Aaron Trumm Bleed
Here’s the last track on the Bleed CD. It’s not labeled in the liner notes, so it’s sort of a hidden track, sort of.
This is my most popular ever slam poem, Blink. It was about my then girlfriend, mentioned many times in this blog, Tamara. I wrote it in Albuquerque by listening to a song on the record we were doing together over and over and over. It was written kind of before we were an item, or as we were just beginning or something, and it was a lot of unrequited love stuff. It’s very repetitive. People fucking love it. Black women in Houston fucking love it. When I was 10th in the nation, it was ’cause of this and one other poem.
It’s really nice, actually, having this one under my belt, ’cause I know for sure it actually moved people. You could hear them going apeshit during the poem everywhere you went, and that’s a nice feeling. People would come up to me about it - two people that I know of went and performed it for their lovers or families. One sort of saved a relationship with it, he said. See that’s kind of the whole point of any of this is feeling like “hey I fucking affected people! I really made their lives better.” Especially if you do it by just saying whatever you were thinking about at the time.
That’s the real reason, I think, that you continue wanting to be famous, long past any desire for “glory” or money or bitches and blow. You’re just like dammit I wanna hear that somebody did my fuckin poem in a debate competition or something. I wanna hear that somebody came out of their dulldrums or got inspired and made something good happen, or decided they could do that too, and became an inspiring poet themselves, or whatever. Feeling like nobody cares is the WORST feeling in the world, the WORST. But it’s almost like an evil siren drug, when you hit something right, because then it draws you back in! But then again, it really does feel worth it when people get really moved, and you really do feel really badass.
Everywhere I went for a long time, it was going to be for sure for sure that people would want to hear this poem. I didn’t ever have any of that “I’m bored with this fuck you” thing going on that you hear about performers having. If people actually WANTED to hear something of mine, I was glad to do it. Because mostly I figured me even being there and having people listen was a favor they were doing to me, and a lot of times I felt like I was jamming something down their throat that they really didn’t want to begin with, so any time I really got a request like that and I knew everybody in the room would pretty much dig it, I was totally glad to do it.
Especially with this poem. But there was one poem, called Yellow And White, that one friend, called Spec, would (will still) always request that I was hesitant to do. Mostly because I would always forget it. But I think also because it didn’t hit people like, say, Blink. Mostly it was only her that liked it! But I’d do it for her. I remember one time at some feature performance I stumbled all over that poem for her.
Anyway, that’s something we’ve talked about in the whole promotion cycle. You finally get something you think will move people, and you suddenly want to go promote promote promote, which eventually is unhealthy and selfish, and drives you into a not good place. Cycle cycle cycle. Sometimes the cycle is just, make a record, promote, make a record, promote, and you don’t get screwy, but I think spiritually, there’s still a bit of a cycle between loving generosity and creativeness and self centered desperation. At least for me, I’m usually relatively more generous and wise during creation than during promotion.
I thought I’d mention that, as talking about that stuff is where this blog is starting to go. I even changed the about page!
This particular recording of Blink is from the 2003 Houston Slam Off, the competition to determine the “city champion” and the team that went to the national poetry slam. I won, of course I think I got all perfect scores that night. I like these live recordings because you can hear people reacting during the poem. The only thing I don’t like is that Dave (the venue manager and recordist that night) went and edited out the cheering AFTER the poem, which to me is like the whole point! So I apologize for not having that on here, nothin I could do
The saddest thing though is the first time I came out (at all!) after me and Tamara broke up. I was so broken hearted that I stayed for a couple of months in my apartment just drinking and doing music theory homework, and one night the phone rings, and I answer it, and it’s venerable Houston poet Marcell Murphy, and he’s yelling at me to get the hell down to the slam.
I said “i got homework to do man” and he’s like “that’s BULLSHIT!!” and I said “I got nothin to prove” and this guy’s so great - he goes “YES YOU DO!!!”
*Laughs* So I drug ass out there, drank a few Pabsts, and in the first round of the slam, I did Blink, and everybody for a couple years KNEW it was specifically about Tamara, and they all knew we’d broken up, so they were like “awww”. I remember another great poet/performer/singer Keshia saying really loud “AWWWWWW :(” at the end of it. Then I walked off stage and straight to the back room, hid in there and just fell to my knees. But the odd thing was, as I fell to my knees, I knew just a bit that that knee falling action was a bit more dramatic than I actually was feeling. Somehow I just wanted to have a story. That’s how you do sometimes, out there, you fake a lot of shit because you think things are supposed to be hard.
