I'm not crazy because I hate "Smile": I hate "Smile" because I'm crazy.

What kind of retropop pasticheur can one be if one hates "Smile"? Everyone songwriter and arranger needs to own "Smile"; what's good on it is really, really good. But what isn't good is, well, read on.

When I was in The Best Four Years Of Your Life And Don't You Goddamn Forget It I had a friend named Jimm Chanson who was awesome, brilliant and a schizophrenic. First time I met him he ran into my dorm room yelling, "I've solved Unified Field Theory! I've solved Unified Field Theory!". He thought I was Lou Reed and he also though quite presciently that Michael Jackson was out to Get Us. Jimm was (is still, I'm sure) a brilliant songwriter and wrote incredibly involved "Mock Operas" that operated on about sixteen levels.

Second semester Jimm hooked up with some really good medication and rounded himself off quite nicely by becoming sane. Guy was sharper that a fucking tack. And he loved it- he thrived on sanity. Guy was a walking poster for good medicine.

So I knock on his door one night and I'm blazing on Purple Microdot. Yeah, boy. Everything Is One, Baby. We hang out a bit and I notice he is extremely uncomfortable. At first I don't understand, but then it dawns on my racing, inchoate mind that my mental state is distressing the hell out of him. When you're Blazing like that you're essentially insane. Your brain chemistry is like a goddamn dirty bomb. Jimm was in no mood to hang out with a pre-medication version of himself. You get me? Nothing sexy to him about that schizoid LSD shit. He wants that, he can go off the meds.

So I took my leave, apologizing, and we made a date to talk about "Imperial Bedroom" and Kierkegaard when I wasn't Certifiable.

That's what "Smile" does to me. "Smile" is important and beautiful and all that, but mostly it's a life-support system for "Surf's Up", "Good Vibrations" and the lovely "Wonderful".

The Beach Boys ended for me at "Pet Sounds". Now THAT is a god damned record. Unified, taut, brilliantly and innovatively arranged, bravely and achingly emotional, all that. The songs are lessons in structure. I can't say enough about "Pet Sounds".

"Smile" is the document of a crackup. A bad, bad crackup. The cut-and-paste thing isn't Side 2 of Abbey Road. It's the sound of someone who can't maintain a thought for 3 minutes. It is the sound of craziness. It makes me uncomfortable. It isn't brilliant. It is the sound of an artist being intensely dishonest with himself. "Vega-Tables"? "I'm In Great Shape"? Dude, the only Vega-Table in evidence is BRIAN. It's self-indulgent and addled and asks too much of the listener. That is the first thing I ask myself with ANY piece of music I make, in the studio or on stage; am I asking too much?

I've flirted with that kind of craziness way too much to be relaxed around it. It makes me whimper.

I'm sure if I hadn't spent so much time Staring Down The Abyss I'd think "Smile" was just dandy. God knows it has a couple of fantastic moments. I think its greatest importance as a piece of art is how accurately it chronicles a drug-facilitated surf run down the Crazy Wave.

And that's the wave you just wanna sort stay on your belly and paddle over. Trust The Lightfoot.

Le Scripte D'Poste: Old bud of mine, Nelson Bragg, is the percussionist on this. Awesome drummer- he was in my "Mr. Sherwood" band. He's crazy.


Bear With Me While I Talk Myself Off The Ledge Again.

Puppies. Puppies. XTC. Sal the Feist. Matching impedance. puppies.

Hair bleach. Fat people running. Puppies. 8 tracks of digital. F# m7b5 voiced A-E-F#-C-E.

New bass strings. Lots of tequila. Ponytails. Bangs. Puppies. the possibility of love. Being touched. My new song.

Capt. Beefheart boxed set. Life of Brian. WAV lab lite. VST plugins.

It's not








Stupid God Damn Rock

Piece of shit.

Stupid piece of crap rock. It's fucking pollution, is what it is.


Capitol Records




Did you hear? Did you hear? Oh, it's exciting.

So, Alanus Whoreissette did an all-acoustic version of her first album for the tenth anniversary of her ground-breaking "Jagged Little Pill". Oh, I'm just ALL-A-FLUTTER. Just what we need. Jesus Christ. Somewhere in a basement there's an AWESOME BAND rehearsing their AWESOME shit after a day of pounding nails and delivering pizza, and this jagged little pill will be taking up valuable shelfspace that could have been theirs. God damn it. God damn it.

What a horrible, horrible record that was. My god. I remember hearing "You Oughtta Know" on the radio the first time and thinking, "Gee, K-Rock is doing a local music feature. That's great. Whoever this is, boy, she's got some work to do but what a great break for local 'talent'."

