HARD 26 April 2019
Rather unfortunately whenever we played this song live in Doom Cookie it was preceded with an erection quip. "Quip" makes it sound urbane.
This is a Doom Cookie song. This whole fucking opera is about Doom Cookie. It's the central conceit of the concept. The protagonist is a "character" like the protagonist in Jack Kearuac's ON THE ROAD is a "character" or how Stone Cold Steve Austin is a "character." When I was younger and I read novels it appeared to me that a young writer's first novel was essentially a diary with narrative overtones grafted onto it with Borg-like efficiency - clumsy and obtrusive. So 1993 could be viewed as a debut novel. Maybe it's the passion project that an artists gets to make after a great success. HAH! Everything's a passion project to folk who fucking work.
Doom Cookie, though. The way that 1993 works is we take a year in the life of a young man and follow him around. It was inspired by Richard Linklater's SLACKERS in terms of mood and feel. The function of this song is back story. It was written figuratively,but it works just as well literally. I like the idea of a young man floating around the rock and roll world nationally, drifting from place to place- or figuratively drifting from style to style as encapsulated by city. Here's the point I've been making my entire life. The differences in the types of music in the USA are fucking minuscule. MINISCULE I SAY! I'm not talking between grunge and metal, I'm talking between trance and bluegrass. Can I get an amen? I've always been puzzled by how regular folk approach music. Surely it's the only art form where people routinely hate, proudly, any output that doesn't correspond with a 3 year period when that person was coming of age. The arbitrariness of this prejudice is breathing insanity. Of course all prejudice is if you step back and observe it.
Deconstructing societal mores led to this long and rambling narrative I've been endeavoring to release lo this past half decade. It takes Doctor Who as it's main influence. Doctor Who can tell any story it wants, in any pop culture genre, thanks to the TARDIS. That function here is appropriated by the "song." The "song" is what unites the disparate story lines and characaters and genres of this narrative. The "song" makes this entire enterprise magical. As far as I can tell this has never been attempted. Maybe that's why it's so hard to get people to understand it. These essays are helping. They're functioning as a mental Tetris for me - much like psychedelic experiences fom my younger days. It's as if I'm stepping out of day to day existence and arranging these blocks of information in the story that they want me to tell. The blocks are the songs DUH!
This is why the trail run is so important. It helps alter consciousness so as to heal wounds dealt by the world of subsistence. It's why the human race found drugs for fuck's sake. It's funny how the absolute worst drugs are always the legal ones and how the drugs that inspire art and questioning are always demonized. Funny, right? If you keep along the deconstructionist path eventually everything loses all meaning it once had. That's the exhilarating part of it. Which reminds me of a thought I had out on the trails yesterday. Friedrich Nietzsche may have been a profoundly different man if he listed weights and ran in the woods. It may have given him the confidence to say the shit he only wrote about. You know what that would have made him? The Stone Cold Steve Austin of his time.
So here's to yuh!
Wake up Monday morning and I look around
I felt bad this morning and my hair fell to the ground
She came by on Wednesday with a wedding ring
I ducked out on Thursday, baby, and hocked my wedding ring
So I went out to Seattle to try to find a band
But nobody did want me they wouldn't let me lend a hand
So I cruised on down to LA and got a new tattoo
But nobody knew Chuck Berry songs or "Blue Suede Shoes"
So I went on down to Athens but I played too hard
Flew to the Twin Cities but they wouldn't let me in the yard
So I hitch hiked back to Baltimore and I shot myself
Now I'm paralyzed but I have found myself
Dave - guitars and vocals
Paul - bass, engineering, mixing
Wil - engineering, drums
Ian - mastering
WHEN CHRISTMAS COMES AGAIN 15 APRIL 2019WHEN CHRISTMAS COMES AGAIN 15 APRIL 2019
When I was a kid I voraciously tore through biographies of the Beatles instead of text books. Even then I had little faith in being educated by people whom I thought were stupid. That's a Bootstrap Theory type of thing caused by reading too many damn John Lennon interviews. Humility would hit hard later.
One thing both Lennon and Paul McCartney would talk about was that, being songwriters, they wanted to write songs for occasions that had a chance to become standards. That's why they wrote their Christmas songs, "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)" for John and "Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time" for Paul. Both of them songs cut to the essence of them fellas for real. You wonder what each might have added to the other's but that's a recipe for a lifetime of WTF.
In College Park I was writing a rock opera with my buddy Joel Baily. We were in a band called Love and Hate. We changed our name to Forgotten Sons when that crap hair band Love/Hate started getting played on MTV. Joel and I wrote together all the time. We made a point of it. We wanted to be rock stars. As far as we were concerned we already WERE rock stars so we wrote us a song for the occasion of the winter solstice.
