Cody Weathers

Music so hip you'll need a bigger belt

 

Cody Weathers: Least Significant Failures (studio, 2005)

 

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The Songs (as voted by Flipkids Funklub Nerd Patrol (tm))

Disc 1: Best of Days/Leave Me Be/Blue As The Moon/Mad About You/I Am The Moon/It Can't Rain Every Day/I Won't Quit/Goodbye, Dream/Nothing But A Song/Birdy/Something Out/Open Up/One Will Win You/Lost/Puppy/Coyote

 

Disc 2: When/Dead Man's Blues/So Will I/The Sound My Heart Makes/Cruel/Scared/Underneath My Skin/Wardrobe/Make Still Your Wings/Short Leg/Along/My Every Dream's Come True/Fall On Me/No One Could/Dollface(live)

all songs written and arranged by Cody Weathers (c)(p)2005, 1991-2004, Cody Weathers, all rights reserved. No stealing the worthless material, OK?

 

The Skinny:

Now that people have finally stopped paying attention to my band, I've decided to give them what they wanted --the acoustic versions of the songs I play live.  Or played live, back when I did that kind of thing.  Also, I can't actually play these songs live like this anymore because my original band broke up and my new "band" is 75% comprised of tiny baby girls or other non-musician participants.  Also, I've forgotten how to play most of them.  All sales are final, by the way.

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Don't Hate the Players: 

Cody Weathers: All voices and instruments except....

 

John Fried: bass on When, So Will I, No One Could, Dollface.

John Speranza: guitar on  So Will I, No One Could, Dollface, guitar solo on When.

Larry Elwood: upright bass on Fall on Me, Blue as the Moon.

Terri Kempton: cello on Along.

Derek Sanchez: Percussion on Dollface.

 

MP-FREES:

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    Liner Notes

    Are not the Greatest Hits the Least Significant Failures? What? No, you shut up. Shut up and listen to this intimate acoustic trio masterpiece, that is! David Caruso (or someone like him) raves, "I.....like.....it."

     

    Somehow different from UFO Catcher! Singer/songwriter/guitarist/drummer/bassist/keyboardist Cody Weathers transcends genre! Gender too!

     

    ************************

    LOS ANGELES, CA: December 10th, 2005.

    Griffin Buboe, special correspondent

    The joint is literally jumping.  2000 sweating, writhing fans hopping and pumping their fists in unison, screaming along with the band onstage in elegant orgasmic catharsis.  "You are the soil/You want the stars/I am the moon/I am the moon."  Spotlights track madly across the stage, flame pots explode in time with the infectious syncopation.  Cameras are rolling, everyone is dancing, listening, grooving, digging it.  The balcony is raucously rattling and may break loose from the pure pandemonium.  How many times have I witnessed this scene in my dreams, and now it's really happening right before my eyes, and yet my heart is breaking.  Brooke Burke is wearing a blindfold for a miniskirt, but I can hardly bear to ogle.  Dave Navarro is playing air drums exactly like he's never played air drums before.  The song is over and the singer is showered with panties --befitting the limp rags he has reduced himself to.  You've got to give him that.  Every monkey in the joint goes bananas.  I can't bring myself to clap.  Fried and Speranza rise from their thrones.  Speranza takes the wireless mic from Navarro, "At last, our band is complete again.  Jesse Palmer, you are the one.  You are the new singer of Flip Nasty."  Fried selects a single red rose, and together they ascend to the stage and embrace the chosen one.

     

    "Yeah.  I wish it could have been me.  I always wanted to have a gig like that.  Just once.  I know it's a little ingenuine for TV and all, but still...  It hurts to miss out on that."  Cody Weathers is drawing a cartoon bear for his daughter Cara at the kitchen table in his inauspicious home in Portland, Oregon.  We're debriefing about the wrap-up of ROCK STAR: FLIP NASTY, the wounds still fresh.  I feel a kinship with this man.  We're more than just interviewer and subject.  We're like blood brothers, soldiers in the fight to bring Nerd Rock to the people, and the battle has seemingly been won, but the victory is not ours to savor.  The price paid was high.  Too high.

     

    "I keep going over my strategy.  Maybe I was overconfident.  I mean, Week One, I was like, 'hey guys, it's me, let's put the hi-8s behind us and make some killer rock and roll.'  Then that look in Speranza's eyes.  Just flat.  Emotionless.  'I'm sorry, Cody, you're just not right for our band, Flip Nasty.'"  Weathers looks out over the rainy landscape then finishes his thought, "Leaving the Rock Star Mansion was probably the hardest thing I've ever gone through."

     

    "For what it's worth, I thought you nailed 'Pretty One' to stave off elimination," I offer.

     

    Weathers winces.  He's not so sure.  Privately self-critical, deep, and tortured.  "It's never been my best song.  I'm notorious for messing up the words.  I guess that's why they chose it --to test me.  And I guess --to be fair-- you can't really be the lead singer of Flip Nasty if you can't sing all the Flip Nasty songs.  But still, I thought I did better than that JD Fortune guy."  Fortune, winner of the prior ROCK STAR: INXS contest, was a return contestant, having been ignominiously dismissed from INXS after a heated court battle with fellow Aussie alphabet band ACDC, who successfully argued that Fortune's "Pretty Vegas" song (which factored prominently in his surprise victory over the more professional, more talented, and more popular Marty Casey) was nothing more than a crude re-working of their own smash hit "Thunderstruck."  Week One saw Weathers, Fortune, and Chip Malcontent (former lead singer of Wretched Refuse) in the bottom three, fighting for their survival.  The remaining members of Flip Nasty parceled out the tunes.  To Weathers, "Pretty One," to Fortune, "Blue as the Moon," to Malcontent, "When."

