LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Following up 1987’s album Lolita Nation (whose reissue appeared on numerous year-end “best of” lists for 2016) would be no easy task for Game Theory. But Scott Miller and company were certainly up to the challenge. Re-teaming with producer Mitch Easter (R.E.M., Marshall Crenshaw, Velvet Crush), 2 Steps From the Middle Ages was released in 1988, and showed the band had no shortage of energy, experimentation, and excellent material.
This reissue, due out June 9, 2017 on Omnivore Recordings, contains the original 13 songs supplemented with a whopping 11 bonus tracks — including eye-opening, unvarnished album demos, live performances, Scott Miller’s solo covers of Simon & Garfunkel’s “America,” Let’s Active’s “Bad Machinery,” and more — all previously unissued. The translucent-orange first pressing of the LP (on vinyl for the first time since its initial release) contains a download card for the entire CD/Digital program.
The packaging includes rare and previously unseen photos from the band’s photographer, Robert Toren, as well as essays by Easter, Ken Stringfellow (The Posies, Big Star), and Franklin Bruno (The Village Voice, Salon, The Human Hearts). Sadly, the band’s drummer, Gil Ray, whose generous contribution to the Game Theory reissue series has been immeasurable and who consulted through the creation of this title, passed away earlier this year. The release is lovingly dedicated to him.
Long time Game Theory tourmanager Dan Vallor elaborates on the importance of the late Gil Ray: “As we approach the release of this, the last of the original Game Theory albums, we say goodbye to Gil Ray. Scott Miller was the creative core of Game Theory, but Gil was the loving and deeply loved, gentle soul of the band. Scott and Gil had a musical understanding that is rare. To see the two of them laugh, nearly rolling on the floor, you could tell that Gil also brought out the freest, most joyful part of Scott.”
Of Miller, who died in 2013, Easter says in the liner notes: “I really miss Scott. I would have done sessions with him any time he wanted to, but beyond that I had been hoping for ages to just hang out for a bit and talk about what-ever. Everybody knows about his intelligence, but in addition to that, he was just cool — always interesting, a thoughtful conversationalist, and full of surprises.”
Ken Stringfellow sums up the significance of 2 Steps: “The album is an evolution, I believe, and it had the band ending on a high note.”
As the first track says, there’s “room for one more, honey.” For now, that one more is 2 Steps From the Middle Ages.
1. Room For One More, Honey
2. What The Whole World Wants
3. The Picture Of Agreeability
4. Amelia, Have You Lost
5. Rolling With The Moody Girls
7. In A Delorean
8. You Drive
10. Wish I Could Stand Or Have
11. Don’t Entertain Me Twice
12. Throwing The Election
13. Initiations Week
14. Together Now, Very Minor (Live)
15. Amelia, Have You Lost (Demo)
16. Bad Machinery (Radio Session)
17. Room For One More, Honey (Demo)
18. The Waist And The Knees (Live)
19. Wish I Could Stand Or Have (Demo)
20. Rolling With The Moody Girls (Demo)
21. America (Demo)
22. I Turned Her Away (Radio Session)
23. Wyoming (Rough Mix)
24. Sleeping Through Heaven (Live)