Self Titled Lyrics

I Know There’s a Darkness

portland.oregon.2001

after a few years of white knuckle sobriety…it was beginning to occur to me [with a lot of friends’ ‘input’]…that perhaps rage wasn’t necessarily an asset…and that the only thing that seemed to temper it for me was a handful of pain killers and couple bourbons…i had ridden that particular pony before…and i knew what lay ahead…and yet……

Different take on politics
What it means to you and me
Salvation or a nervous tick
Tourniquet or let it bleed

Hard for me to say
My instincts aren’t so sharp these days
I guess I lost my way
My memory just ain’t the same

I know there’s a darkness
I know there’s a darkness and
It’s waiting for me there

I can’t put my finger on it
Flatline or the faintest pulse
A buzzing bee back in my bonnet
Ecstatic or a tad repulsed

Hard for me to tell
I’m not the man I used to be
I’m feeling pretty well but
The outrage got the best of me

I know there’s a darkness
I know there’s a darkness and
It’s waiting for me there

Head up to my corner market
Try to get my courage up
If I only had a target
Maybe I could fuck shit up

Hard for me to know
I take a pill and then it’s gone
I guess it’s time to go
I never know what side I’m on

I know there’s a darkness
I know there’s a darkness and
It’s waiting for me there

Ten Killer Fairies

campo.miguel.el.sauzal.baja.norte.mexico.late.1990s

my brother and father spent a lot of time working in the ensenada area of baja…my brother has a house there…and i have written a goodly portion of my songs sitting on his porch overlooking the surf break at campo miguel…it’s one of my favorite spots on earth

in the late nineties…there was a massacre of families in el sauzal…you can google it…most likely a retaliation by the felix cartel…for some misplaced money or turf wars…or whatever the fuck they seem to have no problem killing children over…23 people…essentially my brother’s neighbors…they lined them up…men, woman, children, babies, dogs and gunned them down while they held each other and begged for the lives of their children

as a long time narcotics user, the idea that i have contributed so much money to these fascist sociopaths makes me sick with guilt…something to think about next time you’re doing a line of coke…i digress

the idea was to write from the eyes of one of the women…preparing to die with those she loved…the incident is a fact…my version is at best poetry which can get squirrely with the details…it’s a song you think you will write and it will be dated within the year…sadly it’s all too poignant now, as the slaughter isn’t slowing down…nor is the american narcotics consumption that fuels this violence

that said…my fans tend to think of this as an awesome dance tune…the original version on the jackmormon’s record conscious contact is a tad more peppy…this song used to make my dad very sad…but i think he liked it more than anything else i have written

She took his hand
Said apologies aren’t necessary
You have been a faithful man
Love and honor will be your legacy

I’d like to fix my hair and
Put on my pretty Sunday dress or
Cook you breakfast
It’s a shame to leave the house a mess

The baby is crying
I press his face into my breast and
Sing to him softly
This is for the best

It’s hard to face the older children
They know enough to understand
They soon will be delivered
Into our Savior’s waiting hands

The ten killer fairies
Won’t pull us apart and
I will hold you here forever, baby, yes I will
Here in my sacred heart

If the neighbors would just stop screaming and
Accept this as their fate
The comfort’s in the dreaming
Of the paradise that waits

So let’s gather up the family and
Let’s cover up their eyes
This is only temporary
No need to say goodbye

The ten killer fairies
Won’t pull us apart and
I will hold you here forever, baby, yes I will
Here in my sacred heart
Out here in the courtyard
The reflection of the sun
Off emotionless sunglasses
And the barrels of the guns

I can hear the people laughing
Down at the carnaval
I wonder if they’ll remember
How we lined against this wall

With our dignity like soldiers and
Forgiveness like the saints
Giving comfort to our children
With a silence like the martyrs and examples we’ve been made

The ten killer fairies
Won’t pull us apart and
I will hold you here forever, baby, yes I will
Here in my sacred heart

Our father who art in Heaven
Hallowed by thy name
Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done today
As it is today

Take my hand now, baby
We’ll look out to the sea
To the tuna boats and dolphins
We’ll taste the ocean breeze

I will not stop weeping
Because I promised I’d be strong
Just tell me that you love me and
Hold me in your arms

It’s funny I remember
When I was a little girl
How easy came the laughter
At the wonders of the world

How one day I would marry
With a family of my own
But the time has come now, baby
To take my family home

