Following numerous personnel changes after their landmark 1985 album November’s Heat (named '85 'rock album of the year' by the influential Paris newspaper Liberation), Certain General resurfaced in early 1986 with an almost entirely new lineup of musicians. They promptly recorded These Are The Days, another incredibly strong and vital collection that contains some of their finest songs and once again garnered rave reviews by the French press. Released only in France by the soon-to-be bankrupt I.A.S. Records, this collection helped define the beginning of a new sound for the band.
The first international digital release of this long out of print essential 1986 EP includes twelve great bonus tracks and features early versions of the favorites “Love Life”, “Will You”, and “Lose Myself”.
Below are the original liner notes from the 1998 French CD release on Fanstastic Records.
There's something special about being on a New York City rooftop; a sense of freedom and limitless possibilities that you can only get from being six stories above the sidewalks. Your horizons are broadened, you can see far into the distance, and the future seems to spread out before you, at least as far as Brooklyn or New Jersey. There's nothing else like it.
1985. The rooftops are what I remember most from that summer. It was particularly hot, and none of us had air conditioners to keep us in or cars to get out of town, so we ended up spending a lot of time up there. Just hanging out on Parker's roof, drinking beer and putting lemon juice in our hair, parties down on Second Street, and Danceteria opened up its roof. There was even an after-hours bar, Nickel Bag, that was on top of an abandoned building on Houston Street.
Parker was writing tunes that fit our collective, rooftop drunk moods; they soared above the tenement blocks, secure in the knowledge that there was something going on here, and we certainly knew what it was. Filled with a dark confidence and narcotic allure, they rocked with a charged confidence and kamikaze edge.
I always felt especially privileged to hear this music develop. By some fluke, that summer a bunch of us were out of work and collecting unemployment.
That meant we had a little money and lots of free time in which to spend it. It's one of those rare congruences that only occurs when you're in your twenties and rent is cheap. So I would usually end up at Parker's at some point in the day, and he would play some new song or a fragment of one he had rewritten, and, more often than not, I was blown away. He was moving from a talented amateur, someone who had a innate ability but was still the product of his influences, to a mature musician with his own voice.
A song like Killer In Our House has a cinematic intensity and chilling desperation, while Bad Way and Susie's Waiting throb with bitter drama. And Love Life is a song that should be sung only from rooftops, a love song that's also a declaration that the singer is ready to take his proper place at the top of the heap, regardless of whether it's a pile of groaning, century-old tenement bricks, held up only by memory and the lack of any space to fall into, or the charts.
Sitting here, a decade and three-thousand miles away, in a town where there are very few rooftop parties, this music resonates with a power that goes beyond mere nostalgia. It embodies, for better or worse, a time when the expanse seen from a sixth-story roof seemed ours to grab and the world beyond 14th Street was ready to pay attention. They were the days.
Los Angeles, California