“Eat Our Dreams” — by Slazenger 7

I’m just days short of making it a year since my last post. Let’s consider today’s post a re-introduction of myself to the world, which is round. More to come soon.

As for this post, why I haven’t posted this video sooner, I’m simply not sure. But this is a video I made last summer for another Slazenger 7 song. I had some free time on my hands, and spent three days putting this thing together.  The instrumentation (with Todd introducing it) for the song was recorded as a demo in Matt’s basement, and I added the vocals myself later.

A New Slazenger 7 Video

Despite our inactivity, my band Slazenger 7 has a new video up and running on YouTube. This video is for our anthem titled “Chicago.” Guitarist Todd put this together a few weeks ago, though we shot the footage in drummer Matt’s basement well over a year ago. It’s a pretty good piece of work, in my opinion. How it hasn’t caught on nationally (or at least city-wide) I’m not sure. Once it starts playing, if you click on the vid it’ll take you right to YouTube, where you can rate the video or leave a comment. I invite you to do both.

Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy.

My First Solo Musical Project (Behind the Music – Slazenger 7.5)

So I’ve let a few months lapse by since I’ve really written a post. I threw a little thing up about the passing of Bettie Page, of course, but that simply needed doing. So I’ve decided to post something new here. I’m a bit apprehensive about doing this, but I’m posting a few songs I wrote recently. As some of you who are friends, and others of you who’ve followed the random postings on this blog over the years may know, for a period of time there I played bass in a band with a couple friends. We were called Slazenger 7. Unfortunately, the band has sort of stopped playing. We haven’t broken up or anything, we’ve just stopped playing. It’s a fine line of difference. Anyway, in the time since we’ve been inactive, I’ve come up with a few basslines that I thought were mildly interesting. So I did what I could to fine-tune them into actual songs, then I used GarageBand on my iMac to record them, add drum loops, more suplemental layers of live bass, and my own vocals. So the result is that now I’ve got three relatively complete songs, that I don’t know what to do with. So, rather than having them languish away on my own iTunes, I thought I’d share them with whoever stumbles upon this page. Since these aren’t actual Slazenger 7 songs, I’ve been labeling the artist as Slazenger 7.5. So I guess Slazenger 7.5 is just me.

Keep in mind that there are no guitars on these songs at all, and they’re recorded with the intention of adding guitars at some point. Of course, since I don’t play the guitar, I can’t do that. I’ve got an old friend whom I’m hoping will do the job at some point, however.

So, if you’re so inclined, I invite you to take a listen to the first of these songs. It’s titled “I Don’t Care Anymore” and you can give it a listen by clicking on the link below. I’d be interested in hearing some thoughts on it, as well. I’ve gone ahead and included lyrics below each link. That way you can sing along, too! The songs are listed in order beginning with the most recently recorded.

(Each link should open a new window taking you to a page the features the respective song. You should see something that says: “Play: Click here.” So just go ahead and click there. Thanks.)

I Don’t Care Anymore

The song ended just as his car began to sputter.
So he began to mutter.
He’s out of gas so far away from anywhere.
So he began to mutter.

CHORUS
This sucks I don’t care anymore.
Even karma should be good one time out of four
It’s not just mine but your life too that I abhor
I don’t look forward to what else is in store.

Things got worse when his car caught fire.
That’s right. It caught fire.
He just laughed and watched the smoke fly up to the sky.
It caught fire.

He reached into his inside pocket where he found a pen.
He found a pen.
He wrote down some thoughts that would be his goodbye note.
He found a pen.

CHORUS
This sucks I don’t care anymore.
Even karma should be good one time out of four
It’s not just mine but your life too that I abhor
I don’t look forward to what else is in store.

Clever Cleavage

Put your fingers over my eyes
And I’ll know that you’ll mesmerize
Never again try to disguise
Thoughts leading up to our final goodbyes

CHORUS
Just show your clever cleavage in the face of disaster.
Show your clever cleavage to get what you’re after.
Show your clever cleavage and be my master.
When life gives you questions clever cleavage is the answer.

See me sitting on top of the stairs
Hear me spitting out all of my cares
See me walking right out the door
Hear me say nothing no more

See me pick at that scab.
Hear me flag down that cab.

Its door is open and when I get in
A new beginning is about to begin
The cab is checkered and so is our past
And you can’t king me if we aren’t meant to last.

