Originally posted on our front page May 19, 2012:
"It's not a groundbreaking notion that information spreads faster each year. Yet over the past six months, very little information has been revealed or leaked about DMB's return to the studio. Any sort of official word has come slowly and infrequently. It was rumored that the band was working with Steve Lillywhite (follow @sillywhite
)when he was publicly speaking about his time with DMB and it was clear that he was going through old tapes. Then a series of tweets starting in November 2011 (including pictures of Seattle) made it all but official that right after New Year's they would be back in the studio together. Even after this, however, their collaboration still wasn't confirmed until mid-February by management.
Near the end of the sessions, Steve started giving a few updates as to where he was in the post-production process and began answering the occasional questions on twitter. But aside from that, neither he nor management divulged anything about the tracklisting. The first big reveal came on April 24, 2012 when Dave played "Mercy
" solo on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. But the silence was broken with a blast on May 18, 2012 when the band/ management released the studio version of a new, unheard song called "Gaucho
" to celebrate the return of the Summer Tour. Contributing to the surprise was the release of a lengthy video tribute to 2010's tour opener
the day before. It was worthy of celebrating the opener by itself because included rare archive video of an unreleased show and the full JTR
A link to the song (click here
) was sent out to DMB's mailing list with a unique code for a free download. However if you don't have a code, they will e-mail you one. The message from Dave was as brief as he usually is: "Hey everybody, here's something new. We had fun making it. Hope you like it, Dave." The mp3 was tagged with generic artwork borrowed from the 2012 Summer Tour logo. A message also narrowed the known release date of the album from "Fall" to "September."
The song has unique traits that haven't been used on any song that they've recorded before, but also contains classic DMB musical and lyrical themes. Dave's political song lyrics have been across the board in regards to their clarity. Lyrically, this one can interpreted as a generic call to arms to make the world better, but the two most powerful words in the song are "believe" and "change" and their affiliation with President Obama's 2008 campaign can't be ignored. It seems clear, if you buy into this interpretation, that the call isn't going to the administration but the voters who were told to believe then stopped making changes. Dave has shown that not all of these songs need to be as blatant as Everybody Wake Up
. As recently as Big Whiskey
he laid the entire foundation of a song with political snark (Dive In
). But this could also be a song like Cry Freedom
that uses broad terms about a specific political situation. If you believe it's more generic, then it falls in line with the lyrics of the other confirmed song Mercy. These ideals are repeated through the choruses and the verses launch into a timeline of human history starting with fire, through structures for shelter, exploration, movies and finally landing on the moon.
Musically, the song is about six minutes of music layered and neatly packed into just over four minutes. The most obviously unique-to-DMB aspect of the song is the children's choir which is confirmed via Steve Lillywhite's twitter to be Dave's kids' school's choir. Unless there is some sort of special circumstance, the part sung by the choir will likely be sung by Dave with backup. Though similar to Everyday, this could become a song which when the band's parts relax, the crowd takes over the vocals of the choir. This mid-song respite is also unique in DMB's catalog and the studio version is complete with a heartbeat effect created by Lillywhite tapping himself in the chest with a microphone. This could also be a reason why this particular song was chosen for release at the beginning of the tour. If the album comes out after the tour, which given the current dates seems likely, a full tour's opportunity for that to happen is negated. Due to the widespread nature of the release, anyone who wants a copy can get one and the chorus will be well-known at shows.
The music also has classic DMB characteristics. First and foremost are alternating time signatures between the verse and the choruses/bridge/outro. The mechanical, relentless triplets perpetuate through just about the entire song. They drive the 6/8 verses, but fall into the background as the time signature shifts to 4/4 for the choruses in changes that are as jarring to the listener as the lyrics aspire to be. Other classic DMB characteristics are the use of a partial first chorus before the second verse. Also there is background noise that is reminiscent of the Crash studio version of Lie In Our Graves
After soundchecking the song on May 17th, the band debuted a faithful version on stage about four hours after its release. To download and listen to the song live, go to http://www.dreamingtree.org as always for audience recordings.
Thanks to the discussion group at TDC for a lot of these ideas."
After its release, Gaucho received steady play throughout the 2012 Summer Tour and the choir-only section in the studio version was extended with Dave singing the part and playing high-impact chords before the band joined in.