Monday, January 18, 2010

"Over"- North Star Deserter, 2007 Constellation

I remember when I found that Vic and Tina were separating. It was in October 2005, at a show in Asheville, NC. I was catching up with Vic, and I noticed that Tina wasn't around. I found that unusual, so I ask how she was. In an uncharacteristically sad voice, Vic answered "She's divorcing my ass." And that was it. He proceeded to ask how I was, and whether he was feigning interest or not, he seem more comfortable talking about me at that point, so I dropped it. I felt saddened and awkward all evening. Even though his performance was still excellent, I knew that things would be different, for Vic, from that point.

Tina had been a staple in his life for many years. She was his wife, his manager, his caregiver, his partner in crime, his confidant, his sometimes bass player, his sometime drummer, his lover, and I would imagine a lot of times, his voice of reason. In a 1995 interview, by Emmanuel Tellier, for a French article, Vic was quoted as saying this-

"As long as my wife is there looking over me and removes all pointy objects from the room, I can write the most beautiful songs under the influence of alcohol. A bottle, pen, and pad is all I need......I love the idea of over-indulgence. It's in my nature. For example, I'm intrigued by Kurt Cobain's destiny, one of my good friends. Fascinated and terrified at the same time. Kurt and River Phoenix, whom I knew thru Michael Stipe, kinda freak me out because they went all the way. At the time, when they were shooting up, I was doing the same. And because of this, death now frightens me because contrary to Kurt, I've done nothing with my life. I've no desire to leave behind three second-rate records as my only achievements. There's still lots for me to do until I can consider death. In the meantime, what's keeping me on the ground, are dreams.......such as displaying my art in a gallery, to do better musically, and a tremendous responsibility towards my wife. She's saved my life over 100 times in the past 5 years just being there, close to me, by my side."

Tina's role in Vic's life cannot be underestimated. She was as important to his music as his wheelchair was, or even his upbringing, or his personality. If it wasn't for Tina, Vic wouldn't have been where he needed to be, in my opinion.

I expected that his next album would be sort of his "Blood On The Tracks," if you will. His divorce album. That wasn't exactly the case. However, some very pertinent, heartbreaking songs did come out of the experience, and "Over" is one of them.

It's a sad tale of loss and despair, and a chilling peak into the psyche of a man whose dealing with loss. Not just loss of something, but loss of everything. The remaining pieces are 'dust.' The most chilling thing to me is Vic's adoration for death is very present here. His says he 'loves the dust.' He embraces it. It's such a sad and beautiful song, and having the knowledge of the unfortunate events in Vic's life, makes this song even more chilling.

I did get to speak with Vic about it much later, and even though he had dealt with it, musically or otherwise, there was still that look in his eye that let me know that he would forever be changed by the situation.... and ultimately, so were we.

Here's the studio version:

And a live version:


it ain't over til it's over
just like some joker said
when it's over it is done
and when it's done it's as good as dead

when it's good it sure is good
yes and when it's good it's great
when it's great it's oh so wonderful
but when it ain't it ain't

it sucks when it's over and you can't get it back
why do we all want to like a pack of necrophiliacs

when the fat lady sings
it's all been sung
collect up your belongings
and clear the auditorium

it was fun while it lasted yes it was
it was fun while it lasted
now it's all turned to dust

it was fun while it lasted i must say
it was fun while it lasted
now it's all blown away

everything blows away someday
everything turns to dust
big ol' mountains do
as well as everyone of us
and i love the dust


  1. I was so worried when I heard they had finally split up, thinking that he wouldn’t be stable enough to make it through life without her. He seemed OK though in the years afterwards… I was quite surprised to read about Tina as his wife in the obituaries now, I seemed to have missed something there…
    When I first got the CD, I just listen to him singing this line “it was fun while it lasted” over and over again, it is so beautiful and spine chilling. Any idea when he wrote the song?

  2. I don't know. I talked with him in October of 2005 about it and in December of that year he was playing this I would imagine sometime in between.

    When I saw Vic in 2008, he said that Tina was still living with him, in their house. Not too sure the nature of their relationship at that point. I didn't feel comfortable asking.

  3. so were they never officially divorced? in october 2005 when Vic came through town, his comment in regard to Tina was, "she misses me."

  4. so beautiful. thanks for filling in the context of this song. somehow, sad though it surely is, i find the line "and i love the dust" oddly comforting. the ending of things is as much a part of life as beginnings. yet we so seldom face this reality. i guess i appreciate vic forcing us to truly hear, taste, and feel the essence of endings.

  5. Vic and Tina still lived together. She took care of him right up to the end. As beautiful a tribute as this blog is, I think it would be kind not to speculate on the nature of their relationship. Tina is devastated by his loss...and I know would hate to be insinuated as a cause of his death.
    The man tried to commit suicide countless times when they were "together"--even at the peak of his career. No matter how much we all loved him, we have to accept the fact that he loved death, and chose it deliberately.
    North Star Deserter is my favorite album. I always thought of Over as a reflection on the fickleness of the music scene, and on Vic's waning popularity and poorly attended American shows, despite the fact that he was making awe-inspiring music with some of the best musicians living, though I can see your take as well. Now I also view Over as a kind of dirge for Vic. Sucks that it's over, and that we can't get him back.
    It keeps me up at night.