Odds and Ends


 

My Dear Heather

Ned
What a Day

Think
Out
Maybe Tomorrow
When Kids Die
Owny Woo
Doom
Brand New
Baby Cup

 

 

This set is a mish-mash of assorted tracks that donít belong anywhere else. Iím presenting them here in chronological order, because if I order them in any sort of aesthetic fashion, then this becomes an album. And no, itís not that.

 

Horseshoes and Hand Grenades had been well-received by a surprising number of people. It was even reviewed in an indie music webzine, and quite favorably. The first four tracks here are all that Disguising Godiva ever recorded* of what was to be the follow-up to Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, which would have been titled Vulva (originally Khan). Vulva is to Ron Moses as Smile is to Brian Wilson, only without all that genius baggage. This was to be no acoustic demo bullshit like Horseshoes, this was going to be a real album, featuring full instrumentation, with a bunch of new material and an assortment of guest players from around the world, who would make their contributions via mail or Internet or some combination of the two. It would be the most far-reaching project, literally as well as figuratively, I had ever attempted. Obviously I had high hopes, but it just wasnít meant to be. Because I'm... you know... me.

 

In fairness to me, the collapse of the Vulva project in 2000 was more a logistical thing than anything else. We were recording in the apartment studio of my friend Scott Lurowist. The studio was a four-hour drive for me, so every minute spent there had to be productive. When you have a real band, you get to try out new song ideas in rehearsal, and refine them long before you start laying anything down on tape. I didnít have that luxury Ė I had to program drum tracks and practice guitar parts and write complete lyrics and have everything written in stone and ready to go. So if an idea didnít work once we started recording it, that was time wasted. The large majority of the Vulva sessions were time utterly wasted, viewed from that perspective. After two long-planned weekends (and 16 road hours) of mostly useless recording, I just didnít have it in me to continue, and I pulled the plug on the project. The hardest part of that decision was that some very talented friends had made some wonderful contributions to the project... work that wouldnít be heard by anyone. Until now, that is.

 

The remaining seven tracks are things I did for side projects, or just for fun, or in preparation for a new album that I may or may not ever complete. Enjoy!

 

*Okay, I tell a lie. There are two other partially-completed tracks, but there are no vocals on either of them. I don't plan on posting them, sorry.
 


 

My Dear Heather  

written by Ron Moses

2:15 ē right-click to download: mp3 (2.6 MB)  FLAC (14.4 MB)

 

 

This would have been the cover for Disguising Godiva's Vulva. Click the image for a larger version.

Artwork ©1999 Zoogz Rift

Cover design by Ron Moses

Originally recorded for Musaic in 1990, and again for Digital Dvorak in 1993. That makes this v3.0, and I think you'll agree itís easily the best of the three versions. Gone is the goofy drum fill in the beginning, thereís a real bass on the track, the whistling section is doubled up (or tripled, I donít recall), everything just sounds better. Scott, Steve, Matt, and I even gathered around the mic for a festive hand-clapping session. I'm surprised you can't hear us laughing through it.

 

I think I'm safe in saying that this is my most popular song, certainly one of my oldest. I loved playing this at open mic night at the Ahimsa coffee house on the University of Connecticut campus. You've got this room full of patchouli-drenched proto-PC pseudohippies (real hippies were too baked to be this uptight), all full of righteous huff and Chomskyite claptrap, dourly awaiting some grimy dreadlocked girlís insightful new poem about how trickle-down is murder, man. And Iíd get up in front of them all and sing them this delightful little tribute to domestic violence. Come on, who says burying a woman alive canít be funny? A few people do, as it turns out.

 

 

My dear Heather

I think I might have to hurt you

Itís beginning to look as though I might have to kill you

I told you time and time again

Donít you mess around with any other men

Never again

My dear Heather

 

My dear Heather

Donít bother going for the telephone

Iíve already cut the wires and now weíre all alone

I told you once, I told you twice

That it isnít very nice to make a fool out of me

Now youíre gonna see

My dear Heather

 

I always knew youíd take me to the cleaners

If I filed for divorce

But Iíll be a thousand miles away

By the time they find your corpse

My dear Heather

 

My dear Heather

Youíre never getting out of that box, my dear

Itís nailed and Crazy Glued

Not to mention the locks, my dear

I know you must not have much air

And thereís not much room in there

To go messing around

Six feet underground

My dear Heather

My dear Heather

My dear Heather

My dear Heather

My dead Heather  

 

 

Stephen Hart ē handclaps

Scott Lurowist ē handclaps

Matt Menhennett ē handclaps

Ron Moses ē vocal, acoustic and resonator guitar, bass, handclaps, programming

 

engineered and co-produced by Scott Lurowist

 


 

Ned  

written by Ron Moses

4:35 ē right-click to download: mp3 (5.6 MB)  FLAC (26.3 MB)

 

 

Cover design by Stephen Hart

An earlier version of this track can be found here.