Dig - this is pretty much the song we wrote. It stuck with me all these years. If a song sticks with me for decades I eventually record it, or try to anyway. This was around the time of "Do They Know It's Christmas" - all that pre-internet troglodytal ignorance of the cultures that aren't derived from the Anglo-Saxons. I honestly didn't know that the entire world wasn't celebrating Santa and Jesus on December 25th. Holy fucking shit how the fuck did we exist? I think a big deal was when the Cold War ended and then China started reengaging with the world. Collectively the human race began remembering that there were other parts of the globe besides where one is born, lives, and dies. Around the time of the 9/11 terror attacks (which happens to be my fucking birthday) I added the stuff about"embrace all of the faiths that would love to kill me." You know, channelling my inner peacenik. You can add American Christians to that list as well. In general that's a spiteful and mean segment of my beloved Americans. That sentence right there hints at my own unrealized bigotry. It's a constant battle.
Chances are you've already heard this song. I release it every year in December on whatever social media site is available. I'm very proud of it.
Recording wise we did the sleigh bells and the tuned water glasses but my favorite part is at the end when the acoustic guitar doubles the mandolin riff. These things happen during recording. The way I have always operated, or tried to, is that you roll the tape and see what happens during overdubs. That's the funnest part - the spontaneity.
I was anxious to hear how Paul melded together the everything plus the kitchen sink approach I enjoy during recording and fuck if he didn't impress the living shit out of me with this mix. That's something I learned from Brian - trust the guy mixing. HE'S the one spending all the time sorting through vague ideas and sculpting a whole.
So I hope you like this one. The arbitrariness of the release is maybe my favorite thing about this song at present.
Quickly - I purposely avoided any talk of the origins of what for all intents and purposes is an ancient celebration based on the movements of the stars. "Ancient" means, judging by the latest discoveries in anthropology, 100,000-200,000 years old. That deficiency of knowledge outside of one's own lineage is the sticking point that unscrupulous leaders use to aquire and sustain power. It's a useful tool. I have grown profoundly dissappointed in the reaction of the free peoples of the Earth to the vast networks of interwebs. I had mostly assumed that people were generally thoughtful and reasonable where as, if this past decade is taken as a sample of the reaction of civilization to new technologies that are inherently complicated to understand and yet superlatively easy to use, most people are easily swayed and governed by predjudice and place. I'm still astounded that the great experiment of the fouding fathers has survived this long because, clearly, as I sit here on 16 April 2019, the idea is better than the species to which it was gifted in hopes of a better world.
Have a great Christmas this spring!
Christmas means togetherness and love and joy
Happiness and presents for the girls and boys
Old folk come together and then reminisce
Stand beneath the mistletoe and get a kiss
Love your friends and kin
When Christmas comes again
Shout out to the homeless in America
The starving out in Asia and in Africa
Embrace all of the faiths that would love to kill me
The majority of folk through time just weren't free
Go remember them
When Christmas comes again
Make sure that you bring your love at Christmas time
People come and go but love is all the time
People they pass on but their love still exists
So let that love inside your hearts and reminisce
Love brings love, my friend
When Christmas comes again
Dave - guitars, vocals, mandolin, glasses
Paul - bass, engineering, mixing
Wil - drums
TIME FOR A CHANGE 1 APRIL 2019
Everything blends together eventually. You can call it entropy, erosion, degredation, there's a millions words through out time trying to explain decay. Maybe that's where we went wrong. Do we need to explain it? Can we just accept it? My fallback position when I get intellectualy lazy is "this is beyond human language." That's an obvious cop out.
I bring this up because I have two distinct memories of where this song was written - WAIT - they are one in the same! My timeline is off. Phew! I'm only still as crazy as when I woke up this morning.
The year was 1988. I had taken a year off from school to ingest large amounts of psychedelic drugs and then returned. I went to and lived at the University Of Maryland College Park, Cumberland Hall - a co-ed building. The previous year, 1987, was a great year for rock and roll. I spent the summer living and working (ish) in Ocean City, MD. That's also the last time I was arrested. Music-wise, for the under(ish) ground, the Mats had released PLEASE TO MEET ME. For mainstream bros and hos GnR's APPETITE FOR DESTRCUCTION was making everyone want to try heroin. For the collegiate types U2 had THE JOSHUA TREE and REM had DOCUMENT. The good music bled into '88 and provided a youthful guitar heavy soundtrack to my life. Public Enemy and NWA were about to pop.
I played in a band in Bawmer - Kona, the next in a long line of people who refused to play my fucking songs. So I would go to school during the week and come home on the weekends to play fucking cover songs to drunks. It was a way to keep my chops sharp. I can't stress this enough. It was a constant struggle to get anyone to play my songs. They referred to them as "originals" like they were some odd alien lifeform beyond the mere talents of idiot Marylanders. My reasoning was always "somebody had to write these fucking songs we're covering - they didn't just appear!" But the poeple around me who played gyuitars were always "yeah but they're songwriters. We're just people from Baltimore." Baltimore I love you but sometimes you really suck. So not having the resources to actually play all these fucking songs I was writing I categorized them in my own little library code - the Davey Decimal System.
That's a lot of backstory. I wrote "Time For a Change" when my best friend Made Hood was moving to Bali to study ethnomusicology. I was also moving on from my freshman year at college. It was a reset moment. Made was NOT someone who discouraged my songwriting. We actually wrote together. Two of our compositions eventually made it - part of them anyway - to THE BIG OPERA. He wrote the "slide on by" chorus in "The Orphan" and we came up with the riff to "How Do You Like That" after smoking around an ounce of weed.