The ten killer fairies
Won’t pull us apart and
I will hold you here forever, baby, yes I will
Here in my sacred heart

Apollo

harlem.new.york.2007

sitting around my apartment on 127th st…my wife was out of town…i had a pile of drugs and nowhere to be…we were around the corner from the apollo theater…and i was doing a lot of late night walking…babbling to bodega workers and unbelievably not getting killed.

my good friends lex and joey had come over to install ceiling fans as i was finishing the song, so…what else to rhyme with malcom x, but lex? you can’t take a subway to arthur ave in the bronx, but the bus ride’s worth it for the mexican guys selling raw cherry stones on the half shell in front of the fish markets…a friend laughed and said this is my redemption song…he was probably high.

Three in the morning
Think I’ll walk down to Marcus Garvey and get some air
Shake off the warning
A couple of ghosts we could rustle and wake ‘round here

Kissing the goodnight
In my blood red cowboy shirt, my medicine
Whisper the bright lights
Chi Lites, Four Tops, Smokey Robinson

When my day’s begun
I ride my chariot around the sun
Like Apollo

Made a decision
A cold bodega tall boy on Malcom X
Sharing the vision
A dimebag disaster with my friend Lex

Love out of danger
My baby rides from Arthur Avenue
Swap it with strangers
Smack that wall child proving you are through

When my day’s begun
I ride my chariot around the sun

With the damage done
I ride my chariot around the sun

When the song is sung
I swing my baby’s love around the sun
Like Apollo

Wake up
To the rays of love
Get up
To the rays of love
Stand up
To the rays of love
Get up
To the rays of love

Like Apollo

Cochise

cabaret.dominican.republic.2008

can i have a favorite song? if so…this is it…my childhood friend freddy monroe had older sisters, who in the 70s were super involved in latino revolutionary stuff [or at least dated guys who were…or at least had pictures of guys that were]…viva la raza…brown panthers…malo and santana and war were the soundtrack…it made a big impression on me…one sister had a huge poster of cochise…and i loved it

years later…i was writing songs in the dr…and scouting out a place for my upcoming wedding…there’s a lot in this song…when me and my brother were little, on nautilus st in la jolla, i was flinging rocks and roofing tar off a roof at my brother and the neighbor kids in some hyper-violent version of ‘king of the hill’…i hit michael in the mouth and we both thought i cut out his tongue…he still has the scar

it took a while to realize it…but i think the ‘throw off these shackles’ line is the best thing I’ve written about kicking heroin…and on top of it all…it’s a love song…with native americans and my wife’s deceased mother and my tongueless brother…i can’t write much better than this

Here is a picture your grandmother sent
Of your mother in indigo gold
And though it is beaten and sun bleached and bent
It’s a girl who will never grow old

Here is a locket I wear on my chest
With a tooth and a lock of your hair
And though it’s not much, I am doing my best
It’s the only thing I want to wear

Here is a scar I put on your lips
When I threw rocks and tar from the sky
Lean in a bit closer, I’ll give you a tip
When you battle, don’t cover your eyes

The time flows faster than water
We all go like lambs to the slaughter
So take ahold of your sons and your daughters and fly

One day, baby, I’ll be like Cochise
I’ll fight off the cavalry and bring home the peace
Geronimo, Crazy Horse looking at me
And we’ll dance until the end of the world

Here is a porcelain divinity bust
That I speak to when I am alone
It’s so hard to find people you love and you trust
When you find yourself out on your own

Here is a dagger, a samurai sword
That saw glory and blood in the dirt
No matter how much we might pray to the Lord
There’s somebody who always gets hurt

The time flows faster than water
We all go like lambs to the slaughter
So take ahold of your sons and your daughters and fly

One day, baby, I’ll be like Cochise
I’ll throw off these shackles, I shall be released
I know there’s a warrior inside of me
And we’ll fight

Maybe one day, I’ll be the chief and
I’ll rescue the princess from the jaws of the beast
But when it all hits the fan, I’m still calling Cochise
And we’ll dance

Maybe one day I’ll follow my heart
Custer, conquistadors, tear them apart
This is our moment to make a new start
So in love

On that day, I will jump in the sea and
I’ll finally be all you want me to be
Then down on my knees asking, marry me
And we’ll fly to the ends of the world
We’ll fly to the ends of the world

Panama

pedasi.panama.2004

a couple days after the boxing day tsunami, i had written some really heavy songs [i had lost friends]…i wanted to write something to lighten up…i was newly in love and traveling with my then girlfriend…now wife…mostly on the azuero peninsula where my father founded a marine science reserve.

