So I was up, wide-eyed and bushytailed for day two of our recording session.....my brother had gotten back to the motel room very late and I was reluctant to wake him up with so little sleep but I was up and around and he got up and around...taxi driver body clock, I guess.
We piled out of the motel and I probably owe him a lifetime of fruitbaskets for actually carting me around Nashua for the purpose of the Apocalypse Krew. He needed some sleep.
We puttered around South Nashua for a while and at this juncture I have to go off on a tangient regarding the ubiquity of chains.
At this point (as previously stated) it had been ten years since I'd been in that part of the country...and my last trip to New England had largely seen me hanging around in Mass. My brother and I were both hankering for Breakfast....back in the day I would have probably opted for something greasy at Bickford's. Now, there IS actually still a Bickford's in (I think) Acton, MA, but the two stores in Nashua had shuffled off this mortal coil a long time ago. The South End Bickford's had been replaced, unceremoniously, by Walgreen's, which I believe, though I could be wrong, had a CVS across the street from it. (Seems to be the case in many locations---I imagine Pharmacy Gangbangers engaged in drive-by shootings, but that's just my funny way of seeing things)
Shit, man....you could get me going off in a hundred different ways about the closing of the map---I look around Nashua and then I look around Fayetteville-----what used to be Lechmere is now Target and I'm like, yeah----we've got one of those, too. Bickford's is now Walgreen's, and of course, you can't get away from those. Panera? Yeah, yeah, yeah, we've got one of those, too.
At least there's still a goddamned Barnes and Noble. It's nice to know folks in either town are still reading....don't even get me started on the incremental death of record and video stores unless you want an all-day screaming tirade.
We initially opted for IHOP and discovered in fairly short order that they weren't even open. Chris disclosed to me that they might not be open some days because they were having a hard time “hiring cooks”.
Maybe time to start treating your workers better, IHOP?
In the end we opted for drive through action. Hey----I got a large coffee...I was good to go.
The slow, creeping erasure of localism is always a bone of contention with me...Mike and I would later have a conversation regarding this----he espoused the notion that we might all see accents going bye-bye in the next decade or so.
He might be on to something. When Heather and I first got engaged she and my brother wound up on the phone together---he asked her if she'd been born in California.
Now, Heather was actually born and bred in Arkansas. You'd never know it talking to her...if you talk to her Mom, she's about as Southern as anyone you've ever heard....but you'd never guess it talking to my wife.
So...food for thought....fuel for nightmares. Do with it what you will.
By the time we showed up at North Main Music Mike was already there and we were ready to continue.
“PIG”: THE HATE AND THE HILARITY
We opted to start with “Pig” on day two....it would require a lot of screaming and yelling, so there was no getting one's feet wet---I was jumping right in.
As stated in a previous installment, if I wanted to give anyone a quick, hard, uncomplicated dose of what the S.E. Apocalypse Krew were about it would be three songs: “Threats and Warnings”, “Kid Eternity” and “Pig”.
“Pig” was unquestionably the most brutal of the triumvurate----a fast, deliberately obnoxious blast of pure, non-diluted hostility for hostility's own sake.
I think I'd written the lyric (or a rough approximation of it) in the mid-80s...pre-Apocalypse Krew, around the time I'd gotten into hardcore punk---it was a great vehicle for a lot of my frustration, issues with authority and what have you. By the time Mike and I had formed the band it became a natural keeper....we had a lot of rage to get out of our systems.
“I don't like you, I don't like you
You talk too much, you stab my back
Ask too many questions I don't wanna answer
Your values suck, you'd better change your act
I hate your guts, I hate your guts
You badmouth everybody, I hope you die
YOU'RE A PIG (x4)”
What no one—especially in this politically dainty day and age----will ever under understand is how much fun we had with this song, or how uproariously funny we always found it.
There was never any finesse to this...we didn't revisit it with an iota of new maturity----pure fury, rage and stupidity and precious little else. I screamed the damned thing like a wounded warthog and the Krew rampaged along as per usual----short, fast and blunt.
“Fry your ass, fry your ass
You make me puke, you make me ill
I'd rather die than talk to you
Go back to your hole, die in the grass
I hope you scream forever in hell”
JESUS CHRIST!!!! How much do you have to dislike someone in order to want them to “scream forever in hell”?! Again, no one will probably ever understand how much we bust up over this ridiculous song.
BUT THERE'S MORE!!!!! I initially considered this particular take of “Pig” much longer than the original demos (and it may still be) and so I actually took it upon myself to write additional verses for the new cut. In the end I thought it was all too much and decided to let the song “breathe”---maybe give Mike more room for some guitar fireworks----and just go with the original words.
But in case you were wondering, there are other lyrics, now, for “Pig”, which were not recorded. So here, on my stoopid blog, for the first (and probably LAST) time ever, here are the newish and unrecorded additional lyrics for “Pig”. Enjoy.
“I want you dead, you fucking prick
I promise it's not me, it's you
I can't live another minute with you on this planet.
