Archive for July, 2008
I like this one because I think that’s a neat thought that’s in here. You meet somebody famous and you freak out because what are the chances??? But really, the chances of meeting anyone are the same! So it maybe oughtta be a cherished amazing celebratory thing to meet anybody!
Also, Larrisse did these vocals. I wrote the thing but she said it. She didn’t want to, but I pressured her, and she knocked it out in one take. Only thing that bugs me is the wrong emphasis on the word “think” right at the beginning. But there was no way I was getting two takes out of her. Anyway she did it real good just boom bam wack.
Awesome! I have a remix! It’s the title track! It has a remix! With different drums! And instruments! Etc! Neat!
I think that may really be all I have to say about this one
oh! except, why I called it zen row your boat mix i remember now - cuz i made the chorus a round - like row your boat! and it’s mellow - like zen! or something!
I might have already blogged about this one somewhere. Yeah I’m pretty sure. Hmm. Well I like this one actually, it still sort of makes me speed up my typing as I blog, like it’s a soundtrack song to the revolutionary mission, and the revolutionary mission is working, and we’re winning, and etc.
I like it. I actually kind of want to put some version of this song into my new live sets. I wonder if I have the “vocalless” version somewhere. God. It’s probably on a DAT tape. Of course I have no DAT machine.
Well anyway - boom ba doom doom boom da doom boom ba doom doom boom da doom…mmmm
Tee hee. This one has Natural Born Killers samples. “you STUPID bitch, you STUPID bitch, you STUPID bitch”. This song’s supposed to be about me and Larrisse (my then girlfriend), how we’re so badass or something. But there’s no pair, dude, because it’s not a duet. But I TRIED to have it be a duet. Wanted her to rap on it! What, like Lil Kim or something? I have no idea. I don’t know why I would think that she would want to do that.
Yeah so lyrically I feel embarassed and immature about this one. But I like the way the song sounds, and the creative distorted vocal thing. I love the bassline. I used to picture opening a concert with that beat/bassline. That’d be neat. You could walk through the crowd with sunglasses while it played over and over or something.
The other thing that I was proud of on this one is I did it using just 8 tracks. I think I never mixed this one in the big Ubik studio, I just did it all at home on 8 tracks. Bounced tracks back and forth and such. So that was cool. Hence, I learned a lot doing this song.
Well, love love and love, don’t fuck with “the pair”, y’all! *eyeroll*
Ok well. This is an interlude, since it’s just spoken word. And at that time I didn’t really do spoken word as its own whole thing, so it was an interlude. Man I thought these were so clever *smacks forehead*. I still think the jumpin jack part is kinda funny, but mostly these two poems (there are two) are really embarassing.
But what’s hilarious about the two poems on here is this. In 1996 was it - no I think 1997 - I was qualified for the Albuquerque slam off, because I kept getting 2nd place at the slams while doing sound for the documentary we were shooting (Flaming Tongues I think we called it - or Summon The Fire - see previous blog entry for talk of Matthew John Conley and those two names) for KNME Channel 5 (PBS).
Every month we’d have the poetry slam down at the Dingo Bar in Albuquerque, right on Gold. That became Burt’s Tiki Lounge later. I’d write two new things every month for that (there were two rounds in the slam). They always sucked, were way too short, etc. But Tracy Paris once told me “you own the stage” and I believe she wasn’t puttin me on. I did not, however, own the page, let me tell you. God.
Anyway, I was qualified for the slam off in I guess 97? And I had these two poems picked out as my two poems for the 2 rounds of the slam off (I didn’t even know that maybe the slam off would be different). I thought they would so slay everybody. Well I was a little sick on the day of the slam off, and I skipped it. It really didn’t occur to me as very big a thing. I had no idea how important the slam would become to me later. I really didn’t. It was such an afterthought, and I had no idea there was this nation full of slamming, that it was growing, what a big thing it was to commit to going to nationals, nothing. What I was was M.C. Murph the rapper, and slam was a side issue.
