If producing “The Abbey of the Lemur” for 20 years has taught me anything, it's that people will cue up like it's the ticket line at Disneyland for the opportunity to be offended so they can clutch their pearls in outrage. That sounds hyperbolic, but I'm not joking. One amusing upside to our beating Bob Emenegger's 2003 Obscenity Rap (prompted, according to some, by actors within the Fayetteville City Government, and most definitely spurred on in the public eye by some of their close allies in the local print media) was that it gave people a rough education to the Miller Obscenity Test---because nobody could fathom the fact that we knew and were able to follow those guidelines. People had begun calling in to Fayetteville's Public Access station asking for copies of the Miller Standards in an effort to play amateur District Attorney and try to bust us for Obscenity (it never worked).
While my goal has never been to actively offend audiences (more to entertain, inspire and stimulate----offensiveness is just sometimes a natural by-product of these other goals) the will to provoke has always been in my DNA. When Mike McAdam and I formed the S.E. Apocalypse Krew back in the 80s, some of the paramount things firing me up were the puritanical machinations of the PMRC in their efforts to censor music. Kicking against the pricks is just so deeply ingrained in my nature it's just going to come out of me no matter what the hell I'm doing.
So we knew, back in the 80s and 90s, when we wrote a lot of these songs, that they had potential to push some buttons. Now, in these hypersensitive times, it feels like the potential is more ripe than ever. On our album cover, we proudly boast “No Trigger Warnings”, but in the interest of fairness, because some folks rove around with a score card, if you're punching your ticket for this wild ride, here's a laundry list of trigger warnings, your last shot across the bough----and if pearl-clutching happens to be your pastime-of-choice, we gotcha covered----there's something for everyone.
“Threats and Warnings”
WHO'LL BE OFFENDED: Authority figures of all stripes, parents, educators, politicians and media.
WHAT IT SEEMS TO BE: A demonic ripdown of all things good, decent and respectable.
WHAT IT IS: Angry polemic against all authority, censorship, safe spaces and people who like to try and candy coat the world.
WHO SHOULD BE OFFENDED: All the aforementioned.
WHO'LL BE OFFENDED: People who are comfortable, in charge and invested in a system where people fall through the cracks, PC types, pleebs, neoliberals and winners.
WHAT IT SEEMS TO BE: Portrait of a man on a rampage---it's bad news bears, man....
WHAT IT IS: Portrait of a man hitting his last straw---and if that scares you, maybe it should.
WHO SHOULD BE OFFENDED: All of the above.
WHO'LL BE OFFENDED: The overly sensitive, parents, suicide survivors, cutters, histrionics, censorship types, do-gooders, the psychiatric community, people who have no sense of humor.
WHAT IT SEEMS TO BE: An abomination---a tasteless, sick joke.
WHAT IT IS: A lampoon of social hysteria, moral panic and emotional necrophilia with a special dash of disdain for those who opportunistically blame music, movies or video games when a kid goes off the rails.
WHO SHOULD BE OFFENDED: Those who opportunistically blame music, movies or video games when a kid goes off the rails.
WHO'LL BE OFFENDED: Uptight adults, straight edgers, M.A.D.D., D.A.R.E. And the Just Say No Crowd.
WHAT IT SEEMS TO BE: A song that advocates drug abuse.
WHAT IT IS: A song that talks about drug abuse and addiction in an unapologetically non-judgmental fashion.
WHO SHOULD BE OFFENDED: Anyone who can't get past propaganda.
“Waiting for Melissa”
WHO'LL BE OFFENDED: Easy listening fans, Led Zeppelin.
WHAT IT SEEMS TO BE: A smokin' hot instrumental.
WHAT IT IS: A smokin' hot instrumental.
WHO SHOULD BE OFFENDED: Absolutely no one.
“Jesus on a Stick”
WHO'LL BE OFFENDED: Religious people, bigots, conservatives, alt righters, PC liberals, the kinds of SJWs that take everything literally, Trump Supporters.
WHAT IT SEEMS TO BE: A questionably-humored appeal to bigotry and violence.
WHAT IT IS: A savagely humorous indictment of religious bigotry and those who abuse it for fun and profit.
WHO SHOULD BE OFFENDED: Xenophobes, Christians who are bothered over being equated with xenophobes (and, you know, y'all really SHOULD be bothered!)
WHO'LL BE OFFENDED: People with delicate sensibilities, feminists, SJWs, PC-types.
WHAT IT SEEMS TO BE: Senselessly misogynistic, hateful garbage that implies violence.
WHAT IT IS: Senselessly juvenile, obnoxious racket wrapped up in puerile contempt for no good reason and to no good end.
WHO SHOULD BE OFFENDED: You. Yeah. You.
WHO'LL BE OFFENDED: People who think songs should be nice, unobjectionable and provide good examples for young people.
WHAT IT APPEARS TO BE: Pure, unbridled hatred and hostility.
WHAT IT IS: Pure, unbridled hatred and hostility but it's kind of laughing up its sleeve over the whole thing.
WHO SHOULD BE OFFENDED: Your mama.
WHO'LL BE OFFENDED: Meek people with delicate sensibilities.
WHAT IT SEEMS TO BE: Advocacy for aggression and insensitivity.