Sometimes you fake it until you make it, but in a bad way where your fake dramatic bullshit turns into actual pain. That’s just dumb. Don’t do that. See that’s one of those things that I’ve discovered in this industry/world of entertainment and art that is just bullshit. I call bullshit on artistic drama. Art doesn’t have to come from being tortured. And I swear, most mother fuckers are faking being tortured because they heard some romantic story about Jackson Pollack or DaVinci going apeshit and cutting their ear off or throwing paint on the sidewalk. Or they saw Walk The Line and now they think to be a rock star they have to get a lot of beers and pills and see if they can puke up a piece of their intestine. Idiots. Absolute idiocy, really.
But uh, enjoy the poem, eh? It’s a love poem
This is another 6 minute double song This one actually is two whole different songs. One’s called 18th Street and the second one’s called 16th Street. This song has an “homage”, as it were, to a poem by Jason Bayani, a badass Bay Area poet. He has a poem about a kid who’s grown up in San Francisco and has never seen the ocean (for those of you that don’t know that’s ridiculous - San Francisco is 7 miles across - but that’s what happens when you’re stuck).
This is a song that’s all about San Francisco and New York. I wrote the first verse of 18th Street while driving around in the dark in the mission trying to find the damn freeway. In San Francisco there are places where it will have a sign that says “freeway” and point right - not “880 N” or “110 S” but “freeway”, and you turn and there’s never another sign and you just get lost.
Then the second verse is about New York. I was working there a lot, I think I spent 4 weeks there and then 3 or something. I did NOT like Wall Street. “temples and icons and choking and rocks” I have a bite from White Lines (the classic Grandmaster Flash song) in that verse.
Man there’s such sadness in these San Fran songs. “I’ve been every place I could think to go, still I couldn’t find what I’m looking for”
In the 16th Street side, it’s more of a rap. I wrote it on the train on the way home from 16th and Mission, where they do this outdoor poetry reading/whatever (juggler? fire eater? violinist?). I performed there a few times, but the first time I went, I was totally by myself, and I totally got scared and turned back. I just got back on the train. I don’t know why I was afraid. I’d done so many performances, open mics, etc. It wasn’t that. It could’ve been the location or something. It was a little bit of a wild place. Half the time a drunken guy would try to start a fight.
What’s funny is that given who I am, I feel like I’m supposed to just TOTALLY relish that wild energy, the crazy badass we’re doing poems in the street what, anything could happen, freedom of it all. Badass! And it is, but I didn’t really relish that particular version of it. I suppose I relish the wildness of the entire world, but the mission district in San Francisco, you can have. And let’s be honest, it’s the danger. Really the mission district is thought of as a dangerous place, and it is. It’s not more dangerous than a lot of places, though. But it’s dangerous enough, and there’s a spiritual side to it. There’s a lot of anguished energy there. This whole song, both 3 minute halves, is about that danger, really. It’s about two things: The danger, and the unhealth of seeking fame, fortune, whatnot.
Which put together really means it’s about my own unhealth in general. But as I always talk about the poetry knowing more than you, the song says it at the end. It talks about how I was afraid and how danger can come in many forms and how I turned back, and all of this stuff, and in the end, the lyrics are advising me. I become this sort of teacher character like a lot of poets do, but I’m not really trying to teach anybody but myself.
There I am the whole song talking about A) that i’ve been seeking and not finding and B) that i’ve been afraid and focused on danger - which ultimately leads to C) nothing. But the lyric at the end is:
don’t know what you been told but the danger’s in YOU
it comes with you when you leave the platform sinew
no matter how you run it will catch up with you
no elbow knife or gun can ever kill it
voodoo comes because you’re scared and you hide like I did
everybody sees through your shut down eyelids
I don’t know what to do when I’m frozen neither
I try to warm it up but I come up empty
next day I’m back to the working stiff beat
until my eyes glaze and raise up a steel sheet
maybe that’s why at 16th and mission
nothin i could spit could get me what i’m wishin
i just wanna smile at a girl in san fran
and have her look back and see somethin different
i know it can be done hell i done it myself
but i guess it’s never gonna be a spiritual cakewalk
down where the bells toll backwards brimstone
and hippy kids play with the gangsters watchin
maybe the next time i’m lookin at that shit
i’ll drop the facade hit the street and spit
Jeeze. I actually feel like getting back on stage now after reading that.
