Recorded in Chicago 2003 during the sessions with Steve Albini for the self-titled album, ‘Dead Letter Offers’ only appeared on a rare CD only compilation. Written by Matt Blackman as a salute to a fallen best friend, tragically taken too soon in a car accident shortly after high school.
Blackman shares with us further:
It was always a weird one…over 6 minutes long, minimal and spare…with an even more minimal and spare outro. Trying to find space in a live set for a track with those credentials was always a challenge, likewise on a vinyl record with limited space on either side.
But it was always a favourite that somehow seemed to go down well in a live setting and we were psyched with how well the recording session went.
Steve has a grand piano set up in the main live room in studio B at Electrical Audio…the same space where we recorded drums and then vocals. I had my eye on it from the moment we arrived.
From memory, adding piano to the end of ‘Dead Letter’ was the very last bit of tracking we did, after all the vocals were done. There was no piano part prepared or written…it just happened on the spot.
The track is fairly significant and personal…I’m pretty sure it’s the only song written about the passing of my best mate from high school, taken by a car accident a few years after school ended.
We had this song ticking over for quite a long time before the Albini session, way longer than any tracks that ended up on the record.
He was a really unique and complex dude. Teenage sports champion, physical powerhouse, handsome as hell, smart, funny, cheeky, devious, and had great music taste (introduced me to the Velvet Underground at the age of 16 and knew all the words to REM ‘Green’).
He made girls and guys weak at the knees and was loved by teachers, parents and grandparents at a time when most of us were terrified and/or confused by our relationship to them.
What was super cool though was his ability to equally connect/empathise with the sports jocks, chess nerds, maths dorks, music-room outcasts, junior students…it didn’t matter. High school was a war zone of factions and cliques, and this guy somehow cut through the bullshit and made everyone feel welcome, worthy, loved and included. He truly set the bar higher than anyone. This song attempts to send a salute to him.