SIGNALS, CALLS, AND MARCHES
click for lyrics:
1. That's when I reach for my revolver
2. Outlaw
3. Fame and Fortune
4. This is not a photograph
5. Red
6. All world cowboy romance
Produced by Richard W. Harte
Engineer: John Kiehl
Original cover/insert design/Holly Anderson/Mission of Burma

Recorded Jan-Mar 1981
at Soundtracks (Boston)

Roger:

That's when I reach for my revolver
I recall very clearly the rehearsal that Clint brought this song in. He played the verse and chorus for Pete and me. We looked at each other and said to Clint: "That is a hit." Recorded at Soundtrack Studios, it again was much milder than we thought it should be. Again, that probably helped it become as big of a "hit" as it was.

We played a show in Cleveland ('81 or '82) and we were on the street in front of the club. A girl came up to us and said how much she was looking forward to the show, and that she loved Revolver. We thought we were golden. However, once we started playing, people backed up against the wall and after the first song did not applaud or respond to us one bit, even after we started heckling them. Even when we played Revolver. So, it is quite probably true that the "mild-mannered" recording we made on Signals reached more people than if we recorded it in a more furious or noisy fashion.

Outlaw
Written very early on in Burma. Owes a bit to the No New York album. Impenetrable dreamish lyrics. This song, along w/"Revolver" and "All World Cowboy Romance" , caused a UK label to tell Rick Harte that they'd release Signals Calls and Marches in the UK if we wore cowboy getup on the cover. We declined. (and didn't play the UK until 22 years later.....)

Fame and Fortune
Mr. Miller tries to be accessible (with only moderate success). Lyrics incorporate the life of Syd Barret as well as my relationship with my brothers Laurence and Benjamin: their rock careers, which started ahead of mine in Destroy All Monsters, were now heading down while mine wasstarting to rise.

The usual morose irony.

This is not a photograph
This line came to me while Clint and I were watching The Unnatural Axe at Mass Art in Boston in spring 1979. Perhaps we were chemicalized at the time, but we didn't notice that the Axe had all stripped down to their underwear over the course of the set. However, underwear does not figure in the lyrics. Perhaps the title phrase also owes a bit to Magritte's painting "This is not a Pipe." Because the vocals were put through a twin reverb amp in the mixdown, this one has a bit more organic grit than some of the other material on Signals.
Red
I enjoy hearing live versions of this on because the improv. section is always different. As Eric Van has pointed out, another song where I sing about windows. Martin's vocal loop becomes the hook in this song. (Hi Martin, if you're reading this!)

All world cowboy romance
Clint came up with the main body of the song, I think coming out of the hours-long two guitar jam-sessions he and I did before Pete joined the band. I came up with the alternate section, which makes this the only real "joint" song the band wrote (except for Pete contributing a few lyrics to a couple of my songs).

At our very first show (Lou Miami's showcase, April Fools' Day 1979), Clint put down his bass and brought out his Rickenbacker guitar for our last song, and friends in the audience thought "what the hell are they doing?" But by the end of the song, it was (at least somewhat) clear what our intentions were. Martin's loops in this one are really nice, subtle. Vs. was recorded at Normandy Sound in late winter, 1982. Between us and Rick we had deduced how we really wanted to record: we were all in the same room, with barely any baffles between the instruments/amps. When you soloed the guitar track, you could hear plenty of drums and bass. Same for the other instruments. It gave a much more open, natural sound than the recordings at Soundtrack Studios.