Last Of The Good Ol’ Days


Last Of The Good Ol' Days -cover


(click to listen & read liner notes)
  1. Last Of the Good Ol' Days

    The title track was composed sometime in early 2006.

    Markus recalls: “I guess I was going through some kind of an existential crisis at the time. I remember the song sort of writing itself. I was playing my baby grand one night and suddenly I hit these weird chords and the words just came to me there and then. The whole thing only took maybe 20 or 30 minutes to finish. Lyrically it’s probably one of the strongest songs I’ve written so far and it certainly paved the way for the rest of the album. We then came up with the idea of a 70s style concept album.”

    Like most of the songs on the album, Last Of The Good Ol’ Days was tracked live at Plyrz studios in Santa Clarita CA.

    “I think it was the second day of recording and we were joined in the studio by our friend and hero Benmont Tench who played Hammond organ with us. The piano I was playing was located right next to him and that really gave me the chills. Benmont’s presence made a difference to us all. Not only did he play great but he also inspired the rest of us to perform to the best of our ability.”

    “I remember telling Ben and Jim beforehand that I wanted this song to sound like Sonic Youth were playing a Randy Newman ballad. A friend of mine claimed that it sounds more like Randy Newman was singing a Sonic Youth tune. Either way, I’m really happy with it.”

  2. Among The Survivors

    “Mikko sent me a solo demo of this song and I had it on my computer’s desktop for almost a year. I always liked the tune but felt that it missed a chorus. I finally came up with it just prior to the recording sessions.”

    “A childhood friend of Mikko’s was literally hit by tragedy around that same time and this unfortunate incident is reflected in the lyrics. What also inspired me was a notion by MC5’s Wayne Kramer. He stated that survival and endurance are the real keys to success in both life and rock and roll. Well put.”

    “This was the third song we tracked on the very first day at Plyrz. We were really jet-lagged yet Jim Scott ordered us to continue since he felt we were on a roll. He also convinced us to slow down the song and play it in a more laid back fashion as if we were cutting David Bowie’s Heroes strung out on heroin. It did the trick.”

  3. Time To Live

    “This is a funny little stadium rocker – The Latebirds’ Van Halen moment, if you like. Our guitarist Jussi calls our performance IOR which stands for idiot oriented rock. Beats me. I guess the lyric just required a somewhat looser musical approach.”

    “This is one of the few songs on the album that doesn’t have a live vocal track. I scrapped the original lyrics from Jim’s suggestion and re-cut the vocal in Finland.”

  4. Summer Bcemos Fall

    “It’s the last song I wrote for the album, just weeks before flying to California to record with Jim. The lyrics are about global warming or climate change or whatever you like to call it. We’ve had really mild winters and hot summers in Finland in recent years. Then in 2010 we had the coldest winter in albums 100 years and the hottest summer in 160 years! I think planet Earth could use some therapy.”

    The Latebirds donate all proceeds from the digital sales of this track to The Finnish Association for Nature Conservation – Suomen luonnonsuojeluliitto.

    “This was one of the few songs that we hadn’t played live before so we learned and arranged it in the studio on the spot with Jim. Benmont came in later and laid down the Chamberlin string section. Ben’s contribution made it sound more expensive.”

  5. Time Revisited

    “Time Revisited goes back to 2004 when we first met The Band’s drummer Levon Helm while recording Radio Insomnia in Woodstock. Levon’s got this deep southern drawl and every word that comes out of his mouth sounds like some deep wisdom. I think a couple lines in this song maybe stolen directly from him.”

    “Jim Scott loved this track from the beginning and kept saying this would make a great tune for the Democrats presidential campaign in 2008. Too bad the record didn’t come out until two years later.”