 

This was originally to have appeared on Vulva, but was instead contributed to an album titled Thankyouverymuchgoodnight!, which was assembled by a bunch of Mike Keneally fans as a gift for his 40th birthday. This track represents the largest group of people ever to play on one of my recordings, one of whom Iíve never even met. I played the conga, bass, and the piano part. P. J. recorded the "hockey ring organ" that plays the melody. Then we brought in our special guests.

 

Steve Hart and Brian Brodeur came in to play on the track, and with all due respect and admiration to those guys, who I love dearly, this is where things started getting a bit shaky. I doubt theyíd disagree. I had sent both Steve and Brian sheet music weeks in advance, and I donít believe either of them bothered to look at it until they got to the studio. Steve recorded his acoustic guitar part after I took the time to show it to him, but the take was unusable, frankly. We credited him on the track anyway, partly as thanks for showing up, partly out of friendship, but mostly to pad the roster. Brianís task was to lay down the chord structure on the keyboard. This is easily the most difficult part of the piece, as it's basically a series of bizarre key changes Ė not something you want to walk into cold, and thatís exactly what he did. I think heíd planned on sight-reading it, but when he finally looked over the score he realized that wasnít going to happen. We ended up recording the entire part one or two chords at a time. We got through it though.

 

Then we sent the tape out to a fellow named James Moore, who we had found through the Keneally newsgroup. I can't remember where he lived; it was Ohio or Iowa or Indiana or whatever Ė some place Iíd never drive to just to record a sax part. I sent James sheet music as well, and he laid down his part and sent it back. What we got back was not entirely what we were expecting. James was to play the melody part, but it came back with more than a few odd notes in it. Not accidents, either, but notes that had been replaced, repeatedly, in the middle of the melody line. Perhaps I was clueless as to the range of his instrument, and sent him impossible music. Maybe a few notes fell beyond his available options, so he replaced them. I never did find out. [UPDATE June 2008: I very recently spoke with James, and it turns out I did place several notes beyond the range of the instrument.  He did his best to eke them out with false fingerings, but to no avail.  So... my bad.]  Whatever the reason for the change, it just didnít work. This was the main melody of the song and it had essentially been rewritten. But the sections between the melody lines were perfect. I loved his work on what I call "the Mary Tyler Moore section" (1:59 through 2:42); he really nailed that. And his jamming in the outro was exactly what I was looking for. So we faded him out during the melody line and added the hockey rink organ instead; then we faded him back in during the parts he got right. It actually worked better that way, so hooray for happy accidents. The last repeat is loud enough that we could bring him back up for the melody and you wouldnít hear the weird line unless you were listening for it. Go ahead and listen to it, youíll hear what Iím talking about.

 

The humor of this piece seems lost on many people. Especially the Mary Tyler Moore section. I picture her in her pea coat, spinning on an oversized Lazy Susan, smiling into the sun with her arms outstretched as the camera circles around her in the opposite direction. You know, turning the world on with her smile, making it after all, that kind of thing. I think thatís funny. Just me, huh? Thatís okay. People complained about the outro too, saying I should have just ended it, that I ruined it with the extended meander. Same people who complained about the drums in "Dumb." I hate people sometimes.
 

 

[instrumental]

 

 

P. J. MŁller ē keyboards

Brian Brodeur ē keyboards

James Moore ē sax

Stephen Hart ē acoustic guitar

Ron Moses ē percussion, acoustic and electric guitars, bass, keyboards, programming

 

engineered and co-produced by Scott Lurowist

 


 

What a Day  

written by Ron Moses

6:52 ē right-click to download: mp3 (9.0 MB)  FLAC (44.5 MB)

 

Listening to this for the first time in almost eight years, it's not as wretched as I remembered it being. But at the time, it was nowhere near as good as it had sounded in my head. The failure of this track was the first sign that the Vulva project was not going promisingly. This is one of the perils of working in a situation where you're driving four hours to get to the studio, one weekend a month:  Time is at a premium, so there is no opportunity to experiment and develop things. Plus, the percussion tracks need to be programmed ahead of time, so making last-minute changes is more complicated than simply telling everyone in the band we're going to try something different. So if the track I spent weeks preparing doesn't come off in the studio, it's a major disappointment, not to mention a major waste of time. It would only get worse once we recorded "Think," but this was clearly the beginning of the end for Vulva.

 

We never actually completed this track, so what you're hearing here are mostly temp tracks. The keyboard and guitar are pretty much final, if I recall correctly. The lead vocal is only a scratch track (for the non-musicos out there, that's a temporary guide vocal you lay down in the early part of the recording process to give everyone else something to play along to), which is why it's so rough-sounding. Lots of bad notes, and I even run out of breath in the second verse. Obviously I would never have kept this vocal track for Vulva, but I have no intention of recording a new one, so this is what's available. Consider it an artist's rendering of what might have been.

 

Given time, I probably would have re-done the drums ó they're pretty odd ó but I'm not going back and doing that either. I'd rather keep the track in its 1999 form to the degree possible, but I did have to do a mix in 2007 because we never did one back then. So there are a few liberties taken with editing and compression and other studio magic, but all of the performances are pure 1999.

