all text from members of , The Inner Party
01. Good Show, Old Boy
I’m a huge Ramones fan and Rocket From The Crypt fan. Musically it probably came from my listening to The Ramones all the time for a couple of decades now. But consciously I was going more for RFTC. I don’t really think I got there. I seem to remember there being a primary election for president going on when I was writing it. That would put it in 2011 or early 2012. I write a lot of stuff that sits around for a long time before getting used. This obviously is one of those. The lyrics are a very loose take on politics inspired by watching the news every day during the primaries. Even though I mostly wrote this years ago, the bulk of the lyrics were written in about ten minutes in the studio last year and those turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the finished product.
02. World of Douchebags
This song is actually the counterpoint to another song of mine called “World of Bimbos.” I had been listening a lot to a feminist atheist podcast called the Godless Bitches. They got into some great conversations about gender issues and sexism and those episodes has a real impact on me.
World of Bimbos popped in my head while riding my bike home from a party and I saw three girls walking out of a bar. I would call them “California girls,” from the lyrics to Expressway to Yr Skull by Sonic Youth. Anyway, that song happened to me that night and soon I realized I should write one about men as well. It’s about male privilege and the need a lot of us feel to be “manly,” whatever that means. And also it’s about a lot of guys need to announce their manliness all the time. Makes you wonder if they have some unspoken reason to question their own sexuality…
03. Blast Off
This song is like an archaeological find from my past in a lot of ways. I wrote it around 2001-2002. I think. It’s Weezer, right? Yeah, it’s Weezer. Crossed with the lyrics of solo Frank Black.
I’m actually pretty proud of the lyrics on this one. They came out about the way I imagined them at conception, better really. It’s a story about some people who decide to leave Earth and spend some time on Saturn, where they obviously can’t live. Or maybe on Venus? All that’s clear is it is past the Moon.
A bit of lyrics might do better explaining than I can do talking about them…
“Perched high atop a mountain,
not far from Bramante’s dome,
they’ll build a giant launch-tower
from things they found at home.
They’ll play The Residents while
they’re picking out their clothes.
What would a decent eyeball wear
to see the moons of Jove?”
“One day they will return
in a daze with parties and booze.
They’ll preach the rock’n’roll word
dressed like The B-52’s.”
This is one of our many songs about poverty. We’re a working class band and I try to write what I know. Even though stylistically we’re pretty far removed from it, I like to consider what we do to still be in the tradition of the protest songs of folk musicians like Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, and countless others. The lyrics are pretty straight forward and maybe even heavy handed by some standards, but I think bluntness is important in a world that’s rife with not only injustice, but also mindless distractions. I enjoy subtle lyrics but sometimes the only way to cut through the noise is with an overstated, jagged edge. And the title may also be a little inside joke about the writer’s block I was going through while trying to finish up the songs for this record.
05. Half-Life of the Party
I love instrumentals. This riff was originally going to be a song about drugs and nuclear weapons but I could never really get it going. Eventually I realized how well it segued into “Back to Work” so we used it like this and kept the name.
06. Back to Work
I think that 80% of all working people on this planet should care about their jobs about as much as they care about anyone with a Three-card Monte table on the street. Fulfill your required duties and go do something you actually want to do with your time here. You are in no way required to give your life away so that some guy sitting on the board of directors who would under most circumstances be a late-night convenience store clerk can go home and fuck their mistresses on satin sheets and generally live like soulless morons with no idea of what life even is. Fuck them. Fuck them right up their ignorant idiot asses.
I should be clear on something here. I in no way wish real ill on these people. The absolute best thing that could happen to them would be for them to get knocked off of their perches and to spend a decade or two “watching roaches climb the walls,” as Pulp would put it, with no chance of getting out. Then, THEN, give them their damn jobs back.
07. Girlfriend Experience
I’ve been trying to write a murder ballad for years. I also have a longstanding fascination with the sex industry that goes beyond just being a pervert. For those that don’t know, the “girlfriend experience” is a service escorts/prostitutes offer. It’s basically what it sounds like; the girl treats the John like she’s his actual girlfriend. This song is about a murder that takes in that scenario. In my mind it’s about a fairly specific story, but I wanted it to be a bit vague lyrically in terms of exactly who is the victim and who is the killer. People can fill in the blanks in whatever way makes them enjoy the song the most.
08. When the Zombies Come
The piano part was originally a bassline I had called “Outliers” that I could never turn into a song (or a GOOD song at least). I finally handed it over to Keith to see what he could come up with lyrically. Shortly thereafter the concept for this song hit me out of nowhere so I ran with it. My (now ex) girlfriend and I used to watch the Walking Dead together. Like most people we’d hypothesize about what we’d do in an actual zombie apocalypse. She always maintained that she’d want to die early on because the reality for her would be too awful. So I wrote this song about how I’d protect her and then a week after we finished tracking the record we had a very shitty breakup. I’ve never been particularly good at writing love songs.
09. Walt Disney
When I was a kid, an elementary school student, I used to go to the Air Force base library while my mom bought groceries. There, in the kids section, they had a set of Disney encyclopedias which were, I believe, from the late sixties or very early seventies. They were not ordered alphabetically as usual. They were ordered chronologically. The very last third of the very last book, therefore, was all about the future. It was all glass bubble houses under the ocean and vacations on the Moon and shit. I didn’t just like the idea of these things, I believed it like the story of Jesus. It was a magical and, seemingly, realistic thing that I would definitely live to see.
