Tuesday, November 09, 2010

It's my birthday again, but...

Let's get one thing straight! Beneath all the lies of my fleshly disguises, I'm still not old.

Here are the words:
The time has come, and I just don't know how
To sing of when it wouldn't ever be now
Go back against our wills in time
Remember when you were mine

'Cause if you gaze deep into my dark brown eyes
You're gonna see back behind a thousand lies:

I'm not old

I'm still a rock'n'roll star
I'm back in love with you
The fans are going wild
There's only one thing to do

Now that I'm not old

You say you're in a fit
You're getting ready to cry
You're such a nervous girl
There's only one thing to try

And that's the very same thing
I once did with you
Download "I'm Not Old"

I played this at my 50th birthday party, and I had a fun story about that in this old post.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Italian hit record covered by Francoise Hardy

Above you'll see two youtube videos, the top one being Mina's "Se Telefonando" and the exquisite Francoise Hardy doing a French cover of the same song with French lyrics.

My old friend Robert Hunt posted the Francoise Hardy song on facebook, which prompted me to post the lyrics and a my rough translation. So here's the Italian lyrics; the french lyrics can be found on the youtube page hosting the french video if you click on it.

Se Telefonando

Lo stupore della notte
sul mar

(I don't know what the stupor of the night may be, but I like it) The stupor of the night is scattered across the sea.

ci sorprese che eravamo
io e te.

We were surprised, you and I, that we didn't know each other.

Poi nel buio le tue mani
sulle mie…cresciuto troppo in fretta
questo nostro amor…

Then in the dark your hands suddenly on mine… Grown too quickly, this our love…

Se telefonando
io potessi dirti addio
ti chiamerei…

(Those who know Italian might note that the chorus of this song is entirely in the subjunctive, a tricky tense in any Romance language, and one more suggestive of poetry and highfalutin sentiments than everyday speech) If I, when telephoning, could say goodbye, I would call you...

Se io rivedendoti
fossi certa che non soffri
ti rivedrei…

If I were to see you again, if I could be certain that you wouldn't suffer, I would see you again...

Se guardandoti negli occhi
sapessi dirti basta
ti guarderei…

If, as I was gazing into your eyes, I were to know how to say Enough! I would look at you...

Ma non so spiegarti
che il nostro amore appena nato
Ë giá finito…

But I don't know how to explain to you that this, our love, is already finished..

Then she repeats it from the top. I just love the relative strength of her voice compared to Hardy, but I love looking at Hardy and I do love her voice.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Our Republican Bosses

Since there's to be a mid-term election next week, and if you believe the polls and pundits, the Republicans will soon be bringing their jackboots down squarely on the faces of the American workers and poor because people are upset that we don't live in a utopia as our just reward for electing an African American President, I have decided to resurrect my Paycheck Party theme song from oblivion.

This song is merely a sketch, and references some of the worst insults to decency of the previous administration, such as a lust for torture they never even tried to disguise, but the idea is still valid. The very richest people in the world are controlling our politicians, and the party they control the most is the Republican party. They are intent on taking this country back to the plutocrat days of the 1880s at any cost, and are spending tons of money and using their near-total media influence to bring about the complete subjugation of the American worker to their agenda of increasing their already obscene wealth from most of the money in the economy to all the money in the economy.

The real crisis in America is that nobody cares about their paychecks. Instead they mostly care about proving someone else wrong about their views on things completely unrelated to their paychecks. In France they are fighting to the death for the right to retire at 60 instead of 65, while in America people are completely indifferent if grandmothers are eating cat food in slums or required to work into their nineties as long as Glen Beck keeps them distracted with his apocalyptic fantasies. As if anyone can even get a decent job if they are over forty these days. Wise up, fools!

It's a crappy song because no one I respect has ever bothered to try to help me edit it down, which it needs. Plus, I wanted to do the song in a waltzy 3/4 time but I couldn't figure out how to do that recording on the computer. So if anyone out there wants to help me finish this song, I would love some help!

Republican Bosses

They lie and they cheat
and they rob and they steal
our Republican bosses today.
They give you a job
then they take it away
because that’s the Republican way.
They fire you and cheat you
deny you and use you
Republican bosses that say:
That they control everything
all of the money and
guess who they’re not gonna pay?

They own you, they use you,
deny you and charge you
for everything that should be free.
They think that they’re better
than everyone else,
and they think that they’re
better than me.
They wheel and they deal
and insist that it’s real,
these Republican liars today.
They’ll give you insurance
and take it away
because that’s the Republican way.

We just got to fire these
Republican bosses;
we just got to throw them away.
We gotta get rid of them.
sue them. disarm them;
then down in Guantanamo Bay
we’ll give them the treatment
they gave to those Muslims,
and ask if they’d rather decline
to define what is torture,
and what is illegal;
to finally make up their mind.

