Sherry Carroll: Classically Ever After

Our friend Sherry Carroll has a new short story available through amazon. Here is my review: 

classicallyeverafterSherry Carroll Writes Great Rock & Roll. March 4, 2014

If you have spent any time in a band or in a music scene, you will recognize the world that Sherry Carroll paints here. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s really like to be immersed in that lifestyle, this is about as authentic as it gets. The style is rambling with rich descriptions, akin to the Gonzo writing of Hunter S Thompson; a slightly distracted stream-of-conscience that might leave your English teacher a little dizzy, but adds a layer of reality to the narrative which I believe is impossible to fake. You can feel the cold night descending on you in the back alley, chatting with the band as they pack up their van, a meandering conversation you can’t always keep up with.

The story here is a quaint tale of girl meets boy, but filtered through rock and roll spectacles and told from the viewpoint of a self-aware and somewhat self-conscious young woman, with a trace of shyness or reserve, but an overwhelming desire to dive headlong into life.

The story is rich in detail and imagery and there are some great, funny moments in the dialogue, and it all just comes together feeling true and real. Well worth the price of admission. An honest little glimpse and a wild, enjoyable ride!

Go check it out for yourself, it’s only 99 cents! It’s a fun romp and a quick read and well worth the investment.
Sherry Carroll: Classically Ever After on Amazon.com

Beatles #1

ab erode

Stunt Puddles- A Bee Rowed

Sunday, February 9th marks the fiftieth anniversary of The Beatles first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, in effect the beginning of Beatlemania as well as the British Invasion. For the first time in the short history of Rock & Roll, a band stayed relevant beyond the few years which were expected at the time, put out an incredible and prolific stream of music, and completely transformed popular music, if not the world.

By the time I came around, it was over. But some of my earliest memories relate to The Beatles, at a very early age they managed to make quite an impression on me. With much of their music it’s impossible for me to remember the first time I heard it, it seems to have always been there, certain songs go as far back into my memory as I do.

I have been thinking about this as I hear the media gearing up for a celebration, tried to remember what their music meant to me even at such a young age.

Even at eight years old, in 1980 when we heard that John Lennon had been shot, it impacted me greatly, I can still recall the day clearly. I was in the backseat of the car, looking out at the yellow winter day, feeling the bit of heat the sun managed to push against the glass. I was too young to know that the Beatles had broke up before I was born, and in my simple mind I didn’t realize they all wrote songs and sang, I thought John sang all the lead parts in the band. “I guess the sun will never come again,” I remember saying, apparently already poetic and melodramatic, and also referencing a song George Harrison wrote and sang.

Although I can’t quite make out when, there is an otherwise clear memory of us, my family, getting a little stereo system from Sears or Kmart or a similar place. Cheap but effective, it had radio, a cassette deck, and a record player.

This is when music first affected me in a magical way. I remember going through the stacks of old records I found around the house, my moms and my dads. Even at the time much of it didn’t impress me or hold my attention, until I got to The Beatles albums.

This was something different. A lot of the music I heard before sounded mechanical and boring, but this was magic. Each song was a tiny spell cast; engaging, hypnotic and impossibly fascinating.

The first time I can remember having a favorite song, it was I Am The Walrus. It was on an album called Reel Music, which I don’t believe has ever been considered for reissue on CD. It was a collection pressed by the record company, a sampler of songs from the movies The Beatles made. I am the Walrus stood out because of the nonsensical lyrics and the fact that I couldn’t recognize how any of the sounds were being made. I was sophisticated enough to know a guitar or a piano or a violin, but this song was so thick and random and – let’s face it – weird. As often as I listened to it I had no idea what it was about or how it was done. I am sure this has influenced and instructed my own art more than I need say or probably can recognize myself.

I can’t quite recall how old I was when I decided I wanted to grow up to be John Lennon, but I did. There was a project in elementary school where we were supposed to research the career we would like to pursue when we grew up. Many kids gave the expected responses; fireman, police officer, president, garbage man, plumber, so on. It came to my turn and I said, “Rock Star.”

This was the first big laugh I ever got, the entire class erupted around me. I wish I could say this was my intent, but it wasn’t. I was far too serious for my age. The laughter burned my ears. The teacher only made me feel worse, telling me being a rock star wasn’t a profession.

