Steuart Liebig on “Last Call”
The idea for this project started back in 2008. I would take two related bands that I’d been writing for—The Mentones (Tony Atherton, Bill Barrett, Joe Berardi, me) and the Tee-Tot Quartet (Dan Clucas, Scot Ray, Joe Berardi, me)—and combine them. I started to write the music, I started the artwork, I had the album title—but life and the world intervened.
Then in 2017, I had the opportunity to play a fairly high-profile gig and I asked to do this, my deferred dream band. The presenter put faith in me (thank you, Lisa Mezzacappa!) and Men-Tot Six was back.
I reworked the two and half tunes I had already started and then got to work on some other preliminary sketches. As usual, original ideas can start changing once the music starts coming out. For example, the plan was to write seven tunes, but after a couple of rehearsals, an eighth emerged (which ended up being the title tune, nine years after the fact). And the writing itself changed. Some of it became quite a bit more contrapuntal then I had anticipated . . . what had started as an extension of the skewed American music I’d done for the two bands became something a bit different—something (perhaps) a bit more skewed—once we got into it.
The guys in the band . . . they’ve put their talents and hard work into this project. They really supported and encouraged me (even when I wasn’t so great to be around), which is incredibly important in the creative world. (I’m grateful!)
They also played their asses off. There are too many moments, great solos, bits of interaction, etc., to go into detail. One of the great joys for me is the way this band can be fluid with the material (and there is a bunch of written music)—we can go skittering off the page. Just take a listen.