Motherfucker, you make me spew
Hate's a many splendored thing
I'm sorry for this little tiff
The world's too small for you and me
I wanna push you off a cliff
Suck my dick, suck my dick
I'm sure you'll let me know who's boss
You make me puke, you make me sick
I wanna nail you to a cross”
Fun, or what? No?
How much must you dislike someone to want to nail them to a cross?!!!
Mike had added a new treat to the end of “Pig”---as the song screeches to an abrupt halt a little loop of silly, sampled ragtime music plays the track out. Impeccable? Nay, PERFECT, sez I!!!! I loved it! It was the icing on the volatile cake, the Porky Pig stuttering “that's all, folks!” On top of our mini-symphony of primal scream nuttiness.
And so day two was officially underway.
THE NEW STUFF, PART ONE: “RISE”
“Rise” was “newer” than some of the other tracks we were recording....which is to say its genesis might have been early-to-mid-90s.
One or two instrumental demos may have floated around at one point or another but I never added a vocal to it----Mike was getting busy with Tristan Park and a lot of my attention at the time was going into writing and/or zining. The Apocalypse Krew was more or less over at that point, though there were still these loose ends...I think there may have been an initial lyric for it, but it was another “lost” lyric like “Fear and Hate”----I was going to need to rewrite it.
Fortunately, unlike “Fear and Hate”, I'd actually gotten a recording of “Rise” to work from, so I'd actually managed, with some difficulty, to crank out a lyric.
This was a fucking HARD one and I'd labored over it off and on for months. What I wanted to do, in a lot of respects, was write an S.E. Apocalypse Krew song that would ride along with the old stuff but in a lot of ways be more representative of “now”, mid-2010s. If I had an audience listening to old songs of ours like “Pig”, “Threats and Warnings”, “23” et. al., what would I want to tell them now that I thought was important?
We took the title, “Rise”, from a legend scrawled in blood at the LaBianca murder site by the Manson family---we had thought of making it our first album title and it fit in very well with songs like “Threats and Warnings”. Musically, the song was an aggressive piece of work that was like falling down a flight of stairs with no end in sight---glorious main riff and then a rough-ass chorus that was like a car crash----there was this weird mid-section that almost went into what felt like waltz-time before ripping back into the main section. I love this fucking tune.
In some ways, “Rise” wasn't going to be that demanding a track on my voice because I was almost going to speak-sing a lot of it. The chorus would require some leather-lunged yelling, but other than that---not much wear-and-tear.
In other respects it dawned on me, very late, that this was going to be very difficult. The lyrical structure of “Rise” was DENSE. Rhythmically, it was similar to Black Flag's “In my Head”(albeit a lot meaner)---a busy song with a busy, bunched-up lyric that went along with it and precious little room to breathe.
It was going to be very difficult to get this thing out of my mouth onto a recording....it was going to be very difficult to jump from one line to another---let alone from one verse to the next.
This is me at age 54, with no practice and no practice space, having not really sung in any capacity in about 20-plus years. If the circumstances were different it might have been another story, but the blessing of this whole digital recording thing they do now is we could tackle the song line by line...
The choruses were easy in that it was just me screaming “IIIII WIIIIILL RIIIIIIIIIIIIISE!!!!!!” over and over. The rest wasn't too demanding on my larynx but they were a tongue twister and I would have to hit one line at a time.
“This is your window so listen up now
I ain't got the time to be misunderstood
I've got no compunctions 'bout hammering down
Don't tell me you wouldn't if you knew you could
You can't get no traction and so little action
with the victim mentality holding you down”
This borders on a direct contradiction of stuff I wrote in the '80s like “Kid Eternity” where people were telling me “life is what you make it” and I felt like some kind of a victim---and yeah, phrases like that still feel like a dismissive tactic to me, but if old geezer me was to tell anyone listening to our music right now anything it would be don't play victim, don't act like a victim and don't trust those who do---be a goddamn warrior!!!!! Don't knuckle under to anyone and don't let 'em play you for a chump.
“Losers and squids blow away like debris
Nothing can stop my apocalypse now
Everyone's doggin' it, teeming around
leading to nowhere and no one knows when
What would they do if it all came down now?
We're bringing it down so it's a blessed event”
Here I'm copping some rhetoric from my public access show, “The Abbey of the Lemur”, more or less verbatim. Our original “schtick” on the show was that we were a loveable death cult and the audience could come along and laugh along with our quest for world domination and generalized subversion.
“swim with the tide and you just might survive”
A tip of the hat to New Age author Shakti Gawain, here. Which would probably horrify her.
“You can cover your ass or be crushed by the wave
A nation of numbskulls can't hold us back”
And a tip of the hat to Public Enemy.
“If you've got a problem get out of the way
“Dregs of the world your wakeup call's here
If they side-eye you tell them you're no one they know”
We had this surly saying in the Apocalypse Krew anytime anyone looked at us askance or with any kind of curiosity----”no one you know....no one you like....no one cute....” defiance and resentment.
“If they give you an attitude death from above
You give them fair warning saying look out below
You can't run the ratrace when the rats always win
Now is the time to let it explode”
And of course, “Explode” is a BIG Apocalypse Krew self-reference. Yeah, we're cheeky.....we're witty....
Two down, several others to go.....