In some sense, that’s what I’m getting back to now, slam and performance poetry maybe being a piece of the pie, but not the whole thing by any means. Nevertheless, it will always be a bigger thing than I realized back then.
Well, I didn’t go that night to the slam off, and that’s probably for the best, because I would’ve gotten shellacked with these two stupid ass “poems”. I didn’t realize that the heavy hitters weren’t slamming when I was getting 2nd with these little things. The slam off would have been Matthew John and Tracy Paris and Danny Solis and stuff - and me saying “this is what i do fuck you!” oh my GOD.
I did do these two poems at a slam some months later, at UNM. A nice cozy intimate fun safe, positive friendly slam. I got shellacked even there doing these two. But they were creative at least. I sat on the floor indian style for Jumpin Jack, and the Fuck You thing has a reference to Kenn Rodriguez and to the first slam poem I ever saw, which is Matthew John Conley’s why mama why poem (I don’t know the title). *sigh*
Man, thinking about it now, I was as bad as any of the kinda stupid people you might see doing poetry slams and making everybody cringe, losing slams left and right. I could name names, but how mean is that? I’m just thinking how blown away I’d be if I went to nationals this year and one of those dudes was 10th in the world all of a sudden. I’d be like “wait what? did I miss something?” That must be how Matthew John Conley felt in 2002 when we’re all in the lobby of the hotel and my name is in the 10th spot, and I’ve made semi-finals. And there he as the elevator pointing at me, grinning with his 13 teeth and quoting me, saying,
“MY DEMONS ARE THE ONES!!!”
So Lauryn Hill has these lyrics from a song called “Manifest” which was on The Fugees “The Score” record, and then on a version of Ex-Factor, a song from her Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill record. A couple of the lines are also recycled on the song When It Hurts So Bad, on that same record.
I’m also guilty of this kind of recycling. In a way I was covering my own song. A cover song. But where you cover yourself? Or was I just lazy and recycled lyrics? Honestly, it was really the latter.
But anyway, above is my original. I recycled the lyrics on Bleed in a totally different song called 0912.
It’s so obviously not a cover. It’s a totally different song. No theme is even remotely derived from the original. I just re-used the lyrics. Why would I do such a thing?
Because, as my friend Larry quotes a lot, “writer’s block is the luxury of amateurs”. And frankly, I figured no one had heard the original anyway, so no one would care or even notice, plus I wasn’t getting paid or anything. I used to always slam Lauryn Hill for it, but if you know the whole story, it’s not so bad, really. The version of Ex-Factor where she does the rap is actually an edit where they’ve (somebody) has gone and spliced in a live show where she’s doing that rap. It seems that anything goes in live shows. I’ve done so many crazy different versions of poems and raps and songs it’s hilarious. She does just reuse a couple of lines in that other song, but’s only like two lines.
But I still think this was pretty hypocritical and lazy of me. My only defense is that 0912, I think, is much better executed, and the lyrics are actually kind of important non-violence lyrics pointing out the cycle of domination and machismo that is such a problem in this country. And I was actually really fascinated by the fact that even though when I did 0912, I was just starting to learn how to not be a macho abusive jerk, I had actually already laid out the whole thing more than 10 years earlier.
My other friend Tamara always said that her poetry knew things long before she did, and it appears the same thing could be said about me.
Anyway, I’m going to from now on try to hold myself to the same standard as I held Lauryn Hill, especially considering I want to be a professional, so I won’t be taking already used lyrics and recycling them wholesale in songs. I might re-mix, re-release, or even cover my old stuff, but I won’t cop out anymore, ok?
Oh, I’ll show you the Lauryn Hill stuff. The original:
Skip to about 1:13 to hear Lauryn’s verse. By the way, for the record, I LOVE that verse. It’s heartfelt and VERY complex to perform, and I eventually memorized and learned to do it along with her, and it was very very good practice, as well as a moving verse. That’s why I noticed in the first place. It doesn’t have anything to do with what Praz and Wyclef are saying, but near as I can tell, those two guys are relatively stupid anyway. *flutters eyelids*
Here’s a version of Ex-Factor where she indeed does use the whole Manifest rap:
Toward the end at about 2:55 is where the splice is.
