GLASS BREAK DEMENTIA

Dolph Chaney
2009-12-31

Story

I wrote the music for the chorus and all the lyrics for "About Face" in 2005 but never came up with a satisfactory tune for the verses.  I was also envisioning it as more of a loud 90s-ish rock song originally. 

The chorus stayed with me for years, but I didn't really come back to it in earnest until January '09, as I was starting to pull together a few nagging stray ideas.  "About Face" was one of the first ones I wanted to nail down.  Thankfully, the verse tune came quickly, and the song was finally written on January 27th.

Lyrics-wise, I see a throughline to this song from a few past ones -- "High Wire" from INFINITY DOGS, "The Mirror In Your Mind" from the very-limited-release HUMBUG GLORY, "Automatic Caution Door," and others. 

Voice and guitar was recorded in a single live take, as with all the acoustic-only tracks on the album.

I think "About Face" is one of the class tracks on the record, and I'm so glad it stuck around long enough in my mind to let me finish it at last.

Lyrics

About Face

 

Always wallowing in plunder

from the treasure that it takes

Don’t you ever start to wonder

why the cycle never breaks?

 

Jab a stick between the spoken promises

 

About time that you face

the face this is about

you’re turning an about face

and it’s really a close shave

 

Single, single, little vixen

How I wonder if you are

All the poison that you’re mixin’

Leaves you close to no cigar

 

The air is thick with all the smokin’ promises

 

About time that you face

the face this is about

but babe, it’s not about face

that you think you can still save

 

In a candy-cradled stupor

In a frozen lake a splash

You intended to be super

It’s unhealthy; it’s a smash

 

Aren’t you sick of all the broken promises?

 

About time that you face

the face this is about

Your ‘what’s-it-all-about’ face

Don’t you take it to the grave.

Dolph Chaney
2009-12-31

Story

So what is the 5th dementia, anyway?  Possibly, it was the dementia that led me to think I could play this correctly on overdubs without a click track...

Generally, the lyric is about taking myself down a peg while encouraging me to keep it together and not sweat the small stuff.  In typical fashion I was both proud of and repulsed by the horrid "dimension" / "dementia" puns I kept putting out there, the conflictedness delaying the completion of the song for about 3 years.  I would work on it for a few days, get stuck, and move on to more natural creations. But it would simply not leave me alone, so there you have it.

The music to the bridge (the part mostly in 7/8) and chorus was written in 2006.  I tried several different sets of music for the verses, most even more oblique than the rest of the song.  I'm pleased with the verses as they ended up, though -- straightforward enough to allow room for a bit of wiseacre smarm in the vocal.

The fade in and fade out are overdriven guitar run through my Ibanez delay/echo on infinite repeat.  Oh, and spot the sounds of a bad cable shorting out between the chorus and 2nd verse!  

I have an idea for re-recording this (yes, *with* click track) with less fuzzy guitars and more space in the mix.  If I do that and get it right, it'll come out as a digital single or on an EP.

Lyrics

It was demented to brag about my length
It was demented to say my mind was wide
open, as if just saying gave it strength
as if the truth can hide the slide inside

No depth or height can stop this
No brains or might can top this

It's wide open season
It's long past overdue
It's high up beyond reason
And it is time I saw it through
The fifth dementia's up to you

It was demented to call myself so deep
It was demented to say I had the time
traveling on, I price my talk as cheap
tricks just for kids to climb the slime sublime

No length or width can pinch ya
don't take the fifth dementia

It's time that I embolden
It's long past overdue
It's wide open and golden,
solid and high like Ms. McCoo
koo-koo but absolutely true
the fifth dementia's up to you...

It's wide open season
It's long past overdue
It's high up beyond reason
And it is time I saw it through
The fifth dementia's up to you

Dolph Chaney
2009-12-31

Story

"Queen For A Day" started with the idea behind the 3rd verse.  Having grown up in an environment that was, shall we say, less than friendly to gay folks, I now find myself blessed with GLBT friends as well as straight ones.  And, coming from whence I have, and eager to please as I am, I sometimes find myself feeling like I could understand my queer friends' perspective better somehow.  As with so many things, I occasionally go to the point of overcompensation, which is not actually what anyone wants out of me.  If they're friends of mine, they want to be friends with ME, being natural -- just as I want them to be themselves. 

Naturally, as I wrote this, I then began overthinking about my overthinking.  Would this sentiment be offensive to my friends somehow? 

But I worked the idea over by writing the first 2 verses about HRM QEII and the authors of "Radio Ga Ga", then eventually I pulled my head out and finished the 3rd out by transitioning it to a tribute to the queen of my castle.  (Aw.)

Perhaps an awful lot of fuss for a breezy little 2-minute wonder -- but I like how it turned out.