     

    I love all Flip Nasty songs equally, but even my eyebrows raised at the seemingly obvious gap in song popularity apparent in these choices.  Weathers concurs in his own subdued way, "Yeah, it was kind of unfair.  I'd say that those are two of my best songs, and 'Pretty One,' well.... I mean I like it and all, but it's not exactly wearing out the jukebox, if you know what I mean." 

     

    Daughter Cara (age: 21 mos), as if to comfort her forlorn father, points to the number seven.  "Seben!"

     

    "That's right sweetie; good job!  Anyway, I guess I wish them well in their new incarnation, even though I'm having a hard time coming to grips with the fact I won't be a part of it."

     

    Wish as we may that great art might be inspired by joy, it is the sad truth that the fuel that keeps the flame of creativity lit is pain.  "This experience really opened my eyes to how much things have changed.  I mean, I'm not 22 anymore.  My life is different.  I've got a family to think of, and with that come new priorities and responsibilities.  But this kind of rejection really forces you to reflect on what went wrong, and let me just say this: message received and understood.  When I came back home from LA, my wife sat me down and told it to me pretty straight.  She said, 'look, I know it hurts you to hear this, but they're right about you: you're NOT right for Flip Nasty any more.  Everybody but you seems to realize that nobody likes your loud screaming and screaming guitars.  I keep telling you, but you just keep ruining your nice songs with screaming and loud screaming guitars.  You should re-do those songs less screamily, OK?  Welcome back.'"

     

    A similar message was soon reiterated by Dixie Rorem, wife of long-standing Weathers sounding board, Eric Rorem.  "You should stop tricking everybody by playing everything acoustic live, then all heavy metal and hard to listen to on the CDs.  See, Marketing 101, mister: give them what they came for.  I have an MBA."

     

    Even Cara had some thoughts on the matter, " I say to Dada, 'Hey Dada, you use this tar, OK?  It is a good one and sound pretty, OK?  Don't use that one because it might be mad, OK?  This is the good one to use.  Use this drum with your hands like Cara drum, OK?  Sing pretty, Dada.  Don't be mad.  Be pretty like Cara.  Sing the nice songs pretty, OK?  Go.  Dada do it!  Sing Catnip song, please.  All done.'"

     

    Younger daughter Hadley (age: 4 wks) concurs, "Ah."

     

    "At some point, you just get tired of being nagged by everybody and give in.  That's where I'm at now."

     

    And so Least Significant Failures came to pass.  An acoustic collection of the best Weathers songs from the past 15 years.  Songs that have evolved through countless intimate performances in venues like La Dolce Vita, The Rising Phoenix, Caffe Sole, Higher Grounds, and Abstract Cafe.  To the faithful, this is a masterwork, featuring all the nuanced flair that delighted us in those happier days.  "My ten remaining fans --and I'm acutely aware that only eight of them aren't also spinning blades that stir the air in my house, so put your hands down-- voted on which songs to include, and I just sat down and tried to create the acoustic trio version of them: acoustic guitar, djembe, bass, and vocals.  Most of the time, that's it.  I pulled a few songs off earlier albums when the mix was already there, but I ended up re-recording quite a bit of material.  This time, I admit I played all the instruments."

     

    Says Vaunne of the finished product, "This is only half of what I asked for.  I said no screaming.  There's still too much screaming, although the guitars are a lot better.  And also, sometimes I can't even tell the difference between his singing and scatting.  But I'm not even going to fight that battle.  In a marriage, you have to compromise, so I guess I'll let him go ahead on with the unintelligible whatnot."

     

    To paraphrase JD Fortune's infamous lyric: "It ain't pretty after the show, it ain't pretty when the pretty leaves you with no place to go.  But if you think you want it, here's the place to get it.  You've been.... THUNDERSTRUCK!"

     

    I have.  Have you?

     

     


    Lyrics:

     

    Best of Days: How long did I know her with her kindness and its lubricant mistakes? How long did I gaze into those startled eyes before I knew my heart would break? Now it's four in the morning, I've just seen a ghost, I know something has died. Singing songs to keep my boogies back, I don't listen to a thing but the fundamental ring of "I love you, love you, Cody" CH: She's only really busy, I'm only just another minute away, I'm lying, she don't love me --just a pleasant disinterest on the best of days. Someone smack my head, I'm only getting channel 83. How long have desire and its partner, passion, had their way with me? Now it's four in the morning, I've just seen a ghost --it stomped and said my name. Singing songs.... How long before those roses how sweet bitter up? How cushioned can that hammer be? Now it's four in the morning, where's my angel when these ghosts are walking by? Singing....

    Leave Me Be: Who's going to cut me now your razor lips are gone? Maybe there's someone that you know. I close my eyes and pray the sirens take me quickly. Who's going to roast me nice and slow? CH: I know you think I'm nothing, but this is the one heart I can be. And you say "Settle down, are you crazy Listen up, understand you've got to leave me be." I went to the wishing well to throw my tin away. Whispered the willow on the way. "To chase a doe," she said, "means the doe is running. You're still a coyote to this day." CH Bridge: I don't believe that fairies stole your heart or that that bite is from a passing shark. I think you really must've had to know.