The assignment was to research your chosen career and give a report on a handful of aspects such as how to go about learning and training for your field, what you will need to know and what will be expected of you once you arrive. I spent some time in the school library as well as the public library, trying to find some information on how one goes about becoming a professional musician. I came up with next to nothing, there was an encyclopedia entry on Musicians, but nothing about how they went about getting there. It is entirely possible I didn’t know what to look for, but there seemed to me to be no information available on how to get a job playing guitar and getting rich and famous at the same time.

I’m not sure if I ever finished that report, but that was nothing out of the ordinary if I didn’t. I do know my mind had already been firmly set on what I wanted to do when I grew up.

Even back in kindergarten, a dim distant memory that is only coming to me now as I write this, I was trying to write songs and start bands. I had a little plastic electric guitar, a toy, it took a nine volt battery and had one thick metal string that blurted out of a cheap plastic built-in speaker. I made my brother and our neighbor join my band, and I remember walking back to school one afternoon, dragging our instruments along, to play a few songs I had written for the music teacher.

I have no idea what the songs were, but I am certain they were terrible and probably not music, technically. I can’t recall how the teacher reacted, but I don’t think it was what I expected. It was probably a polite dismissal, a ‘that was lovely, thank you. See you in class tomorrow, goodbye.’

Labrador Dali- Abbey Road medley part 1- Halloween 2010

At War withe Spiders (video and comic)

‘When the Going Gets Weird, the Weird Turn Pro’
~Hunter S. Thompson

At War with the Spiders on YouTube

I’ve been playing around with this little cartoon sequence for ‘At War withe Spiders.’ The whole thing started merely as an idea for a promo for ‘Meowing on the Answering Machine,’ which is where the ‘Spiders’ story comes from.

So far I have attempted a video version with a few different bits of music behind it, some spookier than rhythmic, others more disturbing than expermental, but I think I found the one that is JUST right. This is the one I am liking the best for now, it uses a section of the second movement of ‘Lost at Sea in the Electric Desert.’

spider-title Spiders1-txt
Spiders2-txt Spiders3-txt
Spiders4-txt Spiders5-txt
Spiders6-txt spider7-txt
spider8 Spidernew9
SpidernewA SpidernewA-credits

Virtual Vitriol

shutfixWhy are people like this?

I was hanging out on Facebook a little while ago, talking on a thread. Some of you know I like the band Phish, and the thread was about their albums and songs and their live shows, and how would you introduce someone to the band and their music?

The thread veered as threads do, a festive, fun, informal little discussion about some of the band’s albums and our initial reaction to them.

At one point I was talking about a common opinion among Phish-heads, and one I must admit personally held some credence when I was younger. The notion that longer songs are better. I was in a playful mood, so in the comment I stated it as, “Longer = Gooder.”

I know ‘gooder‘ is not a word. I can see the little red line pop under it informing me of a language breech.

So, the next comment was from someone who had not participated in the thread up until this point, either they were only lurking or they just found the conversation. Either way, their first offering to the topic was to call me out on my word usage.

I asked if he was seriously going to attempt to reprimand me in an informal conversation about the band Phish on Facebook, especially since mine was not the only non-word in the dialogue. Some folks had used words such as ‘Squicky‘ and other fun recent additions to the lexicon.

This person held their ground.

I told them they were similar to the person who would look over my shoulder at a live concert, correcting my punctuation and grammar as I attempted to keep a set-list of the songs and continue to dance my ass off at the same time.

I asked if they had written angry letters to Phish about the misspelling of their name, and some of the words they use in their songs, such as ‘thunk.’

I pointed out that the band itself has some song titles which are not real words, ‘Gotta Jiboo‘ and ‘Faht‘ for example. But, I continued, I was pretty certain this person had corrected the song titles on the back of their CD case, properly renaming the songs with their red permanent marker.

I told this person I know it’s not a word, but I was certain in the context people would be able to grok the intent. It’s not like I made up a word like ‘frundlesporkled‘ or something vague and indecipherable. Gooder is not a word, but you can pretty easily deduce it’s meaning.

This person must be a real blast at parties.

The thing that irked me, though, was this was the first thing they added to the conversation. They had sat on the sides reading along without adding a comment, an opinion or even a ‘me too’ to the discussion. They didn’t speak up until they saw me use a non-word.

