Cody Weathers

Music so hip you'll need a bigger belt


ROQUE: As Rome Burns (studio, 1992)






$10 for CD, available by special order

The Songs

Guarantees/Mad About You/Sweet Sue/Don’t Lean On Me/Loneliness/I Still Need You/Roads/Dollface/Break Up/Walls/Mad About You(live)/ Ellen(live)/I Won’t Bite/A Little Bit Back/As Rome Burns/Don’t Slam That Door

all songs written and arranged by Cody Weathers (c)(p)1992, Cody Weathers, all rights reserved except Guarantees written by Nick Walsh and Cody Weathers, (c)(p)1992, Walsh/Weathers, all rights reserved. No stealing the worthless material, OK?

Additional MP3 Singles:

Don't Hate the Players: 

(clockwise from L)


Cody Weathers: Lead Vocals, Drums

John Fried: Bass

John Speranza: Rhythm & Lead Guitar

Matt Preheim: Keyboards

Nick Walsh: Lead & Rhythm Guitar





    Liner Notes


    Notes on the 2000 CD re-release of As Rome Burns:

    As Rome Burns was ROQUE’s second foray into the commercial studio. However, the band expressed intense interest in retaining the true-to-life feel of their gritty two-track Checkmate Studios recordings, as exemplified on their third release, CHECKMATE. Frontman Cody Weathers, having stripped the producer’s mantle from Joh3n O’Meara and Cat Mayhugh for NOT!, decided that to recapture the true basement sound, he would have to bring Mayhugh and O’Meara back into the production fold. “They’re really the two best lo-fi, minimalist producers in the world, although there isn’t much call for their expertise,” explains Weathers.


    But Mayhugh eschewed the glinting chrome and fancy whizbang buttonery of Audioworks, and Weathers was reminded of the tooth- and-nail conflicts between himself and the uberprodusser that had led to Mayhugh’s estrangement from the band. Under pressure from the record company to meet their release date, Weathers grudgingly conceded to the compromise solution of a hybrid album, half studio material, and half real life. Mayhugh condescendingly agreed. Joh3n O’Meara, who had always considered his involvement in the recording of Roque and Roll and Separate Ways to be a “make-do” situation, eagerly accepted the production duties for the live portion of the album, painstakingly combing through hundreds of hours of inane bootlegs, desperately searching for “something non-embarassing.”


    As Rome Burns is an album steeped in conflict. Conflicts between the producers, conflicts between the members, conflicts between the materials. From the opening chords to the closing noise-ensemble, ROQUE’s passion and tension shines through brilliantly. Soon thereafter, Matt Preheim left the band, citing “mind games,” and the band finally erupted into their sensational swan song, Less Yackin’, More Snackin’ within eight months.




    Guarantees: She can't make up her mind, I can't escape. I tried to get away but was too late. You'd think that one goodbye would be enough. Some problems just can't go too far away. Chorus: Gimme, gimme, gimme some guarantees --I've got to know your motives. Sometimes a kind word still can cut you. Lesser men have died from the guilt you made them feel. i've got to know if you are real. She loved me yes, then no, then yes again. From soulmate to a skunk --"can't we be friends?" From good-for-nothing vagabond to diamond in the rough. This party that's a nightmare never ends. Chorus. And in the judgement of the gods better or worse, death do us part. Nothing to fear --just paper, dear. Statements to sign before we can start. Only precautions to prevent broken estates with broken hearts.


    Mad About You: She was crazy when I met her, just as crazy as today And I knew that I would need her, but I couldn't make me say that if my heart could find no other, I'd be happiest that way. But then I saw the way she wants your eyes to stray. And I feel that I must tell you even though you don't deserve her. CH: She's mad about you. Something crazy in her eyes just says he's mad about you. And there's nothing I can do if she's mad about you I was up to my old no-no's when I told her not to love you, for I was all too cautious not to tell her how I felt true. And you still just perceived her as a carnival balloon: possession pretty soon is ugly and is taking too much room. Even though you don't respect her or enjoy her as I do. CH. Bridge: Mistakes of mine, you are too soft, the ruthless win this game. Vicious, cunning, hearts of steel attract and cut and maim. And that which may be tender can't compete, which is a shame. For love is built on cloudy things that paralyze the brain. CH

