The Archives : Robert Becker's "Lot #99-0038" (1999)

In 1999 or so, I met Robert Becker. I think it was through Eric Ambel or maybe just the almost nightly trips out to the NYC clubs to see bands. At the time, I was looking to try my hand at artist management, and Becker, having formerly manned the keys for The Gin Blossoms was looking to go it alone. One weekend, I made my way to his self-described "hacienda" in Park Slope to hear a few very rough recordings from what would become Lot #99-0038. I remember nervously entering his apartment as I didn't know the first thing about artist management. But I put on a bit of a front, which I think was nothing other than chain smoking and occasionally tossing in a quip like "nice touch on the bass" (it was probably a dobro). Nevertheless, I was immediately taken by the excitement of what lie ahead.

The next six months or so was a mix of babysitting, setting up gigs at anywhere that would take us (the two highlights being Irving Plaza and a night in Boston where we nearly killed each other), drinking, listening to revisions and repeat. I remember showing up at his apartment one Sunday afternoon and seeing the joy on his face as he was about to play me "When I Fade" for the first time. He played it once. I asked him to play it again. I was blown away. I couldn't believe that I was playing an integral role in this record. Well, I didn't add a note or a lyric, but I was on hand for the entire process.

When it was finally completed, with touches added from Chip Robinson, Ambel, Anna Goodman, Mike Daly and others, I had in hand an incredibly personal and naked expression of an artist and person leaving everything for all to see.

the hull of the sinking ship / and sparks fly when these words let slip / all these things still left to do / stuck in a storm i once stood / up for the things i once would / i've been ready for years

To this day, my involvement on this record brings on incredible pride. Every song is stunning, and to have been there to witness their formation, is something I won't soon forget.