1. Suggestive of danger or violence.
1. a style of popular music that derives in part from blues and folk music and is marked by a heavily accented beat and a simple, repetitive phrase structure.
The Wrong Place (the wrong place)
1. Where he licks lime off the woman of his dreams and understands that nightmares in the sunshine taste like a beer commercial (see Taxi Driver on the beach )
Where he falls in love with a beautiful woman while discussing Don Rickles. Weeks later she says his name to stop him from talking.
- Marlon Brando.
- She didn’t know who Marlon Brando is?
- No. How do you explain Marlon Brando? It’s like, I don’t know, explaining Moses. Parted the red sea, freed his people from bondage, that kind of thing.
- She didn’t know Marlon Brando? And she’s how old?
- 26. Besides that, I made her watch her George Carlin. One of the old HBO shows. Carlin at Carnegie Hall.
- And she hated it. Thought he was too vulgar.
- She said vulgar?
- Yeah. This girl who has done things I don’t even like to read about says Carlin is too vulgar. Vulgar and angry. She thought he could use some counseling.
- So Miss 12 Step thinks Carlin could use some counseling. What did you say?
- I said he was dead. She didn’t like that either. Truth is if we could drink, maybe we’d get along but being sober with her, its, well I can see why she drank so much.
- You didn’t say that to her did you?
- No. Then I told her the one about the gorilla behind the bar.
- The one where the guy is tending bar and the gorilla …
- Yeah. And the guy says after you hit me with the bat …
- I love that one.
- Me too. She thought it exploited the gorilla. I said it exploited the comedian.
- She has a master’s degree in English right?
- She’s talking about getting her phd. I said I guess when you were cutting class you were really cutting class.
- It’s over. It wasn’t healthy for either of us.
- I though you said she was special.
- She is special. But she can’t take a fucking joke.
Where he destroys the village in order to save it only to find there’s nowhere left to eat.
When I was young boy no older than Tuesday
I believed in pure joy I believed in fair play.
Everything has changed now. Everything is different.
What used to pass for change then lays scattered on the pavement.
It wasn’t me paved paradise but I have bought and sold it twice.
I never took no ones advice that I couldn’t steal.
The music never really died but many a dark night it tried
its hand at committing suicide but now it longs to heal.
I remember orchards. I remember green fields.
Thinking about that’s torture the memory of dark deals.
Everything’s gone condo. Everything’s gone Wal-Mart.
A gremlin tagged with bondo is what passes now for high art.
There’s key chains for sobriety but nothing for society
when it decides to cop a plea for its modern crimes.
It’s the money it’s the shame. It’s the players it’s the game.
Me I tend to lay the blame on gravity and time.
I’ll get back to you by sunrise no later than Thursday.
When I don’t believe my own lies I wonder what my kids say.
Would they send a shiver to a man who can’t be sutured
who sold them down the river to buy them a better future.
I’ve never been to paradise that couldn’t live on beans and rice
peppered with a little spice and a glass of wine.
The music never really died but many a dumb day it lied
about its attempt to slow the tide of gravity and time.
Where he finally admits he likes the wounded birds best
“So Mr. Smith was his real name?”
“Yeah. He wanted me to find his daughter.”
“I found her.”
“Let me guess. Beautiful. Stained. Hopefully over 18.”
“I don’t see why you … Ok. She’s all those things, but so what? She’s cool. I mean she’s …”
“Don’t say it. What she into? Cutting? Abortion? Miscarriages? Coke and smoke?”
“She might have been. She’s older now. You make it sound so cold.”
“It’s just the usual litany with you. If she’s over those and her old man wanted you to find her she must be into worse.”
“She was into worse. Now she’s not. Now she’s –“
“Well. Yeah. What?”
“The sane ones leave you and the crazy ones, hell, they leave you too. You always did like a project.”
“She’s a woman, not a project.”
“From your lips. You only seem to like the damaged ones. A real fixer upper. What’s this “woman’s” story? Bad childhood. Daddy issues?”
“All that. But that’s just history isn’t it? There’s more to a life then a list of misdeeds and pain. You always see the worst in people. She’s got a masters in English.”
“That would do it. Ok. I’ll bite. What makes this gal so special?”
“I don’t know. Everything I guess. Did I tell you she cooks? You got to try her chicken noodle.”
Where he sees himself in his hot and sour soup and then he sees her. Should he chase her or finish his tea?
