This is a song written years ago and recorded last year during a bitter contractual dispute – the band’s demands for payment of their wages refused to contract – which led to the boys stopping the van and abandoning me on a lonely road in Georgia. After wandering for a few hours in the fierce heat I came upon a wild looking man sitting on a tree stump with a jar of moonshine and a guitar. The wild man reached into an old burlap sack at his feet and pulled out some recording equipment. By the evening, the jar was empty and we had recorded this song.
If you happen to run into a chap named Tony Williams and he insists that, far from being a wild man in the habit of sitting on a tree stump swigging moonshine from a jar, he is in fact just a helpful bloke and talented musician who sent me the guitar part over the internet, don’t listen to him. The tree stump story is real.
Of course, once the band heard what the wild man was capable of, they came crawling back, fearing that he might take over from them in providing music for absolutely no reward beyond the strange, giddy, goosebumpy exhileration that comes from working in close proximity to greatness. As for Tony, he picked up his burlap sack of moonshine, guns and home studio equipment and moved on to the next tree stump.
The Valerie of the title does not represent any individual girl I have known, but I think many of us can maybe relate to the song. Most of us will have encountered Valeries and perhaps only later wondered what damage they might have suffered before we ever knew them. Not that the narrator comes over as much help.