"Yes indeed, they are meant to be that way. They are supposed to have this dreamlike quality. We wanted to create our own little world. That's also the reason why we called the album "Deserters Songs". We wanted to desert our past, the things we did before, the world we live in. You know, where we come from (Woodstock) is a really redneck kind of community. Everybody goes about it's business and really doesn't care. Nobody knows us there, nobody knows that we are big recording artists in Europe. So that was our way to show them, in a way, to create our own little reality within the reality."
This goes to the length of even printing the lyrics in a special way - as if you were reciting a poem, which is done decidedly done to fit the overall approach. Asked about this, Grasshopper argrees that the music of Mercury Rev is indeed to be considered "art". (Not in a supercilious way, though, because he eleborates on how all kind of music, and especially Rock'n'Roll is to be considered "art" in his opinion).
On another occasion Steve Wynn told me, that in his opinion "Deserter's Songs" is a perfect example of a new kind of approach toward music nowadays: Leaving the grunge & punk approach behind and experimenting with your abilities, heading in the direction of sophisticated, "progressive rock" (without the bad things of the originial "progressive rock" of the 70's, however). This might have been a thing which could have atrracted Levon Helm and Garth Hudson of The Band who are playing on some tracks. (And vice versa Jonathon is mentioned in the credits on The Band's new album). Since Mercury Rev and The Band don't exactly play in the same league - what happened there?
"We are neighbors", answers Grasshopper, "they live close by and we run into each other occasionally. So we gave them some tapes and asked them of their opinion. They said that they liked it and agreed to play on some tracks. And that was really something: To play with your idols."
You couldn't help notice, that in spite of the huge success Mercury Rev are currently enjoying, the guys have remained humble music fans. This also is complimented by the fact that Mercury Rev include interesting choices of cover versions into their set - from Neil Young to Galaxie 500. And Grasshopper can eleborate in detail about those songs, and why they pick those (for instance Galaxie 500 was chosen because of the Velvet Underground factor - Grasshopper is a huge fan of Sterling Morrison, whom he regrets never to have met).
Although Grasshopper constantly hides behind dark sunglasses - which makes him look pretty cool - he later joins Jonathon and the boys in the celebration of the new found confidence of a smoothly running Rock & Roll orchestra. They begin the show with "Goddess on a Highway" - which really is an essence of their philosophy - and from here on Mercury Rev take you on a magical journey of fairytales and lot's of grinning. The songs of the new record are mixed with older stuff and the beforementioned cover-versions. Even a blues-song sneaks in. However: Everything is subjected to the general new Mercury Rev make-over and leaves the audience with the feeling of having witnessed something special: A band that really cares - and really dares.