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No New Directions

By Jake Vigliotti
10/22/08

You could argue that Ants Marching is the most popular DMB song. It certainly gets the loudest response consistently from crowds; we’ve all seen the passed out concert goer dragged to their respective feet by friends so they wouldn’t ‘miss’ Ants Marching. I’m sure you’re all familiar with the story behind the song. But lets go through it once again, for old times sake.

Dave wrote the song titled No New Directions. He debuted it on 10.22.91 late in the show. Dave played the song, as the story goes, and then it didn’t appear until 3 months later, when Dave laid it down on a demo in the form we know now. We’ve all heard that someone in the band (Carter?) told Dave to rewrite it, so rewrite it he did.

The first live Ants that we know of was 2.13.92, when it opened the show. We even have a video to show us the crowd getting into the song, despite the fact that it clearly was new at the time (or the kids at Bridgewater College are starved for entertainment). Those lyrics are basically the same as now, with maybe a word or two changed during a few 1992 shows. Basically, the anthem it is today is unchanged from it’s 1992 form.

So, what happened to the original form of the song?

The info we have on No New Directions is scant at best. I’ve talked to people who’ve seen DMB in 1991, and people who actually played along with DMB in 1991, and no one seems to recall the song. At all. For years, it was just accepted that Ants debuted on October 22, 1991, that it was always included in the J-card listing of the songs on the tape, despite the fact that it’s not on any of the tapes. At all.

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Maybe, just maybe, there is no No New Directions? It’s just one of those urban legends?

Not so fast my friend… You see, there is some proof that there was, at one time, a recording of the song. In the Minarets Digest, p. 2143, a fan asks if anyone has heard the song? Page 2855 lists the lyrics as the following:


Whats yours and whats mine

in these troubled times

no new directions


hey our borders are lined

with the troubled minds

of a thousand generations


oh,my friends we've been walking

hearing words of voices,empty talking

love admired by poets and desired

by hungry,hungry hatred

no new directions


the man he lies,compromise,whats in his eyes

is it tears of conviction

for the good,for the truth

i hear him say,we must,we must

murder millions

no new directions


in our hands

hold the land and the sky

in our hands

its a grand illusion

no new directions

And the response to anyone hearing the song? Nothing. Not a single reply.

So, clearly, there is, or was a recording of the song at one time. There’s no real telling where it was recorded, studio or live. For all we know, it could’ve been from that 10.22.91 show, but somehow got lopped off through the trading years.

Strange that in this time, when we think that we have practically everything DMB has ever recorded, from leaked studio stuff to Sound Checks, to private shows, the most popular song’s original form is still unknown to 99.98% of us?

The best we can hope for is some old foggy (like old like me) will feel nostalgic one day and go through their box of DMB tapes, and stumble upon the song. Then and only then will we ever get a chance to hear what direction No New Directions went. And then and only then can we give it a nice AntsMarching.org welcome; and have people on the boards complain that they should’ve never changed it.

The views and comments expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of antsmarching.org.


   


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