When Larry Beckett offers up his lyrics to you, it's hard to say "no." Beckett was a long-time collaborator with legendary singer/songwriter Tim Buckley, and even wrote the lyrics to the now-iconic and heavily-covered 1969 single "Song to the Siren." He's also the father of the kid who's best friends with Chris Slusarenko's son, putting this creative connection into place. Slusarenko is a member of Portland supergroup Eyelids, which features members of The Decemberists, Guided by Voices, Elliott Smith, Quasi, and Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks.
"I told (Beckett) about our band and the next time I saw him he had delved into all our records and was asking all sorts of question and said he loved the lyrics and the harmonies and the vibe of it," Slusarenko told Billboard Magazine. "And (Beckett) just said flat-out, 'If ever you would be interested in collaborating, that would be pretty cool.' So John [Moen, guitarist] and I went over to his house and thought maybe we'd do a song or a couple songs and he had a lot more than that. We left with a bunch of material from the '60s up to now and started writing. It was pretty heavy, in a weird way."
The result is Eyelids' latest album The Accidental Falls, a 13-song collection utilizing Beckett's lyrics, produced by fellow Portland resident, R.E.M.'s Peter Buck. For the title track, Beckett drew from the works of 18th and 19th century German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. For the video (which you can watch below), Slusarenko and Moen teamed up to create an animated clip they describe as "equal parts Schoolhouse Rock, Shel Silverstein, a beacon of hope and a horror movie."
"It was already a weird song, lyrically, just by extension of where it came from," Slusarenko continued to Billboard. "It was fun to kind of go into that kind of surreal thing Larry had already been cracking and let John take his shot at it. It's probably the most rocking translation of Goethe's work to date."
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