in a nearby cowboy town, after a particularly brutal rodeo, a band played…samy and sandra sandoval…one of the more awesome musical experiences i have ever witnessed…a cayman had just tried eating a friend’s labrador…the panamanian president at the time was walking thru the midnight dirt streets of pedasi with her girlfriends drinking…as were we…the local seco [moonshine].

we were staying at this eccentric french guy’s insanely beautiful bed and breakfast…it was a beautiful time and place…not sure how spike got into this one…glad he’s here…

At least you’re trying
Everybody else down here’s just buying
Whatever is at the going rate today
It’s always got to be about the chase

My friend Spike
Said sorry, but it’s just a pony ride
But it’s on the table here today
So it’s going to have to be okay

In Panama
In Panama
It’s going to have to be okay
And then we give it all away

We’ll at least you’re thinking
Everybody else I know is just drinking
Drinking up a wave of regret
And I don’t think they’ve finished drinking yet

In the dancing hall
Samy and Sandra Sandoval
Finger on the heartbeat of it all
From Pedasi to Cambutal

In Panama
In Panama
It’s going to have to be okay
But everybody loves you anyway

And then the question comes up
Are we wasting our time
Is this the presence of God
Or just a presence of mind

In Panama
In Panama
It’s going to have to be okay
Think you’re going to make it anyway

Hanging over
Over to a hanger for a party
The flying season’s getting started
You’ll take it on a wing and fly away

We’ll at least you’re flying
Because everybody else I know here’s dying
It’s what you’ve got to love about the crocodile
At least he’s going to kill you with a smile

In Panama
In Panama
It’s going to have to be okay
Everybody loves you anyway

In Panama
In Panama
It’s going to have to be okay
Everybody loves you, baby

Wisconsin Death Trip

stinson.beach.california.2008

the end of the california summer…me, teri, dave schools and isaac pritzker…i was talking with isaac about songwriting and how all you need is a title…a bootleg copy of the dvd wisconsin death trip was sitting on the table…i had no idea what it was about…but i stole the title and wrote this in minutes while we all sat around the table…with dave cheerleading.

for some reason, this song means a lot to me when i sing it…and i had no idea what i was writing about at the time…i still love the five o’clock sirens at stinson.

Everybody’s coming along
On a Wisconsin death trip
Out of the cold
Back on your feet

Everybody’s singing along
Baptismal fire
We’re all getting old
Feeling the heat

It could have been a carnival ride
Circle of death
Passing a cup
For all you believe

A little of the child just died
Wisconsin death trip
Never give up
Just up off your knees

When the small hand hits five
Sirens will sound
We all clap, we’re alive
As it rings through the town
See the light in our eyes
As we gather around
On a Wisconsin death trip tonight

Could have been something you said
Sharkland aquarium
A tear and smirk
We all had a laugh

I’ve been trying to get it out of my head
Wisconsin death trip
Shadows will lurk
They’re blocking our path

When the small hand hits five
Sirens will sound
We all clap, we’re alive
As it rings through the town
See the light in our eyes
As we gather around
On a Wisconsin death trip tonight

We could have used a little more time
At the Trees of Mystery
All now on board
And out of the dark

Everybody’s going to be fine
Wisconsin death trip
Thanking the Lord
And squeezing out sparks

In our hearts we will know
What it’s never about
And our voices will grow
From a whisper to shout
And our God, He will know
That we’re working it out
On a Wisconsin death trip

When the small hand hits five
Sirens will sound
We all clap, we’re alive
As it rings through the town
See the light in our eyes
As we gather around
On a Wisconsin death trip tonight

We’re working it out
On a Wisconsin death trip tonight

Everybody’s going to be fine

Pony

chaing.mai.thailand.1992

a friend took me to his favorite khao soi place for soup…across the street was a woman with cages full of songbirds…for a few baht you could purchase one and set it free…resulting in a lot of good karma…as we sat there we noticed that, after 30 minutes, the birds came back…my friend pointed out the special at the restaurant next door…little bird soup

my daughter chae was still very young…not yet four…i wanted to write her a song…and this was a pretty heavy part of my life…i was trying to write something sweet and beautiful…a task that, to this day, i find difficult…the tapers always refer to it as under two minutes…for this record, i titled it pony

I hate to see you stand there
Crying like a baby
It wasn’t your intention
Taking this time out

