Flip Nasty: Suck Pumpkin (live, 1993)
Notes on 2000 CD re-release of SUCK PUMPKIN:
Why is this band, in its various mercurial combinations, compelled to a.) play live acoustic and record electric and b.) release cheesy board-direct live albums by the hatful as if they were possessed of an underground fervor, a following --if you will-- of zit-faced, hard-luck, meek, hat-sack-wearing 15-year-old boys with baggy pants and bad breath, pawing methodically through the S-stack in the used CD store, looking for that one missing plum to their otherwise-complete Roque/Splat Monkey/El Squeako/Flip Nasty box set? It's quite a sentence, but entirely necessary. I'll be honest with you, this is not exactly Buddokan or Leeds. Suck Pumpkin fails to really rise to peerage with the great live albums of rock and roll. And what's with Weathers' peculiar constipated "stylings?" If you're going to buy just one live album from this band, then it's too bad that you're reading these liner notes because you've bought the wrong one. I mean, it could be worse --you could've bought How about a Beating, Winter on Mercury, The Bootleg Nobody Else Would Make, or Señor Squeaky. Wait, don't look at me like that.... Oh man, you did, didn't you. You got suckered and bought them all, didn't you. Now, come on.... I mean, I can understand this one, they went and --for some unknown reason-- got a gen-u-INE CD cover, not one of those photocopy ripoff tipoffs. Maybe you thought it was the good one, despite the title. But the others? OK, I guess I should give you the company line and try to salvage some of your dignity. This album is ....quaint! Yeah, quaint! It's got a couple of interesting tracks, I guess. You ought to know that this is essentially the companion to the Splat Monkey Drive By studio album and features many of the same songs in infant form, as the members try to come to grips with the new instrumental responsibilities they would each have to cover at the Drive By sessions. Witness the multiple-meter "4-5-6" version of Magic Box wherein they sequentially perform the three verses in 4/4, 5/4, and 6/4 time (the studio verion being in 5/4 only). Or the "hyperactive mix" of Lunacy Will Keep Me Warm, where they try to keep the performance under 45". And personally, I wish they had used this "syncopated delay" arrangement of Luck in the studio rather than the "hard groove" version they ultimately wound up with. I guess you're still cool, even though you bought this album, but for Pete's sake, do something about that breath.
I Must Protect You: sand escapes in the cool, dry wind with no warm arms to take me in. You shiver, then you look my way, but you keep your distance and you say that it's not my fault that you'd rather freeze, but there's something still aching --something still believes that your future's on hold, and his name ain't mine, so you're marking you boundary. Drawing your red line. Chorus: I must protect you --follow you around. I understand you will undermine me and make of my life things I don't want to be. Still I must protect you --follow you around. Mercy, ma'am, I think you've blown a fuse 'cause you're standing so still, and to tell you the truth you've grown real pretty and become quite smart, but there's cruel kinds of reasons that you pummel my heart. Your lips are locked and your mind says wait, but your heart's still itchy, and you hate that state. We all must learn to let the past drop. Don't push me away, 'cause one day I'll stop singing.... Chorus.
A New Love Who Won't Beat Me Up: My throat slit by the lovelies and the ogres that attract them. Who's screwing you? Why do you get to be so rude to me? My finger's not for sucking or pandering to instinct. Whose mouse are you? What makes you always flirt, but not deliver? I have nothing to say to you anymore. I could be convenient and find a new love who won't beat me up. Chorus: How come I don't mind being alone? Truth is I can always have someone like you (if you want me to). My path became courageous, but seemingly quite random. Whose pet are you? If you want to, I will take you out. For underneath the laughter, I'm dangerous to be with. Whose prize are you? What makes me really want, but not pursue you? I'll find something to say to you to attest: darling, we're convenient, be my new love who won't beat me up. Chorus. Me and my friendship don't swim a lot, but I'd drown in blood for everything you've got. I've got something to say to you nowadays. Darling, we're convenient, be my new love who won't beat me up. YIKES! A surprise ending!