I—me myself—I would get to live life with a robot maid and take weekend trips to Mars. I knew it. I believed it. I lived it. In many ways I still live it. I live it as an ideal for the future of the race. That can be a very powerful thing. It is one of the drivers of innovation, a type of moral innovation that moves us as a species a bit closer to a happy, fulfilling life. And for that I must thank Mr. Walt Disney. In a lot of other ways though, I kind of feel cheated. I feel lied to. I feel I was promised a world where I was not only free of the bounds of Earth and its oppressive gravity, but where I was truly going to be limited only by my imagination. And imagination I have in spades. Unfortunately for me however, the world that I have come to know as reality is mostly the world of the developers, the world of the engineers. It’s the world where those who imagine must usually rely on those who have the technical means to develop those imagined realities. And, ultimately it’s a world for those who can pay those developers. It is not my world. As grandiose as all of that is, I still think the thing that pisses me off the most about Walt’s visions of the future, is knowing I will never set foot on a truly foreign ground and look up to see my home, that “pale blue dot,” as I now see my home town—so tiny, so far away, so heart-breakingly lost, and so terribly, but happily, a thing of the past.
10. Minimum Wage
There’s a very personal story behind this song that I’m not going to get into. If you really, truly want to hear it, send us a message or ask me at a show. This is obviously another one of those protest songs like “Overdue” and it is very much intended to mock anyone that thinks the so-called minimum wage is something you can really live on. The lyrics are pretty straightforward. The Nate mentioned in the song is my good friend Nate Garrett from Arizona’s Take Over and Destroy, a killer band with whom we someday hope to tour.
11. Lost Cause
You know those people that just suck all the air out of a room? Those people that just can’t be happy? You know when you see them that in five minutes they’re going to start in about something in their life that sucks. Well, I’ve know my fair share. And being, as Robert Anton Wilson says, “an incorrigible optimist,” I always put at least a bit of effort into getting them to see things differently; get a new perspective, one that doesn’t always think everyone else is trying intentionally to ruin their life. That’s Lost Cause.
12. The Woz
I was in love with this bass riff but I could not turn it into a song no matter how hard I tried. So I went over to Keith’s house and laid down a rough demo of it to a click track. Next thing you know we have a song about Mr. Steve Wozniak.
Like Dave said, I started with his bassline and just ran with it. Not sure how some of the music came about, to be honest. It’s a bit odd for me. The lyrics, on the other hand, I know damn well where they came from. I was watching a documentary about personal computers, from the earliest days up to around 95. I realized just how important Steve Wozniak was in the whole thing. The guy had a working Apple I he built himself in a wood case just sitting around with him at the Home Brew group. But he was apparently really reserved at their meetings and people didn’t really notice. Jobs did, of course. But that’s a whole other thing. The Woz made the first true personal computer, by himself, from prefab parts in his garage, pretty much for fun. What a fucking badass.
13. Tyche as Typhon
I wanted for us to have at least one straight forward acoustic song on this record so we’d have something easy to play for radio appearances, in-stores, and stuff like that. I really liked this guitar part but I wasn’t sure what to do with it so I took it to Keith and told him what I was thinking, and he turned it into one of the most experimental bits on the record. Having something easy to play is overrated anyway.
I like mythology. If you’re ever in a pinch needing material for lyrics, just get out your handy-dandy book of mythology and start digging. It never fails.
The point of it is pretty similar to the lyrics of Lost Cause. Except here, I’m in the process of trying to explain what fictional Person X is actually doing, as opposed to what they think they are doing using the lesser-known characters of Greek mythology, Tyche and Typhon.
Side note: I really like Egyptian mythology too and tried really hard to use it in this song. But Greek mythology is just so damned adaptable.
14. Alone in the Universe
This is another storytelling song. For the most part before this record, my songs were written from my perspective. This is one of my attempts at making up a narrative and writing a song within it. I used to love concept records and then every band in the world decided to market whatever half assed story they can string together with their songs as a concept record and they became extremely played out. This is me indulging that interest without actually using the whole record to do so. The premise is that an old man has lost his wife. He’s spent most of his life working for the SETI Institute and he’s frustrated that at the end of his life he has no alien contact to show for his work. That may or may not be an analog for something personal.
Crashed is about lost opportunities. And at the same time, it’s about those last days of summer, when you can feel a slight chill in the breeze and you know fall is on it’s way.
The idea came to me from my random music generator in my brain. It just spits out music pretty much constantly and drives me crazy.
In my mind, this song was a kind of pop epic, produced by Phil Spector with the whole wall of sound thing. Six guitarists, two drummers, five backup singers, piano, organ, all of that stuff. I decided I liked this short, intimate, stripped down version and we decided to put it on the record.
This is the bassline I mentioned earlier while talking about “When the Zombies Come”. When I came up with that I liked it too much to not use but Keith had effectively completed the rest of this song already as well so we decided to keep them both. I’ve always been a fan of the way Trent Reznor uses motifs, particularly on The Downward Spiral, and this is our version of that.
This was another one that started with a bassline Dave wrote and some ideas he had about arrangement and instrumentation and whatnot. The general style of the drums came from his ideas for it. I would probably never have thought to make the drums like that myself. I did some arranging, added a couple of things, and wrote the lyrics. I’m really happy with the way this one came out. It’s one of my favorites as far as the production and mixing go. But it’s also one of those I’d like to have been able to really orchestrate with around twenty musicians. Still, no complaints from me. It’s about a manned mission to Mars to found a colony. But the crew of this mission saw it as a chance to found, not a colony of the US, but a new republic with a brand new constitution, etc. It’s really a pretty grand mental image I have of the whole thing being secret until the captain plants that flag on Mars with millions of people on Earth watching. But instead of the US flag, it’s the flag of Outland.