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about

PREFACE: Tacitly related anecdotes, insights, insults and plebiscites as companions to this "recorded" piece of sound "entertainment" by Neil Barbour

On a gray Thursday last week, my bike and I traversed the few blocks that separate us from the oceanfront. We make this trip often, the two of us, to stare out onto the waves and to race around all the interesting parking structures waiting for the summer tourists.

"My life is becoming a waste of time," I sulk while I zing down a concrete bevelment. Whee! "But, oh, the only noble and worthwhile things on this earth don't earn anyone a decent wage," I lament as I thrust up the handlebars to ease my passing back onto Chestnut Street. Woo-hoo!

My presumptuous sense of history and present, respectively, is not so much a helpful fiction as it is an embarrassingly simple doll house tableau made for my entertainment. My sense of history is a small room with a few pieces of furniture and an empty shell of an upright half-ape, half-man that I position at will. Sit here, fictional ancestor, and perform the natural act of expression. Kneel there, crouched to breathe in the earth's sulfurs, Abraham, and perform selfless acts of art to inflict yourself on the ages.

But pardon me if the tableaus filed in this passably "human" record, "Men," which I hope you might have even started listening to in sequential order, don't inspire what feels so much like human nature – like a helpful sense of our beginnings. This is the story of the of men who beat, berate, befriend, bemuse and best one another for the sake of killing time and finding self.

Let's play a game. Whipee!

Consider your life as the narrative, the history, you design as a definition of self. Then, consider the many moments you're clearly not in step with the usual tone and pacing with which your overall narrative tends to flow. Then, catch yourself noticing the absence of your essence in these metaphysical moments of benighted vanity and worthlessness.

What does your head feel like in a bucket of eels? Ask a silly question. Whoop, whoop!

Now, imagine yourself as one of the many characters featured in this "music" album, which perhaps you are already into song 2 or 3 of. Really absorb yourself into their aims, their arms, their ambitions and their alms. Feel a little silly? Now, list for yourself the three things you hope to get done tomorrow, the next few years, the rest of your life. Have I forgotten how to talk?

There are moments of Men that insist that essence and absence of self belong not just near one another, but perhaps they're of the same moment. Arthur's silly voices and doppelgangers aren't just a good time, they're also really unsettling.

Ed Grain's horrifying, senseless kidnapping and the insistence that he live under the sea start to unravel in the song's second division. The organ and vocals dissociate, some guitar plucking finds itself in the middle of the mix -- as confused with itself as you are of it. Has Arthur's out-of-body experience scared even himself? And the senselessness starts to solidify. Behold! His story!

"I'm in danger of becoming as boring and forgetful as I always accused my parents of being," I mutter in my hands not to, but at, my friend. I'm driving him on the day of his minor surgery to remove a small cancer. It's grown somewhere near his earlobe and hasn't spread. But I'm very hung-over and very weepy in the way that I like to pretend I'm not. That evening I spend 10 dollars trying to win Aaron's Party out of an arcade crane game.

I have no idea who I am. Pa-tang, squeal!

And what of John Gravy's philo-political (the worst clash of irrealities I can think of) nightmare of being reduced, literally, into the musty ennui that squeezes itself between discovering and losing oneself in moments between being oneself. Not really understanding the proper division of these realities becomes a sort of call to arms for these realities to co-exist. Or, stop trying so hard!

And, oh, what of the friends I've left behind and the ones I'll never make? They'll never require anything of me but a scant memory of my awkward dealings that interrupt their own self-aware sense on inadequacy and guilt. How wude!

That's not even really touching on the truly infectious moments on this record. "Jeff Drama" reeks of the pot-soaked early '90s of Evan Dando, but, you know, a lot funnier. And fuck "Rainbow Connection." Nobody casts a bitter Muppet aside better than Dan J. This record is a rowboat fashioned with 40 horses of PA system and enough rusty nails and rotting plywood to build all the dead-end planks and pagan love Chilton. See what I did there?

Violence, vertigo and vision quests notwithstanding, there's not much to do on my bike or on the boat. Or, better for the both of us, perhaps you're 5 or 6 songs into this "audible" recording, in which case, you should start over and really listen, man.