 

The most significant liberty I took in the mix was the ending. Originally the track was supposed to fade out, so we kept playing for several measures and then stopped when the drum track ran out. We would fade that section in the mixing stage. But while preparing this mix, I heard that little improv P. J. does after everyone else stops and I knew I had to keep it. So I edited out several measures of the section, and kept P. J.'s ending instead of fading it. It's probably the best part of the track.

 

 

What a day

I almost had a problem with my pen

It wouldnít write

So I scribbled for a moment, now itís fine

And I'm sitting in the drive-thru

And I asked her for a bacon-double, please

She said, "We're out of cheese."

 

And I'll never understand how people make it through the day

Without throwing down the car keys and just blowing everybody else away

I guess I'm strange

Potentially derange

The only thing that's worse than being different

Is remaining just the same

 

What a day

Go away

Here I'll lay

Come what may

What a day

 

Today

I smashed my little finger in the door of my car

I'm glad I didn't have to drive too far

And this asshole's screaming up on me

I see him growing in my rear-view mirror

I watch him racing nearer

 

And I'll never understand how I resisted the temptation

To just lock 'em up right there

And end the day in twisted metal

Spidered windshields full of hair

Gone without a care

The only thing that's worse than being here

Is maybe being over there

 

What a day

Go away

Here I'll lay

Come what may

What a day

It has been

From the moment I woke up

I couldn't even find the right side of the bed

And the voices in my head

Were wishing I was dead

But I went to work instead

 

Today

I told a little kid to go fuck off

I made her cry

I do these things sometimes and don't know why

And I'm looking in the mirror at a man who's only

Trying to do his best

And failing every test

 

And I'll never understand how I get over the desire

To keep hitting that alarm

And give my mind another seven minutes rest

I guess I've grown

My wild oats all sown

The only things that's worse than being here with you

Is being all alone

 

What a day

Go away

Here I'll lay

Come what may

What a day

[repeat]

 

 

P. J. MŁller ē keyboards

Stephen Hart ē backing vocal

Ron Moses ē lead and backing vocal, classical guitar, bass, programming

 

engineered and co-produced by Scott Lurowist

2007 mix by Ron Moses

 


 

Think  

written by Ron Moses

4:22 ē right-click to download: mp3 (5.3 MB)  FLAC (28.1 MB)

 

Please don't listen to this. No really. For both our sakes, just skip this track. I will thank you, and so will you.

 

This is the one, folks. This is the track that hammered the final nail in Vulvaís coffin. If you listen to this, youíll hear maybe four really good ideas thrown together in a ridiculous, disjointed mess and wrapped up in an awful lyric that went so far astray from its original purpose that Iím embarrassed to have you listen to it. I swear I didnít mean for this song to turn into a big Christian-bash, I really didnít, and Iím ashamed that it came out that way. It started out as a response to a very narrow demographic that embraces Scriptural literalism to the exclusion of even the most harmless application of critical thinking, my intention being to lampoon these folks in an amusing and light-hearted way. And it veered completely off course. It ended up striking far too broadly, not to mention being insufferably smug and condescending and heavy-handed and just fucking awful. It never should have made it to tape in this state, and I apologize to anyone this track offends. It got away from me, and Iím sorry. My intentions were... well... better than this, anyway. See, this is what happens when you donít have the chance to come back to bad ideas that seemed like good ideas and rework them into actual good ideas.

 

Not only are the lyrics atrocious, but the vocal is maybe the worst thing I've ever recorded. It's not just poorly delivered, it sounds smarmy as hell. I want to slap myself. Real deep hurting here, folks, but hey... I'm sharing it all with you and hiding nothing. I get points for that, right?

 

Let me defer my hairshirt-fitting for a moment to draw your attention to one thing that deserves it, and thatís Mike Lerchís guitar work. Thatís Mike playing all the electric parts. One of my happier memories of these sessions is not being there while he recorded the solo. My old high-school buddy Matt (who would one day serve as my Best Man) came by the session just to hang out, and we decided to take a break, maybe go grab a bite to eat. Before we left, Mike and I discussed the kind of thing I was looking for. I wanted him to restate the melody and then go wherever his muse led him. He tried a number of ideas that were skillful, but I just wasnít happy with them in context, and it didnít seem like we were getting anywhere. So we stepped away from that for the moment, and changed over to record the little bit that appears right after the first chorus Ė the harmony guitars. I charted the first guitar line for Mike, and he seemed confused. He played it as I wrote it, and said very uncertainly, "Are you sure this is right? I donít think this is right." I assured him it was. So he recorded it that way, but it was clear he really wasnít getting it. Then I charted the second (harmony) line, Mike played it, and as soon as he heard it, he got it. That was the key, the trigger, the big epiphany; he knew what to do with the solo, he said. He told me to get lost for a while, so Matt and I split, and when we got back twenty minutes or so later, Scott and Mike greeted us with huge shit-eating grins. They played this solo back for me and it was perfect. I couldnít have expressed what I wanted, but if I could, I would have hummed something very much like this.