What an awful, horrible, unspeakable song that is. It reminds me of that crazy girlfriend we've all had. When you realize how fucked-up she is you sorta soft-pedal it on out of there and then The Phone Calls start. What a crappy, hateful, stupid and MISOGYNISTIC pile of vomit that song was. And the rest of that god-awful record. Ow, it hurts to have to do this painful duty of dredging it up and puking on it one more time.

Ms. Star Search herself. Did you ever see her Star Search footage? Late '80's? Oh, sweet fucking Christ. NEWSFLASH: PEOPLE WHO GO ON STAR SEARCH ARE SUCK PEOPLE. ACROSS THE BOARD. It's like revering Kelly Clarkson for being Empowered. 1995. What a nightmare that was. That was when all the Grunge-Lite was starting to come out. All that cruddy Collective Soul and all that. Bleagh. Pat Boone music for people who were buying that GODDAMN FLANNEL at K-mart. I'm pretty sure that's why Cobain offed himself. Both barrels in the head, that guy. SKER-POW. That's a Pisces for you right there, folks. Having to listen to the execrable Alanus squawk and fret like a guiltridden masturbating nun at the Crazy Ladies Convent. Oh, my sweet fucking lord. It truly is enough to make you want to apply a tourniquet to your neck and flay your own writhing, greasy skin.

When I think of the many, many nights of sleep lost to sheer wailing and pulling-out-of-the-hair as I wrestled with the existence of Alanus; how a loving and merciful god could unleash an abomination so ex-ec-re-ta-ble to dwell among we Eloi. Ah, I weep. I weep for my cruelly garroted innocence and my verklempten aortic distubulators and my poor, poor weak infracturance.

I guess you would have to consider it a talent of sorts to be able to SQUAWK OUT YOUR FANGED, ALIEN BLOWHOLE IN A REASONABLE APPROXIMATION OF ENGLISHSKA.


WHICH MEANS YOU GET ASS CANCER. AND YOUR ASS FALLS OFF. AND NOT IN A GOOD WAY. There's a way your ass can fall off where you're just like, "oh, O.K." and there's the BAD WAY OF ASSES FALLING OFF. GGGAAAAAHHH.

In the studio we used to make light of Celoone Dianne and her "my heart will go on". this immediately became "...and I know that my ass will go off...." which became a way of approving a good take: "its ass was going off..." This became a simple visual cue of watching a far-off imagined ass circling in high orbit. When you're tracking and the engineer's and band's eyes are watching a far-off circling ass you just feel good, man. When you're on.

Anyway, back to this nightmarish trollop from the third ring of Crapton. This chick, man, it's like, um, like she focused all her evil alien, um, energy to the task of sucking the thinking power out of human brains and up into the mother ship. That's why around '95 shit started getting really scary. There wasn't a Alunus album in 2001 because she focused all her shitty spider vibes on the world and made all the shit go down. That was ALANUS my friends. And you, and I, and our brothers and sisters paid dearly for our lack of vigilance, our failure of imagination.

And she'll do it again, man. Maybe we SHOULD be glad that there's a crappy, psuedoartistic, human-hating stupid wanking nun album out now. She'll have to TOUR and all that and be busy and I say it's a small price for you and I and every thinking person to get 5-6 I.Q. points sloughed off to the aliens rather than have to go through another international tragedy.

Until we can figure out a way to kill Alanus Whoreisette we're just going to have to toe the line, my brothers and sisters.

Fuck you, Alanus. Just fuck you. You and Patti Smith in a ring? Gloves off? You wouldn't last one punch. You and Exene Cervenka? Oh, it wouldn't be pretty.

Oh, god. And that Glen Ballard IDIOT producer of yours lending all his talent to making you sound like you could write a song. Like you could honestly arrange a rock song. Ouch, ouch, ouch.
To a whole generation you are Ms. Female Empowerment. Oh, Christ. You are to Female Empowerment what a mainline shot of a hundred cc's of undiluted Saltpeter is to the Male Empowerment. What a round of buckshot is to a balloon. what the windshield of a Peterbilt tractor trailer is to a pretty butterfly. Female Empowerment saw you coming and tried to hide up its own ass.

Walk MY planet with that psychotropic brain sucking deathray, will you? Ring MY doorbell at 2:30 in the morning drunk and staggering, will you? Tell YOUR lesbian friend that I hit you??
come to MY job and have to be escorted off the premises, will you?

I don't care if Courtney Love IS a psychotic little trollop and DID kill Curt Cobain. She looks like goddamn Joni Mitchell next to your flat ass.

How about, next time you want to celebrate a 10th anniversary, just put out a blank CD and do us all a favor. Don't worry- it'll sell enough so you can still give .00000003 percent of the profits to starving children and you can go to India for photo ops.

And that, my friends, is where I stand on that.

