Some clarification will be needed when I say that "Non Equidem Invideo" is the first vonHummer album. After all, the songs on "That Which Does Not Smash" and "Leftoverwhelming" were both recorded a year prior. The vocals, however, were deemed unworthy of release at the time, and so that material moldered on a shelf while the spare arrangements of "Non Equidem Invideo" skipped to the head of the line, making it the first CD to bear the "vonHummer" name for Therisno Records.
Like "That Which Does Not Smash," these songs were recorded in the one-car garage of the Brookdale Glen Apartments complex on NW Barnes Road, just over the West Hills of Portland. I'd set up a big yellow volkswagen camper tent from the 70s in the middle of the garage, plugging into the door opener/light for the power to feed my makeshift studio. I kept a Vornado space heater running in there, Fall to Spring non-stop, so I imagine the apartment manager must have been scratching her head as to why the electric bills were so much higher each month. I'll assume my getting away with it was the repayment of karma somehow.
Obsessed with being able to play each song live and have it sound similar to the CD, I recorded each song live, including the vocals, using my trusty Tascam 420 cassette 4-track. Using only the black acoustic ovation bass, I split the signal to tracks 1 and 2 with one being a straight bass sound, and the other with effects. The third track was a mic for the stings and vocals. The vocals came out a bit too low, overall, so I doubled them on an extra track before the final mix.
With the exception of "New English Blues" and "Before the Traffic Backs Up," "Non Equidem Invideo" was full of brand new songs, which was a departure from my normal MO of squirreling away "the hits" for years, doing and re-doing them until I was sick to death of playing them.
This might have been around the time I read Moses Avalon's "Confessions of a Record Producer," too, which had a great influence on my thinking about a career in music. The book details the slimy ins and outs of the record industry and poisoned in me even a hazy notion of being "professional" to any extent. Which was convenient, too, as a stance of artistic defiance to cover any perceived talent deficiencies.
Thus, the title, which is part of a famous Virgil quote—"Non equidem invideo miror magus"—meaning, "Hell, no, I don't envy them, more like astonished by their idiocy!" was my newfound response to the self-directed charge of being a wannabe. Along those lines, the album art was made to look very do-it-yourself: handwritten sharpie on a blank CD and jewelcase, a cut-out vonHummer taped on. I actually did put such a CD together, then gave it to an insider at Nike to have it shot by their high-rez product camera, on the sly, so the printed piece would look as real as possible.
Naturally after all that effort, I never released the CD for sale. Still, it was a primitive time. No iTunes. No CDBaby. No Bandcamp. I did mean to sell copies at live shows, but then—as usual-I never played any. Instead, I got caught up in TV.
Only four of the songs from "Non Equidem Invideo" made it to the TV show, as is. "Madame Impossible," "Different Blues," "High on My Own Agenda," and "Private Jokes" all became very familiar videos on the show, if not highly downloaded. "High on My Own Agenda" was at least in the top 30 downloaded mp3's from vonHummer.com
Overall, looking back, "Non Equidem Invideo" was an important milestone to me as an artist. It was the first album I'd ever done that was unshackled from the expectation of making something "big" out of it, or trying to create an illusion that I was better than I actually was. It's a highly unvarnished work. Only "Indiscreet Where You Live" or "October Surprise" have bested this album's spareness of sound. It was the start of my appreciating my own sound.