     

    Blue as the Moon: Red is the moment I'm blue as the moon. Me, me, me --what's wrong with me? Where's my hidden head? It is I, the fox, and you the wary lamb. You'll be back, you mark my words --I know your favorite trails. It is I, the fox. I'm after you again. CH. Come to me, my birthday wish. Oh where's my secret bride? It is I, the fox, and you've no place to hide. You will need my magic ways --I know your fairy tales. It is I, the fox; I'm taking you inside. CH. You, you, you --what's wrong with you? Why are you still crying? It is I, the fox, and you the bluest eyes. Please, my darling, shut the door. Alone within this gale. It is I, the fox. I'm shedding my disguise


    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

    I Am The Moon: I am your glass medallion, silver dollar watching you above your shoulder. Following your walks at night. Kissing you with pleasant light. CH:You are the soil, you want the stars. I am the moon, I am the moon. I can elude your vision from beyond the trees, in your shadow or a cloudy breeze. I pull your oceans, blood and tears --indirectly hold you near. CH Bridge: Let my lunacy keep your heart. Let my lunacy light your dark. I am your glass medallion, silver dollar watching you above your shoulder Safety in my icy light --beacon of your dreams at night.

    It Can't Rain Every Day: Hey, hey, it's time to gather 'round, time to hear the tale of a sad and lonely boy who dreamed of love, a tale begun in secret long ago --a damsel knew him well and spun her sad heart on a copper wire through endless rain. Hey, hey, these are things that damsels do, but he lit the hidden fires that burned himself and warmed no one. A quest was made for Fall, when leaves and lives are changed and hearts are broken, every single one. CH:It can't rain every day, sometimes clouds must go away. Goodbye storm, goodbye rain, it's a new day. Hey, hey, it's time to take a shot, time to speculate and take the risks at once you dream and fear. The only things worth having have a price, you know, but sometimes you make back what you paid and more. Hey, hey, the price he paid was high, weighed in blood and gold the worth of what he sought could make him well. You pack your bags, you drive your car through dusty towns on wheels of fire. You go to her, you mend your heart, do what you have to do. CH. I lost my faith in finding love then it found me when I just stood still. Hey, hey, the love we found was good, easy, deep and true, and better than we dreamed that love could be. We traded rings, we traded vows, we made a family name. We found our dream, we found our hearts, did what we had to do.

    I Won't Quit: Angry at everyone who wants me to put my head on the block. Push me, pull me, ridicule me; shatter my knees, then expect me to walk. Ask me who's to blame, aren't you to blame, don't you have shame little boy? CH: I won't quit though I might be left alone. You can have your way, but you can't have my will. Helpless, lunging out, shadows of doubt are cutting my light off. Bleeding from my mouth and from my eyes, I want to break you, too. Ask me who's to blame, I'm not to blame: Why do I fear for myself? CH. Oh, I'm not holding right. How much longer can I keep resisting? Oh, I'm not up in time. Switch of willow breaks my knuckles. Cry tears of salt and ice. Break me down, I know it's coming. Oh, I'm not holding right. Slip into the air. Ask me who's to blame, you are to blame, and I don't care anymore.

     

    Goodbye, Dream: CH: Goodbye, dream, I'm waking and I'm tired. Goodbye, dream, I've got bills to pay. Goodbye, dream, you were sweet hallucination. Goodbye, dream, you were sweet, but I cannot stay. Grind my bones to make his bread, I'm hungry and I'm mean. No surprises in the gristle of the throng. Reading day-old news, I tuck my shirt. Her body is electric fire. Sometimes I think of money all day long. (CH) This alarm and this, my money. Bank account is always just enough to get by if I just hang on. Buy the house and room for baby, second car and one day, maybe, feel like there's a shadow when I'm gone. (CH) Imperfect I, imperfect always, I. Struggle on, strive and fail, fall and rise, imperfect always I.

    Nothing But A Song: Goodbye, Renee. Though you haven't heard your name, rest assured it was you. Another day seemed so easy to obtain, now I don't know what I knew. But it seems like you're just one more time I toed too much and crossed the line. Now it strikes me you and I were nothing but a song, I hope you get along. Double-dared, but the profit's not to share. Cathybear, now it's you. Never fair that my friends can paint who cares while I don't know what you'll do. CH: But I hope you're not just one more time I toe too much and finally cross the line. If it's true that you and I are nothing but a song, I hope you'll sing along. Patience, seize me --struggle me some sense. Rapture, tease me --mock me for a prince. I loved your life, but I said it to your face, now I wait day-to-day.

    Birdy: I am the bird, I am the bird who's known to peck at people's cats, a nervous bird who broke a wing, now I need a nurse --you look so good in white. I want to move into your nest. Look me in the eye and tell me you don't want to fly. You can't imagine what a bird would have to do to get a crack at you --thinking only small cracks do the real big harm-- you can't believe that I'm the biggest in this room. You think a bird is just a bird, but I can love you. I broke that wing when I was looking at your picture. A careless bird, but one who's not afraid to love. You say you're worried --after all, you own a cat, and don't I peck them? Would she eat me? Am I sure I've really thought the whole thing through? You can reject me for your feelings if you want to. I'm just a bird, and you say, "even birds should know a line exists." You might remember, in the air, the rules are different, and you have to climb to reach the open space. Chorus: Think of me kindly, ruffle my plumes, open my birdcage, brighten its rooms. It's today, it's today, you can't believe it's today. Chorus. Pour me my water, feed me my food, give me a cracker, good birdy good.