The receptionist is blasting a live version of Rocket Man. ‘Mars ain’t no place to raise your kids. In fact it’s cold as hell’.
Man I could go for some miso soup. Umami. There’s no word in the English language to describe it. Kind of like her. I ran into her and her new boyfriend in the square and it was raining like a damn movie. I’m surprised it wasn’t black and white outside.
Maybe I should look into him. See if he’s kosher. Nah – I got a job right here.
What does this dude want from me? Is it his wife? His kids? Blackmail? A rough up job? Life is growing more Hollywood everyday. I should get myself a fedora, it’s expected.
What went wrong? I keep hearing fireworks, seeing kisses, and the ground before it hits my head. It’s just Chinatown Jake.
Great. A country version of ‘Danny’s Song’. My phone died and the only magazines are old Sport’s Illustrated. Check it out. Tiger was still married. What kind of office is this?
“Mr. Smith will see you now .” Mr. Smith?
It better be Jimmy Stewart or at least Brad Pitt. Another minute and I’m gonna hear ‘You’re So Vain’ probably sung by Alan Jackson, I swear to god.
What is she doing now? It’s almost Chinese New Year. It’s Year of the Dragon. Her new man kind of looks like Mickey Rourke. More ‘The Pope of Greenwich Village’ then ‘The Wrestler’. Good for her.
Games and fortunes and New York nights. Lying to myself, to her, to each other. Too much, man. Too much. It’s for the best right?
No. Probably not .
Mr. Smith’s handshake just about broke my freaking hand. That’s it. I’m definitely getting a hat.
Wherever jealousy, the space program, and a stubborn self worth intersect, you will find him.
A guy loves a girl that he shouldn’t or doesn’t love him back or loves him back but has another boyfriend, or loves him back but can’t take it. You choose.
Rockets launch. Guns are loaded and cocked. Floodlights drench the sky in white. Our man hums to himself kicking pebbles on the ground. He hears Nico singing -
“When you think the night has seen your mind and that you are twisted and unkind. I’ll be here to show you you are blind. Please put down your hands cause I see you.”
He says to the woman in his head -
“Heard you say the dark’s where we belong. I am here to tell you that you’re wrong. I am here to tell you that you’re wrong about me.”
Our man walks home. The power has gone out. He enters the house blind and searching. He finds what he was looking for and swears. He still smells her perfume. Hearing a sound in the darkness he clicks the thing on. Startled, he turns, shining the light in her face.
Guitars harmonize. Moons form, crumble, and form again. “Is that a flashlight in your pocket?” she asks him. Our man opens his mouth to answer as she continues. “Or are you just …” , well you know what she says.
It’s Friday night in the suburbs. You are a 17-year old boy hanging in your friend Jeffery’s basement. The room is packed. It’s big hair and Marlboro Lights, Domino’s boxes, 2 liters of Orange Slice, cheap beer, makeshift pipes and bongs. Katherine is at the pool table in a low cut tie-dye. She lines up her shot. The light bounces off her cleavage. She’s solids. Your stripes. You want her like only a 17-year boy can.
The question is does Katherine understand the power she is growing into or is it simply learned behavior? Is this how the older girls always acted and she’s gonna fake it till she makes it? It’s academic to you. She smells of lip-gloss, cigarette smoke, bubble-gum, and Prell. That intoxicating brew. To this day it brings you back to those nights and that basement. It almost makes you hungry for Domino’s. Almost.
Cat Steven’s influence looms large over this song. Think ‘The Wind,’ or anything off of ‘Tea For the Tillerman’. Thematically the idea of “journey” that the now named Yusaf Islam was so good at writing and made you feel like you were right there with him on the road to find out.
The Mellotron software I used on this song has a patch called ‘Strawberry Fields’ flutes apparently sampled from the original Mellotron. I played sounds using a tiny old Oxygen 8 that once could only be made by creaking tape machines housed in a 2-ton keyboard. Strange days indeed.
The Internet has fractured the tastes of billions and caused an emotional diaspora where like minds gather in disparate parts of the globe and form tribes based around their fondness of arguing about tube technology or how to watch The Wizard of Oz while listening to Dark Side of the Moon. It makes one long for the days when pool tables and cleavage were the results of innocence instead of the inevitable destination of youthful promise gone unfulfilled.
