all songs written and arranged by Cody Weathers (c)(p)1991-1999, Cody Weathers, all rights reserved. No stealing the worthless material, OK?
Everybody in America today loves the fact that movie soundtracks are merely shallow corporate marketing devices that often contain songs that aren't even in the movie advertised. Flip Nasty hears your desires and responds in force with Flame Cow! 26 glorious anthems on 2 discs having practically nothing to do with the movie for which they were "commissioned."
30 other online retailers, from amazon to napster, prices vary.
Don't Hate the Players:
John Speranza: guitar
Cody Weathers: vocals, drums, keyboards
John Fried: bass
Terri Kempton: cello on Along, backup vocals on Fire and Love is Paper
Elizabeth Trice: backup vocals on Love is Paper
Libby Martin: backup vocals on Love is Paper
Eric Rorem: backup vocals on Fire
Amy Lin: speech on Cinderella Dream
Joel Pietsch: Piano on ALITB
Robert McIntosh: Ghost Ensemble toms on Cockroach Crude
Elise McIntosh: Ghost Ensemble toms2, bass drum on Cockroach Crude
Jon McConnell: Ghost Ensemble toms3 on Cockroach Crude
Jennifer Rittenburg: Cockroach Ensemble snare on Cockroach Crude
JJ McCabe: Cockroach Ensemble wood block on Cockroach Crude
Evan Louden: Cockroach Ensemble castanets on Cockroach Crude
About Flame Cow: Flame Cow is the epic tale of a heroic cow (in the classic tradition of heroic cows), a jaw-dropper gorgeous brainy milkmaid, and a cratchety old farmer who together must save the world from a deadly plague of clones unleashed in secret by a dark and brooding supervillain whose inky nebulous influence transcends geographic, political and cosmic borders at an alarming rate. Despite rumors circulating on the internet, the script was absolutely not written by robots.
Flame Cow, the Movie: Directed by Alan Smithee. Produced by Frumples Pictures/Cosmonaut Films. Screenplay by Script Applicator 4.1 (TM)
1. Will Flame Cow be playing at my local theater multiplex chain?
A. Maybe. Be sure to write 1-10 letters to your theater proprietors demanding that it be shown on the big screen.
2. Does Flame Cow have a girlfriend?
A. We think so.
3. Does Flame Cow like carrots?
A. Not as a rule.
4. If Flame Cow and R2D2 had a fight, who would win, and by how much?
A. Flame Cow. 40-Love.
5. Who plays Flame Cow?
A. Flame Cow is not so much played as lived for real by Brian Costello.
6. How does Flame Cow go to the bathroom?
A. In much the same way as Incendiary Otter.
7. Why did George Lucas create Jar-Jar Binks?
A. It's unconfirmed, but we believe Lucas may be just another clone.
8. If Flame Cow and Jar-Jar had a fight, who would win?
A. It's tough to say. Jar-Jar is obviously at least as tough as a Wookie.
9. If Santa gets sick, will Flame Cow save Christmas?
A. No, there will be no Christmas that year.
10. Will there be a Flame Cow II?
A. No. As you have probably seen in the exciting and enticing trailer that gives everything away so that you'll want to see the movie even more desperately than if it was all a surprise, the surprise ending is that all the characters are killed --some of them twice.
Interviewer: I've just seen the film, and I've got to confess that I don't understand it.
Smithee: Have you considered that your brain may be undersized?
I: Oh, I recognize the genius --I just don't understand it.
S: That seems to be a common reaction from the undersized-brain crowd.
I: Can you tell us about how the project got started?
S: Well, Brian Costello, who plays the lead in the film, has a chemical imbalance in his brain.
I: Excuse me?
S: If this is too fast for your undersized brain to process, I can slow down.
I: What is it with you and brains?
S: I find that most people I meet have some manner of brain problem. Brian's brain problem is a chemical imbalance. The nature of this imbalance is such that he approached the people at Frumples Pictures and told them that he wanted to do an adaptation of the popular Norwegian comic book, Bål Ku, which roughly translates to "Flame Cow." The higher-ups at Frumples were very keen on making this happen because Brian is, hands-down, the best --or even "only"-- dramatic talent ever to be attached to a Frumples Production. Furthermore, they were encouraged by the fact that Brian claimed to already have the Bål Ku adaptation rights, and they knew that in the current cinematic climate, comic book adaptations are solid gold --just think of The Phantom, The Saint, Batman & Robin, and As Good As It Gets, just to name a few....