     

    Something Out: If I could have the wisdom to know when my mouth runs away.... I'd be a better man to fight your pain if I knew what I should say. If I could have the courage to let a spark grow into flame, I'd be a warmer man beneath the stars by a fire that lasts the rain. CH: Haunt me, hook me, overlook me, throw my heart a bone. I miss you when you're gone, so why can't we work something out. If I could have the tick-tocks to work the knots out of this cord, I'd be a better man who knew you well, but time I can't afford. I must confess impatience has cost me more than I could pay. Were I a better man, I'd read your mind, but I fear I've lost the way. CH. Br: Haunt me, hook me, overlook me, throw my heart a bone. How much time is there, anyway? How much time?

    Open Up: The future sits, and her ears are open. Liquor sipless, tableside. Her eyes are fixed, she's got long-stemmed fingers, scarless hands.... copper pride. CH: She doesn't suspect a thing, but she's going to be Mrs. Me. Knock, knock, knock, knock --open up, I've come to get your heart. Did you ever have such a precious moment when you knew for certain something good? They fizzle out like an old sensation --the scent of rain or familiar wood. CH. I look at her and know my way --the endless days I'll contemplate. Maybe I could buy some guts today. I can't believe that an ounce of kindness --one funny story-- is all it takes to bring her close like a cloud of morning or star with eyes of long embrace.

     

    One Will Win You: She, the queen of Holland, will have need of an irregular American boy. A stranger seeking water, I will be her only guide. Watch, as I presume her wonders one by one. Her smart jokes in crude jars, her weeping heart wants food. Chorus: A dream we shared, a sign. They all will want you, one will win you. She, the mask of baubles, and behind her, I have put my heart. A bottle for an endless thirst, I will fill her with the things I want. Watch as I, the thief of dreams, assume desire. I am her secret heroin, fixed butter thick in dulcet veins. CH. I drove her to a place I loved, a place that had burned down. She said, "of all the ones to fawn, I knew you'd be the first to fall."

    Lost: Lost and high, the rock that bore your love to me. My roof is splinters, my bed is warm. Trope you like a daisy, swallow your fuel so you won't go, but you go. Like a storm, a million years of rain and dust. My heart is breaking. Your ship is flown. Breathe you like an atmosphere, follow your trail so you won't know, but you know. Chorus: Lost. Saturn's eye, the ring that bound my loyalty. Your moons are embers, your seas are foam. Tug you like a ripple, all of your tides will turn to me.

     

    Puppy: Are they all like you in Bremerton, where the water meets the land? You've got apples on the waves you ride, but there's poison in your hand. I can't screw up what I can't see. Your puppy dog features are a trap to me. Did your mommy dearest tell you right about the way this whole thing works? You've got questions in your sharken eyes. Did you know that this would hurt? I can't screw up what I can't see. Your poison-pup perceptions are a wall to me. You have your invitations, as thin as thin can be. Did you listen when I told the truth. Was there arsenic in your ear. There's still time to pull your rotten tooth --spit the food that brings you tears. I can't defend what I don't know. Your puppy woman customs are away from home. Must I hear another treatise, dear? Ain't it time to say goodnight? You can nibble long upon my ear --I can't feel another bite. I can't screw up what I can't see. Your puppy woman secrets are a mystery. Do they pine for you in Washington? Do they miss your sorrow eyes? Do they stop your lips with eager tongues? Do they sugar you with lies? I can't retract what I don't cause. Your thorny little trail is gonna shred your paws. Your baby bones bending in another way, trying to burst into a brighter day. Will you break if you don't get your way. I'm over here, prying with my 2x4, trying to give you just a little more room to push aside the bitter door. Are they all like you in Bremerton?

    Coyote: So cold says the coyote as the willow whips the crow. So quick, thick, and easy just to let these arrows go. I try not to break you, says the coyote to the snow. It's hot-fought and rotten, but it's the only food I know. Chorus: Seeking my anguish, this dog loves a tree. Fill me with warmth, and I'll feed you with me. I know I travel to die at your knee. Take me from cold, and I'll feed you with me. So fierce is the fire that the willow might explode. So cold is the coyote, he forgets the ashen crow. She whispers and touches with her passion underglow. The canopy collapses, and the coyote smokes his bones. Chorus. So cold, screams the coyote, and his hide it heals too slow. So scabbed-up and skinless, I'm a skeleton, I know. I pause just to die here --let my inside-out unfold. Silent seeds turn to saplings, sprouting willows feed and grow. Chorus. Feed me with fire and I'll feed you with me.

     

    When: Yes, I would f*** you for days in a windowless, steamy room, reveling in the salmon and brine of you, ordering pizza and Chinese food until the bank man came and cut my hand off, covering you with chocolate, licking the sweat from your thighs, burying my sadness in your lollipop eyes. Fall into my fat arms, take me out and shoot me by the car. It's who you are. CH: When will you be my girl, when will you belong to me. Yes, I hunger for your lanky frame and the sexy thrust-slouch of your deep smooth hips all over me like a blanket of paws. If you don't see me soon, don't you think you will explode? Sneaky me, I knit you a mask, and I ask you to dance and dance and dance. Sexy you, you left the love ray on, and I'm falling in as I write my song. Fall into my fat arms, pull me back, and kill me with a look. You wrote the book. CH. I'm in panic; you were just seen laughing. I'll be fine if I can just stop bleeding. Yes, I would weasel my way to the bed that ties you down. Shanghai me, soft and enslaved by a love that never drowns, swabbing the decks for your sharking crew --all you redhead pirates, buccaneers, you. Saving you from danger on the burning ship, tasting love's cool language on your popsicle lips. My brain is smart, my heart is good, my eyes are buttons made of wood, and love a stone on my tongue.