 

And then the project collapsed and Mikeís work never saw the light of day until now. So please, if you can endure everything that surrounds it, do give special attention to the wonderful contributions of the special and wonderful Mike Lerch. Thanks, Mike. Oh, I almost forgot to mention: This track also features Stephen Hart as God. Nothing blasphemous about that, right?

 

We did a mixdown of this track way back in 2000, but it was very rough. That rough mix was enough to illustrate the utter uselessness of the track, and as far as I can recall, we never recorded another note in Scott's studio. And so it goes. This is not that mix; Scott sent me all the raw tracks, and this mix was created from those tracks in January 2007. Like "What a Day," I have tried to keep it as vintage as possible, so nothing has been re-recorded, but I have taken a few liberties in terms of processing and effects. Not that it salvages the track at all, but maybe it will be slightly more listenable.

 

Ugh. My skin is crawling at the thought of you listening to this. Please don't email me, asking me to address and/or apologize for any specific moment in this song. I hereby apologize for all of it in one shot. We good?  Good. You can still skip this track, you know...

 

 

Iíve heard some people say theyíve read The Book

And it says that a man who lies down with a man

Will be pelted with stones and his cries and his moans

Will be filling the Midwestern air

 

Iíve heard some white folks say theyíve talked to God

And He told them that dating a black girl is wrong

And the dead saints will cry and their children will fry

And I donít see why Heaven would care

 

All around the fringes of the universe

Angels on the head of a pin

Laughing at the situation we find ourselves in

 

I had a question about inconsistencies

Seemingly frequent and often mundane

I was taken to task and was told not to ask

Every word is exact to the T

 

I read the chapter about good King Solomon

He built himself a big basin of bronze

They were strange times to live in

The measurements given appear to say π equals 3

 

All around the clinic where the women go

People spit and scream about sin

Crying for the situation they find themselves in

 

I can bend

But I canít break

I can give

But I canít take another day of blind belief

No relief

Something stinks

Think

 

I read a passage that seemed to imply

That a woman is better off seen and not heard

And enough with the bitchiní, get back in the kitchen

The dishes lie foul in the sink

 

Now hereís the punchline: I spoke to Him just last night

He told me most of these folks are confused

Their intentions are good but theyíve misunderstood

And Heís not quite as cruel as they think

 

All around the table at the meeting hall

People with a head like a pin

Rage against the situation they find themselves in

 

I can bend

But I canít break

I can give

But I canít take another day of blind belief

No relief

Something stinks

Think

 

I can bend

But I canít break

I can give

But I canít take another day of blind belief

No relief

Something stinks

Think, dammit

 

 

Mike Lerch ē lead and solo electric guitar

Stephen Hart ē electric guitar, bass, special vocal

Ron Moses ē lead and harmony vocals, resonator guitar, bass solo, keyboard, programming

 

engineered and co-produced by Scott Lurowist

2007 mix by Ron Moses

 


 

Out  

written by Marc Ziegenhagen

2:01 ē right-click to download: mp3 (2.3 MB)  FLAC (11.0 MB)

 

This was recorded during the Vulva sessions but was never intended to appear on the album. This track is unique in the collection: Iíve done a few covers, but this is the first time Iíve recorded a never-before-released song written by someone other than myself. I met Marc Ziegenhagen through Mike Keneally. Marc played keyboards on Mikeís tours for the Sluggo! and Dancing albums; heís a very talented guy. We hung out on a number of occasions and began corresponding from time to time. He sent me a cassette heíd made of some rough demos and answering machine messages. The answering machine messages were all very entertaining, but a very rough demo of this song was the thing that caught my ear. It was obviously incomplete, intended as a simple sketch just to get the idea on tape and come back to it later, but I liked it as it was.

 

Itís not the kind of song I would have written, but I felt like recording it, so I did. When it was done I sent a copy to Marc, who was flattered and impressed, but asked me not to distribute it because he didnít feel the song was ready to be sent out into the world yet. Of course I agreed. So donít say anything, okay?  The six people who will ever see this page hardly constitute "the world" anyway.

 

The recording features me on vocals, three acoustic guitars, bass, and about two dollars in pocket change. And yes, thatís a police siren. Hey, at least we remembered to unplug the fridge.

 

 

I get so lonely I canít sleep at night

I got the feeling that thereís something right

I get so lonely I can sleep all day

I got to get outside I need to get away

Help me get away

Help me get away

Help me get away

Wonítcha help me get away

Help me get away

Help me get away

Wonítcha help me

Help me

Help me

Help me

Help me out

Me get out

 

I spend my life inside this gilded cage

I need to find a way to justify the rage

Help me get it out

Help me get it out

Help me get it out

Wonítcha help me get it out

Help me get it out

Help me get it out

Wonítcha help me

Help me

Help me

Help me

Help me out

Me get out

 

 

Ron Moses ē vocal, classical guitar, bass, pocket change

 

engineered and co-produced by Scott Lurowist

 


 

Maybe Tomorrow  

written by Mal Evans

2:48 ē right-click to download: mp3 (3.4 MB)  FLAC (17.5 MB)

 

 

 

Cover design by Ron Moses

In 2002 I was hired to create the artwork for a Badfinger tribute album titled I Guess Thatís Just The Way The Story Goes (although Amazon lists it as Remembering Badfinger). Eddie Imbriano, the executive producer of the album, is a friend of mine, so he asked me to contribute a track as well. I didnít know much about Badfinger except for a few tunes, but I figured what the hell. This song dates back to the pre-Badfinger days when they were called The Iveys. The original is standard somber British mellotron music, a la The Moody Blues. I felt a bluegrass approach would be a good way to update the tune. Plus I stripped out a middle verse that just wouldnít translate.