Why are people like this? I don’t get it. Sometimes I think its envy or something similar, these folks can’t produce an original thought within their tiny skulls to save their life. So they take out their frustration on anyone who dares to say anything out of the ordinary. I don’t know.

Shakespeare made up words. I told the person I admired their rigid adherence to the guidelines of the language, but this is not school, and ‘you are not my editor.’

I don’t know if it made this person feel better or superior to point out my foible. I’m not sure, I just don’t get people sometimes. These are the sort of people who write YouTube comments and hang out on reddit.

Speaking of reddit, I had a similar run in there. It was pretty much the last straw. I rarely check into reddit anymore just because there are too many small-minded nasty people who only value an opinion if it is vitriolic.

I was talking in a thread about the TV show Community, and the return of the shows creator and executive producer Dan Harmon.

I commented that I was glad he was returning, and seeing the way the show faltered when NBC and Sony replaced him was a vindication of sorts for Mr. Harmon’s unconventional approach to making good television.

This one redditor tore into me; a lengthy, nasty soliloquy rife with expletives and sentences in all caps. Besides ridiculing me for daring to defend him, this redditor went on to call Mr. Harmon ‘King Baby,’ and other colorful descriptions.

I tried to clarify my position, but it fell on deaf ears. Sometimes you have to know when to cut your losses and move on. Pick your battles, if you will.

The next day I check into reddit and see a long thread of conversation has branched off from the conversation I was in. And who decided to pop in and comment but Dan Harmon himself, who had some scathing words for this nasty redditor.

And here the real hilarious thing was how this redditor’s attitude changed. ‘King Baby‘ was now being addressed as ‘Mr. Harmon, sir.‘ And near the end of the conversation this redditor offered to buy Dan Harmon a drink if the occasion ever presented itself.

I told this redditor after all this was over, I hoped he enjoyed his beer with ‘King Baby.’ He tried to defend his change of tone as it being in a completely different conversation.

“An entirely different conversation that grew out of our discussion,” I said, “The word we use around here for such a change of heart is ‘Two-Faced’. Do not even bother replying,  I’m done with you, I will not read or respond.”

And I didn’t. I let that thread die, and I rarely even look at reddit anymore because it is filled to capacity with this petty, nasty, duplicitous, miserable sort of person.

So, why are people like this? Are some people unable to find any sort of contentment unless they are putting someone else down?

I don’t know, but there seems to be way too many of this sort walking around on the planet.

I got a genuine laugh, an out loud laugh, from this redditor and the way his tone changed. The vitriol he aimed at me for defending the guy turn obsequious when the man himself showed up in the thread.

It reminds me of the saying, ‘Those who say it can’t be done should not interrupt the ones who are doing it.’ It’s not a direct analogy, but is the same sort of tiny-minded person.

I know my punctuation is suspect at best, and my penmanship has turned to chicken scratch, but this is the best I can write down the songs and still enjoy the concert. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to read it. You are free to write the set-list any damn way you wish. You are entitled to your opinion, but you aren’t required to share, and I really don’t care to hear it.

Good day to you, sir. Kindly shut your clamoring trap, and let me get back to dancing.

©M²XIV/REM

Squirrevolution

exhibit A: Squirrel Revolt  
 
exhibit B: Squirrel Attack  
 
Labrador Dali – Squirrels

This has just come to my attention, and the situation is dire. Forgive me if I fore-go pleasantries and formality, but this matter is too pressing to concern ourselves with decorum.

There are two videos on your right, on the surface they appear to be harmless television ads for a TV provider. I am not in the habit of showing commercials here especially if they aren’t advertising me or paying me for the space.

But there is much more going on here than is immediately apparent. It may be wrapped as a sales pitch, but the project was no doubt commissioned by the Squirrels. A thinly veiled facade for the actual transmission, a rodent-centric call to arms, as well as training guide for young marmots, vitriolic anti-human propaganda.

The first video, for the sake of folks who can’t work the videos and those allergic to advertising, is called Squirrels Revolt, and shows a group of the rodents, forced to work in sweat-shop conditions by their human captors, a common theme in anti-human squirrel art. One brave squirrel worker stands up and calls on his squirrel brothers to revolt.

The second video is similar, featuring a squad of guerrilla squirrels attacking a human civilian in the park. I will spare the gory details, as much as they might turn your stomach and turn your hair gray, I cannot bare to imagine them enough to commit the vile actions to paper.

