Last week, sad news arrived that Psychic Ills frontman Tres Warren had passed away at 41. Warren had been a prolific artist in his life, and as it turns out this was no different at the time of his death. Warren had been working on new songs, and was getting ready to enter the studio with his longtime collaborator Elizabeth Hart. A sixth Psychic Ills full-length was intended for release this fall.
Unfortunately, Warren never got to record that album. But he and Hart did work on a couple of covers, two versions of the same song with a complicated backstory. The covers are of Beach Boys’ “Never Learn Not To Love,” which itself was a Charles Manson composition that would later reappear under his own name as “Cease To Exist.” There’s a whole tangled saga to the Beach Boys and Manson, and to this song.
But something drew Warren to them — despite the idea of covering Manson being a controversial decision, to say the least. “The soulfulness is what has always spoken to me in those songs,” Warren said of the covers. “I gravitate towards that (soul) in music, and both of these songs have it in spades. I almost shed a tear every time I hear Dennis Wilson sing.” He added: “We wanted to honor the originals, but we didn’t want to cover them note for note. We wanted to bring them to where we are.”
Both renditions certainly fit into Psychic Ills’ wheelhouse, but each does something different as well. “Never Learn Not To Love” is a gently frazzled psych-rocker, a half-remembered daydream. “Cease To Exist,” while not without its own atmospheric embellishments, feels a bit more raw, and apparently came straight from an early take. Check them out below.
The singles are out today as a 7″ on Sacred Bones Records.