This means that its 20th anniversary is tomorrow, and my self-assigned mission for today (the last day that we're blogging on NaBloPoMo) is to "explain the importance of Lolita Nation".
It was twenty years ago tomorrow that Lolita came out in three formats: A double vinyl LP, a double-length XDR cassette (guaranteed to break after twenty plays or so, and a single (non redbook compliant) compact disc. Lolita was the first Game Theory album released on the newfangled CD format, and its mastering shows that weren't quite up to speed on digital mastering yet. It's still one of the quietest CDs in my collection.
A few years later, Game Theory broke up, their record label (Enigma) folded, and lots of Lolita Nation records, tapes, and CDs fell out of circulation. The album has been "out of print" for at least 15 of its 20 years, and original CD copies fetch a sultan's ransom on ebay and amazon. The time seems ripe for a reissue, but Lolita still remains rare and out of print. If Lolita Nation were reissued and widely available, scores of songwriters would probably quit in frustration, hopelessly trying to duplicate Scott Miller's Lolita perfection.
The main thing that keeps the album from absolute perfection are the five tracks that Scott didn’t write, especially the two written by Donnette Thayer. Opinions seem to be divided on Donnette’s contributions to Lolita Nation, and (despite the undeniable rockiness of “Look Away”) my opinion is that they don’t fit the album. The instrumentals by Gil Ray (“Choose Between Two Sons”) and Shelley LeFreniere (“Toby Ornette”) flow with the rest of Lolita, but still kind of disrupt Scott’s flow of perfection. It's like Brian Wilson getting Carl and Dennis to contribute songs to Pet Sounds.
There are quite a few Game Theory performances from Lolita Nation on youtube (thanks to the tireless efforts of the GT/LF archivist whose nom-du-tube is "angrylambie"). They may be one of the most documented independent bands of their era.
Here are a handful of Lolita-era live clips.
The Waist And The Knees (The Fillmore, 9/8/88)
The World's Easiest Job (The I-Beam 12/14/87)
The Real Shelia (The I-Beam 12/14/87)
One More For Saint Michael (The I-Beam 12/14/87)
Chardonnay (Jackson, MS 1988)
Last Day That We're Young (The Stone, 1986)
For me, these clips are fun for trying to spot younger versions of me in the audience. I wasn’t at the 12/14/87 I-Beam show, but was at that 1988 Fillmore show where Game Theory opened for Robyn Hitchcock & the Egyptians. So were 2000 other people, but I was up front and center for Game Theory’s set.
As an added bonus, here are a couple of mp3s from Lolita Nation. “We Love You, Carol and Alison” should have been a moster hit single, and the album’s final coda, “Together Now, Very Minor” is one of my favorite songs ever, and one they didn't play live very much.
Lolita Nation mp3s:
Together Now, Very Minor
NaBloPoMo will end for me as soon as I click the "Save Now" button, so it’s time to say "I made it!" Thirty blog posts in November, one for each day of the month. I'm going to try to keep this up in December and onward, but probably won’t keep it up forever.
It's been fun. And Lolita Nation rules!