 

Iím not very happy with the end result... Eddie mixed the track (I wasnít able to attend the mixing session) and although I love the guy like a brother, I just donít care for the way this track sounds. Thereís way too much reverb on the guitar, for one thing; I sound like I'm playing in a cave. And originally the beginning of the track faded in, which sounded stupid. I assume it was necessary; something must have happened to the first few seconds of the recording that necessitated that. Fortunately I was able to edit together a fix for this box set, so you donít hear the fade here, but I would have liked the opportunity to try and fix it before the album was released. I guess I would have done things differently, but it is what it is, and I appreciate the time and effort Eddie put into it

 

In fairness to Eddie, I made my share of mistakes on this track as well.  I clearly chose the wrong guitar for the piece... the resonator I used sounds way too metallic. And raising the key a bit might have been a good idea for the sake of the vocals, which sound downright languid in this key. So Iím sure Eddie did the best he could with what he had to work with.

 

But wait! Holy crap, itís a competent guitar solo! How the hell did I pull that off?

 

 

Listen to a lonely sound

See the grey and sadness all around

See the people go their way

Care not of me and love I've lost today

 

Maybe tomorrow, I will love again

I'll never know until I've looked into her eyes

Maybe tomorrow, I will love again

I'll never know until I've seen her once or twice

 

So I'm living for a dream

Each lonely day spent looking for the sunshine

I'll make believe that I don't care

I'll tell my friends I love my life, I'm happy

 

Maybe tomorrow, I will love again

I'll never know until I've looked into her eyes

Maybe tomorrow, I will love again

I'll never know until I've seen her once or twice

 

Maybe tomorrow, you will love again

I'll never know until I've looked into her eyes

Maybe tomorrow, you will love again

I'll never know until I've seen her once or twice

 

Maybe tomorrow, I will love again

I'll never know until I've looked into her eyes

Maybe tomorrow, I will love again

I'll never know until I've seen her once or twice

 

 

Ron Moses ē vocal, resonator guitar, bass, programming

 

engineered and produced by Eddie Imbriano

 


 

When Kids Die  

written by Ron Moses

2:23 ē right-click to download: mp3 (2.7 MB)  FLAC (11.6 MB)

 

This is also from 2002; I recorded it in my apartment on my computer. Itís all MIDI, plus the vocals and whistling which I recorded through a set of Core Sound binaural mics designed for stealth-taping concerts.

 

There was a news story out of Massachusetts a few years ago about a group of boys who fell through some ice or something and a few of them died. It may not have been ice, my memoryís not that good, but the point is that three or four boys died in this tragic misadventure. Reading the stories and hearing the local news commentary, I was struck by how differently people react when boys die versus when girls die. I donít mean the grief and shock that obviously follow, but the initial, subconscious knee-jerks. "The body of a young boy was found today" Ė he was probably doing something stupid, as boys do, and a tragedy occurred. "The body of a young girl was found today" Ė some bastard took her out to the woods and did unspeakable things. I believe these are common assumptions, right? Either that or I'm just freakin' dark.

 

So, lest anyone get the impression that this is a celebration (or mockery) of child mortality... no no no. Itís more anthropological than that. Yes, thereís a tone of very black humor to it. Youíd prefer a dirge? No, you wouldnít. Choose life, people.

 

 

When kids die

Other kids cry

Grown-ups cry

Everybody cries

When kids die

Dum-de-dum-de-dum

 

When boys die

People say, "Hmmm..."

"Wonder what happened,"

"What were they doing?"

When boys die

Dum-de-dum-de-dum

 

When girls die

People flip out

"Whoís the sick fuck who killed those girls?"

When girls die

Dum-de-dum-de-dum

 

When a baby dies

People blame the parents

Thatís pretty shitty but what are you gonna do?

When a baby dies

People pass laws

Some are misguided but people donít like it when a baby dies

Dum-de-dum-de-dum

 

When teens die

People say, "Drugs."

They pick up frying pans and make bad metaphors

When teens die

Dum-de-dum-de-dum

When kids die itís really really sad

 

 

Ron Moses ē vocal, programming

 


 

Owny Woo  

original track by Clyde ē remix by Ron Moses

1:37 ē right-click to download: mp3 (1.4 MB)  FLAC (7.2 MB)

 

Recorded in late 2002. In my regular life, when Iím not out fighting injustice and righting wrongs, etc., I work for a small software company. At the time of this recording, I was working primarily in the role of Technical Support Guy (a role I no longer fill, thank God). When a customer had a problem or broke his computer or forgot his password for the fifth time that month, he called me. And if I was on the phone, he got one of my team mates. And if we were all on the phone, he went to voice mail. Sometimes the messages were hilarious; one favorite was a Southern gentleman who left a message that consisted of about ten seconds of silence, followed by the words, "Technical Support!" followed by another five seconds of silence and a click. Maybe he thought we were going to come smashing through the wall like the Kool-Aid guy. "Hey, Technical Support!"  OH YEAHHHH!!! At least he knew who he was calling. Vague on the concept otherwise, but rock-solid on that.