    Dead Man's Blues: I've got the waking man's fever, the dead man's blues, I'm bundled in a blanket with only you to think of, and I know you think it too. I've got the wisdom of children that guides my head, I think about logic, but blush instead to turn you from your titan and his bed. CH:But I will retain your heart when it's over. You and your rattletrap cargo are overdue, you're hunting through the islands for something new to chew on, and you know I taste it too. You say the thunder doesn't scare you when you're alone, you only wanted weakness to draw someone beside you. Now this weakness is your own. CH. Something quite disturbing when you turn yourself upon your past. Still, I am invited, though there is no promise this will last. I've got the waking man's fever, the dead man's blues, I'm tripping on my coffin in these new shoes, do you hear that? Because the titan hears it too.

     

    So Will I: Sweet little line of color and sound, I can't see the shape you follow as the song breaks down. Soft little pace creeps with the ground. Will my blanket shield you when I turn around? Sweet little spot, mumbled and hot, creepers spill like ivy that the seed forgot. Soft little nest, bitter and blessed, linger for the first and only time we kissed. Chorus: I see anger in your eyes, I'm not blind, I'm not blind. I say dogs and babies die; so will I, so will I. Sweet little drop of liquid and silk, pushing slowly, sliding coarsely like spider's milk. Soft little bud yearns for the flood. Speak the drop as if it were your aching blood. Chorus. Soft was the whispered breath, muttering and stuttering. Hot thorns with blood to press, always wistful, wondering. Sweet little face of mangoes and sand, please don't slide aside from shape in my shaking hand. Soft little eye, deep as the sky, I would be your chattle if you wouldn't cry. Chorus.

    The Sound My Heart Makes: Forever, and I knew the second I caught a glimpse. At once, I was free of the purposeless weight in my eyes. And I knew there was no question if, just when, and praying for soon. The worth of the world is a treasure hid deep, but if you find it, stop looking. Pre-CH: You were the only girl that I ever adored, and you were the one true thing in my life. CH: And I know you by your face, but first I know you by the sound my heart makes. A secret and then a shock when the truth was out. All voltage is tension turned loose. And I knew there was no question why, just how, and praying for right. Is a heart attack good if the shock you get brings you new life? (Pre-CH/CH)

     

    Cruel: When it comes, best run fast, wild legs might still outlast you. I'm ashamed there's no control: silver moon makes animal. CH: Cruel, now there's blood in your eye, and you're trying not to cry, but you think that you want to. I'm so sorry. I recall number one. High school, I was having fun when in the sky, like a song, guides my growling teeth along. CH. It can control the sea, so why not me --there's blood in me. Yes, it's true I hunted you. What else was I supposed to do? Silver thorns break my heart. Slow and deep, I fall apart.

    Scared: Spicy auburn daughter of the sun, in the rain, your father sleeps, his hatchet stance be stung. Would the moon, your mother, cast an eye over every passion pair to capture you and I? You've been hearing naiads in the stream wash their tales of awkwardness, whisperings of me. Are you pushing nails into my brain? Cling to me like creeper then you question me like chain. CH: What are you scared of? I don't kill little girls. Sugar in your pockets can't remain. Turn their secrets to the air and wash them in the rain. You are not so bound to think things through. Analyze to paralyze when you must feel the truth. CH. Bridge: The desert blooms between us in a heat borne by a fog. I can feel your father steaming, trying to burn this water off. Shimmer-dancing daughter of the moon, wrapped in sheets of gossamer, I'll spin you out real soon. You've become a hammer in my heart. Fastened like an April bud, I'll chase you, chase you like a spark.

     

    Underneath My Skin: I have kissed your name on paper, I have held your breath in lungfuls, I have thought of you as if you were my first. I've held your hand in bad times, in my dreams, and at the movies. I have tasted you until my lips would burst. CH: And now it's you underneath my skin. I have been with you forever like a suitcase full of danger. I have bundled you in warm and woolly mesh. I've huddled you together like a sympathetic stranger, but there's voltage unaccounted flesh to flesh. CH. Bridge: So if you think of me at all, it might be time a hint could fall. Do I itch you in the way you fret my hide most every day? I have eaten from your table, from your plate, and from your fingers. I have salted every tear, each glycerine drop. I've wished upon a star, upon a planet, and a spaceship. Such a wishing, once begun, is hard to stop.

    Wardrobe: Seven days of residence in the swell of lioness. Beauty listless, teapots kill, flannel makes me love her still. Seven nights of loneliness, seven dreams, a secret kiss. Bedboard rafts, her sheets the sails, longing floats the blood of whales. CH: Open your eyes you were sleeping, don't be surprised, you were dreaming. Into the wardrobe we'll break through. Into the wardrobe I'll take you. Seven roads of emptiness to the gates of happiness. Spin the wheel, pull the oar, winter makes me want her more. CH. Though I can never fly, teach me to dream. Seven weeks of saltiness, missing sugar from her lips. Stand the muscle, seek the bones, love is dreams of "welcome home." CH. You had your dreams, now you hold them in your hands, never let them go.