All Blown Up: I don't care if you're made of air. I don't mind if you waste my time. Look at me, all blown up, I've put myself in pieces. If you care, then you'll never call. If I'm solid, then I'll surely fall. Look at me, all blown up, I've put myself in pieces. Chorus: I didn't want you at first, I just thought you'd be good for a while. I didn't need you at first, I just thought you'd be nice for a smile. But then I looked inside your heart --it's so magic and tragic, I've got to have it. I don't see what you think of me. I don';t hear what I ought to fear. Look at me.... I might fright if you spoke delight. Close my eyes from a nice surprise. Look at me.... Chorus. I suppose if I'm on my toes I'll propose and hand you a rose. Look at me.... It never ends, no, it just pretends. No last line in this life of mine. Look at me.... Chorus.
Dangerous: Oh, I can take you, you're not as tough as you think. I can see that you're insane, but I'd die without your rain. Oh, be that thistle, and I will put out my foot. In my slumber I have seen that a crown can't make you queen. CH: Starlight steals my vision, and it likes me cold. And people stop to stare at the tracks I made. Oh, I could have the wisdom of a thousand years, but I'm in love with a dangerous gal, her name is you. Oh, I can reach you, you're not as far as you think. Though you stripe me with your stick, I know anger is your trick. CH. Bridge: Take ugly me and make me the picture in your heart. Oh, be my bubble, and I will keep you intact. Though you kick and bite and scream, you're more fragile than you seem. Oh, be my aching, and I will fill you with sound.
Cricket: Cricket's little daughter, twisting the daffodils. In the air, she sees colors. She hears the haunts in the windowsils. "Daddy please hold my tummy. My head is hot, just like a coal. Can't you see I'm looking at Mommy? Her head is strange and her hand is cold." And the guilty air breathes thick with spoiled ether. And the shallow hole is throbbing like a wound. Cricket's got a sinking --a kind he's had one time before. In the air, he sees nothing, but in his heart he knows it all. "Daddy please, where do the cows go? Or mister Shell's barking dog? Do they go where her shape goes, spinning in the morning fog?" And the guilty air.... Chorus: Cricket can't explain, but he thinks about the blame. She surely is insane. She'll ruin everything. Cricket, he is crying in the lye in the apple juice. Once again, he seeks silence. Once again to hide the truth. Cricket's little daughter, through Mommy's eyes sees it all. When he comes, her chair is empty. The icy hand. The final wall. And the guilty air.... Chorus.
Buy the World: I feel live I've been locked in a cage, locked out of view for some vicious design. You may decide to taste many men time and again. Don't say you want my time. Chorus: Still i buy you trinkets dear, but the truth is you won't sleep with me, even if I buy the world. I see no way to work you out. There is no way to twist this straight. Don't try to pull that shit on me. Don't think that love means I won't hurt you. Chorus. You say you're sorry --yank on my leash. My neck is free, though blood was let to slick me. You say that you have done nothing wrong --meant no one harm-- but I just think you're careless. Chorus. Remember love can be transferred. Remember trust is just a word. You must prioritize your lies. The truth, though ugly, is preferred.
Magic Box: Strange, this way I've moved the masses. All this frenzy grips with glue of chance. These small towns, they have their ways. They listen to the box for FBI romance. Chorus: Magic Box, I don't want to die for how I look or what the program said. In the shed I hear them planning. "Raped a toddler, we'll teach him," they say. "Maybe we should get the cops?" "But who respects a radar gun these days?" Chorus. Pepper could have thrown these dogs, but as it is, I make my final stand. Bramble arms and cutlass eyes, they beat me blue then shot me when I ran. Chorus.
Luck: May tragedy be vanquished from every path you tread, and that which would destroy you destroy itself instead. Chorus: Luck in this hand, this charm on your head. Power in your fingers to make gold from lead. Find everything you're looking for, miss everything you dread. No anger for your nourishment, may laughter keep you fed. Chorus. And ask yourself of everything if it's something you'll regret. And if you make mistakes, just move along, but try not to forget.... Chorus.