WHAT IT IS: Anthem and rallying cry for the Dreg Movement.
WHO SHOULD BE OFFENDED: The complacent, people on victim trips, those who benefit from complacency and victim trips.
WHO'LL BE OFFENDED: Sensitive types, SJWs, Red Pillers, people who get laid.
WHAT IT SEEMS TO BE: Bitter, resentful Incel angst.
WHAT IT IS: An anthem of hope and empowerment for guys and girls who aren't getting any.
WHO SHOULD BE OFFENDED: If you think you might be, you probably should be.
“Truth is Dead”
WHO'LL BE OFFENDED: Politicians, professional liars, punditry, poll takers and self-help gurus.
WHAT IT SEEMS TO BE: Jazzy music wrapped around a rant against media, politics and lies.
WHAT IT IS: Jazzy music wrapped around a rant against media, politics and lies.
WHO SHOULD BE OFFENDED: People who think any of this shit matters.
“Fear and Hate”
WHO'LL BE OFFENDED: Probably anyone in earshot.
WHAT IT SEEMS TO BE: A barreling, abrasive blast of foulmouthed, hostile invective for no discernible reason; Harmful, hateful screaming and threats. Ooooh, angry is bad!!!!!! Stop that!!!! Don't be angry!!!!!
WHAT IT IS: An unsettlingly cathartic swipe at Bully Culture in any and all forms.
WHO SHOULD BE OFFENDED: The top of the food chain.
WHO'LL BE OFFENDED: Bad Parents, bad lovers, people who like good singing.
WHAT IT SEEMS TO BE: Ethereal angst.
WHAT IT IS: Ethereal, ambiguous angst.
WHO SHOULD BE OFFENDED: Abusers, manipulators, gaslighters.
WHO'LL BE OFFENDED: People who think songs should be happy.
WHAT IT SEEMS TO BE: Doom, gloom, paranoia and despair, a piece of music that unfortunately gives voice to disenfranchisement.
WHAT IT IS: Doom, gloom, paranoia and despair, a piece of music that fortunately gives voice to disenfranchisement.
WHO SHOULD BE OFFENDED: Anyone who happens to be a part of the problem.
WHO'LL BE OFFENDED: The fortunate, elistists, neoliberals, exploiters, the well-adjusted, the ignorant, homeowners.
WHAT IT SEEMS TO BE: The story of a loser on a rampage.
WHAT IT IS: The story of a loser who's probably not doing a goddamn thing.
WHO SHOULD BE OFFENDED: Most definitely the homeowners.
“The Candidate's a Religious Man Talking Blues”
WHO'LL BE OFFENDED: Republicans, Democrats, the Establishment, the Punditry, Washington Insiders.
WHAT IT SEEMS TO BE: An ignorant folk song that lampoons the leaders we hold sacred.
WHAT IT IS: An irreverent throwback to the classic protest song.
WHO SHOULD BE OFFENDED: Politicos of all stripes, spin doctors, social climbers, people who think any of this sad spectacle means anything.
WHO'LL BE OFFENDED: Pop fans, censorship types, PC feminists, SJWs, weenies, people with dainty palates, twee types, fans of love songs, romantics, dorks.
WHAT IT SEEMS TO BE: Vapid ballad that slides abruptly into a barrage of noise that advocates violence against women.
WHAT IT IS: A goof on asinine top 40 love songs.
WHO SHOULD BE OFFENDED: Humans.
RISE will be released soon. Stay tuned right here for details.
PIG MAN LEVEL TWO: As a lot of you know, late-ish last summer my entire life fell into a hole (in my heel) and I've been struggling to get out ever since. In week two after the skin graft I went back to the doctor to check my progress. I was told the graft had slid but it was still an improvement and what happened wasn't on me. I've been off my foot 95% of the time, and they've told me to just keep doing what I'm doing. Because this happened, of course, I'm inclined to double down on the whole Staying-off-the-foot thang. So I might be scarce 'round these hyar parts for the near future. Don't panic.....still here.
WHAT I'M READING:
A big struggle I've had over the past several years is one that no writer should have to admit to: My snowballing inability to get through a book. Because we're Culture Vultures in this house, the stack of books we've accumulated (that I haven't read) has just grown and grown. And it's not that the books are bad----it's just a bug in my own brain. Which is to say, sorry, fellow scribes, for this egregious infraction----it's not you....it's me.
My latest exercise (over the past several months) has been trying to apply the Japanese business concept of “Kaizen” to my life.....kind of a gradual, incremental improvement model. Take baby steps. Read a page a day. Do an exercise. Try to build on that foundation.
I have good days and bad days, but the gradual rebuilding process is not going badly. So here are some of the books that I'm using to help pull myself up out of the literacy “basement”:
HARLAN ELLISON-I HAVE NO MOUTH AND I MUST SCREAM
RICHARD BRAUTIGAN-TROUT FISHING IN AMERICA
RICHARD BRAUTIGAN-THE PILL VERSUS THE SPRINGHILL MINING DISASTER
ALAN MOORE AND J.H. WILLIAMSON III-PROMETHEA VOL.1
I'm gettin' there.
BLUE OYSTER CULT-Agents of Fortune
POESIE NOIR-Pity for the Self or We'll Teach You to Dance
ALICE COOPER-Love it to Death