Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pharmaceutic Rock

Here's a quick rough of a punk song I never did with any band. It's a rewrite of the Jambox song Sweet Weaving Dancer. I was always fond of the guitar parts. It was like Trout Mask Replica, I always hoped.

The idea for the lyrics came from my old friend, the late Chuck DeClue, singer for the Retros and our band the Obvious for a while. Chuck had a pulp magazine sensibility towards rock lyrics, demonstrated best by his song Henpecked Husband, a song about a henpecked husband who rises up against his wife and kills her and stuffs her body in a trunk one fine day.

After a while I came to think of it as a song about STDs, especially since I usually sang it about sex instead of rock; sex and drugs, and how desperate the need for them is, and how similar the lack of impulse control works with both of them.

When I actually sat down to record it yesterday I couldn't sing it as vulgar and shocking as I should have. So here's the newly-sanitized and less shocking version. You'd almost think it was celebratory if you didn't look behind the words to see sex and need and sweats and death.
Rock me till I bleed
It’s what I really need
Rock me on the floor
Until I beg for more
It’s such a rare disease
And I’m so hard to please
The only cure is more
Of what I came here for

It’s all so vague it can’t be displayed it’s time to call the doctor:

Pharmaceutic rock
Tell me, Doc:
Can you cure the bug?
I’ve ruined another rug!
Pharmaceutic rock
Tell me, Doc:
Should I pull the plug?
Or try another drug?

Rock and roll party doctor!
Rock me, rock rock me rock!

Drug me till I need
Another whack o’crack
Drug me on the floor
And I’ll still beg for more
It’s such a rare disease
And I’m so hard to please
The only thrill is more

Download Pharmaceutic Rock.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

(I Lost My Club) Down On The Stroll

The first punk club in St. Louis by Tres Vite

When Mort Hill told me I could do it, I believed him. He was so utterly convincing. My dad had a uninhabitable shell of a storefront in the worst part of town, and we had a dream. CBGBs on the stroll.

It happened because Mort was so damned lovable. Annie O loved him, I loved him, everyone loved him. All the art twits from Wash U loved him.

Mort had a name he liked that he spelled a variety of different ways, a name for things he liked, for cool things that were too cool to be simply called cool. Oppy, he said. So I wanted to call the club the OP-P Club, because I said it was pop spelled inside out. So I cut out the letters from the masthead of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, back when it was still a Pulitzer paper, and made a punk little logo out of it. I put some of Mort's cute little dumbbells on the side, like a real logo. Everyone loved it.

The OP-P Club business card.

Sad to say, the fun days of "Hey, kids, let's start a punk club!" ended when we decided to incorporate and I said I wanted to own 51% of the club. All the people who had spent so much time and effort, especially Mort, were aghast at my effrontery, and they all went away and told me I couldn't use Mort's beautiful logo or name anymore. It was so sad and stupid, especially since it was all about no money and nothing to gain anyway. I called it the Change Club, but everyone else still called it the OP-P Club.

After a few months of diminishing crowds and living on AAA Do-Nuts from the corner of Taylor and Olive bought for me by Don Green of the Retros and Riot Act, my dad finally told his buddy Duke to kick me out of the club.

I might not have gone, but somehow this scary guy with dreads named Benny got into the club and he told me he'd kill me if I ever came in there again and that was the real end of it; some big black guy squatting up in my club and me out on the street, peering in the windows at the spray painted walls, wishing I still was a person of substance.

I wrote this song about it.
I found love in the Change Club Bathroom
I found love, it was hard to resist
Oh, I found love, but alls I really wanted
Was to piss.

I tried to open the door for at least half an hour
I could hear moans and sighs through the keyhole
The girl I've been waiting for
Was on all fours on the floor.

I lost my club down on the stroll
It could happen to you
I lost my club down on the stroll
Now what should I do?

My Dad had a shack in the worst part of town
-Ghetto city, man!
He lived on the West Coast wasn't ever around
-We went crazy, man!
I decided to try it - for the bands and fans
-Without getting wasted, man!
Now nobody even knows my name!

We called it change, they called it OP-P
-Names don't matter, man!
We made up lots of photocopy
-Posters and platters, man!
They decided the local bands and clubs they didn't need
-The place was too sloppy, man!
Now nobody even knows my name!

Who's club was it, man?
This was recorded in the second big recording session of the Obvious which mostly had my brother Augustino playing bass, but on this cut I was lucky enough to have the greatest punk rock bass player ever to attend Roosevelt High School, Mark Sheridan of the Zanti Misfits. Alex Mutrux plays lead, I sing, Kevin Brueseke slams the skins, and Sally Barnes played Arp Synthesizer.

Download "(I Lost My Club) Down On The Stroll"

Final Mix of Just a Moment

Just a short post to announce that I have finally procured a final mix of my song, Just a Moment.

Fo Jammi mixed it down with a a really loud bass track at first, which was nice, but overwhelming. I asked him to pump up the guitars and pull down the bass by half and we came up with a more rock mix. Then I grafted on the louder bass to the intro and have a final mix for you to enjoy.

This song features Mark Gray, of The Famous Bar, Funkabilly, and Go Dog Go on lead guitar, doing a stellar job. Fo Jammi added the rock piano and some organ, while I did the vocals, and guitars, including the Mark Sheridan-inspired bass line. Ever since Mark did a killer bass line to I Lost My Club (Down On The Stroll), the punk rockest of all the Obvious recordings, I have wanted to do a bass line like his. The drums are by William Morris.

Download Just a Moment.