"This disk marked a return to music after a long absence from it. I was living in Boston at the time I wrote many of these songs working a series of jobs, living life, just kind of doing my thing. 1999 marked the end of a rather personally tumultuous year and from there songs started coming to me again. Ideas began coming to me at a rapid rate and I got a hold of a Roland VS-880 digital 8-track recorder and set about putting an album together. After a lot of vicious trial and error, I got together what I thought was a pretty solid set of songs.
"All in all it's pretty lo-fi but the songs are there, which is all I care about anyway. I donât think my songs have ever required a big Mutt Lange-style production. I felt by taking this approach I was making a statement, letting people know that my limitations weren't going to stop me from making music.
"I called the project The Criswell Seven, combining the sci-fi names of The Amazing Criswell (from Ed Wood's movies) and Gary Seven from STAR TREK. At this point, I was afraid of calling myself "Chris Neri" and being a solo guy, so I hid behind a band name. Lots of folks have done this and I thought I would too. I called it The Bootcamp Sessions because I thought of doing this record as a way of remaking myself as a musician and songwriter. It was about breaking down what I was before and building something bigger and stronger. For a first album itâs flawed in places but the strength of the songs, I think, carry it."