As Antietam continued to write and settle on the means to make another record, having never broken up (as was commonly thought), real life intervened in the form of a boot camp in loss and mourning. Several close friends and family members passed away and, like it or not, coping with that became one focus for the tunes now becoming concrete.
Victory Park is named after the area of Louisville's West End where Tara's father (lost in 2000) and mother met, courted and began a family. The tile work that TK's father had done for a neighbor's patio in the mid-sixties was discovered still intact, remarkably, and provided much of the album's artwork.
The album was recorded on the Jersey Shore in a borrowed beach house. Building on the DIY vibe of Dark Edson Tiger, Antietam enlisted Tara Jane O'Neil, fellow Louisvillian, as producer and midwife and spent a glorious time in the fall of 2002 getting it tracked. Timeouts were spent consulting Orion, just emerging in the winter sky, at the ocean's edge. Wines of quality and beach house activiities like ping-pong and darts provided entertainment when we weren't tracking. A short while later, we reconvened at TK and TH's Chessie Studios to track two more songs and mix.
We cold-called Patrick Monaghan at Carrot Top on the basis on having recorded the Naysayer for their first CT release (with TJO) a couple of years prior to that. He and Julia Adams signed us to the CT label and a new Antietam era began.
And FINALLY, with product in hand for the first time since 1995, we toured the US, first by ourselves for a few weeks East to South to West to North to East, then for three weeks with Yo La Tengo West to South to East, including an astounding three-night stand at the Fillmore in San Francisco. As tweeners of the Baby Boom (we were too young for Kent State, so Punk Rock=Our Revolution) TH and TK were particularly struck by the awesomeness of playing there, and TK, giving in to uncharacteristic stage fright, focused on the iconic shot of Janis on the back wall like a magnetic beacon and tried to keep her cool. The tour was managed by the legendary Bill Sullivan and to this day, when confronted with an onstage dilemma, TK remembers his wise advice during a Memphis meltdown on her part: "As your tour manager, I advise you to drink heavily..."