albums
Underway
2006 Wonday
Compilations
1993 Songs to Sleep By
1997 Songs to Sleep By 2
2002 Sunday Sampler
2002 Dad's Picks
1999 Mix 1 (sy55)
2010 Mix 2 (triton vocal)
2010 Mix 3 (triton instr.)
SY55
1991 Archives
1992 College Collection
1993 College Collage
1994 The Hermit
1997 Where's My Muse
1999 South or Southeast
Triton
2001 In the Margins
2002 Renewal
2002 Re-treat
2002 Convenience
2002 Back Up
2003 So So
2003 So On
2003 So Long
2003 Baby Steps
2003 Baby Talk
2004 Schmocial
2004 Brroom
2004 Chuckadee
2004 Disco Hike
2004 Extra Extra
2005 Coma Pill
2005 Ourboretum
2005 Jaminy
2005 Padden Drift
2005 Gorilla Love
2005 Aminals
2005 Vegibles
2006 Fruitine
2006 Dignored
2006 Miner
2006 Mouseculine
2006 Yata
2007 Zipit
2007 Sixawon
2007 Halfdosin
2007 Whatcom Home
2008 What Roses
2008 Pho Kit
2008 Composed Pile
2009 Decomposed Pie
2009 Swaddlicious
2010 Lost Train
Soft Synths
2011 Out the Margins
2011 Redebut
2011 Reprogression
2012 Working Progress
2013 Tripico
2014 Aerosol Concrete
2015 Reduced to Clear
2016 Motions
2017 The Walking Dad
  • Title: Songs to Sleep By 2
  • Artist: Tripecac
  • Timespan: 1988-1997
  • Theme: best-of, take 1.5
  • Length: 100:33
  • Tracks: 31
  • Lyrics: 30
  • MP3s: 31 play all locally
  • Rating: (none) rate this album

Track List

# title lyrics time download listen started recorded rating
1 Trek (comments) [IPECAC] lyrics 1:26 download listen locally 1988-06-?? 1993-04-26 (none)
2 Better Drumsticks (comments) [IPECAC] lyrics 2:06 download listen locally 1988-06-?? 1993-04-26 (none)
3 Apostrophe Song (comments) [IPECAC] lyrics 1:36 download listen locally 1988-09-10 1993-04-26 (none)
4 Five Through Night (comments) [IPECAC] lyrics 1:21 download listen locally 1988-11-15 1993-04-26 (none)
5 Tunes from the Bottle (comments) [IPECAC] lyrics 2:10 download listen locally 1989-02-1? 1993-04-26 (none)
6 Downpour (comments) [IPECAC] lyrics 4:34 download listen locally 1990-01-?? 1993-04-26 (none)
7 Party Chatter Excerpt [Anchovies] lyrics 0:51 download listen locally 1989-12-21 1993-04-26 (none)
8 Anchovy Rock (sped up) [Anchovies] - 2:52 download listen locally 1989-12-21 1993-04-26 (none)
9 Fish Time (comments) [Anchovies] lyrics 3:27 download listen locally 1989-??-?? 1993-04-26 (none)
10 Christmas in Cancun (comments) [Anchovies] lyrics 3:42 download listen locally 1989-??-?? 1993-04-26 (none)
11 How Ya Is'n Intro [Anchovies] lyrics 0:59 download listen locally - 1993-04-26 (none)
12 How Ya Is'n (2) [Anchovies] lyrics 3:42 download listen locally - 1990-03-?? (none)
13 I Am Not Funny lyrics 3:18 download listen locally - 1997-04-19 (none)
14 Drizzle (3) [Anchovies] lyrics 6:14 download listen locally - 1992-08-?? (none)
15 Aren't You Sorry (4) [Anchovies] lyrics 3:49 download listen locally - 1992-08-?? (none)
16 Stand Up 1 [Anchovies] lyrics 1:00 download listen locally - 1993-01-?? (none)
17 Super Studs (4) [Anchovies] lyrics 3:46 download listen locally - 1994-01-?? (none)
18 Psychedelic Anchovies [Anchovies] lyrics 1:00 download listen locally - 1993-01-?? (none)
19 All My Love Intro (1997) lyrics 1:04 download listen locally - 1997-04-25 (none)
20 All My Love lyrics 4:11 download listen locally - 1991-0?-?? (none)
21 Not a Day of Rest lyrics 3:42 download listen locally - 1992-04-13 (none)
22 The Dairy Poops lyrics 3:42 download listen locally - 1992-05-05 (none)
23 Christmas in Cancun 2 lyrics 3:50 download listen locally - 1992-12-25 (none)
24 Painted Friend lyrics 4:42 download listen locally - 1993-01-01
25 I Don't Wanna lyrics 2:08 download listen locally - 1993-02-21 (none)
26 The Hermit lyrics 5:37 download listen locally - 1993-07-29
27 Introvert lyrics 4:58 download listen locally - 1993-10-20 (none)
28 Stop Playing the Blues lyrics 5:07 download listen locally - 1993-11-15 (none)
29 Where's My Muse? lyrics 4:33 download listen locally - 1994-06-14
30 Artificial Life lyrics 4:35 download listen locally - 1997-04-19 (none)
31 STSB2 Outro lyrics 0:33 download listen locally - 1997-04-25 (none)
Total 100:33 play all locally album rating: (none)