 

One day a few years ago we got a message on voice mail from an Asian fellow named Clyde (yeah, no shit) who was working as an IT consultant for a customer of ours in Texas. It was the single most uproarious thing any of us had ever heard, and everyone in the office listened to it several times a day for weeks.

 

And then I had an idea. I recorded the message to my hard drive (using laughably primitive technology but it worked), sent it home to myself, and got to work constructing... this. I downloaded some loops for the instrumental bed, so I donít actually play any instruments on this track. I just chopped up the call and mixed it up. Fun stuff.

 

This actually became something of a Grade-D Internet meme for about a month. If you Google "Owny Woo" youíll still find a few pages worth of hits. I received over a hundred emails about it, and answered every one of them. So that was fun.

 

 

"Uh hello, th... this is a Clyde?

Uh, I'm in a kleine sad uh (mm) centimeter uh software op.

But I'd a body would have um owny woo? Workstation had a match is a uh eyeball to connect date sauce.

That doesn't mean a where we can make a change."

 

Owny woo

Date sauce

Uh eyeball

Uh eyeball

Op

 

Kleine sad

Centimeter date sauce

Kleine sad

Software op

Kleine sad

Hello uh eyeball

Owny woo

Owny woo

Op

 

Kleine sad

Owny owny owny woo

Kleine sad

Date sauce date sauce

 

Hello?

This is a Clyde?

 

Woo owny woo owny

Software woo owny sauce uh eyeball

Software woo owny owny kleine sad

Date owny date owny date date owny owny

 

Hello?

Centimeter

 

Owny owny op woo woo op

Owny woo

 

That doesn't mean a where we can make a change

 


 

Doom  

written by Ron Moses

1:29 ē right-click to download: mp3 (1.2 MB)  FLAC (4.7 MB)

 

2004 was a year of bounty for me in terms of musical accessorization. It started around Christmas of 2003, when my sisterís boyfriend Corey gifted me his Roland VS-880, which he no longer had a use for. This was the best recording deck Iíd ever owned. Far from the top of the Roland VS line, itís still an 8-track digital recorder (with 8 virtual tracks nested within each track) with a built-in effects board and so forth. A huge improvement over the old 4-track Tascam PortaOne, and I donít have to drive four hours to use it. I've since gone to fully PC-based recording, but at that time, this was like Abbey Road to me.

 

It was either that same Christmas or my birthday in February, Iím not sure, when Michelle gave me a beautiful Behringer B-1 condenser mic and an ART TubeMP pre-amp. Awesome vocal setup, again the best Iíve ever owned. Then Michelleís brother Brian and his wife Janet showed up at the house with a Yamaha MOTIF7 workstation (what you would probably refer to as a "keyboard" but actually it's... no, on second thought I wonít get into that). This is not only the best keyboard Iíve ever owned, itís the best Iíve ever played. Itís awesome. Happy birthday to me! The story I was told is that Brian went to some big Super Bowl party where there was a band, and everyone got really drunk, and the keyboardist gave him the Yamaha after the show. Ummm... yeah, you know what, I'm not going to question that story.

 

A few months later I convinced Michelle it would be a really good idea if I bought myself a beautiful blue Dean acoustic guitar, so I added that to the collection. And then, as an early Christmas 2004 present, Michelle and Liz gave me a PreSonus COMP16 compressor. A compressor is a little box which evens out your audio input so as to balance the quieter and louder moments, giving the recording more overall punch if used properly. It makes all the difference when recording vocals, especially.

 

I added a rebuilt PC to the mix (running SONAR to drive MIDI sequences to the Yamaha and sync to the Roland) and 6Pack Studios was born. This track is the first thing I ever recorded in it. I was scrolling through the various effects on the Roland and I stumbled across this harmonizer effect that split my voice into three much weirder voices. I set my levels, hit Record, stepped up to the mic and improvised this... thing. I hope you enjoy it.

