Over at the Okkervil River online store, you can order a hand-made letterpress version of the above image, which is my interpretation of William Schaff’s cover art for Black Sheep Boy. Also on the online store we have a downloadable album entitled Black Sheep Boy: Early Drafts on the Road, 2004. This is what it sounds like – the very earliest recorded versions of Black Sheep Boy songs, done in green rooms and guest bedrooms and on people’s front lawns, and interspersed with audio diaries where I discuss the songs and discuss what was happening on tour at the time.
I had a band. So far we’d played about three shows. We’d done a show at a downtown Austin blues bar that on Monday nights would take pretty much any new band so long as they’d promise to pack the club with their friends who would buy drinks. We’d done a show at an “alternative bookstore” on the college drag that one month later had closed to make way for a chain store that sold fake-vintage pre-faded jeans. We’d done a show above the grease vents on the roof of a hamburger bar. One day, in the late summer of 1998, I got an e-mail from a band called The Eyesores.