Disclaimer: I’m lousy with chronology, I admit it. If you read this and find factual errors, please contact me and I’ll fix it up.
Where do I begin? Finn’s Motel released Escape Velocity on Scat Records in 2006 (www.scatrecords.com/catalog.htm
). Then we did all the normal stuff. Mini-tour to promote the album. SXSW in 2007. Gigs whenever we could. Soon it was time to start recording the new music that was beginning to happen.
At that time, the live band was Patrick Hawley on drums, Steve Scariano on bass, Robert Griffin on guitar and myself playing guitar and singing. We were really gelled as a unit. The other three guys were also principal players in Prisonshake (Scat Records) and I was filling in as utility infielder. The Shake was finishing up a massive double-LP that would become the brilliant Dirty Moons (get yourself a copy of this; you won’t regret it). (www.scatrecords.com/ps.htm
So we were playing together a lot and Robert’s influence was becoming more and more present in my work. Not that it wasn’t already there. Keep in mind his guiding hand was what helped make Escape Velocity into what it is/was. And he released it on his label (Scat Records). Without his encouragement I might never have ventured out of the basement. But I digress. I had started writing new songs and bringing them to the band. Robert and I began collaborating even more. In a few cases (Gone Cold / Remember To Breathe) he fully took the reins on the arrangement. You can hear the Griff’s influence in that song’s eccentric composition and you can hear the Prisonshake straight-up rock approach to Another Room (Roll Away the Stone), a song that later appeared on Quinta del Sordo in a more grunge-psych style. Robert composed the outro to Wings Are Not Made of Angels - which appears on Jupiter Rex stripped down to its core. You can decide which you like better. I love them both.
We started recording sessions where we were all in the same room (my dining room/living room; pictured in the CD art) playing together. Most of what is on this EP was tracked in those sessions, with a few overdubs. A handful of the other tunes (Devil’s Gonna Win, Left the Best Part Out) were written at that same time, but received updates as recently as 2018. Still it seemed appropriate to include them here. They’re loosely thematically connected, etc.
Sometime after Prisonshake’s Dirty Moons double LP was released and some promotional shows had been played, Robert decided he was done with it all. You gotta respect an artist for knowing when to say when. But without Robert in the band, things didn’t feel the same. It wasn’t bad – we had some great guitarists filling in: Chris Grabau (Magnolia Summer, Cave States) and Matt “Bug” Meyer, to name a few. But things were different and these sessions got put on the shelf.
Fast forward to 2013. I graduated from UMSL after finally finishing a bachelor’s degree (English, Philosophy). I decided to wade through all the recordings we had done since Escape Velocity and put the good ones out. I had no label so started my own. I recruited the incredibly patient Matt “Bug” Meyer to help me cull through it all and co-produce all the good stuff. 2017 brought Jupiter Rex and Quinta del Sordo. In typical Finn’s Motel ass-backward fashion, we now give you Stone Lions, the stuff that was recorded before both of those two records.
A final note. If you heard the original recordings of Stone Lions (done by me with very little effort to keep things clean) you would marvel at the miracle of what Matt has done here. If he had not been able to resurrect these tracks they may have been lost to the scrap heap dustbin hard drives of history. We thank him for his meticulous cleanup work and excellent production.