Hits the spot
Daisy Spot’s debut album, 13 years in the making, is well worth the wait
As pleasing as it has been to hear Tatiana LaTour’s purr and Mike Farrell’s one-in-a-million moan amid the pops and fuzz of a well-worn copy of a Daisy Spot single, it’s a thrill to have more at last. Daisy Spot’s eponymous new full-length is an eclectic mix of decidedly noncontemporary sounds, including a wonderfully low-fi track recorded on a telephone answering machine. It’s also evidence of the duo’s past lives as lovers and collaborators.
At a recent interview, Farrell sat drinking tea, recovering from a bad cold and laughing at LaTour’s cautious parking as she arrived late. “She just learned to drive,” he explained.
“Hey, Daisy Spot!” a young man at Espresso Metro called out. Farrell smiled and said hello.
Farrell was shy when asked how often he’s recognized in public. “Um, I don’t know. … The last time I was recognized, I was leaving Old Ironsides. ‘Hey, Mike, yeah, I need a good old vintage suit. What do you think?’”
LaTour had no problem pointing out his star status. “It’s always been that way for him,” she said. Farrell and LaTour are, together, perhaps Sacramento’s most fashionable couple. Of course, they are no longer a couple, at least in the traditional sense.
“We definitely have a weird connection,” LaTour explained. “My thought was if I don’t spend my life with Michael as a partner, whoever I spend my life with as a partner has got to understand my love for Michael, my connection with Michael, and I always put that upfront. This person is someone I’m connected to forever, and that’s the way it goes.” Luckily, her husband, Brian LaTour, likes Farrell—enough that he plays bass and organ in the band. Farrell also serves as a much-adored wild uncle to the LaTours’ two young children.
“We have a mutual admiration for each other,” Farrell said of his relationship with Brian. “I had the idea of using this for the cover.” Farrell pointed to the cheek-to-cheek picture of him and LaTour, taken 12 years earlier, that graces the CD. “I went to Brian and said, ‘Do you have a problem with this being the cover?’”
The photo looks like it could have been taken yesterday; the two have aged surprisingly well. “I don’t know why I didn’t age any more than that,” Farrell said, acknowledging his history of excess. Farrell mentions “excursions” and “vacations” when referring to the gaps in his life when he was using drugs or in rehabilitation. He’s forthcoming on the subject, aware that he is known for his struggle with addiction as well as for his music.
Is he afraid more self-abuse lies ahead? “It’s an old program saying, ‘As long as I live in the moment, I’m fine,’” Farrell said. “I mean, sure I have my moments when I think, ‘God, it felt so good to have that rush come through,’ but I just think, ‘You know, what did that get me?’”
It was a bit disconcerting when Farrell raised his voice excitedly and answered the question himself: “Well, it got me a lot of songs.” Being creatively successful while using must add to the difficulty of staying sober. “But, in the end, what did it get me, I mean, compared to the life I have now?” Farrell continued. “It doesn’t compare. I wouldn’t say I live in fear. I might live in confusion at times.”
“I live in fear,” LaTour added quietly, and then she giggled. “It’s really hard sometimes … if he’s sick or something. I’m sure he knows it when I’m like, ‘Are you OK? Is everything OK?’ It scares me.”
Daisy Spot has grown from dysfunctional rock ’n’ roll couple to a family: Farrell, the LaTours, and Alex Jenkins on drums. Longtime fan Dana Gumbiner (Deathray and LGS) joined the family as the album’s producer when he realized it might be the only way he’d ever have the Daisy Spot album he’d long desired.
So Daisy Spot survives: sweet and obscene, subtle and wonderfully tortured, sensual and silly. After all these years, the band’s sound—like its members’ lives—has been tarnished and bruised, but beautifully so and in all the right places.