     

    Make Still Your Wings: Tight the stripe that winds the frame --I wonder does it squeeze the shape? Do the fingers find me on their own? Like a swan from out the sun, you glimmer on as moves the dawn. If I catch your feather, will you fall? CH: Feather, fall down to me. Darling, make still your wings. Shelter under my tree. Darling, make still your wings. Hollow you as light as air, as heavy as a rainy tear. Gripped by fog, you struggle with my storm. CH. Spinning like an apple in the sun and rain, when your seeds fall out like diamonds, I shall plant their grain. Flashing and reacting like you have no pain, but your head is in the larder and your bones are in the lane. CH. Fly over my golden-draped abode. feather, fall down to me. Touch me with your shape and face --wrap me in your bones. Darling, sway into me. Sharp the teeth that bite the knave that crushed the fruit that filled the cave. Do the strangers bind without a home?

    Short Leg: Eighteen and feeling mean. Leaping in love with the junkyard queen. Darling, if I could, I'd hold you down. Don't trip on the short leg now. Antiques all new and clean. Mistaking myself for Jimmy Dean. Darling, if I could, I'd cause a frown. Don't trip on the short leg now. CH: I will bounce back from this, I do bounce back. Nineteen and living lean. Nothing for me on the classroom scene. Darling, if I could, I'd be your clown. Don't trip on the short leg now. Twenty and I loved you plenty. Saying crazy things I knew I meant, yeah. Honey, how'd I turn out to I let you down? Don't trip on the short leg now. CH. Bridge: There's no one in the world I can hold. There's no one in the world that's my own. Twenty-one, I'll need someone. Doing all the things I've always done. How about you, would you like to drown? Don't trip on the short leg now.

     

    Along: Would you kiss me good morning if we were the last two fools to flee from here to somewhere underground? Do you love me 'cause I'm funny? I know you don't love me for my money. Chorus: I think I'm turning into one more reason I should go. You think I'm taking you along. If my pantry was empty, would you still marry me in December, when everything is cold? I'm walking through the alleys; the fields of our fathers have been fallow for a thousand years or more. Chorus. Onto the thorny trail, the gates are closed behind us. Two bags of memories on our backs. Are we chasing a dragon? I hope you enjoy the way I treat you. Chorus. Looks like I'm taking you along.

    My Every Dream's Come True: Don't you know that you are every bit as slick as fire, every bit as free as wind and rain is free to move about this Earth? Oh you could have anything, anything your heart desires. Anything, so long as you have me. I will be your soldier, I will be your shoulder, something of a savior, husband, lover, clown, and friend. Carry me in the box inside your heart. CH: When I dream at night, every dream is you. When I wake, my every dream's come true. Don't you know that you are every scrap of air I breathe, every piece of love I need to love the air I'm breathing? Oh we could be anywhere, anywhere there's love and air. Anywhere, so long as we're together there. Kiss me at the altar, any time you falter, stumble, cry or fall, that kiss will be my call, and I'll come running, I'll come running. Carry me.... CH. Hey, someday's every day now. Someday is here.

     

    Fall On Me: If trust is like blood, then by liter by liter you save me when solitude stings me and nobody knows what to say. You are the beacon that straightens me through the deep water --shows me to shore in the gloaming new light of the day. CH: Fall on me, fall on me, fall on me, I'll catch you if you fall. As friendship comes kinship and deeper to deeper I know you. As water to blood as you come to understand me. The indigo rose is blue as the deepest dead ocean. The wolf in the moon is red as the hurricane sea. CH. Howl the wind low, rise the waves high --your port come under siege. There in the swell rides the waves I, and beckon come with me.

    No One Could: If you're with me, you will leave me. If you love me, you're a liar. If you meet me, you'll avoid me. If you see me, you'll go blind. Chorus: I'm alone. No one loves me, no one could. I'm so ugly, you must hate me. You must trick me with your eyes. If I trust you, you'll betray me when you tell me it's all right. Chorus. I was choking on the promise, I'm afraid of love. I'm afraid of loving you. If you kiss me, you control me. If you hold me why, why, why, oh why? If you need me, you don't know me. If you want me, it'll die. Chorus.

     

    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.


    Listening Log:

    This is my newest "Greatest Hits" album, only I don't actually have any hits.  I am a failure and therefore, my songs are also failures by extension.  The degree of abomination present in my body of work ranges from catastrophic to these, the Least Significant Failures.  Ta-da!  Rather than simply gather up existing recordings and repackage them, the concept for this album was to re-record much of the material to make it consistent with a.) my current performance skill and b.) my standard acoustic sound.  To select the material, I made my own ranking of the best songs that I've written and also got input from THE FANZ in the form of a very cute vote (list the top 15-20 songs in no particular order and indicate preference for acoustic vs electric).  All told, about 70 songs came under consideration.  The top vote-getters were So Will I (clear #1 choice) followed by a 6-way tie for 2nd between Birdy, Leave Me Be, Mad About You, Nothing But A Song, Underneath My Skin, and When.  The voters also overwhelmingly chose an acoustic album.  With few exceptions, these songs portray a consistent virtual acoustic ensemble of vocal, acoustic guitar, bass, and djembe.  Unless otherwise noted, I played all the instruments.  Even though these have all been covered elsewhere, I'll reiterate a little bit about what each song is about here.