Here’s When It Hurts So Bad, which bites the first couple Manifest lines:
Weird one. Listening now there’s a lot about this one that was brand new to me at the time, but which became more my style later on. Like the way the minor key melody is, and the ahh ahh stuff. I remember feeling really naked and self conscious ’cause I was doing this crazy falsetto singing - or at least I thought it was falsetto then - it doesn’t sound as high to me now.
The lyrics on this one are a little nutso. I was going for something, not sure what. But it’s kind of a lot of surreality that has meaning that I wouldn’t know. That became my slam poetry style later, so this Banetai song really could be analyzed, if you were gonna analyze me, as the beginning of something.
I have a reference to the slam in here, and to Matthew John Conley. I guess that means I did this song AFTER I was 21, which means I released this record after I was 21. I wrote a lot of this stuff long before that though, I know that much. But yeah I guess that’s right ’cause this is my SECOND record.
Yeah the slam/Matthew John Reference is “33 revolutions a minute come, from the depths of the mind and the flaming tongue”
Flaming Tongues was his thing, back when I first ever met him. My poems that I was doing at that time on stage were fucking stupid, and he has at least one practically memorized. Guy’s always quoting that thing, how embarassing! Anyway Flaming Tongues was his, the notion of “summon the fire” was his thing on the slam team, and he even had this tattoo of the danger icon that’s on a hot water heater, of the stick man being engulfed in flames, but to him, he said, it looked like a poet “summoning the fire”. That’s what we called that documentary, the one I was helping Manny Machuca of channel 5 PBS shoot, that introduced me to slam.
The 33 revolutions a minute thing I got from the slam too - maybe Matthew said it, or some other poet said it in a poem. I thought that was pretty clever, you know, the whole 33 RPM record thing (that’s the speed of a vinyl record, I’m sure you know). I mean actually that’s an old piece of hip-hop clever so I think even whatever poet that was was being cliche, and I was biting a cliche, which shows how green and ignorant I really was (still am?), but I still think it’s a clever play on words, whoever came up with it.
Anyway Banetai, just so you know, is supposed to be a person, it’s a character. This is another song that might have originally been thought of as the theme song to some movie - like a movie about some Angel or medieval sorcerer who’s I don’t know - badass or something. So I’m making this reference like you’re supposed to know about it, and it’s not explained, it’s just sort of thrown in there. Banetai. Honestly I can’t even remember how I came up with that, but it is not a word, or a name of some historical person or anything. It’s completely a new word, and it’s a name, that I made up. God I’m weird.
Well, here’s the title track. I remember Manny Rettinger said I absolutely needed to redo the chorus singing better. I wish I’d've listened to stuff like that. But it was so hard to get back in the studio for a mix, partly because mixing on an analog board means you can’t just recall it and make a fix. Man we used to take sheets of paper and write down where all the knobs were set and patch cables were plugged. Holy CRAP that was complicated. 24 tracks each with 10 knobs, plus 10 outboard processors. Recalling that is a nightmare, let me tell you.
Anyway I didn’t redo those vocals. Man I didn’t realize how compressed that snare drum is. It sounds strange, but neat in a way.
Anyway boy howdy, I guess I doomed myself to never working with any mo-town people on this record. I also wish I wouldn’t have that strange wigger accent on my r’s. It’s actually easier to rap that way, though.
Well, what else can I say? Enjoy this rendition of smooth jazzy trip hop anger.
Well I had quite a delay between posts! I had to go off and visit my girl Jenny in Houston! YAY! Here’s another Artistic Apocalypse song. Yet another music industry thing. I have two references to Wu Tang Clan on this record, one is in this song. I actually dig/dug Wu Tang, but my point was that even the dudes I like are super commercialized.
Of course, I’m getting more and more commercialized. Commerce IS, after all, how you make money. That’s what making money is, in fact, it’s kind of the definition of the word “commerce”.
There’s also stuff about selling people down the river in this song. “Why should I let you rest or relax?” etc.
Well, I’ll just listen now.