SLOW DARK DEMOS​-​1996​/​Archive Series​/​Vol​.​1

by Vigilantes of Love



Here's why this album is important:
Something bright and affirming was taking place inside of me and in the band that was Vigilantes of Love.

It's been 15 years since this version of VoL recorded these demos. How do they strike me now?
In some ways this was the most important record I was to ever make. All the resources had been stripped away. All the "props" of label, management and radio had dissolved (remember it was 1996, kids.)

Well, it's a funny thing: These songs, the "life blood" of a plucky "Lil' band that could," still sound fresh, full of wide-eyed vitality and conviction. 19 songs were demo-ed "LIVE" over 2 days. This is volume 1 of a 2 Volume set. (There are 2 previously unreleased songs here in this batch; 3 more in the next Archive Series instalment.)
But 1st, a short recap:
There is the most concise history of the early Vigilantes of Love you will ever find at (pour your fav drink, click on "history," and settle into the 6 installments of my early life, my history and how i "saw it all unfold." I wrote up through "Blister Soul..."

Ironically, I stopped writing the band's history, on the eve of one of the coolest versions of the band, The Slow Dark Train band. Here's where the end of the written history leaves off in installment 6:
(Remember, folks, this was in 1996...
I'll pick up the thread after these next 2 paragraphs)

"After the Blister Soul tours I found that we (me, Chris Bland, and Tom Crea) had tried to please everyone we knew except our own musical instincts; We felt abandoned by management and label. We found we had (more and more) been subconsciously setting our agendas to the drum-beat of illusionary superstructures known as "corporate rock and roll" and "modern rock radio." And in the process our priorities and first love of simply making good music we liked for the honest joy it gave us...was becoming lost...

And then! A ray of light..For the next 6 months, Chris Bland (bass, vocals), Tom Crea (drums) and I started to mold a different item, a different, more aggressive sound, a different work ethic. 4 songs showed up on the VOL compilation was noisy, brash (Hopeless Is As Hopeless Does, Drown, When I'm Broken)...and even tender (DoubleCure)...something changed...I still don't know exactly what it was...but it felt right...

And then a funny thing happened: One night, along some desolate road, in some back-country wasteland, we embraced all those incongruous, vain and empty promises from corporate-soul-sucking rock and roll (as it smiled and shook it's head)...and we gave it a big wet kiss...opened the van door...and kicked it out into the utter darkness...
I believe we were doing 90 mph..."
~ end of parting-shot instalment

Jan. 2012:
We were still technically signed to the label (Capricorn) but given the ridiculous stress-ors and demands placed on as a band, we decided it best to make music as if there were no label to please at all. Call it our liberation. For me, it was as if another floodgate of musical energies had opened. I ramped up my guitar playing, bought a bigger, punchier rig, a Gold-top Les Paul, some pedals and a new attitude on "how" songs should be written, arranged, and delivered. The new VoL was to be 3-piece, lots of passion, lots of pluck, and oh, yes, attitude.

These demos were recorded in the space of 2 days. Mark set up some monitors and we recorded the whole thing "LIVE" with very few second "takes."

The songs for SLOW DARK TRAIN came fast and furious. I think I had over 40 to choose from by the time we walked into Full Moon Studios (Athens, Ga.) with Mark Cooper Smith at the helm, as engineer. I think it was November of 1996.

Songs of apocalypse, cultural malaise, broken trusts and betrayals. Songs of empty grasping and living ghosts...and above all: sheer rock n' roll "band-just-outta-the-garage" FUN. You know, the standard VoL fare. It was a great template with which to make a new album. OUR album.

i hope you'll enjoy the re-visit to the spirit of these songs as much as i have.
bill mallonee


released November 1, 1996

Bill Mallone: all guitars, vocals, harmonica, piano
Chris Bland: basses, vocals
Tom Crea: drums, percussion
Mark Cooper-Smith: piano



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Bill Mallonee

Bill Mallonee is an Americana artist w/ 75 plus albums over a 25 year career. Voted by Paste Music Magazine #65 in their "Top 100 Living Songwriters" poll. He was the
founding member of Vigilantes of Love. He has worked with Mark Heard, Buddy Miller, Emmylou Harris, & Peter Buck from REM.
His most recent work, "The Rags of Absence" released in Jan. 2017.
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