Songs from the late 1990s up to 2001
Night | Ask For Anna | Blohard | Paul Aaron and I | Desire and Then | The Elephant |
Kitty | Fancy | Noodling Sausages | Evening
Been There | Waste | New Men | Smart | A and R | Orch11 | So True | Siren | Almost Finished | Pain
When I first got to Philadelphia in 1992 my brother and I went to South Street to get a cheesesteak. We were new in town and did not know any better. Walking around that night I had a vision of myself living near there and going crazy. I saw myself running down 4th street naked except for the glasses and shoes. A few years later I moved to a crappy but extremely cheap apartment on 4th street where most of these songs were written. I did not go crazy. It was the right atmosphere for a certain amount of mental intensity though it only happened intermitantly. Alas.
Play Only "Night"
Ask For Anna:
I would get home from work, sit on the couch and listen to the messages on the answering machine, return phone calls and make new ones. At the time I thought it was once probably better when we wrote letters. Now I miss the little tape in the answering machine. You could stretch it, collaboration rather than complete digital mastery.
In this song a marketing agent from a time-share place in Atlantic City calls to invite me to some fake give-away if I sit through a time-share sales pitch. I had no money so it was easy to refuse to buy a time-share. I wondered why it was not obvious to them that I had no money because I was dressed in the usual artist slob attire. Then Julie Courtney calls to ask me about setting up a web site. It must have been 1996 and I had a strange new power because I knew how to write web pages.
Play Only "Ask For Anna"
This song was written in 1999 when Tristin and I were running Blohard, the art gallery. (link?) I thought almost everything should have a theme song. This is really just a 20 second clip repeated 3 times.
Play Only "Blohard"
Paul Aaron and I:
We were playing a lot of music then. Paul Swenbeck, Aaron Igler and I were in this song. Not sure where Shannon was that night. We could never play the same thing twice but almost every time we played something great would come out of it. We also we not good at playing live nor were our recording skills very good so I don't have much proof except for this song. Maybe we were drinking. Who knows?
Looking for lost Puddle tapes.
Play Only "Paul Aaron and I"
Desire and Then:
I got my own 4 track recorder. The middle part of this song is one of my favorite parts of anything I played. The two guitars are playing almost the same thing slightly out of sync like two old men in complete agreement, repeating what the other says. It was here that I wished I had more skill and played in a band with other people of skill but it was not to be. If that happened we probably would have gotten into arguments, toured sparcely attended divey bars and slept all together in a van. I would have had longer hair. It would have never worked. As it happened, Paul, Aaron, Shannon, and I had some very nice evenings playing music that was never to be heard again. This is just me on my 4-track. It may be enough to satisfy any historical impulses.
Play Only "Desire and Then"
This is really just a part of something. I even put this part in Orch11.
Play Only "THe Elephant"
In 1997 I got a cat. My sister-in-law, Kathy, said she had found a kitten in the graveyard and wondered if could hold on to it for a few days until she found someone to keep it. Olive and I got along great and I decided to keep her. I wrote this song about her after she jumped off the roof and broke her leg, perhaps running from the neighbors dog. Even after this song she still runs when I pick up a guitar.
Play Only "Kitty"
Fancy is a terrible name. This is the last thing I wrote and is from early 2001. I had moved to Astoria and was not feeling inspired. I felt like I was just repeating myself and relying too much on effects pedals. Now I kind of like the song and have come to think a little bit of self repetition is not so bad as long as it comes from a good idea. At what point does repetition becomes bad? At what point have you done everything and have nothing left except to repeat yourself, repetitively until people get sick of you?
Play Only "Fancy"
Sometimes it's easy enough to put everything through an amplifier and be sloppy. Noodling, the musical equivalent of doodling. However, the voice track is a recreation of something I did from 1982. One of my brother's friends had left a really expensive (as it was 1982) 4 track recorder in the house and I was playing with it. It must have been after breakfast with sausages.
Now the sun is coming up. It is morning. I have dedicated my life to bills and work. Parts are shutting down.
Play Only "Noodling Sausages"
I had a 1963 Fender musicman guitar which I ended up selling in 2001 to make rent. This song was done when I was tired probably. Now when I am tired I read or look at the internet or watch a movie. I saw a really great Cassevettes movie the other evening.
Play Only "Evening"
I prefer lyrics to be less meaningful. After all, the good thing about pop music is the voice it gives to barely defined urges. Like when you feel kind of pissed off or unsatisfied in general and have only a crappy job as the focal point for describing the larger emotion. The bad job is standard issue. But the description of the bad job combined with driving music is something else indeed. That is life itself. If the words are too poignant it does not work, in my opinion.
Play Only "Been There"
Ah Ha! Except for this song and it's beautiful description of the pointlessness of creative endeavors! The story of someone who wrote a book that ended up on some table on the street. The effort and emotional investment that went into a small cube of paper.... I was struggling with this for a few years, finding it hard to reconcile or do anything, until I realized that all that, even if it does go into the remainder bin, is better than watching TV. That's a good enough reason to pretend that the creative life matters.
Play Only "Waste"
See description of Been There. An even less coherent bit of singing. I think this would have been better if had a few more words thrown in. Maybe someday if I get good guitar I will play music again.
Play Only "New Men"
This is about the old discussion of the transition from analog to digital. Short.
Play Only "Smart"
A and R:
This was done at Aaron's place on Carpenter street. I liked this song more than he did.
Play Only "A and R"
Called "Orch11" because it was the 11th song recorded and seemed orchestral compared to the usual single chord progression - no chorus things that I usually played. This recording suffers, like most of these recordings, from oversampling which gives is a behind the scenes screetching feeling. I did not know so much about recording when I did these. It's kind of hard to listen to.
Play Only "Orch11"
This is the most songy of songs.
Play Only "So True"
I still feel this way about sirens. They stick in your head long after they have passed and I after a while I feel like I can always hear them. It was how I felt on 4th street. THe siren song of dissolution into a city.
Play Only "Siren"
This song is called "Almost Finished" because it's where I started to sell out near the end of my musical career.
Play Only "Almost Finished"
I once sang this song quite loudly for 2 hours until my downstairs neighbor started yelling and pounding on the ceiling. What did I care? I had to put up with his loud abusive berating of his girlfriend. He was a psychologist but he lived in a dump and always yelled at his girlfriend. This song was about my pain, at the time, rather than his pain. It was a precious pain as you will hear.
Play Only "Pain"