Produced by Don Was and Paul WASterberg
It’s a Wonderful Lie | Self-Defense | Best Thing That Never Happened | Lookin’ Out Forever | Born for Me | Final Hurrah | Tears Rolling Up Our Sleeves | Fugitive Kind | Sunrise Always Listens | Whatever Makes You Happy | Actor in the Street | Bookmark
In May of 97, Paul switched labels, moving from Reprise to Capitol. As reported by Jim Walsh in The St. Paul Pioneer Press:
After 12 years with Warner Bros./Reprise Records, Paul Westerberg has jumped ship and made a verbal commitment to Capitol Records. “I needed a breath of fresh air,” the former leader of the Replacements said. “I was there a long time, and it was time to move on”….Westerberg chose Capitol, due in no small part to the impression that Gary Gersh made on the songwriter. Gersh is the president of Capitol and will also act as Westerberg’s A+R representative. “Gary Gersh’s commitment as president and A+R guy, who is going to personally oversee my record and my career, was hard to turn down,” said Westerberg. “I mean, I had fans at every other label, but they weren’t all necessarily the presidents of the label. I felt that having the most powerful guy at the label interested in my career would be the smart move to make.”
“I think Paul is one of the truly great songwriters of our time,”‘ said Gersh from his office in Los Angeles. “And I’m hoping that with a renewed start for him at a new label will spark something in him that maybe we haven’t seen in a long time….Nobody could ever be the Replacements again. It’s not possible. And there are so many bands that can do the Replacements copy thing better than Paul can right now. Why should he have to do that? He’s much too talented to do that.”
Unfortunately, Gary Gersh was gone from the label within a few months. It took nearly two years for Paul to release SG, his first and only record for Capitol, in May 1999. He and Capitol parted ways less than a year after its release, in March 2000.
From the official SG press kit:
SUICAINE GRATIFACTION was recorded at Paul’s Minneapolis home and in New York and Los Angeles. The album – a stormy blend of rockers, acoustic guitar ballads and piano-and-vocal songs – features Paul on guitars and piano, backed by such esteemed players as Don Was and keyboardist Benmont Tench. From his days fronting the legendary Replacements, to his recent solo works – 14 Songs (1993) and Eventually (1996), plus 2 songs on the Singles soundtrack – Paul Westerberg has always blazed his own uncompromising path.
Paul Westerberg (in his own words):
Father. Artist. Mid-Westerner. Eccentric. Walker. Movie hater. Tree lover. Pill taker. Songwriter. Gardener. Floor sweeper. Floor sleeper. Dyslexic. Weather enthusiast. Rock singer. Janitor. Romantic. Has Been. Hero. Has made a new record, SUICAINE GRATIFACTION.
When pressed to describe the music on SUICAINE GRATIFACTION, PAUL says “it’s fucked-up folk music.”
What inspired PAUL WESTERBERG to title the new album SUICAINE GRATIFACTION? “Over the years, I’ve come up with words that I guess are incorrect but mean something to me, he explains. “I don’t want to think about it too deeply other than the fact that it seems wrong, and therefore it’s attractive to me.”
Talking about the album, PAUL says: “This is a dark record–you’d be hard pressed to find a joke on it, which might be the greatest departure, because there’s always at least one joke on my records, but I don’t think this one has one.”
Paul did no appearances in the US to promote SG, only a few print interviews. He did appear on “Later… with Jools Holland” in England, performing “It’s A Wonderful Lie”:
- “33rd of July” – Available as bonus track on the Japanese release of Suicaine Gratifaction
- “Wonderful Copenhagen” – Available as bonus track on the European release of Suicaine Gratifaction (A cover of a Frank Loesser song originally sung by Danny Kaye in the movie “Hans Christian Andersen”)
There was some pretty cool SG paraphernalia. A limited edition of the CD came in a box with a few extras: A booklet with pictures and lyrics sheets (a first for PW), a rubber band and a book of matches. There was also a Suicaine Gratifaction magnetic poetry kit that was done as a promo for Borders Books (ask your grandparents, that was a thing that used to exist). Paul was the featured artist there the month the album was released, which included having a latte named after him for the month.