“I was on the Extremist tour with [drummer] Greg and [bassist] Matt Bissonette and [keyboardist] Phil Ashley. It was my first time going out with a four-piece band. We could do songs that we couldn't do before when we were only a trio. The songs were a little bit more like the record, and they started to sound bigger, so Cliff Cultreri said, ‘Let's do a live record.’
“We recorded in New York, Philadelphia and Boston, three nights in a row. John Cuniberti did the recording for us. We wound up with stuff that we thought was pretty good, but when I went back home I started thinking, ‘You know, this isn't enough for me.’ To just hear the live stuff wasn’t enough. I got this crazy idea that I would create a record that would go really far back. I started with my very first EP that was done with [engineer] Jeff Holt – this was the record that I put out on my own label, Rubina Records, before Not Of This Earth.
“I thought, ‘I'll pick the best of what we did on The Extremist tour, and then I'll pick some really great moments from the Surfing and Flying tours.’ We had some old recordings from the King Biscuit Flower Hour that didn't make the Dreaming #11 EP. Then I thought, ‘What else can I put in there?’ I started to look at our outtakes. At the time, it was the beginning of the box set craze.
“So I’m sitting there thinking, ‘You know, I’ve got much more interesting stuff than that.’ I had the song Baroque; I had Crazy, which is just this crazy little thing; a vocal song; Thinking Of You; even the Woodstock Jam, which I thought, ‘If I can get this released, I know people will probably want to crucify me for it. There will be 10 people out there that'll like it.’
“I started to get very excited about it, so I went to Cliff and said, ‘I’ve this crazy idea of a double album box set kind of thing.’ I told him about everything that was on there, how I researched all the clips and everything. So the idea of me recording just a couple more songs came up. I remember going up to Lake Tahoe, just vibing on the whole idea of Time Machine – I had the title before I had the song. I wrote the two pieces, actually, and then I reprised an old song from my past, from when I was a teenager, a Billie Holiday piece called All Alone.
“Then I said, ‘OK, let's do something different.’ I thought it would be good to get together with [bassist] Stu [Hamm] and [drummer] Jonathan [Mover] and see if we could record live in the studio, just to do something different and down to earth, something we had never done together.
“The whole album wound up being an explosion of creativity going in all different directions. It was like a treasure trove. I wasn't trying to have a hit single at all. It was all extrapolation and expression.”