     

    Best of Days: This is a new recording.  Jay Millas of the ill-fated Craig's Band felt that a rough mix of this sounded like a Volkswagen commercial.  I --and the proud nation of Germany-- are very happy with how this one turned out.  For those who didn't read it elsewhere, this song is about coping with the reality that someone you like doesn't like you back, despite what you thought the signs said (originally recorded on Guitool).

     

    Leave Me Be: I decided to ratchet up the tempo a little for this new version.  This is the second song in the Coyote song cycle, about pride and rejection.  Naturally, I had to re-introduce the hut-hut mania.

     

    Blue As The Moon: My notorious signature song of chromatic seduction.  This is the 2000 version, originally appearing on the Stunt Beatles 2x3<4 album (with Larry Elwood of SB playing upright bass here, but me covering the rest), then later recycled on The Tale of a Sad & Lonely Boy Who Dreamed of Love.  I consider this to be my best song.

     

    Mad About You: New version of a song recorded twice before, on As Rome Burns then later on River Dreams.  This is more similar to the River Dreams version, but more reflective of how I play it live.  That decsion to clap in the backup vocals was a spontaneous choice I made while recording the first BUV.  This is about recognizing that someone you want wants someone else and letting go.

     

    I Am The Moon: This is my daughter Cara's (age 2) current favorite "Dada song."  Hadley (6 months) has no stated preference for the record.  Thin metaphor masks theme beaten to death by songwriters (approximately 300 blows coming from me) throughout the ages: "I'm the one who's there for you, but you love someone else, oh why don't you love me, I'm so terribly sad."  This 5-groove and refrain came to me in a dream about being taken to rock school by Alice in Chains (as in getting schooled in an old-fashioned rock-off!)  I like odd-time songs that don't stick out as too herky-jerky, and hopefully I've accomplished that here (of course, if nobody pays attention, nothing about the song sticks out).

     

    It Can't Rain Every Day: This is the uncharacteristically-uplifting story of how I fell in love with my wife and dropped everything to be with her.  This is the original version, lifted off of The Tale....  Cara calls this one (straight on the heels of her favorite) "Hey hey!"

     

    I Won't Quit: New recording of the song originally off Drive By pushes the tempo in a shuffle.  This is about standing up for yourself and not letting the bastards get you down.

     

    Goodbye, Dream: This is lifted straight off of Fortnight because I'll never nail that bass part again.  On the surface, this is about waking up and going to work, but it is also an exploration of maturing into my thrities and realizing how my dreams have changed from things like "being signed to a major label" to things like "being happily married" or (though my kids weren't yet born when I wrote this) "being a good dad."  That notion of family legacy is what I'm getting at with the line "someday maybe feel like there's a shadow when I'm gone."

     

    Nothing But A Song: Written while fully entrenched in a long line of romantic failures, lamenting each as nothing but a song.  Over time, this intro took on a life of its own live.

     

    Birdy: Lifted straight off of Flame Cow.  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.

     

    Something Out: Originally on Less Yackin' More Snackin', this has undergone a lot of change since 1992, steadily becoming more uptempo and strong on the backbeat, as heard here.  Wishing that somehow the force and simplicity of love's feelings could by themselves successfully navigate the social obstacles to romance.

     

    Open Up: Originally on Archaeology, this new version reflects the current semi-shuffle groove.  This is about that optimistic spark that surges through you when you first realize you are falling for someone, an ode to the hope of Ms Right.  By the way, I've felt like a grade-A moron writing these synopses, so I hope it's what you want to know.  Maybe they should all just say, "This is about being a lonely nerd."

     

    One Will Win You: An acoustic version of the surprise hit from the first Sunhouse Branch album.  This has always been difficult to replicate acoustically, but I think I finally tapped into it this time around.  I considered this a throwaway song, written in 1999.  I didn't think much of it because the subject was so stupid --a week-long crush on a Dutch consultant (oh, and I wasn't alone) led me to reflect on the projections I placed upon women I hardly knew ("watch as I presume her wonders, one by one," "a bottle for an endless thirst, I will fill her with the things I want," etc.).  As with most throwaways that I've come to like, the meaning of the words took a backseat to the music in my final assessment.

     

    Lost: Re-recording of a song originally heard on River Dreams.  Metaphor for loving over distance definitively achieved through brilliant extraterrestrial theme.  I won a Cody Weathers award for this one (don't worry, the judges are an impartial panel of my backup singers).  I dominate the competition time and time again!  The original version featured a pretty-much non-replicable experimental outro of event-based alien music --it's fantastic and you should go buy River Dreams right now [not in stores].  Over time, the live scat on this became an increasingly-central part of the song.

     

    Puppy: In high school, I scored the pit music for a play called The Flower That Shattered the Stone.  The original script called liberally for several popular songs from the 60's as a backdrop to a collage of re-interpreted fairy tales.  Someone forgot to tell these neo-Grimms about copyright infringement, however, and an injunction eventually prevented subsequent performers from using such material free of charge just because those songs are cool.  No such injunction against my crummy songs, though!  The fates aligned when, in college, I was able to cross my catchy "Bremer Town Musicians Theme" from the play with some words of inspiration about a cute girl from Bremerton, WA.  I'm a sponge; that's what I do.  This song originally appeared on Pronounced Snausages.  This re-recorded version is fairly faithful to the last time we played this song together (2000 Bolder Boulder).