I: I guess I don't see how this has anything to do with a "chemical imbalance in Brian's brain." It seems like a pretty standard pitch-and-catch to me.
S: Sure, to the tiny-brained. Let me ask you something: in all your travels to Norway, have you ever heard of a comic book called Bål Ku?
I: Well, I haven't actually been....
S: I don't have time to wait for your answer. Of course you haven't. That's because there is no Bål Ku comic book. Brian Costello is a seriously delusional baboon.
I: So did you tell Frumples Pictures?
S: Are you kidding? I'd sat in on meetings with Brian and the executives where everybody was going on about how much they liked the books, and how we should try to stick to the original look and feel as much as possible.
I: So what did you do?
S: I paid my son $15 to draw a couple of Bål Ku comic books.
S: Hey, it's twice what he gets to mow the lawn. Anyway, he drew a couple of books --I had them printed up real nice, then we started talking about story.
I: Tell us about the writing process.
S: Well, I'm not allowed to tell you that it was written by a computer. Contractually forbidden to tell you that they scanned in one of the comic books, gave the thing a cast of characters and let an algorithmic drama generator crunch the thing over Labor Day. What I can tell you is that the first draft had a lot of problems, including the fact that all of Milkmaid Petra's lines were just "I prefer beef" written in binary ASCII text. So we definitely didn't purchase an upgrade to the software and do a rewrite, that's for sure. So we went through a few revisions, then we ran out of money, and just shot it. Although it might seem like each scene was written entirely independtly of any other scene, that's definitely not the case. I think --despite the poor first draft-- we've managed to really make a pretty meaningful statement about clones and cloning.
I: Wow. So where can people go to see Flame Cow?
S: The film will be shown at a variety of secret times and locations around the country. Basically what you should do is try to just randomly walk around, looking for it. It could be anywhere: the side of a building, an access tunnel, projected on the ground from a moving airplane, your office, the back seat of a Datsun, even a movie theater. Just look for it, and you can't help but find it.
This is by far the best-sounding Flip Nasty album. Too bad it was our last. Hobo diaries aside, Speranza basically quit following these sessions. As his availability dwindled, I covered more of the guitar tracks than on any other Flip album. Fried and I tried a brief stint with me moving to guitar and Kevin Ozias joining the band on drums, which worked very well. However, love intervened, and I moved to Buffalo to woo and wed my best friend, Vaunne, closing the book on our 12-year stint as Denver's greatest nerd band. But enough of these wistful sad tales! Several production decisions worth noting set this album apart from all that preceded it. First, we intentionally over-recorded, which allowed us to be more selective (believe it or not, much is left off of this 120-minute double disc) for the final mix. That said, now that the material has really sunk in, I would probably now exclude "Sorry" and replace it with "Stay," "Need," or "Garbage" (in that order). Second, we took a lot of time --almost 2 years-- to really get the performances right. Third, I had used Monkey Eat Monkey and Fistful of Blues as a crash course in recording with ADAT, and was able to get a much better initial recording quality than I ever had before through better engineering and better production tactics. Fourth, this remains the only album we've ever professionally mastered (through Ty Tabor at Alien Beans studios in Katy, TX --also guitarist for King's X), which polished the mixes to radio-ready quality.
Afraid of Love: The first layer recorded was me singing and playing the rhythm guitar while Speranza improvised a lead line. This allowed us to react in real time to one another, creating a uniquely-nuanced version. You can hear this in the way that Speranza picks up on the fills I insert in the rhythm part or how my scat builds on the lead motif he plays seconds earlier. Next, I recorded a little "hand percussion kit" of djembe, bongos, and conga. That allows me to pick and choose which of the now-established melodic elements I will react to or emphasize with the drums. Finally, we recorded Fried's bass part, which is written rather than improvised. This allows Fried to lock in rhythmically with everything else. When written, this song was supposed to tie to several others via the chorus, but in the final mix, only No One Could made the cut, with M and Train not even recorded for the session. The lyric is a fairly straightforward introspection on (drum roll) fear of love.
