August 7th, 2015

"Volcano"

I’ve recently returned from a trip to Hawaii. I was there for 10 days with three other people. Hawaii is as beautiful as you’d think it would be. Some call it paradise. From the moment I touched the ground on that first day I felt somewhat different. It would have been very hard to explain at the time, but if I were to describe it now I’d say that I felt exposed. Not physically, but emotionally. It was confusing.

There is a family friend who lives on Maui. My two brothers and my parents know her well but I had never met her. 5 days into my trip I had a crisis. I completely flipped my wig. I contacted Janine, the family friend, and told her about my meltdown. She wrote me this: “Hawaii always has a way of “the reveal” or bringing things to the surface… it’s strange… It’s probably because it’s an active volcano”.

A couple days later, the host of the house we were staying at was showing us around and she said to us unsolicited, “The elements of Hawaii don’t let you ignore the problems and the wrong inside you or around you. They force you to deal with it. It’s not always pleasant. Ultimately it’s not as important how you deal with it as it is how you come out the other side”.

It’s been a couple of weeks since my trip. I’m not fully recovered from “the reveal” as Janine put it. I’m not quite yet on “the other side” as our host explained. I’m still working through what happened, how I felt and where I will go from here. This song is part of that work.

 

 

take a breath
then take another one I guess
step by step
walk it off hold on to what’s left
now write it down
don’t forget what it’s about
take a breath
hold it in then let it out

every step I take
is one step away

fall asleep
well when the drugs hit i mean
can it be that you’re just too hard to reach
so just suspend, let it go and burn it up in this volcano
but final things are only final when they end

every step I take
is one step away

and every move i make
is one move away
every heart i break
is one break away
every single day
is one last day away
and every step I take
is one step away

October 20th, 2014

"Half-Painted Porch – Direct-To-Disk"

This song was recorded at Lacquer Channel Mastering direct to vinyl. It was a test for a series we’re doing called Direct-To-Disc #wecutwax in which we’re recording some artists directly to a vinyl record in real-time like they did in the olden times. What you’re hearing on this is the playback from the acetate record disc. In the video you can see the actual performance of the song as it’s being cut to disc. I’ve also mixed in a little behind-the-scenes footage.

Creatively this song is a postmortem of a relationship but only how I was feeling when I wrote it, not necessarily how I’m feeling about it now.

 

 

i hold for you this flaming torch
burning this half-painted porch
smoke so thick i cannot see
come put it out and rescue me

think on this let’s predicate
let’s talk about negotiate
on the things we cannot change
can’t compromise can’t rearrange

hold on to a thread

can’t forget what I have read
it’s swirling scathing around my head
words for him not for my eyes
revealing thinly veiled disguise

expose the bricks expose the beams
and tear apart the sowed up seams
go to a pauper from a king
no longer be your favourite thing

hold on to a thread

and I take back all the words of love I’ve said
i paint the porch i rebuild my old bed
what’s left of you in me is almost dead

September 12th, 2014

"Little Bird"

I used to be impossibly shy. It wasn’t the kind of shy that I couldn’t talk to anyone. In fact, I had no problem talking to people at all. It was just that I felt so awkward that I would say inappropriate things especially in uncomfortable conversations. Generally, I had no command of the ‘small talk’.

Once, I launched into an aspergery-type info-announcement of “Did you know that in 1386 a pig in France was executed by public hanging for the murder of a child?” This, after someone told me that they just broke up with their girlfriend or their Dad died or something.

If I hadn’t seen a person for a long time and they asked “What have you been up to?”. I would just stand there and tell them pretty much exactly what I had been doing for the past 2,3,4 years since I had seen them. Usually talking about 25 minutes, well past the moment that I’ve realized that I’ve gone on for an obviously unacceptable long time. I would end by saying (errr, more actually yelling with my arms flailing in the air) “And that’s what I’ve been up to, great see you… Bye!” and then scurrying away as fast as I could leaving my acquaintance with a utter ‘what-the-fuck’ look on their face.