Notes

This was my remake of the 1993 version of Songs to Sleep By. It includes the same songs (and between-song narration) from IPECAC and The Master Anchovies, but omits the Band in the Land of the Anchovies mini-album and adds four songs from the Dead Anchovies, and several more from Tripecac.

I created a colorful tape sleeve, with pictures from a recent trip to California. This was the last tape for which I created a sleeve; all my subsequent albums have been finished on CD.

Here's the front of the original tape cover (from 1997):

Songs to Sleep By 2 Tape Cover

Here's the back of the original tape cover:

SIDE A

IPECAC (1988-90)

Originally known as Apostrophe, IPECAC was a two person rock/jazz/funk/rap/reggae outfit consisting of Travis Emmitt and Jon Friesen. Both musicians played a variety of instruments, but the normal configuration was Jon on saxophone and Trav on keyboard, vocals, and mellophone.

  1. Trek from Gourmet
  2. Better Drumsticks from Gourmet
  3. Apostrophe Song from Best of IPECAC
  4. Five Through Night from Leaping Leper Limousine
  5. Tunes From the Bottle from Fake Reverb II
  6. Downpour from Live at Carnegie Hall

Master Anchovies (1990)

IPECAC didn't last forever (thankfully, you might say), but that did not mean Jon and Trav stopped playing together. Instead, they and their friends Anand, Luke, and Allen started a new band called The Master Anchovies. The Anchovies played for families and parties, and were getting close to considering Battle of the Bands when suddenly Jon quit in order to join a "real" band.

  1. Anchovy Rock
  2. Fish Time
  3. Christmas In Cancun
  4. How Ya Is'n?

Dead Anchovies (1991-1994)

During college, the remaining Anchovies got together during breaks to try to retread some of their past "glories." This failed miserably, and it is only when they forsook their old songs and ventured into new, experimental areas that any sort of wit or enjoyment emerged.

  1. Drizzle
  2. Aren't You Sorry That You Left, Jon?
  3. Excerpt from "Stand Up Anchovies"
  4. Super Studs

SIDE B

Travis Solo (1990-1997)

When IPECAC and the Master Anchovies collapsed, Travis started working on making solo recordings. His early solo efforts were rather tacky and offensive (witness "All My Love"), but gradually he learned how to craft pleasant, catchy pop songs for the whole family.