CHORUS
Just show your clever cleavage in the face of disaster.
Show your clever cleavage to get what you’re after.
Show your clever cleavage and you’ll be my master.
When life gives you questions clever cleavage is the answer.

It’s not about how you know (what I do)
It’s all about how you show (that you’re true)
It’s probably all gonna blow (up on you)
So just forget it (I love you)

Fingerlips
So this is the first song I ever did on my own. The lyrics were taken from a pile of songs I’d started writing but never came up with melodies for. So it’s a hodgepodge of different things that may or may not make any sense together. But lyrics aren’t always important. The important thing is the quality and the intensity of the psychedelic intoxicant that you’re enjoying while listening to the song.

Eeny meeny miney mo.
Harry Ashwater’s at the show.
Inky, Blinky, Dinky, Do.
Lick the ashes from the flue.
Come one, come one come all.
Enjoy the night before the fall.

Chorus
Everytime I kiss your lips I get goosebumps through my fingertips.
Everytime I kiss your lips I get goosebumps right through my fingertips.
Everytime I kiss your lips I get those goosebumps through my fingertips.
Everytime I kiss your lips I get goosebumps through my fingertips.

(spoken)
I’ve never been intentionally walked.
I’ve never been unwittingly stalked.
I’ve never seen a pitcher point out that he balked.
And when I die, I wonder if my twisted body will be chalked.

But that is why you can’t assume the double play.
That is why all the heroes have packed up, gone away.
It’s probably why I like Dr. Seuess more than Monet.
But it won’t fix my raging case of immaculate disarray.

Chorus
Everytime I kiss your lips I get goosebumps through my fingertips.
Everytime I kiss your lips I get goosebumps right through my fingertips.
Everytime I kiss your lips I get goosebumps through my fingertips.
Everytime I kiss your lips I get goosebumps through my fingertips.

Summer sun and winter cold.
Springtime rain and autumn mold.
Just like life, these things grow old.
Unless I’m dreaming, I struck gold.
Once or twice, so I’ve been told.
If I may be so very bold,
She’d like to have my hand to hold.
Shall I give it?
I suppose.

Chorus

Tuesday’s blues and Wednesday’s clues,
Thursday’s views are Friday’s news.
The weekend cruise with pretty sweet views,
Make us think about what choose.
But Monday’s dues from the abuse,
Makes us refuse to wait for cues.
Unless we lose our point of views,
We’re all gonna, gonna lose.

Chorus

Slazenger 7 — Live footage

At long last we have some YouTube footage up of my band’s appearance at a place called Bill’s Blues in beautiful Evanston, IL. The first song is one that I wrote called “Windy.” Our drummer Matt wrote the second one called “Shotgun Sadie.” The sound isn’t the greatest, but it’s not horrible. We could have used some more volume on the guitar, but all in all, these turned out pretty well.

I’ll be adding these to our MySpace page as well later this evening.

Also, I think that if you click on the video itself, it should take you to the YouTube video page where you can send it full screen, rank it, and leave a comment. So please give us a rating and leave some feedback. Hope you enjoy.

“Windy”

“Shotgun Sadie”

Britney Spears & Anna Nicole Smith – The Modern American Tragedy

I’m not one who normally gets into celebrity gossip, but there are some things that are just impossible to ignore. We all knew that Britney Spears was just a little bit crazy for a long time. But we’re all a little bit crazy, aren’t we? So there’s no harm in that. The problem is that this poor girl was thrust into show business at a super young age. She never had a chance. Some child actors/performers manage to adjust to life as a normal adult, but I think a majority do not. I’m certainly not expounding any information that’s new here. But think about how hard it is to grow up as a non-celebrity. It’s hard enough to adjust to the world as just a normal kid, let alone having to live your life as a Mouseketeer, of all things! And then to transition from that to the spotlight in the way that she did, on an absolutely enormous level, must be impossible to comprehend.

She was essentially born into a role not unlike that of a royal family. I mean she wasn’t literally born a star, but she started at a young enough age, that it was essentially all she knew. She had an agent at age 8. At age 8 I did star as Hector the Mouse in our class production of “The Cat Came Back.” Mrs. Arnoff recognized at an early age that I possessed unique skills that would best be nurtured on the stage. That, and the fact that before I turned into the quiet, shy, introspective person I am today, I was a handful in the classroom and Mrs. Arnoff hoped I’d release my energetic tendencies and need for attention by being awarded large roles in school plays. As it happened, my desk spent more time in the corner of the classroom than it did amongst my peers’ desks. But I digress.

