Sunday, February 21, 2021

"Firm, The" Video!

This song is so short, I shot way too much footage for it.  Oh, well, I guess I can always use the unused footage somewhere else.  While it would have been awesome to just use a trailer for The Firm movie for the video, I doubt whatever media behemoth (what are there, 5 left out of the original 50 or so Ben Bagdikian warned about in the first edition of The Media Monopoly?) owns it would have gone for that, so I had to settle for some fair use clips.  I tried to make the connections between the verses obvious with the old military recruiting ads used on a couple of the choruses.  I also threw in a couple of shots of the Yeast? cassette that has the original recording of the song.  Other than that, I went for a creepy mode like the graveyard shot for the character of the book, movie, and song who feels persecuted.  The video gives the stupid song a bit more depth than it has on its own oddly enough.  As usual, I had fun making this video (if I didn't, I suppose I would stop making them).

For more tomfoolery, please read my latest novel Edna's Employment Agency!

Monday, February 15, 2021

New Recording: "Firm, The"!

This song was a Yeast? attempt to write a song even dumber than "Belsen Was A Gas" by The Sex Pistols.  I don't know if we succeeded, but it is pretty dumb.  It's also pretty fun to play, which is why it's managed to hang around for almost three decades.  It's all of three chords, so maybe it's just easy to remember.  It first appeared as the bonus track on the Party At Kitty & Stud's cassette.  We left some silence at the end of the cassette and didn't list it as a track, so anyone who was enjoying the silence would be surprised by one more song.  The best add-on track like this is, of course, The Clash's "Train In Vain", which was added to London Calling at the last minute when a flexidisk deal or something fell through.  Another favorite is the end track on Nirvana's Nevermind, which always gave good value on the jukebox at The Town Tavern in Kent, Ohio USA.  I could put on "Something In The Way", then enjoy a few minutes of silence (and confusion from other patrons when no music was playing) before a very obnoxious Nirvana song came on.  This might have also been one of the last songs our original guitarist, Chris, was involved with.  He disappeared before the next recording session, and we became a power trio unexpectedly (I was a much better guitar player at that point, so maybe he knew subconsciously he wasn't really needed anymore).  Lyrically, the song is based on the commercials for the Tom Cruise movie The Firm playing incessantly on television at that time.  Based on the popular John Grisham novel, the film seemed ridiculous, and the commercial seemed especially melodramatic.  To this day, I've never read the book nor seen the movie, but thanks to this song, I certainly remember them.  Most of the lyrics are an absurd reduction of the plot of the book/movie based on what the commercial related, but it also includes some lyrics inspired by the recent Persian Gulf War.  Really, mafia protection rackets and military invasions of other countries aren't that dissimilar.  They're both awful and expose the greed of some humans to bully others up to the point of killing them.  Unfortunately, at this point in my songwriting, the irony was probably lost on some listeners who might think it's a violent punk/metal song instead of a satire of the macho insanity of military recruiting, thriller movies/novels, and gangsterism.  I hope this arrangement makes that aspect of the song's reason for being clearer (though, of course, ultimately, it's still a pretty dumb song, though dumb can be more fun than smart at times).  For the weird instruments, I added some keyboard pipe organ, and a chair as a bass drum.  Other than that, it's the usual guitar, vox, percussion, and fake bass keyboard.  I don't know how long this song will remain in the current set, but it's definitely tenacious, outlasting many more sophisticated songs that I've written.  In some ways, it's the last song of my early songwriting.  The songs that would come after would be a little more complex.

To hear what Yeast? sounded like after this song, check out the first 7"!

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

"My Man Frank" Video!

Once again, I tried to follow the lyrics in this video, but, you know, it was winter, so I skipped the whole "lie naked with me outside" line. Some of the juxtaposed images were amusing such as the similarity between the Reagan speech crowd and the Capitol Mob. I also skipped most music shots because a lot of those videos are kind of boring. I went for interesting images to complement the music. If some music shots fit well, then I would have used them, but a one man band isn't exactly the most exciting things visually, though I did think about showing the chess game shaking. I filmed (videoed?) a lot of this video outside, which explain why the camera at times has water spots on it from the rain/snow mixture at the time. I don't know what the cops were doing (I tend to avoid anyone walking around with guns), but there were a few of them milling around the shopping area I was in. I tried to mix in the depressing economic scenes that matched the song lyrics, so there's a bit of retail apocalypse mixed in here (even Game Stop, despite the stock surge, will be unlikely to survive as video games go more and more purely online). I don't know whose grocery list that was, but, never fear, I made sure to recycle it after it got abandoned in my shopping cart. Alas, I did not buy the items on the list though (it looks like they had a fun night, however!). As usual, I had fun making this video (if I didn't, I suppose I would stop making them).

For more tomfoolery, please read my latest novel Edna's Employment Agency!

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

New Recording: "My Man Frank"!

This song dates from the Yeast? era.  It wasn't on Crisco Disco, but it made an appearance on the first full-band cassette (not counting the little demo we made to get gigs at The Penguin Pub and stuff), Party At Kitty & Stud's.  Then the song kind of disappeared until The Joslyns dug it out of the closet, and it's hung around ever since.  It's a fun song to play.  Written in 1992, the lyrics reference being the president's kid, which would have been George W. Bush, which made it odd in 2004 or so to be then singing about his kids (Of all the people in America, did we really have to have two Bushes as president?  Say what you will about Donald Trump, but at least he saved us from the horror that would have been a Jeb Bush presidency).  Most of the song comes from watching H. Ross Perot run for president and his worrying about the deficit and national debt.  That's certainly where the subchorus comes from ("I didn't throw the party.  I just clean the room").  Though old Perot never got to be president, he certainly laid the seeds, for better or worse, mostly worse, for the political rise of Donald Trump with his failed Reform Party politics (in fact, Trump first ran for president as a Reform Party candidate).  The chorus just comes from being amused when drunk people would tell me how much they liked me but think my name was Frank.  All this silliness eventually coalesced into the song, though it does make some serious points such as the strangeness of working class people voting to give rich people tax cuts and for the rich people to be able to more freely loot the public treasury (a major factor in the rise of the aforementioned Trump).  For this recording, I got to try out recording on a new computer.  After working out some latency issues, I managed to get a recording I am fairly happy with.  I assume future recordings will be easier having worked some of the bugs out here.  As usual lately, I got a bit drum happy, so what should be a garage rocker goes slightly techno mental.  The weird instrument this time is a chess set that folds in half (the pieces sound great when you shake them).

To hear more music from this era, check out the first Yeast? 7", not reissued, just never sold!