-- 21 February 2007
-- 5 February 2009

Lyrics

Queen For A Day

I'd like to be the Queen for a day
though I might have to shave
raise my scepter and wave
send Camilla and Chuck away

But I know that's a farce --
I'm a regular arsehole Yank
I'm not even from Queens
and I haven't got beans
in the mattress or stocks or bank.

I'd like to be in Queen for a day.
With Taylor, Deacon & May,
I'd get together and play
and firmly free the bad compa-nay...

But I know that's a laugh --
I've got half of the chops I'd need,
I'm no showman to boot,
and my chestless catsuit
would make all the front row's eyes bleed.

I'd like to be a queen for a day --
not to lay with some guys,
just to see through your eyes
and be a better Friend O' Gay.

But I'd never succeed
'cause the one that I need's my wife
and I don't need a band
or a royally-waved hand
'cause it wouldn't rule like my life...

My baby's the queen of my day.

Dolph Chaney
2009-12-31

Story

One of 3 short interstitial instrumentals I used to break the album into sections.  Telecaster --> Boss GT-3 --> board.  Basically one marching chord, with a couple of mutations.  The title is because this was the 37th song recorded on my Fostex 16-track system.

Lyrics

instrumental

Dolph Chaney
2009-12-31

Story

-- October 2008

-- 23-26 January 2009

 

It started as a joke.  I just couldn't resist the idea of singing a love song about refusing to sing love songs because of love-song phobia.  Then I fleshed it out with references to other phobias and superstitions, and in final form it's about the superstitions people add to romance.

My wife says this is my "Every Rose Has Its Thorn."

Lyrics

I've always been afraid of love songs.
Like a camera to a tribesman,
I would rather turn down bribes than
steal the soul of this love.

So you'll just have to get used to the fact that
I'm never gonna sing the words 'I love you'
I'll have to find another way to tell you
and compel you to my arms
and though I know that rhymes with 'charms'
I won't
'cause I've always been afraid of love songs.

I tread with extra care near love songs.
I don't want to be the one to
make the terminal affront to
break the back of this love.

So you'll just have to get used to the fact that
I'm never gonna sing the words 'I love you'
I'll have to find another way to tell you
and impel you to my side
and though I know that rhymes with 'bride'
I won't
'cause I've always been afraid of love songs.

I've always been afraid of love songs.
Like a hammer to a mirror
If I shatter, trapped in fear or
loathing if I break this love

So you'll just have to get used to the fact that
I'm never gonna sing the words 'I love you'
I'll have to find another way to tell you
and propel you next to me
and though that rhymes with 'sexually'
I won't
'cause I've always been afraid of love songs.

I'm never gonna sing the words 'I love you'
'cause I've always been afraid of love songs.

Dolph Chaney
2009-12-31

Story

Here's me trying to laugh through my anxiety attacks.  Most of my immediate family has dealt with anxiety disorders; I've fought them since I was 13.  At the most anxious periods in my life, I have experienced hallucinations, many involving spiders.  This is not hypnogogic / hypnopompic, which occur during sleep or awakening -- this was during regular daily activities.  

During a particularly tough stretch in 2002-2003, I was rather frequently hallucinating that the people around me were turning into person-sized spiders, wearing clothes, often driving oncoming cars.  One day after such an episode, Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust" came up on shuffle play, and after David sang the line that became this song's title, I laughed.  A lot.  For several minutes.  Where WEREN'T the spiders?  So I started writing a list of where the spiders were.

I wrote the chorus/turnaround in '09 to finish it.

Lyrics

SO WHERE WERE THE SPIDERS?

 

In my chair

In my hair

I see spiders everywhere

On my door-

Knobs and floor

I freak out like a crackwhore

Super-big

Dancing jigs

Even as they write “Some Pig”

 

I don’t like the way

They trap their prey

In the webs of lies they say

‘Cause it reminds me of you…

 

In my place

In my face

On some album art by Space

Drunk in bars

Driving cars

(that’s how they got here from Mars)

In my dreams

Sewing seams

Plotting deaths and graves and schemes

 

I don’t like the way

They wrap their prey

In the webs of lies they say

‘Cause it reminds me of you…

 

At the mall

On my wall

Crawling up towards my left ball

On my toe

In my fro

Right by my office window

In my veal

As I squeal

Who cares if they are not real?

 

I don’t like the way

They poison their prey

With the venomous lies they say

‘Cause it reminds me of you…

Dolph Chaney
2009-11-25

Story

I've been writing songs about various holidays for many years -- some day it's likely that my Greatest Hits album will be a calendar...

This is the first song I've ever written starting from a Facebook status update.  "Dolph Chaney has a big bird brining in a bucket."  (Which I did -- a 21-pounder to feed us and the in-laws.)  As soon as I wrote that, I started bopping all around the house saying "big bird brining in a bucket" to myself, and in less time than it takes to make a pot of gravy I had the song.