Coyote: We set this song aside to re-record rather than include on Songs You Hate. Given our familiarity with the song, we recorded guitar, drums, and bass first (you can hear a nice stereo effect as the drums bleed into the guitar amp mic) with the vocals as an overdub. Great sound from Speranza. The lyric has been talked about elsewhere, so I'll just summarize this as a metaphor for poor choices of the heart.
So Will I: Also set aside to re-record rather than include on Songs You Hate. Speranza and I played the whole song at once (guitar, djembe, vocal) and Fried overdubbed later. On this album, I tried to have as many stereo guitar tracks as possible. For acoustics, that usually meant running a direct line for one channel and micing the guitar for the other. This convoluted web of obtuse words is a hit with audiences everywhere, who naturally gravitate to the undercurrent theme of living for today. Carpe diem, motherf*****.
Eclipse: This song is arranged in a guitar-texture manner akin to the Brothers Three songs on Monkey Eat Monkey. I play all the guitar parts (except Speranza's solo), with Fried on bass. Speranza was in effect phasing himself out of the band during this time, with a limited availability for sessions, so in the latter stages of recording, I assumed most of the guitar duties so that we could use what time he did have for solos (which I couldn't really carry). The first line sums it up for me, "pain, pain, songs of pain. Songs of loss and love and rain. My songs, me all drawn in crayon. This heart --dumb anchor-- drowns smart brain." Obviously, "smart brain" makes this a work of fiction.
Cinderella Dream: I like the song portion of this quite a bit as a nice little reminiscence about chances past. I was determined on this album to try to be more experimental "under the radar" in several different ways. For this, I was trying to incorporate speech and the rhythms of speech into an interactive drum solo on the fade, where drums try to emulate snippets of speech that float by. The text is from a short story I wrote in college, "Children of Bison Spur." Of all the experiments on this album (and I think it was the right decision to push), this is the one whose results I like least, and even I normally fast forward once the speech starts. So there, Fried. I kind of wish I'd just kept this song simple. Fried on bass, me on everything else, Amy Lin reading the text. As a result of skipping, I'd kind of forgotten about the a cappella part, which is supposed to be waking from the repetitious dream.
Thursday's Fool: From my senior recital. This is a very wistful song about loneliness and hope in the face of clear rejection, and the way that feelings of love linger a while even after someone hurts you. So terribly sad, that boy at the piano.
China, Present Day: This thing has a life of its own and probably should form its own band. Unlike so much of this album, this song was actually USED in the movie Flame Cow, as incidental music for Brian Costello's scene, set in.... China, Present Day. Very simple arrangement: drop-D tuned guitar (through a Marshall amp) coupled with a distorted scat and one extra backing vocal to beef up the "Yeah!" part. So popular with other members of the Frumples Pictures crew, this has become mandatory incidental music for all subsequent films.
Shiny Dimes: A more uptempo version of a song originally recorded for Archaeology with 12-string guitar instead of keyboard. I like these words, which chronicle three different women who wanted nothing to do with me. I can say this stuff now without feeling quite so stupid since everything turned out pretty well for me in the end.
Fire: This is one of my favorite songs off the album. I actually wrote this song as independent floating sections (including a long pause) whose order is determined by chance, so what serves as the intro today, could be the bridge tomorrow, verses could turn into double-legth, etc. Of course, just like any other planned randomness (see "Break Up" or "Man in the Moon"), order somehow prevails anyway, which I take as a sign. I played all the instruments, but Eric Rorem and Terri Kempton contribute backing vocals and breathing sounds (or in Eric's case, giggling) at the end, which I "flicker-mixed" in keeping with the fire theme --I moved the faders, mutes and pans around rapidly and at random, emulating the way tongues of open fire dance, disappear, and reappear suddenly.
Sorry: I like this song, but it turned out to be a little too hard an arrangement to really nail. I've always been interested in incorporating latin-jazz rhythms, and these are pretty challenging. In retrospect, I should've replaced this song with "Stay," "Need," or "Garbage," but I was somewhat swayed by the fact that this featured all three of us instead of just me, and that Fried had a solo. Listening to it now, it's not a catastrophe, just a little loose. Still, those other three are better. This song's about not being able to help who your heart chooses, from both sides of the equation.
