Vic Chesnutt’s “About To Choke” Gets Reissued
The Plain Recordings label, responsible for key reissues from Elliott Smith, The Jesus & Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, Mazzy Star, The Breeders, Pulp, The Flaming Lips, Ween and others, is now set to reissue the late Vic Chesnutt’s classic from 1996, About To Choke. It drops June 15.
Chesnutt produced About to Choke with the help of John DeVries, John Keane and Mark LaFalce, and his longtime friend (and fellow Athens, GA resident) Bob Mould helped to mix the recording. About to Choke was his only major label release, bookended by numerous critically acclaimed indie releases, and Capitol Records/EMI issued it in 1996 with the intentions of breaking Chesnutt to a mainstream audience. Earlier that year, Columbia Records released Sweet Relief II: Gravity Of The Situation, on which R.E.M., Madonna, Soul Asylum, Smashing Pumpkins, Garbage and others interpreted Chesnutt¹s songs. That album was a benefit for the foundation Victoria Williams founded to help provide medical care for musicians like Chesnutt, who struggled with healthcare-related debt throughout his adult life. (A drunk driving accident left him paraplegic when he was 18.)
Members of the cult following that Chesnutt garnered over the first five years of his career were heartened by About to Choke, which made no concessions to be salable to the mainstream. In fact, the disc was in many respects simpler and more intimate than the albums that immediately preceded it, Drunk and Is The Actor Happy? “Ladle” and “Giant Sands” are accessible full-bodied rock & roll, but they are complemented by the low-tech synthesizer backing of “Little Vacation” and the primarily acoustic arrangements on “New Town,” “Swelters” and the epic-length finale “See You Around.” The album is as moving as anything Chesnutt recorded, and it is cited in many of the countless obituaries and profiles that have appeared since his death.