 

Lyrics

Thanksgiving

 

Got a big bird brining in a bucket

Got a big bird brining in a bucket

Got a big bird brining in a bucket

And I'm thankful that I do

 

Got a safe house sitting in a suburb

Got a safe house sitting in a suburb

Got a safe house sitting in a suburb

And I'm thankful that I do

 

But mostly

I thank you

for you

 

Got rutabagers, taters and tomaters

Got rutabagers, taters and tomaters

Got rutabagers, taters and tomaters

And I'm thankful that I do

 

Got a good dog giving me her belly

Got a good dog giving me her belly

Got a good dog giving me her belly

And I'm thankful that I do

 

But mostly

I thank you

for you

 

Got cranberries cryin' in the crisper

Got cranberries cryin' in the crisper

Got cranberries cryin' in the crisper

And I'm thankful that I do

 

Got kittycats curlin' up and cuddlin'

Got kittycats curlin' up and cuddlin'

Got kittycats curlin' up and cuddlin'

And I'm thankful that I do

 

But mostly

I thank you

for you

 

Got a fine funny fun-filled family

Got a fine funny fun-filled family

Got a fine funny fun-filled family

And I'm thankful that I do

 

Got a beauty love calls me her bucket

Got a beauty love calls me her bucket

So I’ll take the turkey from the bucket, give it to the bucket

And be thankful that I do

 

- Dolph L. Chaney, 25th November 2009

Dolph Chaney
2009-12-31

Story

Drum solo!!!  Err, not really, just a beat that I never ended up using for anything else, repurposed as a transition to "side 2" of the album.  In my dreams, this will end up sampled and tweezed by some famous rapper and I'll make $41 dollars in royalties.

Lyrics

instrumental

Dolph Chaney
2009-12-31

Lyrics

Ms. Papathanassiou

 

When you say "it's all Greek to me",

I know what you mean, and then

I think you won't talk to me

unless I'm Athenian

 

Ooooooooooo

Ms. Papathanassiou

I just don't know what to do

but I want you

Ms. Papathanassiou

 

I'm just a grecophile Anglo kid

from Indianapolis

I wish to Zeus my last name

was Papadapoulos

 

Ooooooooooo

Ms. Papathanassiou

I sure haven't got a clue

but I want you

Ms. Papathanassiou

 

I bet you get this all the time --

are you related to Vangelis?

And when Chariots of Fire came out,

did you go to Los Angeles?

 

Ooooooooooo

Ms. Papathanassiou

I'm no Steven Georgiou

but I want you

Ms. Papathanassiou

 

8/28/06

1/18/09

Dolph Chaney
2009-12-31

Story

12th Sept 2009, 8:30am (music for the verse arrived in a dream); 13th Sept 2009, 6:06pm; 14th Sept 2009, 7:05pm

 

"Break" is another in a long line of cases where a lyric gimmick tricks me into revealing my state of mind.  I'm grateful that I'm still this subconsciously gullible after 23 years of writing songs -- many of my favorites have come out of this kind of origin.

In this case, it's simply that that the word 'break' is a sharp percussive call all on its own as well as being part of a variety of common expressions, leading me to try shoehorning as many of them in one song as possible. 

In the end, it turned into a rather forceful pep talk to myself, a mirror held up with reminders of breaks past (both interpersonal and psychotic).

The verse riff and melody appeared in a dream on 12 September 2009. Two days later, I premiered the song as an acoustic number at the Flossmoor Station Brewing Company.

Lyrics

One day I found that I'd wasted all
the terrible things in my mind
So I looked around and replaced it all
with whatever else I could find
I started trying to taste it all,
the love and the food and the drink
But nothing could nourish the place that all
the guilt filled right up to the brink

But it felt like enough
I began to feel tough
Until the break

Free to no longer be chaste at all
I tried to run all amok
Shocked that I didn't get maced at all
I only managed a fa-fa-fafa-fa...
I thought I'd only debase it all
-- like cold eyes had lectured me once,
as if I had used no toothpaste at all --
at hedonism, I'm a dunce.

Why can't it be enough
to fall headlong in love
and take a break?

break out
break in
break glass
break wind
break fast
break up
break down
break

Pointlessly pumped up the pace, did all
the things that they told me to do,
And still I could never have braced it all
enough that it wouldn't fall through
As much as I thought I'd erased it all,
the pencil smudge won't disappear
So I guess it's time that I faced it all
to lose my illusion of fear

Self-hate's long past its shelf
date, so I'll give myself
a fucking break.

