Legend has it that beat poet William S. Burroughs couldnt remember writing his definitive work Naked Lunch. Apparently, he went to Tangier, blacked out and woke up several days later with the finished manuscript sitting on the typewriter stand. The Past Was Faster might have been similarly channeled to songwriter Kelley Stoltzs four-track. Recorded at home by Stoltz (who also sang and played all the instruments), this debut release is a tiny, lo-fi work of art, decorated with spur-of-the-moment lyrics and off-the-cuff production genius.
"There was no thought in the process," sings Stolz on the psychedelic "Vapor Trail" and that much is delightfully obvious. One can imagine Stoltz enjoying his own lost weekend, hopped up on inspirational smack and roaming the house like a man possessed. We can almost see the rumpled artist wandering back and forth between the drum set in the kitchen and the vocal mic hung over the bathtub drain.
Every long trip has its mood swings, and The Past Was Faster documents the highs and lows. "Sculpture Floating on the Waves" morphs from calming, mantralike loops to play-the-piano-like-a-percussion-instrument-until-the-fingers-begin-to-bleed-a-bit madness. Bukowski would be proud.
Elsewhere, word-salad vocals devolve into headphone-ready instrumentals. And on "The Fog Has Lifted," Stoltz even convincingly recalls Beefhearts early days as a private. I imagine it took a half-dozen pots of coffee (and producer Monte Valliers expert mixing) to sort out the damage in the morning.
Of course, thats probably not how it really happened. Still, stranger rumors have started over less. Kelley Stoltz should be careful. The Past Was Faster is the stuff of weird new legends.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.