 

 

Ka tikki toom tik

Ka tikki toom tik

Ka tikki htoom tik

Ka tikki toom

 

Doom (tle) da doonga chinga doon doo-wah (taka)

Doom kadinga dinga doo doo-wah

Ba dodden dee heedy honee hiney

Oyme neeny deeny

 

Tookety ka tee koo kee ta

Tookety ka kee too

 

Boon kadinga dinga ding doo-wah (tikkety)

Oom badinga dinga ding doo-wah

Da boo baba weeby

Ma winee ween hoppy looly

Mop maloo weet wee ahh

 

Tokkety kookenty ooh chickety aah

Ch ooh chickety kah

Ch hooh chickety kah teh tik tee oom

Tee toom tee toom tee toom

Tooh chickety ka keh tik

Htooh chickety ka keh tih teh toom

Pwa pwa pwa pwa pwa pwa pwa pwa pwa pwa pwa

 

Doom (tle) kadinga dinga doom doo-wah

SLURP

Doom kadinga dinga dinga wingy bingy hey

A doh edah

Oh ah oo oo oh oh weeeeeee ree ah

Ma nimini mameni moo

Ma nimini mameni moo

Ma ma mawingy oooooooo wah-ah

 

 

Ron Moses ē vocal

 


 

Brand New  

written by Ron Moses

4:38 ē right-click to download: mp3 (5.3 MB)  FLAC (25.7 MB)

 

I donít care if you hate this song, because itís a really good song and youíre just prejudiced against country music. Okay, I may have overdone it with that duck-quack guitar sound, but below that is as fine a piece of songwriting as Iíve done in some time. Itís got a good beat (gotta love that cowbell), a very strong melody, heartfelt lyrics, even a few odd meter changes. And check out this bitchen rhyme scheme, yo:

 

A

A A B

C

C C

B

B A

 

Come on, tell me thatís not pretty cool. Oh screw you guys. I didnít write it for you anyway.

 

This is one of a small handful of songs I wrote for Michelle in 2004 when it became clear to me that I hadnít done nearly enough of that. She works the graveyard shift; sheís sleeping when I get home from work, so I often donít see much of her for days at a time. Itís a drag in a lot of ways, but then again, when I do get to spend some time with her, itís like a tiny reunion every time. You know what I mean? Has your dearest beloved ever gone away for a few days, on a business trip or to visit a sick relative or whatever, and then they come back and youíve missed them so much you canít stop grinning like an idiot and you just want to bury your face in their chest for the next few hours? I get that twice a week. Itís pretty cool. Youíve gotta be thankful for these things.

 

Okay, so it's not Johnny Cash.  But it's not Garth Brooks either!  At least it's got a good guitar solo, no?  Come on!  Oh screw you guys.

 

 

When Iím feeling lonely and missing my baby

ĎCause I ainít seen my baby in, I donít know, maybe days or more

I look forward to seeing her, holding her tightly

Iíll be holding her tightly all day and all nightly

For three or four in a row

And I ainít letting go of my beautiful lady

 

Thereís a voice in my head that I gotta pay heed to

When my memories lead to the day you agreed to be my love

You should know what I tell you, I tell you sincerely

When I tell you sincerely that I love you so dearly

Youíre my light from above

Like a hand in a glove I am always gonna need you

 

Every dayís a brand new day

Every dayís a brand new way to love you

 

Every dayís a brand new day

Every dayís a brand new way to love you

 

In the quiet of the night, if I listen I hear you

And the things that Iím hearing you telling me dear, you make me smile

And the whispering answer that I hear myself saying

Do you hear what Iím saying? Iím saying Iím staying

And I donít mean for a while

To the very last mile I will always be near you

 

Every dayís a brand new day

Every dayís a brand new way to love you

Every dayís a brand new day

Every dayís a brand new way to love you

Every dayís a brand new way to love you

Every dayís a brand new way to love you

 

 

Ron Moses ē vocal, acoustic and electric guitars, bass, programming

 


 

Baby Cup  

written by Ron Moses

9:32 ē right-click to download: mp3 (9.5 MB)  FLAC (43.9 MB)

 

Iím fiendishly proud of this track, warts and all. To really do it right, Iíd have to spend a couple of months re-recording and editing and mixing and so forth (something I'm currently in the process of doing). I did this in about three days, and I think it's worth presenting in this form even though a better version is coming eventually. I had a week's worth of vacation to burn, and rather than go anywhere I spent it in my new studio. Although I recorded this after "Doom" and "Brand New," this was the first thing I released from the newly-christened 6Pack Studios.

 

Strap in, I have a lot to say about this one. I've gotta explain why I wrote a nine-and-a-half minute epic about a baby cup, don't I?

 

Liz and Michelle and I were playing with clay at the kitchen table one night (yeah, playing with clay... what?) and I made this little black tea cup with a big letter R in the bottom of it. I believe it was Liz who dubbed it The Baby Cup. It sat around on the kitchen table for a few days, and we all started making little references to "the itty bitty baby cup." Then it spread to non-cup items... there would be an unusually small raisin in the bottom of the box, and it would become the "itty bitty baby raisin," and so forth. It got kinda sickening, actually, as such cutesy in-jokes so often do.

 

Then one day on my way home from work, I was listening to NPR and they played some bumper music that caught my ear. It featured three or four kalimbas, which if you donít know is an African instrument often called a "thumb piano." As I listened to this brief passage, the first few lines just fell right out: "Little bitty baby cup / Sitting on the coffee table / Such a tiny baby cup / Where did you come from?" I immediately turned off the radio for fear of losing this line. When an idea strikes while driving, and a lot of them do, itís important to keep singing it over and over and shut out anything else that might suggest some other piece of music. Gotta stay in that groove until you can get it someplace safe and write it down. I wouldnít be surprised to discover that Iíd written over half of these songs in one car or another. Itís a very creative environment for me.