I’d really love to lay you down
Somewhere where it’s shady
I could tell you stories
Take that thumb out of your mouth

I wish I could keep you as an angel
I wish I could keep you as a child
I wish I could stay with you forever
Baby, I could be your pony and
Together we would ride

There’s a woman on the corner
Selling little birds in cages
For a dollar we could buy one
Set it loose into the sky

We could be like pirates
Sailing off to China
We could be like cowboys and
On the range we’d ride

I wish I could keep you as an angel
I wish I could keep you as a child
I wish I could stay with you forever
Baby, I could be your pony and
Together we would ride

Eat My Soul

god.knows.where.[boulder?].mid.1980s

my first midlife crisis, i was 26-ish, convinced i was washed up [maybe that was true]…i so desperately wanted to be van morrison or robbie robertson or keith richards…or some combo [with a fake jamaican patois]…and i was trying to write like that…and thus…this song…recorded with little women

it has been very popular on the funeral circuit…a niche i should have paid more attention to…weirdly, for me…it proves that you can grow into songs…maybe have no idea what something is about when you’re writing it…then years later it’s an ‘oh duh’ moment…and it reminds me of so many people i really miss…

Mama taught me how to smile
Papa taught me how to walk a mile
For a camel, before the jackals
Pick my bones

My salvation and my rebirth
You’re my damnation, baby, you’re my curse
Bleed me baby, lick the bowl and
Eat my soul

My soul, my soul
My fate lies in the dice you roll
You and Jesus set my table and
Eat my soul

You’re bathing in your holiness
Drowning in your distress
Don’t you know it’s bad for business
As business goes
You let it go

Raise your conscience, raise your head
You raise your children like you raise the dead
There’s no need for conversation
It’s been said

Burn your bridges, screw the toll
The road you travel is the road you own
It’s your picnic and it’s your casket
Yours alone

Mama taught me how to smile
Papa taught me how to walk a mile
For a camel, before the jackals
Pick my bones

My soul, my soul
The queen is dead and heads will roll
You and Jesus set my table and
Eat my soul

Bouncing Very Well

barcelona.spain.portland.oregon.2003

there’s a book by salman rushdie…called fury…it starts and ends with characters ‘bouncing very well’…i steal a lot from mr rushdie…it was a whirlwind time of a new girlfriend…a new war…touring with das in europe…and cotton candy oysters at maison blanc in paris and shmeeze filled joy at the slaughtered lamb in barcelona [unfortunately the mcfadden dousing himself in absinthe and catching fire in the ramblas incident came too late for this song]…in the end we did get married in a shack by the sea and had octopus cocktails and babies…

I’ve got a box full of pictures and trinkets
That start to make noise when I’m lying in bed
Overexposed to inanimate thinking
I’d like to think that it’s all in my head
In my head

I had a dream, you sat on the table
Questioning me while I’m tied to a chair
Sleep deprivation and sexual torture
It’s nice to know that Americans care

I am bouncing
I am bouncing very well

I know a buddha with rosary rings for a crown
He sits silently staring for most of the week
I need to tell him he’s got to quit coming around
I’m getting tired of waiting for prophets to speak

I’ve got a postcard of Spanish cathedrals
Dwarfed by a statue painted bright orange by Miró
Magazine covers proudly presenting
The Beatles in languages I’ll never know

I am bouncing
I am bouncing very well
I am bouncing higher and higher

Come take my hand, baby
We could get married
We could have babies and
Live in a shack by the sea

Fresh cut flowers and
Octopus cocktails
Just close your eyes
It’s easy to see

We are bouncing
We are bouncing very well
We are bouncing higher and higher

Spy

kruezberg.berlin.late.1990s

i was falling in love with berlin…and out of an important relationship.

i was hanging with my friend danny dzuik, who produced this song for a record called öl or oil in english…it was only released in germany.

i was trying to write a creepy love song à la sting’s every breath you take…and as far as my love songs go…i felt like i ‘got it’…at least the creepy part.