I heard Katherine is married now with children of her own. For their sake and mine I hope she teaches them to shoot pool. Nine-ball would be nice. It’s the better game.
Where he discovers that all food is political.
Imagine a yet unknown Bukowski drinking hard and slow on a Tuesday night in winter. JFK Jr. and his latest paramour walk in and it’s like somebody turned on the lights. The world smells better. This couple orders some food to go, drinks some beer, laughs, talks loud, and leaves. The lights dim again. Bukowksi starts a poem in his head, mouths off to Stallone’s brother and wakes up later with a black eye and an idea.
The title comes from the soap opera Kramer mentions in a Seinfeld episode.
The second verse about Henry Ford and JP Morgan came from a different song that I never finished. In the book Ragtime, there is an entire section on how JP Morgan and Henry Ford formed their own secret society based on the belief they were modern day pharaohs.
This song was also written during the time of market meltdown and bank bailout and based on feelings I had about that while reading the Michael Lewis book, The Big Short.
Will Dickson played a beautifully boom snap beat during the verse and chorus and Kurt’s tambourine really pushes the chorus with its 16th notes against the 8th notes of the toms. I used a sampled Mellotron patch that doubles the oohs in the second and third choruses. Ilene also sings some oohs. Listening back they are as much Supergrass influenced as Brian Wilson.
I went for bread and circuses anger presented as a Beach Boys-Phil Spector influenced production like a troll lurking beneath a fancy bridge. Think Twin Peak meets Chomsky with a sense of humor. To all those pissed off folks trying hard to stay in a good mood, this one’s for you.
Where he hears ‘God Save the Queen’ in an elevator and wonders who won?
I always wanted to write something that had me singing parts of words in the rock tradition of My Generation. It’s fun playing with what could sound like a novelty song but has something underneath if the listener cares to venture there.
When reading a biography of Neil Young’s early career I got the impression that he sacrificed many friendships for the sake of his success. By way of apology he’d sing about them or mention them in the liner notes. That’s living the Rock Stars way.
I wrote this song in the ocean while vacationing with my wife and her family in South Carolina. The water was like 80 degrees and I’d float around seeing the words in my head. I tend to write a lot away from the guitar. I’ve finished many a song while doing the dishes, or in the shower, laying in bed, or driving to work. Many mornings I ran to my desk looking like I couldn’t wait to get started earning my day’s pay when really I was trying type what I came up with in the car before it returned back into the ether.
Played this a couple times with the Longwalls. The infamous but honest with a check Mickey Bliss woke up during it and started working the lights which I took as the highest form of flattery. Another time at an air force base a government employee of some sort refused to believe the song wasn’t a cover. Some advice for the aspiring musician: when driving onto an airforce base for a gig, make sure your driver’s license hasn’t expired or at least travel with other folks who have licenses themselves.
Before recording the drums, I had given Will most of the songs to practice. Yet I threw Rock Stars at him last minute. He did a great job and came up with the perfect beat. Kurt and Mike Quinn sang with me on the choruses. Picture the Separate Ways video by Journey, only we had less hair, we were inside, we were sitting down, and unfortunately not wearing denim jackets. Actually, for your sake, never picture the Separate Ways video by Journey.
This was the first song we worked on after the drums were down and it became the working base of the record as well as a measuring stick.
Where he learns that by surrendering to the wave he will not drown.
Our boy is dating a beautiful woman of Puerto Rican descent. She’s his first serious girlfriend in a while. She’s smart. She’s funny. She’s hot. She digs messing with him. He likes her. He likes her a lot. This scares him. To make matters worse he can’t roll his r’s no matter how hard he tries. She doesn’t care about his r’s. She wants him to relax. She wants him to concentrate on her. She wants him to solve the problems he can.
This song started out just the chorus on acoustic guitar with different words. Listening back I thought it could be heavier. It could be poppier. The story was built around that. It just showed up with the verses. I hear it as Suffragete City Bowie meets Ace Frehley’s Back in the New York Groove with some harmonized guitars ala’ Boston. Will Dickson plays them groovy drums. Kurt von Stetten keeps it moving on tambo. I sing the vocals parts, play guitar and bass. Mike Quinn pieces it all together.
Whip out them roller skates, force yourself into them Jordache Jeans, and give it a listen. If you like it go to Bandcamp and download the whole thing. Name your price, this week only. Thanks for lending your ears.