 

So I got it home, wrote it down, and took it into the studio. I started with a kalimba sound on the keyboard, and let it flow from there without any real plan. I decided to take an approach that Iíd only used one time before, on "Ned," but to take it a step further. I would sing or hum a section of the song, be it that verse or whatever I had most recently completed, and the next piece of music to pop into my head would be the next part of the song. Just let it happen, donít think about it, and donít worry about how or when itís going to end. Thatís how a small-scale ode to a baby cup turned into a nine-and-a-half minute epic.

 

Iím quite happy with most of the bass work on this track. I was able to pull off a few particularly subtle things Ė subtle for me, anyway. Iím used to just plunking down the root notes, but I really wanted to focus on my tone and put the bass in a very strong but mellow mood. I donít play the bass very often, but I really do enjoy it, and being able to take the time and craft the part and not just auto-pilot the thing, that was a real joy. Iím satisfied with the results.

 

But Iím really happy with the drum track. I tweaked the hell out of that thing. I really went to town, trying to make it sound as realistic as possible. I probably quantized it a bit too much; I donít quite have a mastery of that yet (Iím told most drummers instinctively play a few milliseconds behind everyone else Ė I just have to figure out how to make the computer do that). But the miniscule variations in velocity I painstakingly planted throughout the track give the piece a much more organic feel than Iíve been able to achieve in the past. On first hearing it, my friend Nick asked if they were real drums or sequenced. Thatís excellent, thank you Nick. The question alone is a huge compliment.

 

The piano variations in the middle get a little tiresome, donít they? Yeah, I did that on purpose. I wanted to try the listenerís patience, and perhaps their sense of humor as well. Youíre either groaning, "Oh for Godís sake, get ON with it already!" or youíre laughing at the idea of someone groaning over it. I fall into the second category, obviously. I donít charge a penny for this music, so I can get away with that kind of thing.

 

Iím very pleased at how the vocals came out. Finally I got a falsetto right! Why couldnít I do that on "My Time To Fly"? I must have found just the right key, I guess.

 

Iíve been asked the significance of the "Hades and Persephone" bit. I needed something to rhyme with Germany, thatís all. Iím still not that clear on their story; I even had to look it up online to find out who to pair Persephone with. Michelle would have known, but she wasnít home. So no, no significance there. Youíve come to the wrong song if youíre looking for significance.

 

When I released Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, the most thoughtful critic of the album was a fellow from Arizona who I knew from the alt.fan-frank-zappa newsgroup, Lewis Saul. Itís not that he liked it all, in fact he didnít care for most of it. But what he did like, he deconstructed at length, and that was very helpful. Lewis has a far greater command of music theory than I, and his insights (and approval, when given) meant a great deal to me. He loved "Dumb" (though, oddly enough, he was a member of the "natural drums" contingent), and that was certainly encouraging. He also expressed some appreciation for "Ned," which was released as a bonus track on later copies of Horseshoes. Although he was intrigued by the odd twists and turns, he did criticize the fact that, despite the illusion of harmonic complexity, I used simple major chords almost exclusively. He felt I could have beefed some of those up a bit.

 

When I began work on this track, it had been at least five years since Iíd been in touch with Lewis, but everything heíd told me stuck with me, and he was very much present in spirit during these sessions. I found myself asking quite often, "Would Lewis approve of this?" Sometimes the answer was No, that chordís too simple, thicken it up. And I would. Sometimes it was Yes, heíd like that passage, I think. And Iíd smile and move on. Other times the answer was No, heíd hate that, and hereís the reason why... and that was exactly the reason Iíd put in there in the first place, so Iíd smile and move on. Most of the decisions I made in this track were weighed against what I predicted Lewisís opinion of it would be, and if it were negative, how well I felt I could defend it. That was an incredibly motivating influence, and I think it really shows in the final product. The lush suspended chords beneath the "tea from China" section, the tension and release formed by the bass and keyboard in the early part of the instrumental section, and yes, even the endless piano variations. Lewis didnít like those at all. Excellent.

 

I'm hoping to provide you with a much-improved version of this track, minus the deathly piano solo, in the near future...

 

 

Little bitty baby cup

Sitting on the coffee table

Such a tiny baby cup

Where did you come from?

I have never seen the like of the baby cup

I cannot believe my luck

How did I deserve you?

 

Little baby cup

Tiny shiny smiley face

Friendly little baby cup

What do they call you?

Would you like to be my personal baby cup?

We could see the world together

 

And Iíll fill you up with

Tea from China and beer from Germany

Iíll be your Hades if youíll be my Persephone

Weíll buy a ticket on a big jet plane and fly

 

Sad little baby cup

Lying on the floor in pieces

Oh little baby cup

What has befallen you?

What a fickle fate to be suffered by the baby cup

Let me get the glue and Iíll make you good as new

 

 

Ron Moses ē vocal, acoustic and electric guitars, bass, keyboards, programming

 


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