    Sweet Sue: I tried to look to love, but fate was not so kind. He stole you away like a wintery day, and pain was left behind. But in my heart remains a part that will never be the same. I don't love you, I lie to myself, but the truth remains unchanged. Nice little redhead, about 5'6" with a grey knit sweater and a bag of tricks. I met her, I asked her, she said OK, so I took her to dinner the very next day. Well she acted so happy the whole damn time, and I took her good humor as a good good sign. She ate, she smiled, she laughed real loud, then she said, "what the hell are you talking about?" She was drunk as a skunk, p***ed out of her mind, she got up to walk but left her feet behind. Up, down, dizzy galore, she was out on the floor on her way to the door. So I tried to get her up with some get-up-and-go but she was out so cold like it was twenty below. I pulled, pushed, it was all I could do. And that's when I met Sue. CH: Susan, Susan, oh what shall I do? If I had the time, I would spend it with you. It was a week or two 'til I next saw Sue, red ribbon in her ebony hair. We smiled, laughed, and said hello --reminisced about the drunken affair. I asked her was she seeing someone, and if she wasn't, would she like to see me. She hemmed, she hawed, she thought it all out and she said "well maybe we'll see." I sure was disappointed, but I wouldn't give up quite yet. I'll try again when the time is ripe, on that claim you can bet. I try my best just to see her face, catch a glimpse of my Sweet Sue, but the clouds that mask her heart from me sure are damn hard to see through. CH. The time has come on the telephone, I call her up, hoping someone's home. It rings, rings, she says hello, I say "where do you want to go?" She's got rhythm, she can pick up her feet, she's got flavor and I savor it sweet. One, two, I'm there on the double 'cause she's my kind of trouble.


    Don't Lean On Me: Heartbreak perfume don't make you real. Your poison attitude has no appeal. Perceptions in your mind are misleading --you want to change the world, but will it be a better place? Red-lipped seduction don't mean beauty. Dead eyes, no pride, no heart, no duty. Desires in your mind are too greedy. The treasures that you seek aren't attracted to that trait. Everything's magnified just like a memory. The bubble between us connects us. Chorus: Don't lean on me, I can't support myself. If you want wisdom, take your searching somewhere else. Don't fall for me, I cannot lift you up. Your empty passion fades, and I will let you go. Kerosene between your legs don't burn. You're so impatient --wait your turn. The lessons on TV are misleading. See yourself and sigh with patience in your heart. Everything's slowing down, just like a memory. The current between us would kill us, I fear. Chorus. How does it feel to have control? Any man you want is yours to hold. Decisions in your eyes are not final. The pulchritude outside disguises doubts within your heart. Everything's mystical, just like a memory. The circle unbroken confines me outside. Chorus. You are the things that you despise. You hurt yourself most with your lies. You're burning bridges, cutting ties. But there is hope within your eyes.

    Loneliness: Kindness is your virtue, you're attracted to unkind. Everybody falls in love with someone who's not right. Kisses! How they use you, and the phone gives not a peep. There is no explanation for the promise he can't keep. Chorus: Loneliness today, loneliness tomorrow. Your kindness will betray you and your heart will bring you sorrow. Hope, I think, has blinded you --don't fall for him again. "I love you" means not much to him --his affection is pretend. Malice is your afterthought --you think it is your fault. But take a grain of wisdom, not another grain of salt. CH. One day you will find your love and put sorrow in a joar. When, I cannot tell you, but I hope it's not too far. Perhaps this chain of heartache holds a weak link in the distance, and for your sake I'm hoping it gives you half a chance.


