Ventura has been 10 years in the making. It was written as the second Sally Ride record, after Don’t Let Them Take Us… ALIVE.
Before I started recording it I got fired up about the 2006 elections and the Iraq War, wrote some stuff that seemed more time-bound, and went ahead with It’s A Trap. I was living in a basement apartment underneath my landlords (no drumming allowed), so I moved on to the basic guitar and vocal tracks for You Have To Wear The Boots. Got the carriage house, Mars Lights was set up for the Sides EPs, and so I had Matt do the drums for There is Something and not nothing while the gear was in place, and that ended up coming out before we finished …Boots. * So, in early 2012, I finally got serious about recording Ventura.
Trying to track down when specific songs were written (my legal pads aren’t dated; maybe I should start) has been a trip. Mostly, I’ve dug back through the blog for early mentions of “Ventura” or song titles.
In November 2005, there are two mentions of a “Ventura EP,” which would have included “Coast & Plains” and possibly “Large’s Garden State.” Then, by April 2006 I was blogging about it as an album. It wasn’t 100% finished, and two songs slated for it at that point were eventually dropped. “I Want To Know” was re-worked and ended up on …Boots as “Harvest Moon,” and “You Do What You Want” remains an unfinished tune of Cory’s. “Green Christine” was added later, but it’s pretty weird how early the songs, and the sequencing (!), were set.
Here, to the best I’ve been able to figure, is when Ventura’s songs were written.
- “Market Stress” – 2003 December. I have an incredibly clear memory of being packed in the back of a bus in Ghana, going from Cape Coast or Winneba to Accra, half-dazed with the heat, exhaustion, and dehydration, and the chorus – chords, melody, lyrics, and marimba figure – just arriving in my mind from a daydream. There was no Ventura at this point; there was, and remains, a set of five or six tunes I wrote while in Africa that are unfinished, and “Market Stress” belonged with them for a time.
- “Coast & Plains” – 2005 July? Again, a clear memory of sitting on my Mom and Dad’s front porch and showing Cory these chords, and he came up with the melody on the spot. I think the lyrics were finished a week or two later. I think it was July 2005 because I was probably in the process of moving from Minnesota to Kansas City.
- “Large’s Garden State” – Fall/winter 2005/06? Jessie loaned me Garden State, and I liked it but thought the ending was too neat, so I wrote what I thought was a less-Hollywood epilogue.
- “Lee’s Summit” – 2006 February. I remember writing the lyrics to this song on a visit to Grandma, in Gibbon, NE.
- “While I Was Moving About Flyover Country.” – 2006 February. Took a walk around the park at Gregory and Blue Ridge in Raytown on an unseasonably warm day, came home and immediately wrote these lyrics.
- “Were In Love” – by 2006 March. I played it at a coffeeshop on a trip to Ventura (the actual city) with Cory, and forgot the second verse, and thought to myself “Ack, I always forget the second verse to this.”
- “Make Our Sound” – by 2006 April.
- “E Harbor Blvd” – by 2006 April.
- “Car Chase” – by 2006 April. I only know about these three due to the post linked above.
- “Green Christine” – 2008 June. Finishing this song is also mentioned on the blog. Note the two-year gap, after busting out the eight core songs of the album in less than 12 months. I’m really grateful it arrived, though; Ventura was feeling just a hair slight until “Green Christine” filled it out.
* Sally Ride album sequence:
|Order written||Order released|
|1. Don’t Let Them Take Us… ALIVE||1. Don’t Let Them Take Us… ALIVE|
|2. Ventura||2. It’s A Trap|
|3. It’s A Trap||3. There is Something and not nothing|
|4. You Have To Wear The Boots||4. You Have To Wear The Boots|
|5. There is Something and not nothing||5. Ventura|