Raggedy Man: She wonders where I've been. As usual I have harsh words --leapt before I looked. The thin walls don't block as well as my thick head. Still my temper cooks. She wonders when I'll change --as usual I would die first. Or let her slip away. I broke the camel's back, she tells me to drop stone dead, and that was yesterday. Chorus: Holes in my jeans where my knees should be, holes in my heart where she should be. I'm a raggedy man, raggedy man. Lay me to sleep, sweet angels. I take a thinking walk through puddles of old, stale rain. I will never learn. I step into the bar, looking for nothing new, still my temper burns. One more bottlecap, one more bottle drained and voices in my ear. Women leave like bottles, used up like nothing new. I wish it weren't so clear. Chorus. It's all the same. Every single day, I wipe the tears away, but even then they stay. I make a big mistake, it's something I'll never fix. I try to say goodbye. My fingers turn to ice as the tide of my life sweeps out. It's so easy not to try. I'm drifting into peace, the hand on the clock still ticks as I melt into the sun. I hope she understands. I hope that she has no doubts that justice now is done. Chorus.
Give Them What They Want: She tried to sell those clothes at the fashion show, and she worked so hard, but the money's slow. No, a woman ain't got no help trying to save herself. She saw the magazine, and she felt no shame, so she shed her skins with a phony name. No, a woman ain't got no help trying to save herself. Chorus: I'll give them what they want, but I won't bleed myself dry. I'll give them what they want, but I won't take the blame for up 'til now. I'll give them what they want, and they can take it from me: demand equality and I will give you what you want. She tried to pout and purr in the miniskirt for the video like a cheap dessert. No.... She was exhibit B, and PMRC said that little whore wasn't fit to see. No.... Chorus.
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.
Just Like Me: The castles of my youth are all knocked down. Still, I have my cave and trains that speed my dreams. I think of all the patience I have tried: a city in the sky without my woman by the sea. Chorus: Your shell will last forever --you see, you're just like me, except you change your mind a lot. Cast aside your hood, you are no fawn. Eternal is your flush --I hope you get your rush. At last, a kindred thing to recognize the vision of desire is often fragmentized. Chorus. I know that you've had it all before --too many yesterdays stuck on the head of a pin. I know love becomes a random task --fly after fruitfly leaves a tickle on the skin. You think that it's death that makes them last, so something is wrong with you and me. The footsteps I have made are not profound. Mostly I just hide in endless daily lives. Long have I accepted love falls down. Now I've found my kind --why must you be so blind? Chorus. Suul, no that's not really the words....
One More Angel: I'm not much of a real smooth talker, but I sure like talking to you. I've got a notion that you're looking for someone, and maybe baby I am, too. Well, you don't look too satisfied, and your pink, pink shirt is stretched way too tight. But at least you're laughing, and I guess that's something, which is one step better than nothing. Pre-CH: Me, I'm vicious with a lying streak, but I can keep you happy for another week. You, you're fragile, but you shoot to kill, and you want a lot more than just another thrill. CH: One more angel, and to think I thought I'd learned my lesson. One more angel, but I guess it's not so bad. One more angel that I'd really like to be undressing. One more angel, best thing I've never had. You could make me do anything, my heart is in your hands. Punish, please, serve or tease, your wish is my command. Seduce me with your perfume and the sexy way you stride, I'm always a sucker for a pretty face --my passion knows no pride. Pre-CH CH. Tell me something, darling, do we really stand a chance or will we go our separate ways, a hurricane romance? Sorry to upset you --forget I even asked. Just kiss me and forget it, let's make the good times last.