    I Still Need You: She's dressed up for no one in particular --I think his name is Joe. And she can imagine how he's kissing her even though she won't say so. and I can perceive my tone of jealousy even though she's not my own. And she can believe she will have peace with him even though it's just not so. As I can recall, she's always been that way --searching for something so far away. And I could imagine she'd be safe with me. I should be happy she remembers my name. Pre-CH: A thousand ways to get you wrong, just one way to get things right. I'll never know. Chorus: I still need you, I still need you, even though you've long since changed your mind. I still need you, I still need you, even though we've long since said goodbye. She always says that she's just not satisfied with the way she's spent these years. And she can be heaven when she's by my side, or she can drive me to the verge of tears. "Tell me you miss me," says her lonely heart, "tell me that nothing ever really changed." "Tell me you hate me," says her stolen heart, "tell me it'll never be the same." As I can recall, she's always been this way --the best thing to do is just to wait it out. Sooner or later, she's a sunny day. Rain wash away, wash the spider out. Pre-CH/Chorus. I thank your tenderness that took my blues away. I curse your selfishness to hide yourself away. I thank you, I curse you, I don't know what to do. I sift through memories because I still need you. I can pretend I won't look back at her, but I'd be a fool to trust myself. And she can be obstinate and particular, but she has no heart to choose someone else.

    Roads: I don't always have the answers to the questions you ask me anymore. Maybe it means I don't love you, or maybe I love you so much more. I can't put my finger on it --it's quite hard to define. But I can't answer yes or no when you ask me if you're mine. CH: Many, many roads that a man must follow. Some bring joy, others sorrow. I don't know which road I'll take tomorrow. I can't always give you comfort when you're feeling oh, so blue. Maybe it means I've got someone else, or maybe I don't have a clue. Well I won't bet my life upon it unless your love is true. Instead of being lost in time, I'd rather be lost in you. CH. I can't always savor the flavors that I need to be tasting with you. Maybe it means I'm distracted --maybe distracted by you. Well I can't get inside your mind, no matter what I try. Darling, if you live without me, will you really truly die? CH. I can't always buy the moments that I need to be spending with you. They're quite an expensive pleasure --I'm not sure what I should do. Well I can't put my money down to make you happy, dear because diamond rings don't mean a thing if you don't want to be here. CH


    Dollface: Dollface likes me all tied up, she likes to make me sweat. She plays her game of chess, and I can't beat her yet. Dollface knows that she's in charge, she knows I cannot swim. Puts me on her diving board, makes me jump right in. Dollface has a little house which has a blackened wall, which has a little window so I might look right through. Dollface hides herself inside, but I can't tell you why. She takes her boyfriend in --can't look him in the eye. And when I ask her why, Dollface likes to tell a lie. Dollface likes me all tied up, I never see her crying. She says, "Take a moment to eat those words, swallow your pride, and choke to death." Dollface likes me all tied up, but I can hear her screaming. CH: Dollface, Dollface, set me free. Take off your mask and look at me. Dollface has a little heart that hides inside her breast. Dollface has a china mask that covers all the rest. Deep inside her little heart, there lies a dormant seed. Dollface starves herself to death --she can't take what she needs. Dollface has a little dream inside her hidden mind. She ties it up like me, and it gets left behind. But she runs 'round in circles, and so it comes again. Dreaming makes her vulnerable like paper in the wind. Dollface has a little world, it's almost just like ours. She takes her boyfriend in, and her mask hides her scars. She says, "Take a moment to eat those words, swallow your pride, and choke to death." Dollface needs my helping hand, but I am all tied up.

    Break Up: Pretty girls --they always let you down when you need 'em. Heartbreak distracts me like a drug in my mind. Crazy. I'm raving like a don't know who I once was. A tunnel. I can't see what else I'll never find. Why don't you break up? Chorus: I'm tired of saying congrats --why don't you break up? The men you date are all rats --why don't you break up? It should be me in your bed --why don't you break up? It should be me in your head. Cocky, you always think you've got things figured. Empty, your plan is to be randomly blown up. Sexy, your magnet charm picks up iron filings. Mistaken --but magnets have a harder time with gold. Why don't you like me? Chorus. Temper --I always think I know what I'm up to. Remember, I might forget my system doesn't work. Mail order --will my next date be faxed to me from Thailand? Frustration whe I recall that I am such a jerk. Why can't I see you?


