important to realise that Ron and Brett and I are still really good friends, there was no great falling out.
“To be honest I think the band had progressed and moved along and changed but I think my musical ideas were less important. It was pretty much developing with Ron and Brett in control; they’re strong personalities, both musically and personally. I feel quite clear that my ideas on the earlier stuff were quite important but as time went by my ideas were less important. I don’t say that as if I was shut out or anything like that... I don’t know, the time I was in the band was four or five years but it felt like a lifetime. Things changed, the dynamics, other people were coming in and out of the band. When we started the band, the three of us, we had to beg other people to play with us, you know? Then people wanted to play with us. Certainly I don’t think I can point to anything on the album to say that I contributed this idea or that idea.”
The last recording to feature Brunetti (and the first to feature Clark incidentally) was the single ‘Everybody Moves’ b/w ‘In Love Prison’ (Blue Mosque K-780) which didn’t appear until April 1989.
‘Everybody Moves’ had long been a live favourite and on record it was another haunting, moody piece of organ drone pop. Peno’s restrained, passionate vocals and the gorgeous instrumentation gave the song a subtle beauty and brilliant sheen. It reached #1 on the independent charts and ranks as one of the band’s classic singles.
Myers is rightly proud of ‘Everybody Moves’:
“Everybody Moves’ should have been on Lost for sure. I remember writing that just as we were recording Free Dirt and I thought ‘ah, we don’t really need it, we’ve got enough material, I’ll just hold on to it.’ We ended up playing it live for quite a while even before we recorded Lost. We recorded ‘Everybody Moves’ but it didn’t really gel in the studio; it didn’t sound too bad we just didn’t think the recording of it worked. We knew it was a strong song when we played it live, but we found it wasn’t quite so strong when we recorded it in the studio. So we left it off.
“So in 1988 we were still waiting for the album to come out and we got really bored and went back into the studio to record and we thought ‘what song have we got?’ We wanted to record a song as a single and just stick that out; we thought that was a cute idea. So we recorded ‘Everybody Moves’ and by that stage we’d finally found a new bass player, Steve Clark, so that was the only session that both Frank and Steve played on together. Frank left the band soon after that. So we put that single out later on; it was sort of a confusing time.
“Lost is the proper home for ‘Everybody Moves’, we’d always wanted it to go on the album, that’s where it should have gone but we thought ‘oh stuff it, let’s put it out separately’. Actually if we’d done the right thing and put it on the album and then released it as a single from the album it probably would have done a lot better. Look, Lost did sell really well on an independent level. It probably sold about the same amount as Free Dirt.”
“In some ways I think ‘Everybody Moves’ is the best song we recorded while I was in the band. It’s a beautiful song, it’s perfect in and of itself; I really like it. And I’m glad it’s got that stand-alone identity. We’d been playing it live and we tried to record it for the album, but it wasn’t quite there. We just thought it doesn’t quite cut it. So we put that aside and had the album completed. It was in that time while we were waiting for the album to come out and then we toured overseas again. So we re-recorded ‘Everybody Moves’ and this time it worked and we put it out as a single.”
April 1988 also saw the release of Citadel Record’s exhaustive and essential Take Everything Leave Nothing double LP compilation (CITLP 511). As one of Citadel’s flagship acts, Died Pretty weighed in with three contributions: ‘Out of the Unknown’, ‘Stoneage Cinderella’ and ‘Final Twist’. Later on, ‘Everybody Moves’ appeared on Citadel’s second compilation, Positively Elizabeth Street (CITLP 523) in 1989.
Brunetti’s replacement on keyboards was ex-Thought Criminals / New Christs member John Hoey, who added his distinctive tones and melodic touch to the band’s sound. In September 1988, Died Pretty supported the Jesus and Mary Chain on their Australian tour. Hoey’s first major assignment with the band was to undertake an extensive European and American tour (third for the band as a whole) at the start of 1989. Once the tour was over the band settled into American Recording Studios in Los Angeles with producer Jeff Eyrich (who had worked with the likes of Rank & File, the Gun Club and the Plimsouls) to work on a new album. Every Brilliant Eye came out in April 1990 and was another fine release, but that is another story...
“Was there any sense of disengagement for me when the album came out? Well, I don’t think I even heard it at the time it was released. I’ve never sat down and played the album as a whole. I’ve heard many of the songs individually since then but I’ve never taken the time to hear it as a whole. At the time I must have heard it when we finished it and we said ‘okay, here’s how it all fits together’. I don’t feel a sense of ownership with this record in the same way as I do with Free Dirt and Next to Nothing.
“I feel over the years, I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel it’s been overlooked a little, okay. And I feel that I’ve overlooked it personally. Because it wasn’t such an in-your-face-statement as the first album it tended to get overlooked at the time, but I think that song-for-song it’s a better album. I love it.”
“I kind of know what Frank’s saying. The songs on Lost are perhaps a little bit more realised than Free Dirt. I think Free Dirt is a little bit more unique in its approach. I think Died Pretty had become more like a traditional rock band on Lost. There weren’t any songs like ‘Wig-Out’. There weren’t so many quirky songs. I think we sounded more like a traditional rock band on Lost. It’s very kind of Frank to say that it’s a better album than Free Dirt.
“But, yeah, I’m very happy that ‘Everybody Moves’ is reunited with Lost because that’s where it belongs. When I hear the album now I don’t really hear anything that we would have done differently, that’s how we were and that’s how we wanted to do it at the time. There’s no glaring... there’s not much I would change about it. I remember being very happy with the song ‘Free Dirt’ itself, it was a really nice song. I remember being happy with the piano and Astrid’s vocals, just because it was a little bit different for us. It really encapsulated a mood I had experienced a few times at that stage.
“I think ‘Winterland’ was great, you know? There were a lot of good things about it. And it was funny that an old song from my previous band ended up being the title for the album, it was funny how that happened. I don’t even know why the album was called Lost. I think definitely we wanted the title to be a track from the album; I didn’t want a track that was going to be on our next album to be the title. Like we had an EP called Next to Nothing and the song ‘Next to Nothing’ came out on the album Free Dirt and we had a song called ‘Free Dirt’ and it came out on the album Lost (laughs). I was happy that there was a song called ‘Lost’ and the album was called Lost.”