  1. All My Love from Archives
  2. Not a Day of Rest from College Collection
  3. The Dairy Poops from College Collection
  4. Christmas in Cancun II from College Collage
  5. Painted Friend from College Collage
  6. I Don't Wanna Go To School Today from College Collage
  7. The Hermit from The Hermit
  8. Introvert from The Hermit
  9. Stop Playing the Blues from The Hermit
  10. Where's My Muse? from Where's My Muse?
  11. Artificial Life from Where's My Muse?
IPECAC:
Apostrophe (1988)
Gourmet (1988)
Induces Vomiting (1988)
Best of IPECAC (1988)
Fake Reverb (1988)
Here and Now (1988)
Leaping Leper Limousine (1988)
Catharsis (1988)
Best of IPECAC II (1989)
Fake Reverb II (1989)
Live at Carnegie Hall (1990)
MASTER ANCHOVIES:
Live recordings (1990)
DEAD ANCHOVIES:
Live recordings (1991-1994)
TRAVIS SOLO:
Archives (1990)
College Collection (1992)
College Collage (1993)
The Hermit (1994)
Where's My Muse? (1997)

Participants

Name Performed Wrote
Travis Emmitt keyboards, percussion, mellophone, Roland TR-505, vocals, comments all music and lyrics except where noted

Songs

Trek (comments) [IPECAC]

This was "Trek (2)" (from Gourmet) with my commentary over it. I was introducing the first Songs to Sleep By album.

Lyrics to "Trek (comments)":

[music starts]

COMMENTS:
  hello
  this is "songs to sleep by"
  i'm travis emmitt and i'll be narrating this album

  what we're listening to now is entitled "trek"
  and it was the very first ipecac song
  it was recorded in 1988
  and at the time i thought it was a masterpiece
  great stuff, huh?

  anyway, we're gonna move on
  and we're gonna to listen to a pretty groovy song
  entitled "better drumsticks"
  which i didn't actually write
  my friend jon wrote
  and, uh,
  it was one of the more upbeat songs on our first album by ipecac
  and the first album was entitled "gourmet"

  so here it is: "better drumsticks"
  

Better Drumsticks (comments) [IPECAC]

This was "Better Drumsticks" (from Gourmet) plus some comments at the end introducing the next song.

Lyrics to "Better Drumsticks (comments)":

VERSE 1:
  you want chivalry
  you lose women's rights
  you want faster days
  you get slower nights

  you want stonger arms
  you get longer fights
  you want more attention
  you get brighter lights

  you want smaller taxes
  we have larger debts
  you want fewer missiles
  they make stronger threats

  you want easy lives
  you'll have more regrets
  you want impossible dreams
  well, that's what you get

CHORUS:
  if you want a quick drug
  you'll get a life-long low
  if you want a quick drug
  you'll get a life-long low

  it's so true

  you want chivalry

[repeat bits of the above]

COMMENTS:
  all right
  here's another ipecac song entitled "the apostrophe song"
  which we recorded a couple months after "better drumsticks"
  

Apostrophe Song (comments) [IPECAC]

This was a shortened version of "Apostrophe Song (2)" (from Best of IPECAC) plus some comments at the very end.

Lyrics to "Apostrophe Song (comments)":

INTRO:
  in june 1988 the group Apostrophe was formed

VERSE:
  hear us ring, see us swing
  all of us dancing the bong-a-long
  hear us sing, see our zing
  'postrophe crushin' 'cause we be king

  hey don't ding the pots
  please don't dent the bowls
  try to spare the box
  look at the holes

CHORUS:
  'postrophe crushin' 'cause we be king
  'postrophe crushin' 'cause we can sing
  'postrophe crushin' 'cause we can rhyme
  'postrophe crushin' all of the time

VERSE:
  crushin' crushin' crushin' crushin'
  crushin' crushin' crushin' crushin'
  and bustin' bustin' bustin' bustin'
  bustin' bustin' etc.

  crushin' crushin' crushin' crushin'
  crushin' crushin' crushin' crushin'
  bustin' bustin' bustin' bustin'
  bustin' bustin' bustin' bustin'

COMMENTS:
  all right
  that was "apostrophe"
  

Five Through Night (comments) [IPECAC]

  • artist: IPECAC
  • started: 1988-11-15
  • recorded: 1993-04-26 (guess)
  • length: 1:21
  • Travis Emmitt - Casio CT-310 (drums), piano, comments | wrote: music
  • Jon Friesen - sax
  • rating: (none) rate this song
  • mp3: download listen locally

This was a short version of "Five Through Night" (from Leaping Leper Limousine) plus a lot of commentary.

