Pandora’s Leftovers – The March 1, 1987 sessions
A tape featuring additional Permanent Vacations sessions surfaced as a bootleg in Japan in 2003. It appeared to contain leftover material from two previous bootlegs that had leaked during the mid-1990s. However, the majority of this recording consisted of an early pre-production session where the tape was simply left rolling. The sound engineer continuously adjusted the input levels, resulting in a mix with poor panning and uneven volume across the various microphones in the room.
The leak likely originated from a former label or studio employee who was selling items on eBay. The tape purportedly contained a session from March 1, 1987, and included a 58-minute CD with seven lengthy tracks. The titles seemed to be the work of an amateur attempting to decipher the session’s content. Consequently, the tracks were improperly segmented, and all of the titles were incorrect.
For instance, one track was mistakenly titled “Joey Kramer Drum Solo,” when it was actually just Steven playing with the drum presets on his KORG keyboard. Another track, called “Joe and Brad Jam,” merely featured Joe in the studio with the tape rolling, playing random notes. Other tracks were erroneously listed as “Toys in the Attic” and “Train Kept A-Rollin’,” although neither song was played at all.
This editorial has taken the initiative to merge all the tracks and re-segment the session with accurate titles. It also attempts to clarify which instrument each musician is playing and provide context for what was likely happening in the studio as the tape rolled. This will enhance the listener’s understanding and overall experience.
The session features development sessions for two primary tracks, “Joe’s Funky” and “Girl Keeps Coming Apart,” along with several additional riffs and ideas.
“Joe’s Funky” is a track based on riffs introduced by Joe Perry. In this recording, we hear the very first attempt to develop the riff into a cohesive idea. Steven is on keyboard and Joe on guitar, with the two musicians jamming together. Steven uses his keyboard to simulate drums while Joe experiments with various versions of the riff.
As the session progresses, Steven switches to a different keyboard sound and attempts to incorporate alternative chords as an intro to the song, along with a potential vocal melody. Toward the end of this recording, an intriguing dialogue can be heard in which a frustrated Tyler expresses his desire to continue working on the track:
Steven: If whatever you’re running off for Tim, why can’t you be running it at a faster speed and do it in 10 minutes?March 1, 1987
Joe: It’s not like that.
Steven: What is it, then? What does he want?
Joe: He wants everything.
Steven: He’s got a tape of everything.
Later in the recording, Joe can be heard conversing, possibly with a sound engineer, about a recent policy change as he plays riffs that would eventually be used in “Hangman Jury” and “Dulcimer Stomp.” The chords that Steven experiments with can be referred to as “Steven’s Song,” as he clearly attempts to connect his chord ideas to Joe’s riff. The KORG keyboard produces sounds typical of that era, and Steven can be heard scatting random sounds and snippets of lyrics.
“Joe’s Funky” initially leaked during the mid-1990s in the Permanent Outtakes and Love Me Like a Birddog bootlegs. These releases featured two versions of the track: “Funky Thing,” an early full band rehearsal showcasing the arrangement, and “Joe’s Funky,” a more polished rendition with bolder and more dynamic vocal melodies.
Girl Keeps Coming Apart
The second part of the session features a full band rehearsal of “Girl Keeps Coming Apart” as the band delves into the different sections and explores alternative arrangements. The recording includes a section with live studio vocals, where Steven scats alternative melodies, and the title serves as the only discernible words he sings.
Our edit of the sessions begins with Steven speaking to Joey, requesting that he play a section differently: “Joey, you know that part ‘tan tan tan’, can you keep all fours on the drums, with the foot drum?” Although the songwriting is credited to Steven and Joe, this session suggests that it was a true collaborative effort by the band. Halfway through the session, Steven playfully introduces Joe, saying, “Joe Perry ladies and gentlemen, the young, the dynamic,” but unfortunately, his solo level is barely audible in the mix. Toward the end of the session, around the 17-minute mark, Joe incorporates some funkier arrangements into the track.
The title “Girl Keeps Coming Apart” seems to refer to the emotional instability of the woman described in the song. The lyrics suggest that she is unpredictable and difficult to understand, causing frustration and rejection for the narrator. The phrase “coming apart” can imply a breakdown or loss of control, which may describe the woman’s emotional state. The repetition of the phrase “keeps coming apart” in the chorus emphasizes the persistent and ongoing nature of this instability, despite the narrator’s efforts to cope with it. Overall, the title conveys a sense of frustration and confusion in dealing with a challenging relationship.
The lyrics describe a woman who is emotionally unstable and difficult to understand, causing frustration and rejection for the narrator. Despite her alluring qualities, the narrator feels sedated and boxed up in her presence. The chorus urges the listener not to let the situation bring them down. The final lines of the song suggest a sexual encounter between the narrator and the woman, with the lyrics “So there she was/Buns up and kneelin’/I was a wheelin’ and a dealin’/My ace in the hole so to speak”.
Funky Blues Jam
Between segments of the sessions, the tape pauses to showcase what can best be described as a “Funky Blues Jam,” an original segment of instrumental improvisation.
This slow, funky, bluesy jam is played in a style reminiscent of the “Movin’ Out” bridge, but with extended solos by Joe and Brad. It likely occurred while the studio engineer stopped the tape between takes to fix something. A few minutes into the jam, the band resumes working on “Girl Keeps Coming Apart.”