Album: Each Man Kills the Thing He Loves

About the album

Gavin Friday’s solo debut Each Man Kills the Thing He Loves was originally released in 1989. Produced by Hal Willner, it was recorded in New York with a stellar cast of musicians including Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot, Fernando Saunders, and Michael Blair.

The NME wrote: “The cabaret waltzes and orchestrated vignettes pursue Friday’s grand tangle of themes with a singular vision.”

Each Man Kills The Thing He Loves was reissued on iTunes on October 24, 2011.

From 1989 press release:

The release of Each Man Kills the Thing He Loves, the debut LP by Gavin Friday and The Man Seezer, marks the welcome return of one of the pop-music world’s most intriguing figures. As a key member of Ireland’s Virgin Prunes, Gavin Friday presented an uncompromising musical vision that stands as one of the post-punk era’s strongest. Now, on orginials like “Tell Tale Heart” and “Apologia” – not to mention covers of Bob Dylan, Jacques Brel and Oscar Wilde – Gavin Friday and his new musical partner, The Man Seezer, present a compelling mix of lyrical introspection and cabaret-flavoured musical irony, produced by Hal Willner of Marianne Faithful/Kurt Weill/Walt Disney fame.


“Each Man Kills The Thing He Loves was recorded in the summer of 88, it came out in May 89. We had written it, just piano and voice in the Liberties in Dublin. I used to rent a place there and so did Maurice by coincidence. It was post the Blue Jaysus club (a late night club Gavin created and MC’ed in Dublin’s Waterfront Nightclub), ’87 -’88, and we wrote it in that period. I played some demo tapes to Chris Blackwell from Island Records and Seymour Stein from Sire. I played them accoustic versions of “Got What He Wanted”, “Apologia” and “Man of Misfortune”. Chris Blackwell offered me a deal there. I met him in a place called Essex House on Central Park and we had a good chat for about three or four hours and he says “I know the person you should meet.” And he suggested Hal Willner.”

“We decided we’d do it in New York and Hal suggested numerous musicians, some I knew like Marc Ribot and Michael Blair, Fernando Saunders. Bill Frisell I hadn’t really known of but I knew he’d played a lot with Hal. And Hank Roberts who was this sort of avant garde violin / electronics guy. And then there was Maurice. So we went to Hal’s apartment for three days, one o’clock till eight o’clock and rehearsed accoustically. We all sat around there, just accoustic guitars and Hal’s old broken piano, Michael banging sticks and we sort of had three days of going through songs, trying out ideas in a tiny room. And then we were booked into RPM for ten days, which was near 12th Street, not far from the Chelsea Hotel.”

“We’d do about two or three songs a day, run through them, rehearse them and then record them. Live vocals, everything was live. And then a few overdubs. Because he know I had a sort of a huge T-Rex thing, Hal brought in Flo & Eddie, who gave me my first real lesson in falsetto. It was hard graft, but it was really very spontaneous. Alan Ginsberg nearly played on “Death Is Not The End”. I had it in my mind to do “Next” as a cover version. And I wanted to do it in a real visceral way, I liked to imagine like The Virgin Prunes wrote it, or something. And Hal suggested another cover version. “Just seeing that you’re on this happy-theme, why don’t you this, it’s a really unusual Bob Dylan-tune.” And I loved it. We had this idea to make it almost like a New Orleans funeral march. And Ginsberg, who I got to know quite well through Hal, came in and Hal wanted him to play harmonium on it, but he started crying when we played him the rough mix. He said: “I can’t play on that.”

“It was a very organic session and it went quite painlessly and for a treat Chris Blackwell came in in one of the sesssions and loved what we were doing and went “Why don’t you mix it in the Bahamas, in Compass Point?” They owned Compass Point, so for the budget is was for nothing – so we went to the Bahamas for two weeks and it fucking drove us crazy. We hated it. It was that whole… lazy… you’d get into the studio at 11 in the morning and nothing would work till three and then they’d disappear and they’d be spliffing and just was… I mean, I’m not Mister-Chill-Out-On-The-Beach, “have a spliff, just chill…” I go: No, for fuck sake. And the albums is so not that. It just wasn’t the right environment. And then it started raining after three or four days so we felt more at home.”

“It was actually one of the biggest joys ever in making an album. It was not that stressful.”