The most desolate moment on Lonesome Heroes comes courtesy of David Kauffman. Born in New Jersey, he moved to Bloomington, Indiana, in 1973 to study music education and trombone at IU. By graduation, his trajectory had altered completely; the trombone sat idle, replaced by guitar and a penchant for moody ballads. Finding his home coast’s climate and its passion for his songs a bit chilly, Kauffman moved to Los Angeles. Afternoons and evenings found him waiting tables, leaving his days open for songwriting and shopping his demo to labels and clubs. Jobs came and went, days drifted by, and songs piled up. More than once, the California sun was all he had for breakfast.
“Kiss Another Day Goodbye” was written in 1980 or 1981 at an extremely low point for Kauffman. Around that time, he met Eric Caboor, a fellow traveler then living the same half-life, struggling to juggle employment and creative output. Like Kauffman, he had a towering stack of songs and no luck whatsoever getting any attention for them. They began performing together, one backing the other and vice versa—less a collaboration, really, than two friends sick of slugging it out alone. They raised the money to build a rudimentary studio in Caboor’s basement, and each selected songs for a concept album: Songs from Suicide Bridge, its title a reference to Pasadena’s Colorado Street Bridge and its morbid reputation. Songs from their respective catalogs, selected for the LP, evoked those mortal urges enacted on the bridge. On “Kiss Another Day Goodbye,” Caboor’s steel flourishes play like subtle wind at Kauffman’s back, as if urging him to jump.