The words are hard to read, and the video is tough to watch, but be assured the most violent and disturbing aspects of these incidents have been cut out by the Marmot Overlords. They are always careful of the image they project; they keep a tight leash on the information they release.

Those of you following my work for any length of time know how outspoken I am about the Invasion of Squirrels, and the evil plots they develop, and some they have hatched over the years.

In 2007 I wrote the song ‘Squirrels’ as an attempt to warn the world about the coming war. We were able, finally, to record the track for inclusion on the Labrador Dali ‘Possum House’ CD. I thought I could spread my message far and wide, warning people of the impending violence, the Rodent’s Revolt.

I was shocked, livid and terrified when I first received the acetates. My twenty minute masterpiece, the anthem of humanity, the cautionary tale of danger approaching; it was hacked down to three minutes. Nine verses, the ones explicitly warning about the evil of Marmots and the destruction they planned, had all been cut. The remaining lyrics told a disjointed tale of quantum wave-particle duality and the sun blowing up.

I stormed over to Hermetic Medical Records’ underground bunker, lurking through the sterile hallways looking for our A&R guy. The faint greenish-yellow light barely limping out of the bulbs and out of the fixtures, it had little strength to shine at the cold hallways around me. The strange echo of my footsteps bounced back louder than the original sound. It was all intentional, all installed to make any big-headed musicians uneasy and possibly nauseous.

I couldn’t find our representative but I managed to find the label’s CEO. I happened by his open door, and saw him inside sitting at his desk.

I walked in without knocking, sat down without asking; I threw my test-press disc on his desk.

He knew my issue, he wasted no time. He apologized, said regretted trimming the song, but he had no choice; it was just too damn long.

I didn’t stick around argue or let him say anymore. I wanted out of the building, my whole being shivered, an icy fear. I wanted to run far and fast, away from the situation.

He was lying. The song’s length wasn’t the issue, I knew this in my heart. The real problem was the message, the warning I tried to give humanity about the coming danger.

The CEO made excuses; but I knew calling him on it, or getting him to admit it, would be useless. It was too late, he was already on the take. The Marmots had gotten to him, either coercing him with wealth or threatening him with violence. Either way, it didn’t matter, he was now in their employ. There was nothing I could do but save myself; get out of this building as quick as I could before they got me too.

I was certain the CEO wasn’t the only one, the whole company was likely infected, possibly the whole industry, maybe even all media.

The squirrels won this battle; I could see it plain as day. I saw it sitting on CEO’s desk, something new. It had never been there before; not in all the years I had been with Hermetic Medical Records, all the time I had spent in this building, this office. I knew exactly what it meant; they were in control, this was how they marked their territory.

Somehow it seemed menacing, it sparked fear in mt soul, I thought it was mocking me somehow. It was a dish, only a dish that had never been there before, atop the sparse desktop before; a half-filled, glass bowl of mixed nuts.

©Robert Emmett McWhorter

Dry


Robert Emmett Fling CD 2006After it rains
Im finding my way
To who I was
When it was dry
After it rains
Ill go outside

After tonight
Its starting again
To who were are
When there is light
After tonight
I’m going dry

Can you ever feel like it’s raining everywhere?
Can you fell it in the air?

What’s wrong with you?
What’s wrong with me?
What’s wrong with everything?

After it rains
Im finding my things
And getting out
While I’m Alive
I’ll try to live
I’ll go outside

After the night
We shouted it out
To who we are
When we are not
After that night
It wouldn’t dry.

© Robert Emmett McWhorter/ 
published by Hermetic Medical Records (ASCAP)
all rights reserved

Take Me In

second handlerTake me in,
It’s not sin unless
You’re sure of what you’re doing,
And I’m always misconstruing
What you say.

And you told me it’s not love
Until our toes are all pointed upward.

And I admire you so much
I have to think of you
As several different people,
Standing together,
With your eyes to the sun,
And a large financial backer
At your side.

When you said my head would heal
I couldn’t tell
If you were generally concerned,
Or just stalling for time
While you his the ice-pick.

When you said that love would rule
I didn’t know
That you planned to raise an army.
Now I’m trying to enlarge my breasts
So you’ll talk to me again.

Take me in,
Take me off your mailing list.
I don’t want your
Plain-wrapped packages no more.