    Walls: I know the feeling is so strong, so strong, but you think that we would be wrong --no, no. No chances for my baby. Baby, words cannot keep me away from you. We could be one, don't keep us at two, no, no. No chances for my baby. And I know you think that I'm too strange, too strange --your daddy says I'll never change, no, no. No chances for my baby. And you, do you believe every word that you hear? Will you distrust me in fear? No, no. No chances for my baby. Standing in the dark, I long so much to kiss you, but you have built these walls, these walls I cannot breach. Standing by your side, I long so much to hold you, but you're across this chasm, too far for me to reach Counterpoint: Standing in the dark I long to climb these walls or tear them down. Standing by your side, I shudder --if I leap I might fall down. Looking in your eyes, I long so much to know them, but you're behind a fence too high for me to scale. Hearing all your words, they echo like a heartbeat, so let me cross your bridge and open up your gates. Counterpoint: Looking in your eyes, I'm melting. I might blink and lose your sight. Now your voice is far away. I wonder who you want tonight. CH: Why do we build these walls between us only to need to tear these same walls down? Here I am, standing at your tower: Rapunzel, please let your hair fall down. World of hate, world of fate, I try to get in, but you've locked the gate. Wolves on my heels, hungry for meals, bars in my face iron and steel. Taken apart by a crumbling heart, turn on the light because it's much too dark. Locks and keys, well you can't stop me, I'm getting your heart, just wait and see. CH. I know your feelings deep inside are still the same --you think I need to be tamed, no, no, no chances for my baby. Baby, I must protest, you're smarter than that. Do you want me boring and flat, no, no. No chances for my baby. Darling, you've got to take a risk sooner or later. Faith is no traitor, no. No chances for my baby. You've got to let me inside --emotions can't hide in your heart, no, no. No chances for my baby. Tear down these turrets, set your barbed wire on fire. Succumb to your desire. Take some chances, baby. CH.

    Ellen: I saw you on Sunday, you sat beneath a tree. I watched you and wondered if you'd noticed me. i walked right over and I sat right down --gradually started pulling a smile from your frown. Chorus: Ellen, I'm telling you my secrets, Ellen. Ellen, I'm swelling in my hope for us. Ellen, I'm offering you my lifetime for free, so Ellen, share your secrets all with me. Pounding my fists against the wall, I promised myself I'd go for it all. You'll never know if I never try, so come with me, now you know I won't lie. Chorus. So dance with me, don't tell me that you're waiting for your boyfriend to come, because I know those tears are falling because he's gone. What I'm proposing can dry your tears, so don't turn away --don't turn away.


    I Won't Bite: What you want from me is all right. What you get from me is all night. But don't ever try to tell me that you're running out of time --I won't bite. Little Red Riding Hood's been messing with your mind. Wolf in sheep's clothing --that's not me, I think you'll find. I'll show you my pearlies but I won't bite. Little Red Riding Hood's not falling for that line. I know you much too well to let you in this time. If I keep my door closed then you won't bite. Step in my parlor, you're no spider. You're no fly. I hope I can trust you. Cross my heart and hope to die. And if you are careful, you can bite. But if you must bite me, do it right.

    A Little Bit Back: Don't get me wrong --I don't mean to be misunderstood-- we have a strange situation. I'll make it simple: I don't want to be your Robin Hood. I've given to you, now give just a little bit back. Chorus: I know what I want, what I want from you. And I know what you want, what you want me to do. Don't push my buttons, I don't mean to be your sleek machine --I've got a mind of my own. I'll make you happy, but I do not want to make a scene. . I've given to you, now give just a little bit back. Chorus. You can't tell me what I'm going to do. Much as I love you, I've got some secrets too. You can't give me what you can't give you. Much as I need you, I know you need me, too. We'll get it right. We don't seem to be too far away. I know you want us to succeed. We're getting better, bit by bit, a little bit every day. You've given to me, now I'm giving you a little bit back.


