A few years ago, I was in the coffee shop at the main branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, eavesdropping on a conversation between the barista and a tattooed hipster revolutionary as they discussed a book one of them had read about Pirate Democracy. There is something romantic about the thought of living outside of society, preying on merchant vessels loaded with some king's treasures, taking as your own as much as you can carry of the conquered ships's cargo.
Imagine, these collegiate dandies who wouldn't steal so much as a paper clip fantasizing about the noble life of a pirate. And they think they could hang in a community of cut-throats? I highly doubt it.
What's all this have to do with The Little Wretches?
A friend who moved from Philadelphia to my hometown of Pittsburgh announced in a text message that she bought a Pittsburgh Pirates jersey and suggested we go to a game at PNC Park the next time I'm in town.
I texted in reply, "The Battlin' Bucs."
She was incredulous. I had to explain that when people from Pittsburgh speak of the Bucs, they are talking baseball. Pirates = Buccaneers. Get it?
Oh, I get it now!
In any case, The Pittsburgh Pirates won their opener this year then proceeded to drop seven or eight consecutive games. Today, they came away with another victory to even their record at 11 wins and 11 losses.
The Battlin' Bucs. They never surrender. They play till the last out. They hang in there and stick together.
Coincidentally, I had been thinking about The Jolly Roger all week, ever since Mike Madden and I were listening to rough mixes of some tracks we'd recorded, and Mike mentioned that one of the songs reminded him of The Byrds. The guitar parts I'd laid down were supposed to sound like Mick Ronson. Mick Ronson produced Roger McGuinn's (the leader of The Byrds) CARDIFF ROSE album. The second tune on CARDIFF ROSE is aptly titled JOLLY ROGER, McGuinn singing of the happy day he became a scurvy buccaneer. "Pull away, me lads of the Cardiff Rose, and hoist the Jolly Roger."
See how it all connects?
Tattooed hipster chicks, baristas, Pittsburgh Pirates jerseys, struggling to fight your way back to zero, skull-and-crossbones flags and The Little Wretches in a recording studio.