4/04/04 Palm Sunday The 23 Hour Day The Inactivists wander into Ian Hlatky's home studio around 10 a.m. Ten hours later; they wander out having recorded the entire debut album in one day. 19 titles were recorded; including a couple of cover tunes that for legal reasons were not included in the original pressing of the LP. Even back in the days of Please Please Me and Another Side Of Bob Dylan one-day albums were considered an anomaly. And with modern technology's abilities of digitally editing, quantizing, click tracks, pitch correction and infinite virtual tracks for overdubbing the need to record so quickly is gone. In fact it's a lot more work. But why did they do it so quickly? Are the Inactivists trying to catch the fire and energy of the legendary live performances? Or are they just cheap? No. Some of them are poor. Besides, working quickly is the way the Inactivists like to work (if they have to work at all). While Matt Sumner (bass guitar) had known the other members for a while, the first time Jason Walton (sax), Chris Budin (drums), and Scot Livingston (guitar and ukulele) met was on Oct. 19th, 2003. In order to rehearse for their first show ... on Oct. 20th, 2003. In fact, the first time Victoria Lundy (theremin) met the rest of the band was on Oct. 22nd ... The date of their second show. And no they did not manage to have another rehearsal between gigs 1 and 2. You do kind of wonder how (or why) they were booking all these shows without the band actually existing yet. But that's always been the Inactivists' modus operandi. Their first show included an hour's worth of original material, most of which was speedily written the week before. Matt gave Scot a CD of half a dozen instrumental demo ideas. Scot had to quickly come up with enough words to fill an entire show in just seven days. Despite the rushed deadline, many of these songs grew to be considered among the Inactivists finest, including the philosophical Where Are All My Clothes?, the introspective All I Got, and the upbeat I Will Destroy You. The rest of their set was filled up with previously written material that The Inactivists put their unmistakable stamp on, like I Hate Myself (possibly selected because it has only 4 chords) and Punching Each Other. If you listen closely to the platter you hold in your hand, you will hear a dropped drumstick and not one but two broken strings. None of which stopped the songs in progress. A majority of the tracks were recorded in one take, and none of them took more than three. But don't be fooled. Just because an album was recorded quickly doesn't mean it wasn't done with a certain amount of professionalism, sophistication, and even care. Although the Inactivists' Self-Titled Debut doesn't seem like it. -Dr. Marty Lowenstein, musicologist.