Amanda: Amanda wants me to call a friend of hers, someone I don't know too well. But I don't think so, 'cause it's Amanda I want, even though she's still inside her shell. Amanda tells me I should give it up. She tells me her hands are tied. Me, I'm doubtful it's so black and white. I think that she might change her mind. Chorus: And I'm so tired of trying to love without my heart. And I could sure use something good that hits my mark. I grow impatient, but I wait another day. Amanda, I need you to take my breath away. Amanda says I've got to show what I feel. She's always right, you know --at least she tells me so. And when the telephone rings, I always hope it's her. She always lets me know just when she says hello. When I'm feeling down, she always cheers me up --I can always lend an ear. And when her heart is broken, she can always find me here. My shoulder always dries her tears. Chorus. Tell me I am not too late to say hello. Amanda, how I need you so.
Redhead Tonight: Young girls don't know where their heart is. Young boys don't really seem to mind. Twenty-one and you're going to the cemetary. Not me, I want a redhead tonight. I won't really mind if you kiss me. I won't get mad if you try, but if you want me to stay then just don't go away and I'll be here by your side, 'cause me --I want a redhead tonight. Tell me something, Juliet, do you even give a damn or does it even matter that you don't know who I am? Young girls don't know where their heart is. Young boys don't really seem to mind. Twenty-one and you're surely headed for the graveyard. not me, I want a redhead tonight. Chorus: She's red like a flame, and I know she's insane. She doesn't need to have a name to hop aboard my train, and I know I'll forget her, but if I play my cards right, I'll have a redhead tonight. Older girls think they know where their heart is. Older boys don't really seem to mind. Twenty-one and I won't be dead and buried. Even then, I'll want a redhead tonight. I won't really mind if you love me --I won't get mad if you try. Like a fly on the wall, I hear it all --in me you can rely. 'Cause me, I want a redhead tonight. Tell me something, shades-of-grey, is it ever black and white or will that crimson top forever be my guiding light? Is she red all over? What a wonderful sight. Me, I think I'd settle for a redhead tonight. Chorus.
Lunacy Will Keep Me Warm: Who could be the woman in your overalls? You would never know it from the way you bubble over.... You could be a crackerjane or buccaneer. Be a little flower and the bees will come and kiss you. Chorus: Lunacy will keep me warm, 'cause she sews me up when my skin is torn. Lunacy will lock the locks, but we're both inside of the little box. Dancing in the forest with no clothes at all. You could start a fire if you trip and topple over. You could be a crackerjane or buccaneer. Be a little flower and I'll sprinkle you with water. Chorus. Hold me, arms out, catch my fall, I won't let go at all.
Separate Ways: She was fast and sleek, dancing cheek-to-cheek. I don't know why I loved her --I knew she would leave. Now everyone's telling me I never should've met her. Like cyanide, I should've known better. Chorus: Baby, why did you lead me astray? You kept me in the dark, knowing you'd leave anyway. Baby, you know that I want you to stay, but you thought that we should go our separate ways. Well the light was red an awfully long time, when it finally turned green, I thought she was mine. My senses all told me she'd shed her skin. Shark-infested waters I'd jump right in. Chorus. I was saturated with love, sweet love. Thought she would fit me like fingers in glove. Now all my money's wasted and my time's all spent, but we had a good time as far as we went. Chorus. Now that she's gone, I've got to find me a date. Take her out early and bring her home late. Now everyone tells me I'm a crazy dog, but falling in love's just like falling off a log.
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.
Our second live album, definitely learned from some of the mistakes on How About A Beating? In the intervening year, we got a lot more seasoned playing acoustically, and that alone makes this a better album. Most of this material was lifted from open stages we played relentlessly preparing for the difficult Drive By session. As mentioned in those notes, the difficulty was going to be that with only 20 hours, we had to record all the instruments, starting with (typically) only bass and drums. It was critical that we both could "hear" the finished song in our heads as we put the foundation down, so we used every chance to get familiar with the material.
I Must Protect You: I still stink at speaking to audiences. Appallingly bad. Painful to listen to my typical remarks. This was recorded downstairs at the Mercury by John Steideman. This song has faded from the set. It was a role-player --the up-tempo opener-- for the album, but just didn't have teeth to be more.
A New Love Who Won't Beat Me Up: For this set, we played a slate of piano/bass songs we needed to get more familiar with. I think this is the only live recording of this, although I may have played it once or twice at Papaccino's.