 

©Robert Emmett McWhorter/
published by Hermetic
Medical Records (ASCAP)

The Invisible Girl

Robert Emmett ‘Invisible Girl’ demo 2009

I must admit I could not see you
At first you took me by surprise
I wasn’t look as silently as you snuck in
A shadow hiding behind a shy smile

I can’t believe I didn’t see you
Each word was pointing at a star
It didn’t matter as much as the order
After the facts all fall down
and pointing us right back where we are

And I saw you
And I’ll see you
And I see you now

It’s Funny to think, how everything is like paper and ink
Or dots on the screen when they’re close enough to be seen
it’s just red blue and green
and miles and miles of emptiness in between

You wouldn’t let anybody see you
You don’t accept add requests from bands
I pinged your packets and said
I just came back to get my jacket
the puppets fell right out of your hand.

© Robert Emmett McWhorter
published by Hermetic
Medical Records (ASCAP)

Constellations

horoTrace the stars
Draw your path
Walk in the shapes
of Constellations
Tell everyone
That you’re wandering
aimless
Don’t let on the plan
Don’t let on…

Make your bed
Of grass and gravel
Sleep in the peace
of Constellations
Tell everyone
That they’re rich and
they’re famous
Don’t let on the plan
Don’t let on…

I’d get high
But I’m afraid of heights
I’d get high
I wobble when I drive
And my heart is
made of Styrofoam
It’s been packaged
Just for you

Talk with the stars
Make a promise
To live in the loft
of Infatuation
Tell my everything
Where your wandering
Mind Is
Tell me the plan
Tell me…

(august 1993)
© Robert Emmett McWhorter
published by Hermetic
Medical Records (ASCAP)

The Waiting Life

Labrador Dali ‘Possum House CD’

 

And I don’t get how you get by
You’ve closed your eyes
You’re so surprised
when you wake up every day,
and it’s not yesterday again
And if you paint the windows black
the sunlight cant attack you anymore

And you don’t get what you gave up
You keep your home
like a waiting room
And freedoms just another word
for crippled by your fear
So turn up the TV set
and watch them ringing in
another New Year.

How can you say it’s the end?
When it never even really began
And their calling your name
but you pretend you can’t hear
You’re only as real as you feel,
and you don’t have to feel a thing.

You don’t have to feel a thing.
You don’t have to say a word.
You don’t have to think at all.
You don’t have to sign your name,
or tell them who you are,
or even if…

You have no right to do no wrong
Don’t sing along with my mistakes
If that’s what it takes to
shut you up and move along
There’s only one more verse to rehearse
before you can quit the band.

How can you say it’s the end?
When it never even really began
And their calling your name
but you pretend you can’t hear
You’re only as real as you feel

You don’t feel anything at all…

© Robert Emmett McWhorter
published by Hermetic
Medical Records (ASCAP)

Jalapeño Bridge


        Labrador 03.10.08 Elbo Room
Space is nothing,
when youve nothing left to face
I cant take what
we pass off as boredom

Standing before you
But after the laughter
is the crying shame
Another game we gotta play

A secret for two is a story
And our story’s all over the world
You can do anything

Feeling nothing,greenguywhen you’ve nothing left to give
I cant think of anything
to say to you

Standing before me
But after hours the powers
too strong to shake
Another cake we gotta eat

You can do anything

© Robert Emmett McWhorter
published by Hermetic
Medical Records (ASCAP)

Mr. Argyle Sock

Thunk  ‘Melodious Thunk’ CD 1995

Mr. Argyle Sock,
Sits on his rock,
wreaking of rum
And Catholics.

Houses fall down
When he comes around,
He stands alone
In the windowframe.

With his finger in a dyke,
At the open mic,
The leaks come
Squeaking to a halt.

But if you can’t find it,
You’ll be reminded,
That it’s absolutely
Not his fault.

argyleWhen you’re only
Entertaining a thought,
But the thoughts gets bored
And move away.

They’re probably
In his head now,
Having the time
Of their lives.

Mr. Argyle Sock
Picking your pocket
Funding your
cash/ weight-loss diet

Riding his bike,
Looking just like…

If he was for sale
You’d buy it.

If you could afford him,
You’d buy it.

© Robert Emmett McWhorter
published by Hermetic
Medical Records (ASCAP)