    As Rome Burns: Somewhere in the shades of grey is the truth that truth is no commodity today. Somewhere in the harvest moon is a patch of light on adobe ruins --cold, cold, cold Anasazi graves. Chorus: As Rome burns, politicians feeding the fire. As Rome burns, throw me cold on the suicide pyre. As Rome burns, fiddle on, lest the liars inquire. As Rome burns, so we expire. Somewhere in my heart of hearts, I know we're dying slowly. Slow, slow march to the grave. Isn't it magical the monsters we can be? If you mix us right, we make anything. Isn't it illogical the way we treat today? Like it's only time. It's only blood. Chorus. Quarter me with water, crucify with trees. Throw my body to the ocean with the help of angry breeze. Gain my trust to lie to me, you four-year cycle dogs. This suicide of nations is just like falling off a log.


    Don't Slam That Door: Dearest stranger, I so hate to be ignored. Avoid me now and you avoid me forever more. Is there no light in here? Why must it be so dark? Are you so frigid within your heart of hearts? Chorus: Don't slam that door on me or I will kill your memory. I'll poison it slowly. Claw at my heart forever. So don't slam that door on me --open this f***ing door! Meuma Mona Lisa, why do you smile at me that way. Is there some magic in your mischief for today? I don't understand it, but I try to play along, but even all my friendly words are nothing short of wrong. ChorusII: Don't slam that door on me or I will kill your memory. I'll poison it slowly. Cross my heart if you hope to die. So don't slam that door on me --open this f***ing door! Dearest judge and jury, I so hate to be on trial, but I will keep my patience for just a little while. Your soft eyes try to kill me every time I look at you. I guess I should abandon ship, but I've got nothing better to do.

    Listening Log:

    The first half of this 90-minute album was recorded at Audioworks again, and the second half (as alluded to elsewhere) was recorded karaoke-style or else lifted from live tracks.  This was the last time we did any karaoke-style recording for release.  Everything beyond this album was multi-tracked.


    Guarantees: One of my better collaborations with Nick.  Like Jozo, we found some common ground to work with here.  This is about prenuptial agreements, since you know, it's just a Nick song and shouldn't have any personal thematic material from me or anything.


    Mad About You: This song has gone through a couple of changes and re-recordings, but remains a favorite of mine.  If I could do this particular version over, I'd probably drop the instrumental bridge (known to the band as "The Birds") but keep the piano outro that disappeared from later versions.  Doing this version over would constitute something entirely different from re-recording, by the way.  This is about realizing that someone you want wants someone else.  Had you figured that out yet?  It's a big puzzle, I tell ya!


    Sweet Sue: I was pretty deep into a very experimental harmonic phase at this point, moving from the Major/minor dichotomy of earlier stuff (heralded by Fire & Ice) into a more geometric system using a lot of clusters and key jumps.  This backup vocal was a lot of fun, with O'Meara and Cat joining Nick, Speranza, and I in the vocal booth.  That's O'Meara whooping at the end.  This storyline is an absolute work of fiction, but them's the words I thunk up.


    Don't Lean On Me: Solid song that was a staple of the acoustic live show for a long time and eventually got re-recorded on River Dreams.  One of the great things about writing songs is that there's no need to have a consistent message.  For that reason I'm fully qualified to tell someone that they shouldn't bother falling in love with me because I'm not that into their particular brand of beauty (sorry, "pulchritude") while also saying, "so terribly lonely, please someone come along to love me," on the rest of the album.


    Loneliness: Lost in the shuffle, but one I like.  Again, Speranza dials in a great rhythm guitar sound.  Somehow, this is supposed to be an uplifting message of "hey, you'll find a guy you like (maybe me) --but you will ENDURE MUCH, MUCH PAIN FIRST!!!!  Unless you pick me, in which case, sweet."


    I Still Need You: I haven't thought about this for a while, but I could see re-recording this.  It was surprisingly fun to play acoustic, although only Speranza could pull of the composite guitar/bass part.  This song does, however succumb a little bit to the Don't Say Goodbye effect, where the verse outshines the rest of the song.  Nick just gave up on playing that arpeggio, there.  Surprisingly effective bridge, and a cool effect suggested by Bill.  My gut says that some extra intensity in the pre-chorus/chorus might compensate for the verse.  I'd forgotten about that little piano fade part.