All Blown Up: recorded at the now-defunct Okoboji's in downtown Denver. At this time, John was favoring playing an Ovation acoustic (pictured in the album photos from Drive By) for these shows rather than his Strat. Very bright wired acoustic sound.
Dangerous: Here's a thought: if I suck at chatter, how about Speranza introduce the songs for an evening? The Mercury downstairs was a favorite preparatory open stage of ours for a.) host John Steideman, the greatest open stage host ever and b.) the piano (which once was my self-accompanying instrument of choice over guitar). It was actually a very nice little 7' grand. Nice solos from Speranza. One of my favorite songs.
Cricket: I was always more comfortable singing from behind an instrument. To continue the prior thought, here's why Steideman was the best open stage host of all time: always good sound, recorded off the board if you brought a tape, always kept the slots on time (this is critical), and gave open time to regulars who stuck around for the whole time. I've emulated his approach for every open stage I've run. Nothing more frustrating than signing up for 8:30 and not going on until 10:00.
Buy the World: Originally, the Shadows album was going to have a few songs from me, but they ended up bringing enough of their own stuff to the table. This is one of the songs I wrote for it. At the time, at least 50% (probably more) of my writing was on piano.
Magic Box 4-
5-6: To get inside the 5 groove for this song, we did two separate experiments. First, we covered Sting's Seven Days one night, which is in the same feel. Second, we monkeyed with the chane and did one verse each in 4/4, 5/4, and 6/4.
Luck: This is the best song off this album. It is arguably better than the album arrangement of the song. Speranza achieves this effect by timing a delay for 3 16th notes off the beat (so the first strike comes on *1* e & *AH* for the delay). You can hear him quickly finding the tempo in the beginning by making the fret noise shuffle. This effect has been popularized by U2 Joshua Tree-era material. We've used it a few other times.
Raggedy Man: That's right, Cody, Speranza will wrap it up for you. I grew disenchanted with this song, but Fried and Speranza liked it enough that we re-recorded it on Pronounced "Snausages"
Give Them What They Want: Bekah joined us for this song. Another Speranza lyric interpretation is laid bare in the enunciated inside joke. I say, "A woman ain't get no help trying to save herself," he says, "A woman ain't got no hair trying to shave herself."
Don't Lean On Me: A little more up-tempo version. We can't perform this song without someone going "wheedle-ee" before the outro in classic imitation of Nick's original out-of-nowhere wheedle.
Just Like Me: In long sets, this song remained a staple for several years. This is a fairly preliminary version when we were still learning it, but it remains a good one for a change of pace.
One More Angel: by this point, this album has lost a little momentum through a block of very similar- feeling songs. This song isn't really good enough to revive. It's refreshing to dust old ones off live, but I shouldn't have put it on the album out of pure novelty while eschewing other staples of the time.
Amanda: Nice twist on the feel. I'm fairly sure Speranza had that idea. Still, these all needed to be mixed in. If I re-did this album now, I would probably keep this but drop One More Angel and break up the "Old Song Night" block. I should've included more of the Drive By preparatory stuff.
Redhead Tonight: Cat was up for anything, up to and including being mercilessly portrayed as some sort of nemesis uberprodusser when, in fact he's just a nice guy. There, it's in tiny print, buried on page 14-page of this article, but that ought to set the record straight.
Lunacy Will Keep Me Warm: 1:09-:26=:43 The whole point of this song was to have a micro-song --a complete form in a very short space.
Separate Ways: somewhere in between the original and the Stunt Beatles. A little rough around the edges, but we were definitely having fun that night. Stupid fun with zero regard for the quality of our performance :)
Coyote: Nascient version of what eventually became a very solid closer, one of my best songs. You can hear the rumbling from the band playing Mercury Upstairs coming down through the floor at times during this song. Obviously, I was a little fed up with Sasha, although I didn't really have much right to be. I like gurls. Kan u hulp me innerstent dem?