Another one I can play and sing (a version of). I just realized how that’s not usually news. But I really could never do that so it’s exciting.
My friend Larry wrote about this song in his music blog, 365 Songs.
I was really touched by what he had to say. That’s kind of the point of his music blog, is to write something profound about people’s songs, and hopefully, that’ll be pretty moving to the artists. It really is. You go all your life making this shit and being self centered but the point is you’re NOT just a selfish prick, you want to move and affect other people. You want them to listen, of course, to what you have to say, but the reason is you hope you can touch them.
I sent the lyrics of this when I first wrote them down to my friend Suzy (mentioned in previous blog entry) and she cried. Sent them to Tamara, who was notoriously unmovable, and she said she was flabbergasted.
So the point is not to brag as much as to just be present to that and say “wow something worked, something was honest enough and caring enough to move people”.
The song moves me, I really like the words. I don’t know how it was me that wrote ‘em. They’re not works of complex Shakespearean genius, they’re just honest or something. I don’t know really.
The beginning is an actual message that Eric (guitar player Eric, if you follow this blog, which I know you don’t, because I’m watching the stats), recorded. I had left that message at 5 in the morning after this weird evening where I went down to this bar and was writing poetry while this rock band played. I saw this girl with this sort of built plastic surgery body but kind of hot in that playboy sort of way, and I looked at her, wrote her off as too much for me, and went away. Well this band was playing and she was sitting about two chairs away and just suddenly reached over and scratched my head with all four fingers, like from front to back - not like painfully but like sexually. So I went over there.
It was really loud and what I thought she said was “wanna fuck?” and so I just said “YES!” but reallly she’d said “wanna bump?” - and so immedietly she’s offering me a fingernail full of what I was told by a more savvy friend was “glass”, which in that case meant a mix of coke and meth. She gave me two bumps of this stuff - not sure when the 2nd was. I was also of course drinking like mad. So I was hangin all over this chick the rest of the night, figurin ahh gonna get laid by a freaky playboy drug slut. Yay.
Well something happened where a couple of total strangers really needed a ride home bad, way out in North Houston, so I stuffed them in my truck and told the chick I’d be right back, and drove them - drunk of course - (Jenny’s gonna kill me for that but I no longer drink and drive or do “glass” so no worries, babe!).
Then I had no idea where I was or how to get back, and I was alone in this half ghetto and so I just started sort of driving, trying to feel my way back. So while I was drunk, driving, lost in the dark, I called Dustin up in Cali on the cell phone. Boy was he worried. I was trying to get him to guide me home, but he’d never even BEEN to Houston. What a trip. Then at one point I informed him that “oops I’m going the wrong way on Highway 59 freeway” and he thought I meant the WRONG WAY but I just meant I was headed in the wrong direction. I fixed that, felt my way back, and found that chick again.
She had lost some of the intensity of interest, but I was still able to sit with her. Only problem was I’d developed some mighty gas and was farting her out. I didn’t tell her it was me but she kept really being sensitive “what is THAT SMELL??? OMG!!” and so it all fizzled away.
And I had work as a stage hand for some university graduation or something that I had to arrive at at 7:30AM and it was 5AM. So I called Eric when I got home and ended up saying “fuckin fuckin fuckin fuckin”.
Hmmm. But that may not be the story I should tell. Maybe I should be talking about the lyrics. Flash forward a year or so and I’ve moved to Oakland and me and Dustin are there and I’m alone on the Bart train late at night, trying to get home. For the life of me I can’t figure where I would’ve been. On a plane? At work? At a venue?
That whole experience in the Bay Area was an experience in watching homelessness, feeling homeless, watching and feeling lonliness (even though we had 3 of us in the apartment and quite a crew of stragglers and community, it was still really lonely). I was sitting there in the train looking out into the darkness. The whole place is one huge huge huge urban area. There is no part of California really that’s not an Urban area. It’s basically one big city from San Diego to just south of Napa. With a few exceptions.
So I used to either stand on my friend Teresa’s balcony or look out the window of the train into the unending field of lights wondering if there was anything good to find out in it. I was doing this and I saw this flash come from the electrified third rail and I really did wonder what it was.