    Roads: I still periodically play this.  The chorus was also part of the score for "Flower...."  A subtle metaphor for moving on, encased in vignettes of not doing just that.  I am singularly brilliant.


    Dollface: This got re-recorded for Songs You Hate.  Actually, it was re-recorded for River Dreams but not included in the final mix.  This has been a favorite for us to play, but probably not the most memorable for listeners.  Nonetheless, a sweet live version closes out Least Significant Failures.  Referential nod to the bridge in the fade of Rain Today.  Speranza got this tone by cranking the bass & treble on his amp and cutting the mids entirely while running it through some version of the Boss distortion pedal.  The material for this song came from a dream.


    Break Up: This is a fun little song that fills a role on this album but would be unlikely to make it onto a live set list.  Speranza's solo during the bridge was performed "deaf" without any reference monitors, but it ends up fitting anyway.  The same thing happened when we tried that technique again on Man In The Moon a few years later.


    Walls: We've never even tried to pull this off live.  One of the benefits of multi-tracking is that I can orchestrate this kind of complex, layered backup vocal (also known as "Cody & the Codies").  Ideally, I wanted to have other voices than my own performing the harmonies to maintain the illusion of the ensemble, and we tried various things through the years to get that effect, the most convincing of which was to have someone else sing with me, where I basically provided the pitch of the line, and they provided the sound of the line.  Great signature Speranza licks on the outro solo.


    Mad About You (live): This is very typical of our live fare from the time, when we really started transitioning into a primarily acoustic band.  This was recorded by John Steideman at Paris on the Platte.  Speranza's covering rhythm, and Nick (in a rare acoustic appearance) is covering the lead guitar.  I like that Speranza didn't use an acoustic guitar for those gigs, but instead played his Fender clean through a flange or chorus pedal --it was a very rich sound while still quite intimate.  I like Nick's little modal solo idea.  I could sure do with a little less vibrato on my voice.  Again, I hate my stage personna.  Without drums, I just stood or sat there, clutching my arms like Rain Man.


    Ellen: This gig was a blast.  You can't understand a word coming out of the PA.  Both guitars broke strings, so we had to improvise this little ska ending while Speranza wound a new string.  We didn't have to, but I forced us to.  That's the better way of putting it.  That's O'Meara toasting at the beginning.  I remember wondering why Matt didn't start soloing when we started the outro.  He was an incredibly reluctant player now that I think about it.  He wanted the smallest possible role.


    I Won't Bite: I originally wrote this song for Union Street Jazz, then wound up adapting it for ROQUE.  SJ Hasman from Union Street Jazz was supposed to record this as a duet with me, but she couldn't make the session.  Nice call-and-response solo work from Speranza.


    A Little Bit Back: I've grown to really hate this version of the song, maybe even the song itself.  I'll probably re-record it on a box set or side project disc to see if I can breathe some life into it and to have a quality recording (which this is not), but I think it's just flat.


    As Rome Burns: This song needs a re-recording.  The karaoke mix is a little off, but the song has been a strong floater in the live set.  Also, I think this song bucks the trend of political songs losing their resonance for me over time since it's a song about political disillusionment in general.  Murky mix.  That's Bekah Knoll on backup vocals.  She was in "The Flower That Shattered the Stone" --very good singer, but struggled to find this line, and needed some help from the guitar to get there.


    Don't Slam That Door: Possibly the greatest karaoke-style mix of all time despite some murkiness.  Way to end an era on a high note.  It's all Fried kicking your slap-bass ass.  Re-recorded for the Leaky Joe Fistful of Blues album.  Nice solo from Nick.  I've always liked this pissed-off little song.


    ARB End: this is printthrough backmasking of the Checkmate version of October Air pumped up to audible levels then capped off with the sound of rewinding the open-reel two-track deck we used to record the karaoke-style songs.  I've gotten away from it a little, but I used to really like sticking this sort of oddity on the end of an album.


    Missing from the CD re-release: Shadows (moved to Not!)