They’re not paying taxes,
don’t cover their asses
and hiking up CEO pay.
They lie and they cheat
and they rob and they steal,
and they smirk that Republican way.
As if they all know that
we know that they screwed us.
As if it will all be OK.
We just got to fire these
Republican bosses,
we just got to throw them away.

Blame it on politics
blame it on government
blame it on cable TV.
Blame it on spin
you can’t even begin
to uncover the lies that we see.
But we’ve got the votes,
the one thing that they fear
and we’re going to vote them all out.
We’ll vote them all out
on the streets and we’ll show them
what poor folks is really about.

We’ll take back our government
take back our laws and
take back all the rights of the free.
We’ll turn back the clock
to when a corporation
was less than a person like me.
We’ll tear down their privilege
expose all their exploits
and drain all their bank accounts dry.
We’ll build a new country
where people who work
are as good as some CEO guy.

They lie and they cheat
and they rob and they steal
our Republican bosses today.
They give you a job
then they take it away
because that’s the Republican way.
They own you, they use you,
deny you and charge you
for everything that should be free.
They think that they’re better
than everyone else,
and they think that they’re
better than me.

Download Republican Bosses, or listen to it on my blog.

For my original, astounding, simple, foolproof ideas on fixing our economy, see The Minimum Laws blog.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Intelligent Love

I love intelligent girls, I mean, really intelligent girls. The presence of an enormous brain infatuates me at the moment of apprehension, I feel a real tightness in my chest, and my heart bursts. A brain is far more potent than any mere physical attribute.

When you meet anyone, it takes a while to figure out just how smart they are. Sometimes you never quite get it, because the occasion never arises; but usually there's a moment when you get that flash, thinking, oh my god, this girl is so freaking smart I'm struck dumb. Add youth and beauty and a fellow could pass out cold on the floor out of excitement.

So here is a song for all the really smart girls I've been so very lucky to love, only one of whom was smart enough to love me back.

If this sounds a little new wave, that's because I wrote this back when I was still in the Obvious, right before we broke up. Much of the melody is based on the brilliant lead solo Alex Mutrux was working out to it when we used to play it together. As you can tell, it needs either a lead guitar or sax solo and some kick ass rock and roll drums. If anyone wants to help me out with such things, please let me know!

Download this song if you want to hear it.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Unrequited Love

As an adolescent, I was the king of unrequited love, as many an ex-girlfriend will affirm, usually with a nervous glance around at all the available exits. I bought into the idea of romantic love without a critical thought, since who was I to argue with the poetic successes of Petrarch, Dante or even the king of terrible relationship choices himself, Marcel Proust?

Once I was exposed to the commonsense ideas of what is known as radical feminist theory, I became aware that women may not be very excited about being the object of some loser's thwarted desire. I looked back at my self-absorbed ways with a more jaundiced eye. In some instances, I could see that my love was nothing but the fascination anyone can have for a shiny object half-seen from the corner of your eye, whenever it was about a girl I never knew. When it was - rarely, all kidding aside - for a girl I knew very well, I realized the love was a normal love for a friend, but frustrated by my own shortcomings as a person and the cultural taboos against being too friendly with any girl you once dated, out of deference to anyone who has loved her since.

This song started out as another song about sex, like Erotic. But I decided to make it a general statement about the foolishness, if not the inhumanity, of loving someone you only think you love because you desire her.

Here's the shameless lyrics:
I’ll come if you call, I’ll run, I’ll even crawl
If you would invite me… It would delight me…
But you neglect me! Only to spite me!
Though I just love to be punished by you
For all the sweet little things that I do
In return I’m sullen and mean
You never notice what you’ve never seen

Unrequited love, just as in heaven above
Lives on nothing but hope and a well-practiced mope
My love is nothing but thwarted desire
Hormonal throes by your beauty inspired

I’ll come if you call, I’ll limp, I might even sprawl
I’m such a good boy, I’m such a steady.
Call me your Nigel, I’m always ready.
And if it’s getting harder and harder to do
‘cause I’m all tired and dried out and blue
You can send me out for a coke.

I’m gonna love you anyway no matter what you do or say
Because love is nothing but whatever I desire

And if you insist on rejecting me may I request most respectfully
That you somehow cease being the object of my desire.

Download Unrequited Love.

Or listen to it on my blog.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Best of the Naughts: Star Death

Three pieces of astronomical detritus falling to earth and shattering the noise barrier. From the death of stars comes the roots of life itself: bursts pop, Blue yells, Tobi flips, Aleta knocks, in and out of constant rock frenzy and song.

I mused many times over the name. This was one band that never seemed to crave stardom. Death to the stars! Who do they think they are, anyway, lording it over us all? It's just a sickness, the way they hook you on their star lives, all carefully revealed through cunningly calculated media outlets. The Star Death are the anti-stars, the black holes of celebrityhood. They seemed to play and write songs without the slightest hint of that creepy sick need to be famous.