This song, obviously, works well as an opener. So whenever I needed a first song in an opera I used this'n. It's not plot specific so you can use it anywhere - any setting, any time period. The only detail is "kazoo." It just so happenned that this song found a home in 1993. It was roughly written around this time, me being a young man who didn't know anything yet but was confident enough to try to make poeple learm his songs.
Musically this was recorded at The Shed in rural Bawmer County with Paul Kelley and Wil Berry, aka "Porky." Pork was the first guy EVER who was into playing my songs as the reason for a band. I'm forever grateful. Dig - by this time I was in my mid twenties. In my mind I had lost around a decade trying to convince people that we were worthy to write. It got easier for people coming up after me. There was no stigma to creativity for them. So I wrote this during Kona and a little interim band called Pritty Hary played it and then it sat in the 1993 folder for 20 years. This arrangement is pretty much the same as when it was written and demoed on my little TASCAM 4 track.
If you remember me you see
Think of the blood pumping through
If I remember you playing your kazoo
Please remember me
If I were you and you were me
Then just what would you see
When feeling kind of rough
Looking pretty gruff
It's time for a change
Look around that person
Find out what is certain
Choose the other curtain
Yeah but it might bring the worst in
Right now I feel like shit and that's it
Right now nobody's here
And then I think of you wondering what you'd do
If you see me too clear
It's tiume for a change
Dave - guitars and vocals
Paul - engineering, mixing, bass
Pork - drums
Ian - mastering
WINTERTIME ACOUSTIC 21 March 2019
During a nice hot Maryland summer a couple of years back I was helping my buddy Paul cut down a bunch of dead pine trees on the property his family has owned since somewhere back in the sepia toned days before people realized other people existed. Big suckers they were, full of sap and sharp edges that would slice up your shins and calves if you were foolish enough to wear shorts. I was doing the grunt work for Paul and his mom's husband. They cut 'em down and chopped 'em up and I moved the big shit into a dump truck and the small shit into a succession of burn piles. My dad had recently died and Paul asked how I was doing.
"I'm more relieved than anything else." I said.
"You aren't depressed or anything? I was when my dad died. I didn't know it until later and then it hit me."
I shrugged. I WAS relieved. I was the executor for his estate. I had carted him around to all of his doctors appointments for his COPD which he had although he never smoked. He was a doctor. He had a formality to him that, as I got older, I found endearing. Due to some arrangement with him and my mom he never paid any child support. So although we lived in a big ol' victorian in Old Catonsville times were tight. He always bought me shit, though, and having divorced parents both buying Christmas presents was, hmm, something that happened.
So cut to a year later and my wife and I have dedicated my dad's old Jeep Grand Cherokee to Baltimore Animal Rehabilitation Center and it hit me. That was the last physical bit of my Dad's shit that was still hanging around. So I sent ol' Paul a text message along the lines of "dude you were dead on it just hit me today my fucking dad is dead."
Paul's a musician, a bass player, and he's been a dedicated listener to all the wacky shit that Brian and I put out on the Society Fringe Podcast Podcast. Somewhere between Circle 9 and SFP, Circle 9's drummer Wilmer Earl Berry Jr (Pork) had joined Paul's band, Pearly Goats, one of my favorite fucking bands. I had all my operas lined up to record with Brian. He said he needed a break (after only 13 albums in 2 years? Crazy, right?) so I figured I'd record 1993 during the break with Paul and Pork. This being life, things happen and now I'm working on the Brian-Andy SFP concurrently with the Paul-Pork SFP. It's still one long narrative that takes place over the course of centuries and eventually millenia. The 1993 stuff is rooted in young adult ennui devoid of romantic roadtrips and gunfights in the vast American desert and the Far East. It's a companion piece to Travelogue - happening at the same time, but rooted in realism. The main relationships are the fella, his dad, and his girlfriend. Mainly it's about him and his dad getting on each others' nerves. I didn't realize it until I returned to it when it became clear that it could actually be done. By "done" I mean recorded andreleased.
So, dig, each act is a season in the year of Bawmerhun 1993. "Acoustic Wintertime" starts it off because musically it foreshadows a song in WINTER and we had changed the arrangement into what eventually became "Stoner Wintertime." It was important that the jarring strum patterns were heard because they get revisited in SPRING in a song actually about jarring strum patterns. I like how it starts with "ready?" and we're off. Paul's on his standup. This is a demo for Pork. I initially wanted to put the version from the original demo I recorded while Circle 9 was working on THE WAR BETWEEN THE STATES but this version came up and inserted itself into the equation. In these long narratives I take these kinds of things as signs that this is how the story wants to be told. It's fun to see patterns that you didn't know existed. It's like submerging your ego in pursuit of something "other."
So here you go. Paul and Pork ain't as into talking about their art as Bri and Andy so I'm going to do essays for the 1993 stuff. It will save a dickton of money, relatively, because this'll just be songs without the hour long spitball session Briy and I tag onto everything. I told him we still had to do some because it's become a clearinghouse for mental shit we go through. Lucky you for getting to hear it.