Lyrics to "Five Through Night (comments)":

COMMENTS:
  eventually we got into the piano and sax sound,
  the more natural sounding combination

  here's a little song called "five through night"
  it was recorded in late '88

  during this time period we were more given into the instrumentals
    than the songs with lyrics
  that's probably because i can't sing
  neither can jon; he's always been microphone-shy
  except for his sax playing

  all right
  now you'll see the drastic improvement in our sound
  and here's something from 1989
  and it is called "tunes from the bottle"
  

Tunes from the Bottle (comments) [IPECAC]

  • artist: IPECAC
  • started: 1989-02-1?
  • recorded: 1993-04-26 (guess)
  • length: 2:10
  • Travis Emmitt - Casio HT-6000, mellophone, vocals, comments | wrote: music, lyrics
  • Jon Friesen - sax
  • Art Wheeler | wrote: music
  • rating: (none) rate this song
  • mp3: download listen locally

This was a slightly truncated version of "Tunes from the Bottle" (from Fake Reverb 2) plus some comments at the beginning and end.

Lyrics to "Tunes from the Bottle (comments)":

COMMENTS:
  well, maybe not that drastic

VERSE:
  i was walking home late one evening
  stumbled on a dead man lying in the gutter
  his face was gaunt; he had died of hunger
  stuck in his hand was an empty bottle

CHORUS:
  there was a man, a man and his bottle
  they shared their emptiness, shared their sorrows
  now I see that dead man's bottle
  songs of sorrow, tunes from the bottle

VERSE:
  it tells the story of a middle-class man who
  had potential but no ambition
  he quit his job and picked up gambling,
  found success in acquisition

CHORUS:
  there was a man, a man and his bottle
  they shared their secrets, shared their sorrows
  now I hold that dead man's bottle
  i hear songs or sorrow, the tunes from the bottle

VERSE:
  on New Year's Eve he got so wasted,
  bet all he owned on twenty-one
  would have been rich if his luck persisted
  but he pushed too far - the dealer won

VERSE:
  eventually, he turned to drinking
  drink to escape, Drink to forget
  the rest of his life he slept with his bottle
  he died in his sleep, choked with regret

CHORUS:
  there was a man, a man and his bottle
  they shared their dreams, shared their sorrows
  all he had was his empty bottle
  all I have is this empty bottle

COMMENT:
  all right
  you hear that horn?
  that's a mellophone
  that was my wind instrument that i used to play
  ok
  

Downpour (comments) [IPECAC]

This was a truncated version of "Downpour" (from Live at Carnegie Hall) plus some comments at the beginning and end.

Lyrics to "Downpour (comments)":

COMMENTS:
  now we're getting into later 1989
  on towards the end of the ipecac combination

  and we have a song entitled "downpour"
  off of their quote "live at carnegie hall" album
  all right, here we go, "downpour"
  i'm not gonna play the whole thing because it's like 6 minutes long
  6 minutes long
  uh, this is one of the last songs ever done by ipecac

ANNOUNCER:
  carnegie hall is proud to have: ipecac

COMMENTS:
  all right
  that was "downpour" by ipecac
  once of the very, very, very last songs they ever did

  um, what i'm gonna play next for you is the master anchovies
  and that's a band that jon and i left ipecac to form
  and we played, i think 2 gigs at a parties

  and i'll start off with one of the, uh,
  one of the songs at a party
  okay?

  this is the master anchovies
  and, uh, i forget the name of the song
  but we'll find out in a second once i begin to play it
  

Party Chatter Excerpt [Anchovies]

This is a sped-up excerpt from the opening "Chatter (1)" on The Party. There's no extra comments. It's here for ambience only.

Lyrics to "Party Chatter Excerpt":

LUKE:
  trav, are we gonna..

TRAV:
  ok, everybody

    [chatter]

TRAV:
  allen, you ready?
  listennn...

???:
  are we ready?