I wrote down the first line “sometimes I see a flash from the third rail and I wonder where it’s from, it’s like a pinhole shot from a .38 that broke the aching sun” and thought I was gonna write a clever slam poem, but it didn’t come out that way. It came out as this rhyme and for me at the time, the whole cleverness of it was the triplets and way I was going to rap it. I figured its cleverness was the rhythm, and I almost didn’t even finish the thing because I didn’t think anything of the content, but then Suzy cried and I looked at it again.
I dunno man. I dunno if I can explain the lonely hopeless vastness of urban california, and how you feel like you’ve disappeared into a chasm, and you can barely survive and you don’t even know why you would, and the sort of saddened freedom you get from just sitting there on the train staring at the ridiculous pincushion of light and steel and concrete. I can really feel that feeling when I listen to this mix though.
God it makes me want to cry, really, and just sort of drop to my knees in the dirt and thank god for my family and my girlfriend and having got out of there. I miss my boys, especially Dustin, but man. That place is strange. And yeah, listening to the song is making me appreciate things now. Especially that feeling of having met Jenny and having this feeling of suddenly the ground just reappearing beneath my feet and this utter relief. Relief from the fuckin Third Rail flash thingymabob.
There’s actually some other subject matter in the actual lyrics (you may remember me mentioning how the musical energy trumps the lyrical content in a song for me in the last entry - or not) - about darkness and giving the sun a break - neat stuff that I can’t really speak on right now but I’ll paste the lyrics.
sometimes I see a flash from the third rail and I wonder where it’s from
it’s like a pinhole shot from a .38 that broke the aching sun
I look to daylight for the answers but there’s nothing left to ask
and daylight just laughs and breaks his foot off in my ass
sometimes its way too bright in the grainy place with this gathering of souls
and just to get a sense of dark we need that little hole
even the sun needs help some days to make it through the cold
’cause answering every question in the world can get a little old
it’s like a way tall man began his day by sharpening a stick
and gave the light a little prick since it was feeling sick
and on the other side of this broken ball of dirt we call the Earth
a little woman in a scarf begins to say a prayer
she says “Release the sun from all its woes and I will be your slave
let 70 and 21 begin afresh today”
and the little woman made a pact with everybody tall enough
to give the god of heat a little break and let the cold come in
so every day a little baby dies or someone chokes
or someone hits a stroke of bad luck and ends up in a box
behind a fence inside a vast expanse of dust
and every evening someone lingers in a broken doorway shallow
and he knows he’ll have to sleep tonight on concrete wet with breath
and when he wakes up it’ll rain and no one walking by will care
but it’s a cost, he pays it gladly so the rest of us can see
we call him crazy but he’s just a prayer sent all the way from somewhere else
and everyone in Columbine or Red Lake, Minnesota
will shed another 7 years of tears we’ll use to lubricate
the stones we’ll use to sharpen every stick
that every tall man needs to prick
a little pinhole in the sun who aches for someone to appreciate
the days we’re sitting in the sand and nothing in the sky
can contemplate another strategy to make us hate this nutty fate
I remember everything I said when I was mad
I can’t believe the things I’ve seen
I can’t believe the things I’ve had
I jerked my mind off in my liver
and I waited for it to cum
now everybody’s watching me
and can’t believe the shit I’ve done
I stare off into empty space when I look in people’s eyes
it’s like this train has got a hold of me and I need a new disguise
I see a flash from the third rail and I wonder where it’s from
it’s like a pinhole shot from a .38 that broke the aching sun
now what it’s gonna take to give the light a goddamn fucking break
I can’t believe the things we leave
I can’t believe the things we take…
I see a flash from the third rail and I wonder where it’s from
it’s like a pinhole shot from a .38 that broke the aching sun
This was fun. I played it live in the studio. So obviously I can play it and sing it. I think it’s my second song written that way.
This song has verse for my friend Suzy (the first verse) and a verse for my friend Tammy. (The second verse - her picture was on the keyboard when I was writing).
And then of course the chorus is supposed to be all about how life’s not THAT hard, your limitations are perceived, you can do it! Dunno if anyone got that from it though. The energy in the song is real sad and sad-reflective and it’s hard when you mix energies like that. I really think the energy in the melody and stuff trumps what the lyrics are saying every time.