The Star Death was a powerful trio to hear live, and were somewhat responsible for inspiring me to start watching local bands again at the end of the late 90s. I was intrigued by their feminist politics, more so than I even knew at the time, and loved the way they built abrupt changes of mood and timing into their songs. Most people my age, even when they liked punk, were put of by Blue's screaming fits and ever-changing vocal style, which goes from little girl lyrical to tuneless proclamations to outraged screams of defiance.

Blueberry was the leader of the band, and was also well known as a solo singer-songwriter around town. She was extremely cordial when I decided to try shooting documentaries about local bands in my spare time. Toby was the bassist, and very easy going and able to play extreme runs of manic notes while she played. The drummer was a quiet kid named Aleta, who had some decent chops as well, and who seemed tireless as she banged out entire sets of challenging material.

The Star Death put out at least 2 CDs, and the video above is taken from their first CD, The Sweetness Killers. Part of the images on the tape came from them actually playing the song, though I gave up on syncing it after the first few notes. The first part of the video contains some drunken male obscenities that could offend the ears of younger listeners.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Remember Me!

Remember Me is my first love song. I remember feeling strange about it, because I wrote it for no particular girl, and I wondered if that was somehow dishonest. Over the years I've come to be happy with the song being about an idea rather than a person. Falling in and out of love, wondering what love is, and finally finding it after all these years means that the song is more honest than any song about an individual could be. The one exception I have to offer is the song I wrote for my wife, Cathy, last year. My most fervent aspiration is to never write another love song again unless it's just for her.

I wrote this song when I was just a kid, yearning for the love that was somehow denied me by circumstance and my own inner conflict. It represents the simplest and most barren appeal to a lover possible, to just be remembered. Just don't forget me. I love you, and I'll always love you if you remember me. Originally the words were somewhat different, as I discovered when I listened to the 1979 version with Jambox. One line in this song was suggested by Rico DeBool, "I'll always hold you in my heart". I'll never forget when he suggested it, we were living in Homer Townsley's P-Funk Playpen on Victor and we were sitting around the attic room where we practiced.

The idea that I would always love anyone I ever loved was very important to me. I still don't understand how people can just stop loving someone. If you can stop loving someone, you never loved them at all. It has a lot to do with how you look at people. If they are simply objects that you project whatever emotion into that you want to, well, then love is something entirely within yourself and has nothing to do with the human qualities of an external person that caused it to happen. I happen to believe that the love I feel for my friends and lovers is a feeling of mutual humanity, that embraces and exalts all the complexity and beauty of a person who returns our love. Once you feel it, you'll always feel it again, even after many years have passed. It's far beyond mere sexual attraction, which seems to be the beginning and end of love for many people.

The new version of this song here was one that I worked really hard to finish for Valentine's Day. Singing this song without going flat, with all the tricky elisions, is no picnic. I finally managed to finish it just this morning. The older version of this song is from a cassette tape Jambox made to market ourselves to some rich county girl who was hiring a band for a party. I was surprised to hear all the little differences between this, the actual finished version of the copyrighted song, and how I've been singing it lately. It's amusing and cute to listen to my 18-year-old voice sliding all over the place with no idea of which range I should sing it in.

Here's the 1979 Jambox version of Remember Me, with Slash Brannon on violin and Rico DeBool on bass - note that this mp3 is not safe for work, and features an obscenity quite loudly and distinctly in the first several seconds:

Here's the 2010 version of Remember Me, which I just finished this morning!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Best of the Naughts: Unfairly Obscure

Though everyone in this series is unfairly obscure, two bands stand out for me, one because I've been following them almost all my life, and the other because I know next to nothing about them.

The Blastoids are yet another group featuring the talents of my old and very dear friend Dominic Shaeffer. My awe for Dominic will never fade, because the very first local band I ever saw was Earwacks, down in Nik Moon's basement in the early 70s sometime. Yes, almost 40 years ago. This was a far cry from me shouting Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida into a tiny reel-to-reel tape recorder with Gary Wilson in the fourth grade. This was no bunch of fools playing covers badly. This was a full-out rock band playing original material that was polished and professional sounding. They sounded much better when they were teenagers than a lot of bands of grown men do today, and they were writing songs that were as good as anything I'd ever heard. Even as a bitter, alienated teenager I knew they were great.

Here's one from their only CD, Memories Will Pay. The lyric and tone are somber and real.

Then there's The Sayers. This band was one I never got to see live, but listening to their incredible single on Steve Pick's or Cat Pick's radio show won me over instantly. 5-4-3-2-1 is a song that is so great, that once you hear it, you'll want to hear it over and over. It's such pure uncut rock that you won't believe your ears.

Download Memories Will Pay.

Download 5-4-3-2-1.