???:
  go
  

Anchovy Rock (sped up) [Anchovies]

  • artist: Anchovies
  • started: 1989-12-21
  • recorded: 1993-04-26 (guess)
  • length: 2:52
  • Anand or Allen - drums
  • Travis Emmitt - Yamaha PSS-470 | wrote: music
  • Jon Friesen - alto sax
  • Luke Marshall - Yamaha DX21
  • rating: (none) rate this song
  • mp3: download listen locally

This was a sped-up version of "Anchovy Rock (2)" (from The Party). There's no extra comments, but it's interesting to hear how the energy level is increased thanks to the sped-up effect.

Fish Time (comments) [Anchovies]

  • artist: Anchovies
  • started: 1989-??-??
  • recorded: 1993-04-26 (guess)
  • length: 3:27
  • Anand or Allen - drums
  • Travis Emmitt - Yamaha PSS-470, mellophone, clapping, comments | wrote: music
  • Jon Friesen - alto sax | wrote: music
  • Luke Marshall - Yamaha DX21
  • rating: (none) rate this song
  • mp3: download listen locally

This was a sped-up and shortened version of "Fish Time (2)" (from Master Practice 2) plus comments in the beginning, middle, and end.

Lyrics to "Fish Time (comments)":

COMMENTS:
  all right that was "anchovy rock",
  taken directly from one of our two parties
  our gigs that we actually played at

  the next song is called "fish time"
  it's another master anchovies tune
  and i hope you enjoy it

[music starts]

  um, as you can tell, we didn't have sound man
  we'd just start playing and hoping the mix works out
  sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't

[music ends]

  all right, that was "fish time"
  

Christmas in Cancun (comments) [Anchovies]

This was a sped-up, shortened version of "Christmas in Cancun (2)" (from Master Practice 2) plus some comments at the beginning.

Lyrics to "Christmas in Cancun (comments)":

COMMENTS:
  all right
  this is song entitled "christmas in cancun"
  um, it was the band's favorite song that we played
  and so i have to play it for you too

[music starts]
  all right, that was "christmas in cancun"
  

How Ya Is'n Intro [Anchovies]

More chatter, this time before the final Master Anchovies song on Songs to Sleep By. I decided not to record on top of any more songs because their sound quality was getting better. Lots of "uh"s. I was probably multi-tasking.

Lyrics to "How Ya Is'n Intro":

COMMENTS:
  ok
  well you can see how far we'd come
  since those early days with "trek" and "better drumsticks"

  anyways, um, the sound quality's gonna improve from here on out
  i'm gonna play the last anchovies song, entitled "how ya is'n"
  it's one of the very few anchovies songs where we actually have vocals
  um, and it's about, it's just a silly little rap

  anyway, um, ok, here we go
  i'm, i'm,
  from now on you're not gonna have the convenient little blend
  you know, one song blending into talking, blending into another
  because, uh, i can, i can
  i can afford to do that with the older stuff
  because the old stuff's sound quality was pretty rotten to begin with
  um, but as the sound quality increases
  uh, i hestitate to, uh, to, uh, to sacrifice it, uh,
  just for the sake of convenient little blends like that

  so i'm gonna be recording everything now directly
  so, uh, anyway, this is, this is "how ya is'n" and, uh, uh
  it's by the master anchovies
  i'll stop talking
  

How Ya Is'n (2) [Anchovies]

  • artist: Anchovies
  • recorded: 1990-03-??
  • length: 3:42
  • Anand or Allen - drums
  • Travis Emmitt - Yamaha PSS-470, vocals | wrote: music, lyrics
  • Jon Friesen - alto sax | wrote: lyrics
  • Luke Marshall - Yamaha DX21
  • rating: (none) rate this song
  • mp3: download listen locally

The chorus is more established compared to the one at The Party. For some reason Jon didn't sing his two little parts. The solos are nice, though.

My vocals are light, not too worn out. I extended "his" a long time but didn't shriek it. Not a bad way to end our first [recorded] practice of 1990.

Lyrics to "How Ya Is'n (2)":

INTRO:
  and it goes a little something like this
  hit it!

VERSE 1:
  cruisin' down the street i got to the place
  where the weirdos hang out and i got my mace ready
  for an incident 'cause you never know
  what a blind quadroplegic morphodite might show you

  i kept my distance from the darkest alley
  where the schitzofrentic ninjas were having a rally
  i heard a noise and i spun around
  but couldn't [see who] made that sound

CHORUS:
  hey jon
  hey jon, how ya is'n?