Along: This is Vaunne's favorite off of this album, which is to say it contains the least "ape screaming." I wrote this several years earlier, and had been waiting for the right arrangement, but ultimately kept it pretty much as written --piano and voice. Terri Kempton plays cello and makes fun of the line "I hope you enjoy the way I treat you." Like several others written around the same time (Sonja's Son, Daughter of Our Enemy, Cruel, Hero, Salt of the Memory), this got put on the back burner in part because the lyrics are a little detatched from my actual life, being a post-apocalyptic love song as a loose analogy for loyalty (the others are about: divorce & reconcilliation, parental disapproval of a mate, werewolves & lust, politics & betrayal, and mermaids. No matter what John Fried says, I was defeinitely NOT obsessed with Dungeons & Dragons and Gamma World before becoming obsessed with music).
Creeps: I originally recorded this on 4-track for Archaeology. For this version, I just lifted the 4-track instruments (drums, bass, and multiple guitars), added an extra stereo guitar, and re-recorded the vocals on the cleaner ADAT tracks. I played all the instruments. The lyric is fairly straightforward, musing on the ridiculous hopeful thoughts of "someone" waiting expectantly for an unlikely return call.
Cockroach Crude: This was performed by the Lewis & Clark percussion ensemble at my senior recital. It's a concept piece, expressing the corruption of a future cockroach society by the ghosts of humans trapped in radioactive crude oil. Extremely weighty, relevant issues that needed to be included on this album. Technically, there are two semi-independent 3-person ensembles: the cockroaches (castanets, wood block, and snare) and the ghosts (bass drum, 2 sets of toms). The wood block & castanet play a long morph (as explained in Archaeology's version of Hero: a musical figure that changes very gradually through repetition into a second motif). The ghosts play a series of other themes representative of periods in human social development, which the snare is influenced by and transfers into the morph. The two ensembles otherwise do not play in time with each other. A conductor (in this case, Mark Goodenberger) is required to signal the ghosts and snare when to commence the different phases of their parts.
Deploy Flame Cow: Actual dialogue from Flame Cow (Joh3n O'Meara as Farmer Johannsen, Corinna Buchholz as Milkmaid Petra) followed by the ensuing incidental music that plays under the (SPOILERS!!) montage of destruction. Similar idea to China, Present Day, but lacking that peculiar unduplicatable magic.
When: I think this is a top-5 song. Can't say why, but it's an attention-getter live. Again, let's remember that I'm not really a rock star, and all these platitudes I declare are more than a little sad to read. Coyote-tuned ode to longing and the thrill of pursuit, liberally using images from dreams to make the compelling case and dance craze sweeping the nation (have you done "the when?"). Fried on bass, Speranza soloing, me on the rest.
Birdy: I'm probably off-base, but I think this is a top-20 song. I played all the instruments, and had to punch in all of the tapping fills for the bass part because "I know John Fried, and you sir are no John Fried." I explained the song concept thusly in a Q&A article with Scott Farr, "Birdy came out of wanting a quirky metaphor for being wrong for someone, yet insisting against hope that it could work. It stemmed from a short story idea that I never followed up on, although some of it came out in Robotica, Mine. The original idea is that this girl's sentient parrot falls in love with her in this very cerebral, complicated way, inventing all these manners and rituals which ultimately don't solve the fact that, well, he's a bird and that's just not going to pan out. I was visiting Joh3n O'Meara in Seattle and in the middle of reading Jeanette Winterson's 'Sexing The Cherry' which has these bizarre stream-of-consciousness passages, got inspired, and just started writing little clips that I refined down into the verses." That chord coming out of the piano solo is a microtonal C7, with the 7th midway between major and minor.
If You Had My Eyes: Originally written for Archaeology. Fried on bass, me on the rest. Sad little ditty about wanting to stop a suicide. See, it's a little better when you think I'm just speaking in tongues, isn't it....
Crush: I really like this one, although it doesn't work well live. The chorus is a haiku in meter but not, as Speranza points out, in mu. "A dangerous crush/She murders me with screaming/I die in a hole." The bridge is microtonal (quarter tones) and in a difficult odd time, requiring that Fried play two overlapping bass parts in slightly different tunings to cover the whole part, which he does seamlessly, not that anyone would notice. That may actually be the definition of "seamlessly," but I'll have to ask my dad. Speranza's solo is in a random spin-the-wheel tuning.
