ABOUT “LA FEMME”:
Tracks 1-9 were produced by Scott Patterson. Tracks 10-12 were recorded live at the Nu Brew Coffeehouse in Springfield, MO by Bryan Carlstrom. Tracks 13-15 were recorded as demos to cheapo boombox by one Chad Thomas Johnston.
All lyrics and music were written by Chad Thomas Johnston except 1) “Grace” (Lyrics/Music by Michael Gerard Knott), 2) “Beloved” (Lyrics by Courtney Sly, with excerpts from Song of Solomon/Music by Chad Thomas Johnston and Alyssa Johns).
“La Femme” was released in March of 2001 on cheap CD-Rs with black and white sleeve inserts that were copied onto cotton rag paper at Kinko’s.
Artwork by Danny J. Gibson (http://cargocollective.com/dannyjoegibson). The blurry girl on the cover remains unknown. Danny took the picture, but does not remember who it was.
THE TRAGICOMEDY IS/WAS:
Vocals/Guitar: Chad Thomas Johnston
Vocals: Mark Thorne
Flute: Rebecca Boeckel Fillingham
After taking two years of Spanish in high school, I decided I might better woo women if I learned to speak French. So I took one semester of French and passed the class, but failed to speak the language with anything like eloquence. Foolishly, I then decided The Tragicomedy’s debut EP (which then consisted in theory of tracks 1-3 and 5-8 here) would seem more mysterious if we gave it a French name.
A French name I could not pronounce, more notably.
It was originally titled L’Oubliette, which is French for “forgotten place.” I stole this word from Jim Henson’s film Labyrinth. So even though the pretense factor was heightened by the unpronounceable French title, it was probably somewhat tempered by the title’s relation to puppets.
Eventually, Mark and I saw the error of our ways and changed the title to something else French—La Femme—which I also could not pronounce properly.
“Shifting,” “Through a Window,” and “Meaning and Subtitles” are about the same girl. We went out on about three dates. One song for each date. My obsessiveness probably (i.e. definitely) scared her off. We never even kissed. That whole “wooing women” thing was not going so well for me, as you can plainly see.
“Calendar Song,” “The Décor of a Room,” “Summer, My Fair One,” “The End Was Here All Along,” and the music for “Beloved,” were all inspired by the same girl. She was not frightened by my obsessiveness, but decided we should no longer date because God was calling her to a “season of singleness.” This “season of singleness” included her dating someone else two weeks after we ceased to date. Of course, we never really “dated” either, as Joshua Harris’s I Kissed Dating Goodbye book was eliminating dating in Christian circles everywhere. We were together, but not officially. I would say “You know how that goes,” but the vast majority of people are fortunate enough not to know how that goes.
I wrote “Minuet in Dm” after seeing James Cameron’s Titanic, which I still own on VHS. The film had recently been released in theaters, and the backlash against it was still in the future. I still like Titanic, and I’m not sorry. I think if you initially like something, you shouldn’t stop liking it just because the world has become sickeningly saturated with it. A cultural artifact should be able to stand on its own two legs, and not be forced to try and justify its existence when public opinion reduces it to a thing of ridicule. That is all I will say about that.
Of course, “Minuet in Dm” is actually pretty awful in my opinion. It probably should have sunk to the ocean floor with the Titanic. There are parts of it that are pretty, sure. But then there is my botched attempt at replicating the sound of a record skipping with my guitar part. It probably has comedic value, which might redeem it to some degree.
“Through a Window” was titled “The Shade of a Would-Be Tragedian” before I decided that title was slightly constipated, and did away with it.
Finally, we recorded the first nine songs at my dad’s church, and recorded not onto a digital source, but onto an audio cassette. Which meant we had to figure out how to transfer the music from analog to digital media before it was easy to do so. It took two years for Mark and I to properly assemble this collection of songs, and it still sounds quite lo-fi. All the same, it documents my overly emotional collegiate days with frightening accuracy.
Enjoy La Femme. If you can pronounce it, please do. Say the words out loud to all of your friends, and point them to this collection of songs. Pass it along to your worst enemies, that they may unite with you in your shared hatred of it, and thereby become friends.
PUNISH YOUR EARS HERE:
Here is a photo remembrance of the Tragicomedy. I touched up all of the photos on GIMP and scanned them in with my Epson Stylus.