I wish I could be a spy
Spend all my days
Looking in through your window

I blend into the night
Making sure that you’re safe
From here in the shadows

I’d be closer to you
Then I’ll ever be now
No matter how I have been fooling myself
I was time for goodbyes

I wish I could be a spy
Spend all my days
Looking over your shoulder

Espionage is a crime
But it’s worth doing time
Just to watch you grow older

I run my hands through your things
For the memories they bring
Pretending that I am of soundness of mind
And you will come back, in time

I wish I could be a spy
Spend all my days
Reading through all your letters

I’m sure he’s treating you fine
Doing all of the things
That I can do, but better

So I go into your files and
I rewrite the parts
Where I left you to cry

I’ll be back in your heart
Where everything’s fine

I wish I could be a spy

War at the End of the World

venice.beach.california.early.1990s

i had read the book of the same title by mario vargas llosas…a mid-19th century apocalyptic novel about a messiah in the jungles of brazil…i stole the title [which i do frequently] and used a lot of the ideas but included my own historical stuff…our lady of lebanon…eddie hinton, etc…

i remember it taking about 30 minutes to write…so clearly a case of someone else pushing the pen…i recorded this with johnny sandlin in decatur, alabama for the love and happiness record…david hood on bass…chuck leavell played keys…cool version.

a friend of my father’s knew llosas and apparently got a copy of the song to him…as the story goes…he fucking hated it.

i was in athens, georgia on 9/11…a couple days later we played the 40 watt with mikey houser, todd nance and the usual athens hooligans…we opened with this…it was pretty heavy…that’s where the ‘jumped off the towers’ line came from.

From the captain’s cabin
Our Lady of Lebanon
Called up old Saint Maron
Said get the Counselor on the phone
See, there’s been a change in strategy
Everything’s gone wrong
We’re pulling anchors in the morning
We must be moving on

Then they sailed off in the sunset
Some against their will
They sailed into the month of April
And landed in Brazil
She said we’ll stay here with the circus
We’ve a little time to kill
Welcome to the New World
This is not a drill

So they camped under the big top
The elephants and snakes
Bearded Lady and the Lizard Boy
Were tired of the wait
They could sense the battle looming
See the demons at the gate
They said if Christ is really coming
Let’s pray He isn’t late

Then Gabriel and Moroni
Showed up with horn in hand
Said Jesus couldn’t make it
But He’s sure you’ll understand
And He wanted you to know
He appreciates your helping hand
‘Cause in this world of good and evil
It’s time for you to make a stand

It was the war at the end of the world
It was the war at the end of the world
They probably were not ready
But they had their flags unfurled
At the war at the end of the world

Then they loaded up the canons
And polished up the swords
And the band played Eddie Hinton
As they marched against the hoards
The Bearded Lady said I may die young
But at least I won’t be bored
Let us triumph over evil
In the service of the Lord

So they fought with smiles and bravery
But the Devil had them in retreat
Saint Maron swung his battle axe
Bodies piled up at his feet
They could smell the sky was burning
Blood ran waist deep in the streets
He said I hate to tell you, baby
This ain’t no way to beat the heat

It was the war at the end of the world
It was the war at the end of the world
They fought it for the children
The little boys and girls

And then the Dwarf said to the Counselor
Our ammo’s all been used
You better tell Our Lady
I think we’re going to lose
They’re not taking any prisoners
They’ll kill us all before they’re through
And I must admit the thought of Hell
Is giving me the blues

Saint Maron chimed in
I think I must concur
That the battle’s going badly
And it’s only getting worse
All our holy water
Will never drown this curse
And I’d rather leave here running
Then leave here in a hearse

And then the Counselor said to me
I hate to break it to you, son
But I’ve been watching you for hours
And you’re lousy with a gun
And if it is your intention
To see the rising sun
Saint Maron’s on the money
I think you better run

As I turned tail Our Lady said
I ain’t afraid to die
And if Manhattan’s really sinking
We’ll take it to the skies
And if I go down in fire
You can’t say I didn’t try
She jumped off of the towers
Tears of victory in her eyes

It was the war at the end of the world
It was the war at the end of the world
I could not believe my eyes
Or anything I heard

Last time I inquired
The war’s still raging on
And the elephants and clowns are dead
The cedar trees are gone
As for Our Lady and the Counselor
I believe they had a son
And if he fulfills the prophecy
The battle will be won

And on that day of glory
They will line up on the curbs
And the faithful will parade
With the faithful that have served
And Christ winks at Our Lady
Says you’ve got a lot of nerve
Now let’s put the kids to bed
And get the rest that we deserve

It was the war at the end of the world
It was the war at the end of the world
The destitute and dying
Rallied ‘round His word

It was the war at the end of the world
It was the war at the end of the world
If you’re going to die for somebody
Let it be the Lord
In the war at the end of the world