The problem that Britney faces is that I doubt she was ever really helped along in acclimating to her process of achieving stardom. I don’t think it would be very farfetched to assume that her education was relatively incomplete. And I can only assume that she grew up spoiled with few, if any, people around her to help keep her grounded.

Now she’s on a suicide watch, she’s making death lists of people she wants revenge on, and she’s suffering from acute anxiety and horrible bouts of paranoia. She’s convinced that there are recording devices in her room at the rehab facility she’s in and she’s constant battling a feeling that she’s being watched. But can you blame her!? She is being watched! She’s American royalty. The only difference is that she isn’t revered like Princess Di was or Prince William is. And she certainly wasn’t groomed to the degree that the young Princes of Wales have been. (Granted that episode where one of the two princes – can’t remember which – wore a Nazi uniform as a halloween costume was a bit out of line for an heir to the throne of England.) Britney likely didn’t have a regimented program of tutors, teachers, mentors, and manner police watching over her like children of the crown do.

I get the feeling that I’m sort of rambling all over the place here. But what I’m really getting at, is that I actually feel sorry for Britney. Sure she’s richer than I’ll probably ever be. Sure she probably brought a lot of her problems on herself due to drugs and booze. And more and more facts about her drug usage are coming to light everyday. But I happen to be a person who knows a little bit about anxiety. I’m certainly not suffering from the levels of paranoia that she is, but I know what it feels like to be out somewhere only to be completely overwhelmed with a completely inexplicable sense of dread. On more than one occasion I’ve fled bars, clubs, and restaurants for reasons I didn’t fully understand. It’s about as scary a feeling as there is. And it’s one that is next to impossible to control at the moment it happens.

So what it comes down to is the fact that all these amazing events of Britney’s life have finally come to a head (no pun intended when considering her recent haircut). Actually, her haircut is a pretty good indication of what’s going wrong with her. She lost her hair, yes, by choice, but I also happen to think that she’s losing her mind. I wonder if it isn’t such a far-fetched notion to think that she knows she’s losing her mind, and shaving her head was her subconscious way of showing us this. “Look, my hair is gone. You can see the outside of my scalp, beneath which is my skull, encased in which is my brain. And there’s something wrong with it!”

I joked not long ago with various friends that the perfect move for Britney and her career would be for her to join Slazenger 7 (the band of which I’m a member, for those unaware). And actually, it probably would. She could have been the lead singer of a band that has no fame, very little, if any, following. If she would become a member of the group, she would be just that, a member. It it wouldn’t have been her band. It wouldn’t be just her out on stage with a bunch of backup potential husbands. She simply would have been the face of of a band that played light-hearted, irreverent, rock ‘n’ roll songs. No crazy dance routines. No constant appearances on MTV. Just a chance to hang out, sing songs, play some clubs, and have fun. Granted, her being who she is would probably have prevented this from being like that, but still. Her public appearances would be as part of a group. Not just her. But if you go back and look at the beginning of this paragraph, you’ll see I began it by suggesting my thoughts what would be good for her career. I think that’s the problem. Since she’s been eight years old, people have been worried about what would be good for Brittney’s career. Who’s been worried about Britney?

Besides me that is.

Now Anna Nicole is a slightly different story only in that she was older when she got famous. I think she was a girl who totally expected to live her whole life in her small Texas town. She had a one year old son when she moved to Houston where she got a job at Walmart before becoming a waitress at Red Lobster. Finally, she moved to exotic dancing in order to support herself and her child, where she was eventually discovered and groomed for Playboy.

The tragedy here lies in the fact that she wasn’t prepared for the jump to fame and riches like that. One second she’s stripping in front of a bunch of boozed up strangers for dollars, the next she’s on the cover of one of the most famous magazines in the world and pulling in millions of dollars. She didn’t go to modeling school or have ambitions to be the Guess Jean girl. It just fell in her lap, and she didn’t know how to behave afterwards.