Otherwise, how will you know when it's appropriate to be you and when your sniveling, miniscule concept of appropriateness has become a needless apposition? Woo-hoo!

credits

released March 15, 2006

CREDITS

All lyrics and vocals by Arthur Bond, except:

lyrics on 04 by Kenny Ascher.
lead vocals on 01 and 13 and additional vocals on 04 and 11 by Dan Jircitano.
additional vocals on 11 by April Brennan.


All music written by Dan Jircitano, except:

music on 04 by Paul Williams.
music on 11 co-written by April Brennan.


Arthur Bond plays the drums, the harmonica, and most of the organ parts.

Dan Jircitano plays the acoustic and electric guitar, the ukelele, the mandolin, the danjo, and the other organ parts.

April Brennan plays the jaw harp on 11.


Dan and April's parts were recorded in Dan's home in North East, PA.

Arthur's were recorded in his bedroom in Baltimore, MD.

At no point did Arthur and Dan play the songs together in person.

(c) 2006

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Track Name: Terry Port
We are going to the death place in a blood boat
There isn't much room on the boat

Terry Port from the port of the port...

We are going to the death place in a blood boat
There is not much to do on the boat
Track Name: Ed Grain pts. 1 & 2
I met him in an upside-down barn
I punched him in the face and I grabbed him by the arm

Ed Grain is coming for a ride
Down to the oceanside

We stopped for a break on I-5085
He tried to run away so I took him for a dive

Ed Grain is coming with me
Down to the deep blue sea

He's coming with me to the sea
We're going to climb an upside-down tree
It's just gonna be him and me
In the sea

It's just gonna be him and me in the sea

In the sea there are no disgruntled fish
There is no such thing as a dirty dish
You get to have your every last wish
Ed Grain will make an excellent fish
Track Name: Peanut Butter Stack
My peanutbutter stack is the highest on the block
Unless your stack is higher I don't want to hear you talk
If your stack is higher I will surely take a walk
But if your stack is lower I will hit you with a rock

Peanutbutter stack, I want some answers
I want those answers right now
Right goddamn now

I will peanutbutter stack you if you let the secret out
I will peanutbutter stack your cash on top of my account
I will peanutbutter stack your foot into your honest mouth
I will peanutbutter stack a rock on anyone who doubts

Peanutbutter stack, I want those answers
Where are all those answers that I asked for?
Where did they go?

Peanutbutter stack on top of peanutbutter jam
Peanutbutter stack another foothold in the dam
Peanutbutter stack Iraq on top of old Iran
Peanutbutter stack a rock on every weatherman

Peanutbutter stack, I don't have those answers
I asked you for those answers and they're not here
Whoop-de-doo

Peanutbutter stack, I want some answers
Give me all the answers that you have
Please
Track Name: Dreyfus McDryfus
Dreyfus McDryfus puts his head into the bucket of eels
Dreyfus McDryfus describes exactly how it feels
"Like a bucket of eels"

Dreyfus McDryfus v. Kansas Board of Education
Dreyfus McDryfus and the shot heard all around the nation
"I'm on vacation"

Dreyfus McDryfus stars in Richard the Third 2 Part 11
Dreyfus McDryfus is probably getting into heaven
"It's unleavened"

I'm in the table on the table
And I'm under the sand
And I'm travelling through the gables with a plan on my plan
It's been seventeen days since I said I'm a man
But Dreyfus McDryfus is a family man

Dreyfus McDryfus shoots thunderbolts from his eyes
Dreyfus McDryfus is the only man on earth who cooks pies
And when he does everyone who eats them promptly dies
Track Name: Ed Grain pt. 3
Friends who can't breathe underwater are boring
While you are drowning, my friend, I am snoring
Get it together by a quarter of three
I've got an appointment with the sea

Ed Grain, it's like rain, but there's more of it
Ed Grain, use your brain, you'll get through it
You're a natural nautical master
Maybe you just should be struggling faster

Submarine sandwich in the morning
Track Name: John Gravy
I have come to you with a matter of grave import
My only friend, you must give me your report
We are the last two survivors of an untold disaster
Your shipwrecked son is diminishing faster
(And spiders have eaten the Dominican pastor)

Looking through the glass to the other side
We must decide if and when and/or where we will hide
Political tension has divided the nation
Unusual creatures prevent concentration
Now's not the time for that big celebration

I am your friend, John Gravy

(This dream has trapped me, father
I will continue to decrease in size
Into the floorboards of this vessel)

