The latest on Lolita Nation

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Scott Miller (right) standing next to his biggest musical influence, Big Star’s Alex Chilton (1950-2010) (left).

The band Game Theory existed in the 1980s, and had a good run as artistic output goes. But during their day, they were beset by various runs of bad luck: the folding of their record label, Enigma, and the lack of publicity they had during and after they folded. The group disbanded around 1989, and group leader, songwriter, lead guitarist and vocalist Scott Miller (1960-2013) formed the group The Loud Family, which lasted for several more albums until 2006.

But I wish to focus on the latest posthumous offering by Omnivore Records, a reissuing a couple of weeks ago, of the high water mark of the creative powers of Scott Miller and Game Theory, and that was the double LP, Lolita Nation. Omnivore released it on a single CD, and in addition provided another CD of “bonus tracks”. And a booklet of quotes from producers and band members that had a hand in creating the album. Former live-in girlfriend Donnette Thayer talked about her experiences as guitarist and vocalist. Even Shelley LaFreniere was brought out of obscurity to write a few blurbs about her memory of her experiences in helping out as their keyboardist and background vocalist. However, most of the writing seemed to come from producer Mitch Easter, drummer Gil Ray, tour manager Dan Vallor, who also helped out with backup vocals. They would be the people you would want to hear the most from anyway.

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Lolita Nation, Front cover
Lolita Nation, Back cover (original issue from Enigma Records).

Of course, I found the need to listen to the CD of bonus tracks more than the actual album which I played to death in the 80s and 90s. To play to the fan base, they have the long version of Chardonnay as their first track, which was never on the original album. after that, a few tracks were, to my ears, better left on the cutting room floor. But that’s not what bonus tracks are for. Even bonus tracks for Beatles reissues have a lot of crap on them. But like any cult fan, you are there for the gems. And they deliver on that. There is an interesting cover of The Hollies’ Carrie-Anne, which I have never heard them sing before. They also cover Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart. The highlight was the acoustic solo of Game Theory’s own Together Now, Very Minor without the deep space echo of Scott’s voice that was in the Lolita album.

Altogether, I found the album quite enjoyable, and the Bonus CD did not disappoint.