I’m better at small talk now. I still feel awkward but I’ve learned to say “I’m great” when someone asks me how I am rather than actually tell them how I feel, why I feel that way and what I’m going to do about it. I don’t always succeed and those who know me, know this well. I’ve also learned that some thoughts should just be left in my head. Especially anything to do with Cat-AIDS

This is a song about shyness. Here is my brother Aubry and I in the bathtub.

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little bird it’s time to wake
this day is yours for you to take
little bird hiding there
why so shy why so scared

now spread your wings and try
little bird fly

little bird what can I do
there is so much here waiting for you
little bird come out your cage
for the fear you can assuage

July 28th, 2014

"Shark Week"

Shark Week starts August 10th on Discovery. This song has little-to-nothing to do with that Shark Week nor does it have anything to do with Sharknado 1 or 2.

The rabbit is an adorable animal. They are very fast runners but despite their speed they are often caught by the many animals that prey on them. A pet rabbit often will not leave the cage even though it’s been offered the freedom to run. You are the rabbit.

The dragon starts fires. Capable of both brilliant light and total darkness after complete destruction. The dragon has a very large wing span and can fly long distances. Dragons don’t care about collateral damage. You are the dragon.

The ceceda lives underground for 13 or 17 years and then emerges for only a few short weeks with the sole purpose of mating and laying eggs. They make loud buzzing and clicking noises, which can be overpowering. You are the ceceda.

The giant destroys the terrain with every step. It has a veracious appetite and little discrimination of what it eats be it flora, fauna or human. Giants sleep a lot but are awoken very easily due to their keen and acute sense of smell. You are the giant.

The shark is a deadly but docile creature that will only attack when provoked or hungry. Sharks need to keep moving or they will die. I am the shark.

run rabbit run
escape this cage

breathe dragon breathe
ignite the flame
then burn it all away

feed shark feed
devour me

die cicada die
we hardly knew thee
we hardly knew thee

sleep giant sleep
quiet steps I take
for you not to wake

now feed shark feed
devour me

March 21st, 2014

"I, Robot"

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this is hurt I guess
my gears are wet
they whine they squeak
they rust they leak

restart the node.
rebuild, reload
erase – delete your code

a clean os
format the disk
a new install
erase it all

stuck in repeat
corrupt routine
control alt delete

cpu heart
a broken part
#@& (hash at ampersand)
corrupt commands

my core is hacked
my logic board is cracked
put robot code back

boot safe mode
core dump unload
erase – delete your code

February 6th, 2014

"Sweet Caroline"

The song Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond, at first glance, is a light hearted look at budding love in a new relationship. Upon further investigation into the song there are a number of things that suggest his feelings of happiness are fleeting and unsure. I believe he’s already predicting the end of the relationship, if it’s even a relationship at all. For example, he says he doesn’t know where it began but he feels it’s growing strong. A feeling is just that. I feel like I like you, I’m just not sure I like you. He implies that hasn’t been long. Spring turned into summer. So maybe only a few months. He tell us that he hurts but it doesn’t hurt when she’s around. He not saying the hurt goes away, it just ‘runs off his shoulders’. I think, he is having too many ‘good times’ which ‘never seemed so good’ and it hides the fact that underneath it all, he’s lonely and with her he doesn’t ‘seem so lonely’ but he is. This is just a fling. Flings are easy, gentle and offer good times. Caroline is a band-aid to hide the festering fucked-up-ness of his lonely sad existence. He should get a dog instead.

This song is loosely inspired by Neil’s song and pays homage to it at the end. I thought it would be a good idea to film myself recording it this time. What you see in this video is a Brauner tube microphone and an Ampex ATR-102 tape recorder. This is in my mastering studio.