-- Dolph L. Chaney

Dolph Chaney
2009-12-31

Story

This song came quickly and in a single piece, as if straight from the hangover of Athena.  For those of you that don't like puns, here are some puns... with booze!  

Lyrics

Water From a Bourbon Glass

Over, hung over
Well, I'm over whether I was hung last night
The case is packed
She may be stacked, but stocks have sunk
Over, hung over
but the doggy hair might hold me til tonight
and so I think
it's time the drink & I got drunk

it all floats up from my disturbin' past
I'm drinking water from a bourbon glass

Water, need water --
well, I need it 'cause of all the rot last night
as glass gets stains,
the memory wanes, the wax is mess
Memory, sweet memory,
I watch you wash away and wash away last night
Kentucky fried
burn to one side, burn nonetheless

no southern comforts for my urban ass
I'm drinking water from a bourbon glass

Jim and Basil, and Old Weller
give four roses to this feller
Elijah, Evan, Ezra, Elmer, Sam
Another plan that I may botch
but something no one else can scotch
so trace the buffalo, who gives a damn?

Water, sweet water --
well, it's sweet because of what I had last night
The wheat was high
Some jokes were wry but most were corn
Water, sweet water --
comfort me after the way I got last night
I found the note
that's all she wrote, a death reborn

but there's one last thing that I've gotta ask:
was that her bourbon in my water glass?

Dolph Chaney
2009-12-31

Story

The 32nd piece I worked on with my digital 16-track is an instrumental using the Moog MG-1 into the Boss GT-3 "riff" setting, while also recording a raging thunderstorm through the window.  "32" is also the title because of a reference dating back to the first band I was in during college (Gordian Knot).  Our drummer, Steven Cherry, wrote a beautiful lyric about space and titled it "32" because 32 is the ASCII numerical code for a single space.  I set that to music (which is completely unrelated to this "32").  Since this current piece is also spacey in nature, the fact that it was "Song32" on the 16-track display was too good a coincidence to pass up.

Lyrics

instrumental

Dolph Chaney
2009-12-31

Story

10/26/06

In those dark pre-Christina-Hendricks-on-MAD-MEN days of 2006, I spat this song out of frustration with a culture that seemed to be literally starving out a generation of the young and talented. But... a straight guy ranting about female body image issues in pop culture is automatically suspect, isn't it? Also, I probably should've known better than to go topical about young Hollywood -- the references date the song immediately. Hopefully it's taken in the spirit it's given: that real women are awesome just like they are; that it's sick to tell your society that starvation is the standard of beauty; and that if one is what one eats, being frightened to eat says frightening things about what one's been emotionally fed. (P.S.: at one point, I wanted to invent a character named Emaciation Jones. Dibs.)

Lyrics

 

Hip Bones

I'm sick of looking at your hip bones --
at every actress / model / heiress
who takes her orders straight from Paris...
When will the industry please spare us
their emaciation jones?
I'm sick of looking at your hip bones.

I'm sick of looking at your hip bones --
as every waify, strafey richie
goes blase' goosestep-strutting, which we
choose to misread as fierce or bitchy,
not misguided, tragic clones
I'm sick of looking at your hip bones.

I'm sick of looking at your hip bones --
Kiera, we dream about you nightly,
but oh, your skeleton's unsightly
atop a pirate ship of fright; we
would fill your treasured chest with scones.
I'm sick of looking at your hip bones.

What did a burger ever do to you?
What did a pizza ever do to you?
What did a french fry ever do to you?
What the hell did your parents do to you?
How can our culture keep on killing you?

I'm sick of looking at your hip bones.
I guess it started back with Twiggy,
but she's a long way since "Shindig;" she
might be size 6 – is that now piggy?
Lay off the Botox, all you crones,
And get some marrow in your hip bones.

Dolph Chaney
2009-12-31

Story

Another in the holiday calendar series, this is of and for Kerry my sweetest.  Not so afraid of love songs after all, I guess.

Lyrics

Sweetest Day

On one 3rd Saturday of October
the candy came to those with none
A generous spirit trumped being sober
And Sweetest Day had just begun.

This is the 15th day of July
New message here, a bell has rung
It's a sweet day to become your new guy
My sweetest days have just begun

I was sure I would never do this again
And I was wrong and I am blessed
So let's go out and pay for some Piper
'Cause I knelt down and you said "yes"...

...on the 26th of September
A new ring for the prize I've won
This is the sweetest day I remember
My sweetest days have just begun

I was sure I would never do this again
And I am blessed to be so wrong
One year and three days have gone flying
now arm in arm we two go on

So on the 29th of September
We wed by a red sleepy sun
This is the sweetest day, but remember
Our sweetest days have just begun

This is the 3rd day of December
Another new song newly sung
This is the sweetest day I remember;
the next sweet day is soon begun.

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