Here’s one of the things I think may be similar between Anna Nicole and Britney. Anna Nicole failed her freshman year of high school and dropped out as a sophomore. I’m assuming that Britney finished high school, but I’m also assuming that it wasn’t a priority in her life, what with being a 17-year old pop star phenom. Is it terribly presumptuous for me to correlate these unfortunate life-path similarities down roads paved with drugs and alcohol with a simple lack of education? I’m sure it is. But I have little doubt that it’s at least somewhat of a factor.

I’m not saying these two women are/were dumb. But isn’t it possible to look at the vast numbers of child stars who’s lives turned to crap and associate the fact that many of them were home-schooled or schooled on the set of their respective mediums with the fact that they were ill-equipped to handle what life was going to present them?

Leonardo DiCaprio was a child actor. Granted, not necessarily a star, but he’s well-adjusted today. But he’s also a well-educated individual. I can’t help but wonder if either Anna Nicole Smith or Britney Spears grew up in an environment such as he did, how they might have fared.

I’m not blaming parents or anything, necessarily, but I think it’s really easy for the general public to look at the lives of these celebrities and mock them simply because their famous. Personally, I feel sorry for them. Anna Nicole’s death was tragic. I guess we’re still not sure what her cause of death was, but clearly she wasn’t right in the head for a good portion of her final years. Mostly due to drug use. But I think drug use is often used as a coping mechanism for people who simply can’t adjust to a lifestyle that includes being uber-famous. Yes, I know I’ll probably win the award for obvious statement of the year for that last sentence, but that doesn’t make it any less true. But when the pictures broke showing how Britney tripped while carrying her baby, you’d have thought she held a gun to the kid’s head. I have little doubt that there are plenty of parents who are well respected pillars of their community who have actually dropped their kids due to clumsiness. All she’s guilty of is being human.

But I guesss we don’t want our celebrities to be human.

Anyway, I’ll wrap this up by saying that I already sometimes think I’m going crazy. So I can’t imagine what it’d be like to have photographers following my every move. Britney, if you read this, I’m sorry but we’ve already found a girl lead singer, but if you want to join the band I’m sure we can work something out.

And don’t worry about the going crazy thing. We all go a little bit nuts every once in awhile. I usually do a couple times a day. Call me, we’ll hang out.

Cease and Desist (Or: we need a new band name)

Yesterday The Finalists got a message in our MySpace account from a lawyer for the band The Finalist (singular) saying that it might be in our best interest to change our band’s name.

Actually, here’s the message:

Hi Matt, Mike and Todd,

I am the attorney for the Maverick/ Warner Bros. recording artist The Finalist, who have trademark rights in the name The Finalist.

It has come to our attention that you recently started using the name The Finalists to identify your band. In order to protect our clients trademarks, we must request that you use another name to identify your band. Given the obvious confusion to fans (as even evidenced in comments on your Myspace site) with The Finalists name and trademark, it is in your best interest not to start building a brand that you will not ultimately be able to use.

If you have any questions or need further clarification, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Best regards,
XXXXXXXX

P.S. The Finalist will be playing in your area at Mob Fest. Check http://www.myspace.com/thefinalist for the venue and time. Let us know if you can attend the show.

So, it looks like we’ll have to find a new name for our band. We’ve already been kicking around some names. Personally I think we should be called Far Away Mikey and the Bullish Bullhorn Gang, but so far I don’t think it’s catching with the others. Either that or Harvey Leventhal’s Bar Mitsvah. In fact, here’s a list of names for those of you who might be looking to start your own band.

The Drain
Smarmy Joe and the Grease
Licking Angela
Sister Mary Jock Itch
Papercut Blood
Oliver Octopus and the Tentacles
Raindrop Bullets
The Seizure
The Knuckle Wraps
Snufalupogus Johnson
The Tiny
The Thwarted Antagonists
Fleece McGee and the Dirt Merchants
The Discussion
Book Club
Hank Do Right and the Sinners
The Carving
Splintered Rubies
The Formidable
Your Mom
The Unsalted Menagerie
Hokey Poke Hank and the Ministers of Funk
Dancing Bear
The Fresh Makers
The Sip
The Blue Greenies
Checkbox
Focault’s Diaphragm
Rotunda Happerstern and the Scaffold

These are all up for grabs. If either of my bandmates happen to read this and see something they like, I’ll be sure to let you know. If you do use one of these band names, all I ask is that you write a song about me and lemme come back stage when you win a grammy for it.