I cannot legitimize
these feelings that have taken over me
can I not lobotomize
and forget everything you were to me

And then in time time time
i’ll feel fine fine fine fine

Oh take away this sentiment
the symptoms and the problems of the time
and throw me into sacrament
bring me closer to the voice inside

I’ll sit here and play sweet caroline
bah bah bah bah bah I’ve been inclined

No words on the page are going to save me
and neither are rotations at a 33rd and 3
no words on the page are going to save me
and nor are expectations of how this all should be

I’ll sit here and play sweet Caroline
bah bah bah bah bah I’ve been inclined

What can I do to recompense
rationalize why I’m emotionally choked
you’re a victim of circumstance
wrong place, wrong time, wrong heart that has broke

Then in time time time
you’ll feel fine fine fine

Oh wash away with whiskey
the bitterness of my taste on your tongue
and drag in from your cigarette
that it may burn expell me from your lunges

I’ll sit here and sing sweet Caroline
bah bah bah bah bah I’ve been inclined

No words on the page are going to save me
and neither are rotations at a 33rd and 3
no words on the page are going to save me
and nor are expectations of how this all should be

I’ll sit here and sing sweet Caroline
bah bah bah bah bah i’m feeling fine

Sweet Caroline
Good times never seemed so good
Sweet Caroline,
I believe they never could
Sweet Caroline
Good times never seemed so good
Sweet Caroline…

September 21st, 2013

"Birthdays"

Today is my birthday. I’m 43. I have a lot to be celebrating. I have great job and career. Amazing friends that I love. A couple awesome (well most times) kids. A great place to live in an amazing city. I have a really good life. Despite that, I wrote this idiotic song.

I woke up feeling blue
and my balls are also too
and you didn’t even wish me a happy birthday

Well it’s not cause you didn’t fuss
it’s more a sign of us
and that’s sad OMG I hate birthdays

Birthdays are meant for the young
I just can’t wait till this day is done

‘Cause when you’re old it’s not the best
to know you’re one year closer to death
and that sucks, mother fuck birthdays.

So now I’m sitting here
this box of kleenex not for tears
the most depressing days are birthdays

My happiness depends
on all those facebook friends
that you’ve never met saying happy birthday

Birthdays are supposed to be fun
But I just can’t wait for this day to me done

I just have a frown
’cause you’re not around
to hold me, to blow me on my birthday

My party I want to ditch
I’m such a whiny bitch
wrap it up, I give up on birthdays

But I’ll just raise my glass in cheer
’cause I’m older by one year
and today
a little more grey
hip hip hooray
for birthdays

February 21st, 2012

"Small Fires"

This song was co-written with the most amazing Simon Wilcox.

had a really insightful conversation the other day with a friend about ‘push and pull’… well… the conversation was actually about BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder). I guess one of the symptoms of BPD, is that people with it push you away just to bring you back. This is usually done with equal passion. They wrap you in a glorious love and then unravel it on you just to wrap you up in it again. I don’t have BPD but I might be attracted to people who do. That ailment in itself should have an acronym. PATPWPP (People Attracted To People Who Push and Pull) or something like that.

After reading a bunch of colorful (read as insane) texts I’d received from someone that I’ve never met, a friend told me that I seek out drama. I don’t know if that’s totally accurate, I mean, I constantly brag about Mary J’ing my life. But, truth be told, I sometimes get interested in people and situations that are a little complicated. I entertain the nutty, the broken, off-kilter and otherwise lost among us but maybe that’s just because my life is actually very drama-free and…. essentially boring. Where else am I to get inspiration if not my own, then someone else’s life?

So, you know what? Bring on the BPD, the excessive facebook-likers, the crazy-text people, the ones who still have a personal myspace account and Mel, they are all so much more interesting than all of us lame and boring folks who sit at home and just write songs about them.

 

 

Sweet things come out of your mouth
They fly around I try to knock them down

They’re like small fires burning down all over town

We drive around
And try to put them out
Try to forget about

All the small fires burning down
Small fires are burning out

Dark things come out of your mouth
They knock me out
They keep me down

They’re like small fires burning down
Small fires are just ashes now

January 25th, 2012

"Spoke In Your Wheel"

Spoke In Your Wheel: Before I get to the story, a caveat. This song uses the chord progression of G, C, D which is about as common as it gets, so, if it sounds like 500 other songs that’s why. I can’t quite recall which those songs are at the moment but feel free to email or comment me and let me know.