My friend, let me tell you of my philosophical beliefs
Due to our situation, it will have to be quite brief
We are not the only ones who have souls in this world
Our fates intersect'd around others are twirled
And in the end all our beautiful things will unfurl

I am your friend, John Gravy

(As I descend through the grain, father
I can hear as you knock on the door
of this mighty bouyant tree)

Tell me, John Gravy
What do you see?
I am your friend but I'm not really me
Track Name: Mastodon Jones
The snow is cold
The sun is red
My thoughts in general are filled with dread
It's getting late
This is my fate
To serve the one that deep inside I hate

I've got some new skulls for Mastodon Jones
To add to his collection of intimidating bones
He's on the phone
With a clergyman from Rome

The cave is dark
So is his heart
His capacity for love will never start
I am in bed
So is a head
I hope to god that head is really dead

I've got some new skulls for Mastodon Jones
To add to his collection of intimidating bones
He's talking to
The President at 2:00

If I could escape his grasp
I'd redeliver everything he has surpassed
And I'd never forget our wicked past

But I am stuck
Such is my luck
I get to drive his rotten no-good dirty truck
Excuse my words
It's quite absurd
I must go before my master is perturbed

I've got some new skulls for Mastodon Jones
To add to his collection of intimidating bones
He's got to be
With Jesus Christ at 3:00
Track Name: Gregory Samson
Well Gregory Samson was a pilot flyin' high above the sea
His engine wasn't quite behavin' appropriately
His plane went down a hundred miles off the coast of Tripoli
Singin' ee dee bee ee dee bee dee

a million years later in the belly of a whale
The only thing left from his plane was a piece of the tail
Greg Samson hunkered down and he started to wail
Singin' ale dale bale ale dale bale dale

Well Gregory Samson did see somethin' towards him start to walk
An old man who had long ago forgotten how to talk
He said "unh gonh guh skreekung ung gebung gih gibbeh gock"
Singin' ock dock bock ock dock bock dock

Greg Samson grabbed that nasty man and threw him to the ground
The old man lay there motionless and didn't make no sound
So Greg Samson hid the body where it would never be found
Singin' ound dound bound ound dound bound dound

Well the years went past and Gregory lived them day by day
He survived on kelp and crabs and fish that came his way
He started to suspect that in this whale he would always stay
Singin' ay day bay ay day bay day

Well late one night when Gregory had turned old and grey and frail
came some wreckage that appeared to be a rusty airplane's tail
And from inside the metal came the sound of an old familiar wail
Singin' ale dale bale ale dale bale dale

Greg Samson staggered to his feet and found the strength to walk
He wasn't sure if he still knew the proper way to talk
he tried to say "i've found the secret to undo this wicked lock"
Singin' ock dock bock ock dock bock dock

The stranger grabbed Greg Samson and threw him to the ground
And Greg Samson had a quiet death and didn't make no sound
But before he went he realized that his soul would ne'er be found
Singin' ound dound bound ound dound bound dound
Track Name: Paul Potts
Paul Potts in the middle of a clearing under a tree
Paul Potts, can you hear me terrify me?
Paul Potts, an orphan's what I'll grow up to be
Paul Potts, get you away from me

Paul P-P-P-P-P-P-P-P-P-P-P-P-Potts
P-P-P-P-P-P-P-P-P-P-P-P-Potts

I might be kidding when I tell you I'm me
I might've been kidding when I punched my face to hit a bee
I might be kidding about the outstanding fee
Paul Potts, get you away from me

Thumb A to the people in the parking lots
Thumb A to the people with the leopard spots
Thumb A to the people who have great thoughts
Thumb B to you, Paul Potts
Track Name: Awkward Ho!
Coming down the tracks
Is a thing that resembles a cat
It is shiny and it is black
I can't remember the last time I looked at that

It is time for us to leave
Society has wiped us on its sleeve
Comfort is a thing that we do not believe
Sing with us as we silently grieve

Awkward ho!
It's time to go
We'll stop the remembrance of the Alamo
We'll tell you all the things that you wanted to know
Oh, awkward ho!

Take your parents to the memory zoo
Tell them that they have the memory flu
When we leave they will never have a clue
They will never know what happened to you

We will never come back
Until we can stage an awesome attack
We will have to protect our front and our back
(I don't think we can afford to attack!)
Track Name: You're the End
My friend, you're the end
of the song, you're my friend
till the end, you're my friend
till the end of the song.