It was a lonely sad hard thing sitting in there writing and playing in the studio. I think the piano sounds beautiful though, I love the sound of clean, real piano recorded decently. But totally lonely and hard in the studio. Beautiful studio, hard wood floor, great mics, Stanford privilage, but hard. I was always writing things basically that were these sort of prayers to the wind to find my wanted girlfriend. Met Jenny after was done with this record and Stanford. I had a girlfriend for like 3 months during that time but it didn’t go too far. I think she liked this song though. Her and some other people said it was the more powerful one on the record. One friend of mine said he much preferred it to all the overdubbing and production in the title track.
That’s a good lesson is it’s easy to overproduce and especially if maybe you have some real passion or some talent, then you should allow yourself to be more naked and revealed out there and don’t cover yourself up with too much trickery. I mean I guess unless your talent IS the trickery.
A Beatles cover! Me and Eric used to cover this together - he’d play acoustic guitar, we’d both sing. At the end we’d sort of throw in some poem I had in my notes. Different ones. I remember using this one about the I-Ching at Fitzgerald’s open mic.
Kind of overdid it on the production on this one. I have like three different drum tracks plus a beatboxer (me? eric? both?) - but Gabe did a lot of great drumming and it is really fun to do this song. I added all these new lyrics so it’s this hybrid song or something.
This one we recorded on that marathon session when Eric came to Oakland. We did all these bass tracks and guitar tracks and then it was break time and Eric and Dustin went downstairs to have a smoke break and stand around outside and have break time, and I said ok I’ll be right down and once the door closed I just did the vocal tracks all in one take (or two - maybe there are some overlaps) and went down and was like “ok vocals done”. I had fun with that cowboy shit. Doing things all wam bam like that.
Later after all those sessions I did the real drums with Gabe. Then I struggled and struggled to get everything to gel and I also couldn’t really let go of anything so I think in the end it’s a little overproduced. I owe Harry Fox 9 cents or whatever.
Almost dropped the track from the record ’cause it’s a cover and you wouldn’t believe what a hassle those fucking assholes make that. Technically, you’re supposed to prepay the .9 cents per sale or whatever the hell it is. You’re supposed to say “ok I’m gonna eventually sell 2000 copies and so I give you this money” or whatever but the thing is the minimum is so out of range that unless you just kind of break the rules and say “listen fuckers I’ll send you this when I get it, like the rest of the people who get royalties on this record”, you can’t do it.
So that’s what I did. I’m never sending those guys the 9 cents or whatever I owe them. It’s just not even worth it. If ever we sell a bunch of this and the owed gets past the goddamn postage, I’ll send it.
I’m not sure what to say about this one. Great drumming by Gabe Turow again. I played the bass and the piano and I think there’s some guitars in there by Eric. Yep there they are.
Sad song. This is actually the first song I wrote where I could sort of play piano (simply) and sing it at once. It’s actually about the time I spent in this course that they make guys take in Houston if they get arrested for domestic violence. I took it voluntarily, wasn’t arrested for domestic violence. But the thing you get eventuallly is certain things you just can never expect to be forgiven for and the only real thing you can do is stop asking for forgiveness, let it go, try to forgive yourself, etc.
So I wrote this sad song about it. Woo! Then somehow in producing it it got jazzy. It’s a fun little jazzy upbeat TOTALLY INSANELY SAD song! Woo!
First of all, listen for the mistake in the beginning. The GUITARISTS WATCH FUCKING BEEPING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TAKE.
So I kept it! HA!
Say My People is probably my best slam poem. Have done it and won with it all over the land, etc. I always sort of envisioned it being on a record with some of it rapped and some full band action and stuff. I also thought about just putting a straight version of it, just like it’s done in slams, but I dunno, I just didn’t feel like it. I felt like a lot of times, that stuff was pretty boring on a recording.
This particular performance is too laid back I think now though. Too slow. For the drums on this one, I got this cat at Stanford named Gabe Turow. We did a four hour session in the studio at CCRMA, and he was really good. He just sort of banged out four songs worth. That was fun. It was sort of lonely in a way. Normally in a session like that I think of it like some community event with different people around. But no one was around. No one knew it was happening. It was just me and ‘ol Gabe sitting there drumming and then later it was just me sort of editing in the dark.