Last spring my dear and lovely friend Ashley, who resides in Nashville but was visiting me here in Toronto, was accompanying me on a motorbike ride. We made it not more than two blocks before my motorcycle starting spewing gasoline out its manifold or engine block or what have ya. Not wanting to spend anymore time riding a rolling molatov cocktail, we pulled over into the nearest alleyway and called for assistance.

While I was waiting for the tow, I decided to go locate my bicycle which was locked up somewhere in the area but I wasn’t sure where on account of the fact that I had rode it to the bar some nights earlier but then had forgotten about it after a number of bourbons.

I located said peddler and rode it back to the motorcycle. The tow-man was already loading it on to the truck. I hopped on my bike and Ashley rode in the tow the two blocks (they were long blocks) back to my house. Upon arrival and after unloading the motorbike we popped into my automobile and drove to our original intended destination.

Now, I had put my bicycle into the alleyway while unloading the motorcycle and completely forgot about it. In fact, I didn’t remember till a few days later when of course, it was long gone. I lamented the loss of my bike but figured it was my stupidity that lead to it’s disappearance so ces’t la vie.

Upon acceptance, a few days later, that my bike was gone forever, I decided to take a stroll to the local bike store and price a new one. As I turned the corner to walk, not even a few paces to the store, I saw a pair of handlebars and a bell sticking out from the side of a building. As I got closer I realized they both look awfully familiar. Lo and behold it was my bike, just sitting there, unlocked but a week after I had lost her.

After the initial shock wore off, I hoped on the bike and high-tailed it outta there. I went directly to the local blood bank and donated a few pints to pay back the forces at large that reunited me with my two-wheeled, human powered beauty.

That’s the story and all truth. Now, what does it have to do with the song? Well, nothing other than the fact that the song is kind of about a bike. Actually it’s not about a bike at all but I’ll let you figure that one out.

This song features some backups by Claire, Andrew and Milan. Thanks guys!

Am I just a spoke in your wheel
Am I just a spoke in your wheel
wish I was a bell on your bar
to signal wherever you are

To show you I love you
but you just don’t care
I’m trying to inflate
but I have no air
If I broke off it wouldn’t break the seal
Cause I’m just one spoke in your wheel

Am I just a spoke in your wheel
Am I just a spoke in your wheel
Not even the pad in your break
Can stop you from speeding away

While I’m feeling more
You’re just feeling the same
I’m greasing it up
but you’re breaking the chain
just one of many not a big deal
I’m just a spoke in your wheel

One little part of your whole frame
you’re in my heart but I’m in your brain
I’m peddling for you but you cannot feel
cause I’m just one spoke in your wheel

Am I just a spoke in your wheel
Am I just a spoke in your wheel
you barely know I was born
and I want to be honking your horn

I draw a straight line that has no end
but you’re circling me as a facebook friend
I’m trying to stand out but I cannot appeal
cause I’m just a spoke in your wheel

Am I just a spoke in your wheel.

Oh I’d take your heart but I cannot steal
I’m just a spoke in your wheel

Am I just a spoke in your wheel.

January 17th, 2012

"Social Suicide"

Social Suicide: I love my friends but sometimes, I don’t like them.

Dreaming about moments
long since past
something made of nothing
that just won’t last

It’s just like dying
as it all flashes before your eyes

Just been existing
but i hardly breathe
and I feel I’ve been giving
only a small part of me

And it’s just like living
it’s all a compromise

I cannot relax
with all these knives in my back
and I cannot see
while your blinding me

To hell with my pride
i’ll commit
social suicide

Sick of excuses
while I’m messing about
stuck with the affliction
fear of missing out

It’s a vicious circle
when you’re stuck inside a square

Surrounded by people
completely alone
when honest conversation
turns into broken telephone

It’s a hard realization
that you’ve got fear of being there

I cannot relax
when all these dicks poke my back
and I cannot feed
while your starving me

Oh too hell with the pride
i’ll commit social suicide

Broken pieces i cannot glue back
the memories are lost
speeding train running outta track
it’s time just to jump off
round trip ticket is now one way
time to step aside

And commit social suicide!

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