  6. Fearless

    “This was written the day after Russian human rights activist and journalist Anna Politkovskaja was brutally murdered in Moscow in 2006. A fearless individual, who kept reporting about human rights abuses in Chechnya and questioning Russian authorities in her excellent articles. Anna was well-known and loved in Finland so many of our countrymen got very upset the day she got shot. I think it’s quite telling that the murder has remained unsolved to this day. What is somewhat paradoxical is that when we played this song live in the US at the time, many people thought we were referring to George W. Bush and his regime.”

    “Fearless was the first song we cut at Plyrz. I think this is the second take. When we walked in the control room we found actress Minnie Driver sitting on the studio’s sofa. Jim knew her but we had never met before. You can imagine our surprise.”

  7. Like Father Like Son

    “I suppose every songwriter has to sing about his parents at one time or another. So this is my ode to my father, Professor Nordenstreng. It’s one of the most personal or should I say naked songs I’ve ever recorded – I must admit I still get a little intimidated about playing it to people. “

    “We cut the vocal, acoustic guitar, bass and drums live while the rest of the stuff was overdubbed. Jim suggested the Leslie guitar sound that George Harrison used on Abbey Road. There’s also some other Beatle-elements, like
    Matti’s Mellotron part. And lots of analog hiss!”

  8. NO1

    “No1 is about a friend of mine who’s been on a downward spiral for quite some time. It’s also about the realization that it’s impossible for a person to expect to solve somebody else’s problems or fix his fellowman’s life. It’s really up to each individual to take the lead.”

    “We cut this on the second day at Plyrz. It was all cut live. Or now that I think about it I think Nels Cline might have added a few weird guitar loops afterwards.”

  9. Kickin' Me

    “Our drummer Janne still thinks Kickin’ Me is the best song on the entire record. I wrote it in early 2007, I think. I was just fooling around with this Teisco guitar that I have and suddenly had a song. The last verse about pulling a leg and renewing a deal is sort of true because my old publishing deal was up at the time. But I did end up signing a new contract with the same company and they’ve been very good to me so I can’t really complain.”

    “We cut it on the first day at Plyrz. The guitars sound like the Stooges in my ears.”

  10. You Cynical You

    “Somebody recently stated that cynicism is the worst sickness of our time – it eats away man’s desire to change and improve his life. Like most of us, I’ve been a cynic from time to time. Nowadays I try my best to fight cynicism as much as possible and that’s what the song is really about. It is a very Dylan-esque song, I guess. But the first line in the song – when habits survive your dreams – is actually from the Clint Eastwood movie The Bridges Of Madison County.”

    “We tracked this in an unusual setting because I was playing Hammond organ while Matti played his Les Paul. It took us a couple of takes to get it right but Jim believed in us and eventually we got there. This is one of my personal favorites on the album.”

  11. Underwater

    “Underwater is about Sylvia Plath and Gene Clark. Two incredibly gifted poets and lost souls. We had some disagreements over this song in the beginning. Some guys in the band thought it sounds too much like Albert Hammond’s It Never Rains In Southern California!”

    “We recorded most of it live and then started adding some harmonies one night. Minnie Driver was hanging in the studio and suggested a harmony so Jim gave her a go and we all loved it. What’s strange is that her part is actually below my lead vocal and Mikko’s higher harmony. It’s a pretty unusual register for a female singer.“

  12. Last Of The Good Ol' Days Reprise

    “This verse was originally left out of the song but at one point we started feeling like the album lacked a sense of hope so we ended up recording this reprise.”

  13. Light At The End Of The Tunnel

    ”My friend James Mastro who’s a great musician and songwriter from New Jersey, wrote to me one day. The last sentence in his e-mail read ’the world is broken’. I stole this line from James and never gave him any credit. So James, if you’re reading this – please don’t sue me. I owe you one.”

    ”This started out as a gospel song but you don’t have to belong to any church relate to it. Again we got to track live with Benmont. Nels Cline from Wilco came in later to play the lap steel solo and our friend Irina Björklund played musical saw. This track required some overdubbing and fixing afterwards but I think we did a good job. Hopefully this one leaves the listener with a growing sense of hope and optimism.”

Liner Notes