That’s the thing I think that’s the big appeal about being in music or entertainment is it’s always this party, this community event that involves a lot of people and makes you feel like you’re in the middle of where things are happening. That town square feeling where you might be a little aware that other things are going on in the world but you don’t feel like you’re missing anything. You feel like you’re where you should be, and you feel connected and stuff. I think that’s why stuff like the super bowl is so popular. I mean you don’t have to care about football (god knows you won’t see much football if you’re at a super bowl party) it’s just that you’re there in the community. Everybody wants to be in the community.
I’m not sure many people would want to be musicians if everybody went about it in the lonesome way I usually go about it.
Here’s a pretty weird one. I had this concept in my head around, oh 2002 or so, where I thought of having songs that were about 6 minutes long, and the deal was, the first three minutes would be arranged like a regular pop song, and there’d be a radio edit where that’s all you’d hear, but then on the album, it would shift and go into something entirely different. “The 6 minute double song” I called the concept or something. Probably it’s not an original concept but I don’t know.
So this was one of those. I had this whole version recorded, where my man Larry Lines played guitars and had this whole jazz thing going in the part where the song changes, and it was getting pretty neat.
Well I lost those tracks. They’re gone forever. So a couple years later I had to completely do this song over again. COMPLETELY. And I didn’t have ANYthing but the lyrics. I had no idea what key it was in or what it sounded like. So I redid it around the same concept, and had Eric do guitars. I just sort of told him what we’d done.
And we would do the first half live, just me and him and his acoustic guitar.
The lyrics. I wrote the poem that comes at the end first. 10,000 Mirrors. I wrote it in a dance club in Corpus Christi, TX on a bunch of A4 size (that’s half size) pieces of paper. The club was mixed, but had a lot of gay patrons, and it was like any dance club, dark, misty, sweaty, etc. I used to go to a lot of dance clubs and not dance. I’d write poetry or do martial arts in the middle of everybody. Well I was writing that night, while all my slam teamates danced, and what I wrote about was the thought that I was having that damn, what a jip our society lays on you if you’re gay. You end up with this huge risk of being relegated to this fucked up existence in the dark because out in the light, nobody will let you be a part of it. Of course, that’s not just being gay. It’s being black, or small, or having CF, or a woman, or just really just ANYTHING damn near. Almost nobody doesn’t have that feeling.
Of course eventually you have to realize you’re NOT as unique as you think, and say fuck this, I’m gonna be in life, fuck anybody who says I shouldn’t be a part of life, and I don’t have to live in the dark dank places and slip between the cracks.
So anyway this is that poem. I remember telling my friend Doug about it, who happens to be bi, and feeling self conscious that maybe I’d overstepped my bounds.
Then I wrote the raps later, and they’re mostly about this one friend of mine at the time who had just taken the whole “them and us” bullshit thing too far. Everywhere we went it was “that idiot”, “those morons”, etc. The idea that there was an enemy, that people out there, other than us, were fucked up morons. This idea is of course all over the place, but seriously, here’s a little advice for all you kiddos reading this: If you have a friend who says you’re great, but “so and so” is wrong or fucked up, watch it. Sooner or later that friend will turn on you. Who you really want to be around and trust are people who are saying good things about other people who are not there with you. You WILL end up on the “other side”, trust me on that one. So the verse is about that thing of wondering “dude you’re a little hateful, I’m a little worried when you’ll turn on me”.
And there you have it. There was some interesting processing on some of the tracks where I pitch shifted something and put some weird echo and suddenly it turned into an unexpected thing, and the drums of course are all weirdy but it’s a nice change too so hey. There ya go!
Pronounced “nine twelve”.
First off, it’s not called that because it’s anything to do with 09/11 actually. It does have subject matter that connects, but really we did the song on the 12th of September and it had no title and was labeled “0912″ in our audio folder. Kept the title ’cause of the accidental relevance.
So this is a cheat big time. This is the lyrics from a whole other song. Called “Majority Of Men”.
That was how it was for me at this time. I would do tracks and do tracks, but pushing fucking words out of me was so tough that sometimes I’d just search around in books or old albums and reuse shit. In fact that’s mostly what I was doing is just searching through journals and using shit, maybe fleshing it out. Hardly anything entirely new on this record.
I probably already said something about this rhyme, because I think I already talked about Majority Of Men. Yep, here it is.
