Chris Cacavas – Love’s Been Re-Discontinued (Cactus Head)

Chris Cacavas - Love's Been Re-DiscontinuedChris Cacavas (ex Green On Red) had an album back in 2009 called Love’s Been Discontinued which we pronounced as the best album that year at The Little Lighthouse. This year, Chris Cacavas returned with an album which he called Love’s Been Re-Discontinued which was very similar to the 2009, not just in title. The songs on the new album were left over from the material written for the 2009 album and Cacavas felt a need to go back to those songs again.

Chris’ words are in italic for the rest of this text: Yes, at the time between 2007 and 2009 I recorded over twenty basic tracks with bass, guitar and drums. I was working on about fifteen of them doing vocals, overdubs etc. and in the end twelve of them ended up on Love’s Been Discontinued. At the beginning of this year (2013) I went back to revisit and complete the rest of those songs and those ten tracks are now on Love’s Been Re-Discontinued.

The lyrics in both of those record seem to talk about a break up. But it turns out, the topic does not necessarily relates to something that Chris experienced in his life. To be honest I’ve only had two “real” or long term relationships in my life. I’m happy to say I’m still in the second and although there have been hard times that brought us to the brink of breaking up we’ve decided to dedicate ourselves to each other and to investing the time and conscious effort to maintain a healthy, happy and respectful relationship. At the moment it’s working very well! I think you only need one real love or one devastating breakup for song material to last a lifetime.

Chris believes in love, muses about it and wants to learn about it. I believe love is real although I can’t tell you exactly what “love” is. I think it means so many things to so many people but I do believe the common thread for the definition of love comes from the first love we experienced and that came, of course, from our parents. I’m sure some would say “But my parents didn’t love me” and I can only say they loved you to the best of their ability. This is a very complex subject and I am certainly no scholar but I’m still willing to learn. Like death belongs to life so do breakups belong to relationships. Clearly the younger a man or woman is the less knowledge they have about relationships – what does this person want from me? What do I want from this person? What is the importance of companionship? What am I willing to compromise / sacrifice to be in this relationship? And do I make these compromises unconditionally? It’s a learning process and with any lesson more teachers and experiences give you more insight and confidence to decide what is best for you. Often people will go from one dysfunctional relationship to the next and usually blame the partner for the failure of the relationship without looking at the one constant that was in every relationship – themselves. “Happily Ever After” and “Until Death Do Us Part” are both lovely concepts that look good on paper but, sadly, don’t work that well in the real world. I think it’s a very individual thing. Some couples want their partnership to be recognized and certified by the church and others are willing to make a lifelong commitment to each other without this tradition. Both are okay by me, whatever works for those couples – hetero or gay. I would say breakups have less to do with rebellion and more to do with personal turmoil.

When I asked Chris what was the criteria for the song inclusion between the 2009 record and this new one, he was relieved that I stopped grilling him about the subject of love. Back to the record *phew*. With the 2009 release I wanted to use the crème de la crème and I wanted the record to be listenable from beginning to end, to have a flow that you wouldn’t want to change in a playlist or with your players shuffle feature. As I started working on the songs I noticed some were a bit too heavy (musically) and others weren’t really complete with lyrics and so on and in the end the songs that ended up on Love’s Been Discontinued pretty much chose themselves, that is to say, they rose like cream to the top ! With Love’s Been ReDiscontinued I took all the remaining tracks and and finished lyrics, sang them, added a few overdubs and that was it! Unfortunately there would have been another twelve (instead of ten) songs but due to technical difficulties two songs had disappeared from the hard drive, oh well.

I had the clever idea to call this record “Love’s Been Re-Discontinued” because the songs are from the same session as the previous release. In retrospect, I probably should have treated it as it’s own individual entity and not the step brother of Love’s Been Discontinued – and not just because people I trust have told me so…

So, it’s clear from Chris’s answers that he did not have an ambition to create two volumes with deep examination and (re-examination) on love and breakup, but rather the topic and songs somehow chose themselves like that. It’s one of those things where the art truly realizes itself in the ears of a beholder. We can choose to listen to it as a collection of strong songs, or a topical examination of love. In any case, both of the records are among the strongest material that’s been recorded by Chris since the earliest days with Green on Red. It is hard not to notice, though, that both Chris and his former band-mate Dan Stuart recently put out excellent records that are deep studies on the subject of love and in particular discontinuities and turmoil that happen as love evolves. Dan used a pseudonym of Marlowe Billings, but it is apparent that he is writing about the troubles he was going through directly, while Cacavas’ records are a bit more fictional based on an interview I had with him. Art is impossible to quantify, and we should not even try to understand which approach is better. In any case, Stuart and Cacavas are still capable of creating striking pieces of art, perhaps they are stronger at that than ever.

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