X&Y on first listen.

yup. i think this will be really good. must get away from my really-wanting-this-to-be-good feeling. first listen through a concert P.A. reveals some ambition. I hear a conscious and as near as I can tell effective circling of the stylistic wagons. That off-kilter backbeat, the 16th note downbeat guitar attack, the gospely piano. Always good. refine, refine. You can cut out a lot of garbage when you know what you're writing for.

The third album is make or break. This sophomore slump stuff is an urban legend. A million bands have second albums that they never touch again. "Hard Days Night", "Zenyatta", "Stranded", "War", "Fear of Music", "The Man Who Sold The World" and "The Who Sell Out" are all third albums. Jellyfish never made it to their third. More's the shame.

thanks Coldplay for taking over the world with good, creative work and good breaks. more on this album later. For now let's be grateful for that rare, celebrating-the-Now sensation of hearing a good NEW record not made by robots.


96 Songs

Oh, Santa Filomena de los Motos y las Drogas. I put in a man-size day today. 4 sets of driving rock 'n' roll on stage in Western Mass, a hop and a skip up to my beloved Brattleboro VT for another 4 driving sets. It's 2:40 in the AM now and I don't think I'll be doing much waking up tomorrow. Good scratch though, man. It's good to make a crust in E major.

I played 96 songs today. Pulled in about $4.20 a song. It's revenge, really. Every penny I make thumpin' and squawkin' is a FIST in the face of the Industry. I got all sharp and stagecrafty along the concrete canyons of the Hollywood 101 and hither and yon in lots of states but what I didn't get was a paycheck. You get a per diem but you can't enjoy it because that's just 25 clams that's not going to paying off your recording debt and you'll never pull in a dime until you get that shit paid off and it's not going to happen and it's going to spiral, babe. It's like trying to service the interest on The Deficit.

Almost sold my publishing for 10 K. Probably should have. They were going to kick down 10 for me and 10 for my publishing with the Idiot Genius TJ. Boy was that guitarist an idiot. And a genius. Every succesful artist starts off with a murderous publishing deal. Then you sue people when you're platinum. Just ask that tosser Billy Joel. Or that old Sting dude. Those fossils would've signed anything. 'Course idiot me just acts like fucking Exene and flips the bird.

15 large free and clear (well, not free and clear- there's the taxes. And the 15 percent to our manager. That leaves about 9 G's). I could live off that for, hell, 6 months. Just about enough time and dough to enroll in a Novell certification deal and get up to speed on I.T. '05 and get back in that race for 40 large a YEAR.

Oh, yeah. That's what I'll do. Mm-hm. Thereupon driving into a wall with a hose going from my exhaust into my ASS.

Dad would be pissed. He'd be all, "I didn't raise you to be a tool of The Man, Bobby Boy." He'd put on "I'd Do It Again" and he'd be all, "listen to THIS part. Listen to THIS part."

Dad always makes you listen to his shit and he always does that musician thing of making you listen to THIS part and THAT part. He is really self-involved. Fuckin' guy is a total tool. Don't tell him I said that.

These bands I play with now always want to do my songs and I don't get it. Nobody wants to hear that tripe. I personally get more nowadays out of burning off finely honed, impassioned readings from the great R&B and rock 'n' roll songbook. I'll take "Clarabella" and "Take Me To The River" and "New Orleans" over my pale bids. I love those songs. I love "What'd I Say" and "Rock and Roll Music" and those songs. They make me look good. And they're all going away, which is one of a million mysteries for me because people love them.

96 songs. My bad knee is killing me. My hands feel like I walked to Boston on them. I've got a groove in my shoulder from my strap. I'm an inch shorter. I neve want to do a White Man's Overbite again. My throat feels like...actually, never mind. My throat feels great. My throat is coated in Teflon. I fucking love that thing. I start low and brooding and the old engine warms up and I'm ready to hit those high "A"'s all night long.

There's probably a way to do that 5 days a week. I could sock somethin' away on that. That'd be 480 songs a week at 4.50 a crack. That's a living wage.

I'll keep trying. You'd have to drive and drive but that's okay. Where there's a will there's a way. And where there's people over 30 there's an itch to be scratched. The kids? The kids like that gun music played by DJ's. Got no time for the kids. Only gun music I know is "Shotgun".
"Shotgun...shoot him 'for he runs, now/Do the Jerk baby/Do the Jerk now..." Junior Walker. He belongs to the ages.

I think "Shotgun" was about number 78. Right between "Slow Down" and "In The Midnight Hour".

96 songs. G'night.

BTW that there's a late 70's Musicman Stingray. I don't play one of those 'cept in my dreams. In my dreams I have 5-string fretted and 4-string fretless matching cherry-red Stingrays.

And it's 1979 and I'm opening for The Police and my band XTC are doing pretty good.