Salt of the Memory: I'm really happy with how well Fried & I got the feel of this song. I tend to play in time, but ahead of the beat (I'm at the right rate, but a little ahead), but here, I did the opposite, playing a little bit behind the beat, which feels very good. Very groovy. It took me about 20 takes to play that piano solo. Since college, I've lost my piano chops noticeably. This is clearly due to the fact that I got really angry at the piano proficiency graduation requirement (which meant I had to re-learn the instrument in a very traditional way) and became very sick of practicing piano as a result. As mentioned elsewhere, this song's ostensibly about mermaids. Deadly mermaids. Avast, ye mateys!
Love Is A Secret: Another texture-guitar arrangement. Poor Cyranno. This just missed the cut for re-recording for Least Significant Failures/I Love You, Helicopter (I recorded/lifted 43 songs. This and Dollface were the first two alternates).
Patience: I love this song. The words are a stream of consciousness imagery canvas, although the chorus has a straightforward meaning that might be stated by a raving lunatic as "Just you wait! Just you wait! You'll all see! You are destined to be mine!" Nice live version of this on Clapping Sold Separately. The two pieces of text are also stream-of-consciousness (written down, obviously) meditations on unrequited love.
ALITB: Joel Pietsch played this at my senior recital. I love his interpretaion and lazy swinging feel. He played three separate piano pieces for me at the recital and prepared for them without much direction from me. I trusted him completely, and I'm glad I didn't get involved, because on paper, I wouldn't have supported some of the interpretive choices he made that worked out so nicely.
Everything: Will the X-Files references seem hopelessly dated ten years from now? Probably, since they already seem dated right now. Great Speranza solo. Oh that's funny, I forgot that I actually do say, "I'm waiting: you are destined to be mine!" just like the raving lunatic interpreting "Patience."
No One Could: I'd say top-10, inching into top-5 for this song. When we recorded this for Monkey Eat Monkey, I realized that it was actually a lot better than I originally thought, and decided to re-record it with the band. Speranza plays all the guitars, Fried on bass, me on drums and vocals. Everything as it should be. As mentioned in the MEM recording, this is "all the negative thoughts eroding at a battered confidence (not mine, obviously --I was dynamite with the ladies in 1998)."
Cruel: Long on the back burner since it is technically a werewolf's lusty lament, the Monkey Eat Monkey recording (this is just a remix of that) made me reconsider its overall quality. I like how I make decisions about songs based on factors that I should be acutely aware have no relevance to my listeners/captives such as "what is this song about" which would be almost universally-answered by audiences everywhere as "gobbledygook!" Maybe that's the basis of my limited appeal. As Seal says regarding his decision not to publish his lyrics in the liner notes of his albums, "I want the words to mean what you want them to mean, not what I want them to mean." To me, a song about werewolves and impulses of the flesh. To you, a song about stabbing your boss in the eye. You're welcome.
Love Is Paper: This is another augmented live track like Monkey Eat Monkey's "Make Still Your Wings." The original track was Speranza and myself playing two acoustic guitars at the Borders Books on County Line in Denver. We played some very good shows there, which --like Gussies-- are ideal for subsequent studio augmentation because of their pristine lack of audience noise. The additional elements are: me playing drums with bound dowels, Fried playing bass (and during the breakdown, rhythmically buzzing his open patch cord with his fingers), and Liz Trice, Libby Martin, & Terri Kempton all singing backup and joining the scat. Liz performs the solo scat --she's a bassist and singer/songwriter I used to run into at open stages. She is the only other singer I ever came across who incorporated so much scat into her live performance. I'm fairly certain that I never gave her a contributor copy of this album. Liz, if you're out there.... Only Terri pulls off the fake spontaneous laugh I asked the singers to insert into their performance when I make my hi-llarious joke as the song winds down. Cat is the only person in attendance at the original gig (possibly because at the time, he couldn't drive away).
That Dress: This was supposed to remain a true hidden track, with "Love is Paper" labeled "Hidden Track" on the track listing, but in actuality containing two songs. I think hidden tracks in the CD era are funny (hence: "it's not like you're not gonna find it."). Mastering engineer, Ty Tabor, however, misinterpreted my instructions and added a start-ID for this one as well. But I have to forgive that lapse because he's one of the greatest guitarists of all time in one of the greatest bands of all time. Tee-hee: I like the chords for this song.