The tracks on this song are so fuckin complex. I could remix this thing 100 times. There’s a million guitars and squeaks and drums and back up vocals. I totally make it go nuts at the end too. I improvised the shit about “do you want me to lay it down, for the rest of the world and the president, don’t act like you ain’t been there I know you ain’t paid the rent”
Of course Eric played all these guitars and basses. The drums are machines. And Eric did backing vocals. I had him scream all this Latin at the end, but I don’t remember what it means.
That’s actually a weird nod to a professor I had in college - Monica Cyrino (god she was SOO HOT). Classics professor, which is also “History”, so I took a lot of her classes because I was a history major! And she made getting a good grade and just learning by listening very easy, and she was a GODDAMN sexy redhead. But anyway one lecture we talked about old school Latin Lyric Poets, and the similarities, culturally, between that and rap. I decided I wanted to make a rap song entirely in Latin. I even wrote her an email at some point telling her so! But I never have gotten around to learning to rap in Latin, but Eric took some Latin and could scream a few things as a backing track on a song of mine, so I figured that was a start!
But the coup de gras on this fuckin thing to me is the guy screaming “SOMEBODY LET ME OUTTA HERE!!!” at the end. That same voice/track is the gospel style singing you hear throughout the song. That guy was a friend of Eric’s who came in to the studio one day while we were working, and I only ever met him that one time, and I don’t know his name even. He was like “oh neat I wanna try!” and so we said “get your ass in the booth then!” and he did, and it turned out he was really good at this nutball gospel singing (which was being done very sarcastically and it was hilarious but also awesome sauce!). He didn’t want a credit or anything, wanted specifically to remain anonymous, so that’s why I’m ok with forgetting his name and everything about him except his track.
He’s screaming at the end because the whole joke at that studio was “The Old Man Clothes Room” - I might have told this story in this blog before, I really can’t remember. But whatever - the vocal booth was just my walk in closet. It was deep in and very isolated and very dead acoustically, but I didn’t have to DO much to make it so, because I had Tamara’s father’s entire wardrobe in there. And this was a man who had a lot of stuff. Suits, shirts, pants, a lot of things you might accumulate as a man of taste and means and corporate need. He died and her mom was sorting through his shit, and asked me to come help out by taking away anything that I might want (he happened to be about exactly my same size). Well when I went to her house, I quickly came to see that it was seriously draining and trying for her to have to sort through his clothes, and I figured, you know, it doesn’t really keep her from having to deal with that if I just take what I like. So while she was off in another room I literally hopped to, hurried my ass off, and put EVERYTHING in my truck. I said bye, drove off, and had it all. That was my little piece of service, such as it was.
So, everyone that came in to the studio, I told ‘em what all the clothes in that closet were. So it was a bit creepy to be in there, we used to say (not sure if it really was or not, but we’d say it was). You’re in this deep hole with a bunch of dead old man clothes and a microphone. And it felt very isolated. Solitary. Fucked up man. So we lock that new dude in there, and by the end, he’s going “SOMEBODY GET ME OUTTA HERE!!!”
We laughed for days about him. What the hell was his fuckin NAME?
Really this kind of thing is my favorite. This one I thought up the chorus when I was out on the road with Poetry Alive. I remember being in this hotel thinking of that. I think it was actually the same day I wrote Walking Dead.
Then later on Eric came up with this guitar riff and we laid that down, and then we borrowed his dad’s drums and took ‘em to my place, and he played the drums and the bass on this. Then I came up with the verses and sang all that weird stuff and he did some backup screeching.
I put distortion on the vocals to make it sound all gritty like a live performance and I spread the guitars out and all this stuff. I remember I had a mix done of this but when I took it to the mastering engineer (we actually had this record mastered by somebody real, John Greenham), he said there needed to be more low end, more kick. So I went back in and put on an extra kick drum sound that I played live to tape from a drum machine. I think I enhanced the mix a bit too.
Then gave it back.
This is pretty simple, this song. It’s about the war. “What are we fightin for?” - I mean that’s pretty much it. But there is some twist in the verse because I start talking to soldiers and one thing I say that I like and I think is a twist is: “and when it comes down to the last man, i hope to god in the heavens you know you can”
You can do it! You can! I dunno - I just like that sort of encouragement or reminding hey you can get through this, I hope you remember your inner competence, or something.
Anyway that’s about it, really, when it comes to anything to say about this tune. I like it cuz it’s just straight forward rock rap stuff. I’m such a big Rage fan that I don’t know why I don’t just do more of this.