1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15 | 16-20
CHAPTER 11: “I will sing while you croak”
Summerteeth, though largely written while in the midst of a tour notable for its raucous misbehavior and punk pillaging, was in many ways the antithesis of the classic rock road record, bereft of bravado. Its world was dream-like and insular, a private struggle magnified by distance, drugs, loneliness and late-night phone calls.
CHAPTER 12: “Woody, the freak weirdo”
Billy Bragg searches for a rock band that can play folk music, and some ballsy songwriters who can help him stand up to the legend of the late Woody Guthrie and re-arrange it a bit. Not so much to demythologize Woody, but to free him from irrelevance by stereotype. He handpicks Wilco, and gets more than he bargains for: a pair of acclaimed albums, Mermaid Avenue Vol. 1 and 2; unprecedented recognition and sales; and a clash of egos that nearly scuttles the whole enterprise.
CHAPTER 13: “Making a great record doesn’t matter”
Jeff Tweedy and Jay Bennett turn Summerteeth into their own private playground of elaborate overdubs and studio-as-instrument inventiveness, and nearly shatter Wilco in the process. Reprise asks the band to record an extra song for commercial radio, then drops the ball, rupturing the record company’s relationship with the band. “I was ashamed of our label,” says one executive.
CHAPTER 14: “Glorified sidemen”
Even as Wilco makes the best music of its career, grumbling and jealousy drive it apart. Tweedy struggles to maintain control of his band while in the grip of migraines, anxiety attacks and painkillers.
CHAPTER 15: He fell in love with the drummer
Tweedy plays for the first time with Jim O’Rourke and Glenn Kotche, and emerges from a musical rut. After an impromptu gig with Kotche in Chicago in December 2000, he decides to abruptly revamp Wilco’s lineup.