Shoot the Sherbet

So my late grandmother always used to say this when she was upset about something. Rather than swearing or yelling, she’d say, “Shoot the sherbet!” My cousin Jess and I would play cards against her as kids and if we’d beat her in King’s Corners or something, she’d actually get upset and say, “Shoot the sherbet!” as she threw her cards down.

Sometimes she was just being funny, but other times she was legitimately upset. My grandmother was a competitive card player. She was good. (Although she was known to try and cheat against Jess and I.) My grandfather, dad, and uncles would always play poker down in the basement and on the occasions that my grandmother would sit in with them, she would often rake it in. I miss those poker games. There was something pretty special about sitting nearby the card table while The Mills Brothers or Don Ho records played in the other room. The sound of those cheap plastic poker chips rattling on the middle of my grandfather’s handmade octagon poker table is still one of my favorite sounds.

I have the honor of being the owner of that table now. As we speak it sits in my kitchen. It’s heavier than my stove and the felt is a little torn in the middle, but it’s probably the most priceless thing I own, as far as I’m concerned.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because since the birth of The Finalists, I’ve wanted to write a song called “Shoot the Sherbet.”

This really probably isn’t exactly what my grandmother (or anyone in my family) might have imagined this to sound like were they to anticipate me writing a song with this title, but nevertheless, this is what I’ve come up with so far:

UPDATE (4.28.06): I’ve taken to heart the comments from my sister and my Miss Monk and I think some changes are in order. See below:

Shoot the Sherbet

Why am I to crazies what broth is to soup?
I can’t escape reality, without knowing the truth?
It’s probably who I am, it’s the way I behave.
It’s my own fault — it’s the nuts I seem to crave.

Shoot the sherbet, you really piss me off.
Shoot the sherbet, you don’t read Nabikov.
Shoot the sherbet, you really piss me off. just a little bit.
Shoot the freakin’ sherbet, why won’t you just fuck off? I’m so angry I could spit.

But one too many is one too few.
But maybe just one more will finally do.
Though escape is pretty doubtful, that much is clearly true.
Shoot the freakin’ sherbet, is what I say to you.

Shoot the sherbet, you really piss me off.
Shoot the sherbet, don’t knock Rachmaninov.
Shoot the sherbet, you really piss me off. I’m gonna have a fit.
Shoot the freakin’ sherbet, why won’t you just fuck off? I’m so angry I could spit.

(bridge)
You were priced to sell.
So you was bought.
For a buck fitty-nine one mighta thought
that you was busted. A dud.
But you isn’t.
You make that clever little sound with your mouth,
oh yeah it’s called talking.
Conversation.
We had it.
Once — was I drunk?
Who woulda thunk?

Shoot the sherbet, you really piss me off.
Shoot the sherbet, don’t knock Rachmaninov. Mikael Barishnikov
Shoot the sherbet, you really piss me off. Kenneth Brannaugh is a Brit.
Shoot the freakin’ sherbet, why won’t you just fuck off? I’m so angry I could spit.

The fact of the matter isn’t a matter of fact.
The thing of it is that you and I had a pact.
A deal. A bargain. A plan of of attack.
Something that said we knew where we was at.

But now we don’t, the deal’s been busted.
I just knew you shouldn’t be trusted.
My rainbow sherbet’s been dusted
With anger. Our love is rusted.

Tin roof!

Shoot the sherbet, you really piss me off.
Shoot the sherbet, David Hasselhoff.
Shoot the sherbet, a glass of Glenlivet.
Shoot the freakin’ sherbet, I’m so angry I could spit.
Shoot the sherbet, I’m so angry I could spit.

Shoot the sherbet, you really piss me off.
Shoot the sherbet, turkey stroganoff.
Shoot the sherbet, reluctant conduit.
Shoot the freakin’ sherbet, I’m so angry I could spit.
Shoot the sherbet, I’m so angry I could spit.
I’m so angry I could spit.

And that’s what I got so far. Not exactly a masterpiece, but it will be.
I need a final verse though.
update (continued): Alright, I added a couple final verses and switched the chorus around. Now I just need to set the tune and convince Todd and Matt that this is a number one.

UPDATE (March 10, 2011): We recorded this song, and Todd made a video for it. Please enjoy that here.