     

    Coyote: This new version doesn't actually reflect how I play it live, but rather was a spontaneous re-invention of the feel that I found myself preferring.  This song planted a little continuing metaphor that sprouted up in "Leave Me Be" and culminates in "Footsteps."  While I definitely think the idea of a wretched lonely coyote loving a burning willow, preferring to suffer rather than leave her cruel side speaks to universal human truth, perhaps it's better to summarize as a metaphor for poor choices of the heart.

     

    When: Lifted directly off Flame Cow.  Fried on bass, Speranza on the guitar solo.  Can't say why, but this is 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?").

     

    Dead Man's Blues: New recording with a greater emphasis on the ensemble groove centered on the bass part.  Seyca joins the John Speranza lyric interpretation club with this entry: Cody says, "I will retain...." Seyca says, "I wear a ten...."  Not to be outdone, Speranza says, "I'll irritate...."  Yet another lament about loving someone you can't have.  That's right, you, not me.  You should cut that out.  I certainly have.

     

    So Will I: Lifted directly from the Flame Cow re-recording with Fried on bass and Speranza on guitar.  #1 vote-getter for this compilation, 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*****.

     

    The Sound My Heart Makes: Since this is a love song for Vaunne about the excitement of being around her, I went ahead and recorded her an acoustic version she could stand to listen to (original "ape screaming" version available on Fortnight).

     

    Cruel: I love the original on Flame Cow, but this is more representative of how I've come to play it live.  Long on the back burner since it is technically a werewolf's lusty lament, the Monkey Eat Monkey recording 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.

     

    Scared: Ironically, this song probably makes people who previously wouldn't have considered the possibility wonder if I, in fact, might kill little girls.  What a fantastic song of seduction.  We're firmly in the realm of words that I love, but are largely misunderstood because of a.) enunciation and b.) poetic masking.  What I'm saying is: mission accomplished.  This is loosely based on a short story I wrote in college.  And these days, there's almost an unwritten rule that this song be followed by....

     

    Underneath My Skin: I just really like how these two songs flow together, even though they're completely unrelated.  Hopefully this lyric is fairly transparent, because it's intended as a simple declaration of unrealized love.  i.e., "You cute.  Want make date?"

     

    Wardrobe: Cara calls this one "dit-dit-dit" for the ensemble scat figure.  Long one of my favorite up-tempo songs to play live (originally on River Dreams).  I had a mild interstate infatuation with someone my friends definitely wouldn't have approved of, and wrote this in the seven weeks between the two times we saw each other (nothing serious, except arguably for the appearance of total reckless obsession created by writing a song about someone, but seriously, you don't know what it's like).  It's totally embarassing to talk about how something so fleeting and unimportant became the root of something so important to me, but that's how these songs get written --I always have to seize on words and ideas in the moment they come to me, and not worry about whether the feeling I'm working from will end up being particularly worthy.  Welcome to page 53 of my self-important song blog.  Why isn't the hit count higher?  Are you all reading it crowded around one screen?  Do you have popcorn and whatnot?  I'm available, if you'd like me to come over and provide additional commentary during your discussion session.  Shall we open the floor for questions?

     

    Make Still your Wings:  This was originally written as a lullaby.  The tempo has migrated up to the point that I would no longer make that case, but it remains a spooky little dreamy little trance for me.  Not that you should write lullabies for yourself or operate heavy machinery while doing so.  This song was infamously extended to 17 minutes at Gussie's, a recording which was released as an augmented live track on Monkey Eat Monkey.  That was a watershed gig for us, spearheaded by this song, and that kind of free expansion --very much in the vein of how jazz is played live-- became our default live modus operandi pretty much from then on.  This version runs through some expansions, but keeps it to a brief 7:40.

     

    Short Leg: The phrase, "don't trip on the short leg now," is something I told myself driving back to Denver from Portland when I reached Cheyenne at 2 or 3 AM, pushing the last 90 miles home after two hard days of driving.  This song reflects a certain amount of that focus on the final yard for hearts, but mostly just ends up being a song.  Dude, whatever that means.

     

    Along: Directly off of Flame Cow.  This is Vaunne's favorite off of that 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).  Again, it's beyond fantastic that I use song subject matter as the principal barometer of quality (see "Cruel").

     

    Fall On Me: Directly off of 2x3<4 (and later recycled exactly on The Tale....).  I wrote this song for Vaunne's birthday 2000, just before we started dating, as an ode to our friendship and support for each other.  This time the gift of song turned out pretty well for me.  Larry Elwood on upright bass.

     

    No One Could: Directly off of Flame Cow.  When we initially 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)."  At first, I considered this a throwaway song, but subsequently re-evaluated it as one of my best.  It says a lot about your writing ability when the line between garbage and genius is so fine.

     

    Dollface (live): Recorded live at the Rising Phoenix in North Denver with Fried on bass, Speranza on electric guitar, me on acoustic guitar and --obviously-- vocals, and Derek Sanchez on percussion.  This was one of the two source gigs for Clapping Sold Separately, and I'm not really sure why I didn't put this on that disc.  Probably because of my weak stab at some lead work there at the top.  This song has always been a favorite of the band, though I'm not sure what other people really think of it.  I'd imagine very highly.  They regard it very highly, I'm practically positive of it.  And they find me quite dapper.  This song elaborates on a dream I had.  Make that extremely highly.