VERSE 2:
  suddenly i saw what i really had feared
  worse than kleptomaniacs, he really was weird
  behind him was a trail of arms and legs
  he stuck out his tongue to show his underarms

  he said "you got a nice tan but i got a nice blue
  that's right, i'm a leper, you can be a leper too"
  i said, "god you're slimy" and walked my own way
  the guy was gross enough to finish my day

CHORUS:
  i said:
  hey jon, how ya is'n?
  hey jon, how ya is'n?

VERSE 3:
  i kept on walking to find my friend jon
  the leper had disappeared; i hoped he was gone
  i went to jon's place and he was waiting for me
  i was glad to be there, with a capital "e"

  i said, "hey jon, what's shaking?"
    [silence from Jon]
  i said "girlies!"
    [silence from Jon]

SOLOS

CHORUS:
  i said:
  hey jon, how ya is'n?
  hey jon, how ya is'n?

VERSE 4:
  i saw an ant by the side of the road
  beside him was a rabbit and a big fat toad
  i asked him to my house and see if he did
  he came instead with some friends of his
  

I Am Not Funny

This was part of the narration for Songs to Sleep By 2. It consists of two tracks of improvised chatter, with the music to "Artificial Life" in the background. The talking makes fun of my long-windedness and my poor (but persistent) attempts at humor.

Lyrics to "I Am Not Funny":

RIGHT:
  hi!

LEFT:
  hi!

RIGHT:
  you just heard "the best of ipecac and the master anchovies",
  1988 through 1990
  you are about to hear the best of the dead anchovies and tripecac

LEFT:
  [snoring]

RIGHT:
  the dead anchovies were the master anchovies minus jon
  we recorded a couple times through college
  the sound quality was kind of poor but you will notice that,
  except for the song "superstuds" where, unfortunately,
  luke does not play a part

LEFT:
  all right

TRAV:
  tripecac is the name i've chosen for myself solo

LEFT:
  boring...

RIGHT:
  i initially called call myself "travis" or "travis emmitt"
  or "trav" or "txe" or just "t"

LEFT:
  boring, boring...

RIGHT:
  but now i call myself "tripecac"
  maybe i'll change my name again

LEFT:
  wooh!

RIGHT:
  it's fun!
  anyway, i hope you enjoy the upcoming songs
  this is 1997, four years after i recorded the first part

LEFT:
  yawn

RIGHT:
  ...and I realize that as i have grown older I have grown more boring

LEFT:
  you've got that right!

RIGHT:
  so i will spare you the between-song chatter

LEFT:
  yay!

RIGHT:
  maybe i'll pop up every now and again

LEFT:
  boo!

RIGHT:
  but, for the most part,
  this is the only time you'll have to endure my narration

LEFT:
  yippee-skippy

RIGHT:
  this is the only time...

LEFT:
  [groan]

RIGHT:
  ...you'll have to listen to me...

LEFT:
  all right

RIGHT:
  ...talk...

LEFT:
  okay

RIGHT:
  ...because I wish to spare you...

LEFT:
  enough!

RIGHT:
  ...the pain of having to listen to me talk
  because I realize that...

LEFT:
  [groan]
  i'm trying to sleep!
  [groan]

RIGHT:
  ...listening to me talk can get irritating
  it can get boring and i am not funny
  i am not funny
  even though i make myself laugh, i am not funny
  now, say it along with me

LEFT:
  can you be quiet for a second?

RIGHT:
  i am not funny

LEFT:
  you are not

RIGHT:
  everyone sing along:

  i am not funny
  i know that i'm not
  i'm not funny
  i know that i'm not

  i can't think
  of what to say
  'cause i'm not funny
  on any day

LEFT:
  oh yeah
  stellar, stellar!

RIGHT:
  this will never get onto the real tape

[laughing]

RIGHT:
  oh yeah

LEFT:
  oh no

  you've said enough
  now go to sleep
  put your head on my shoulders
  and stretch out your feet

  you've said enough
  just go to bed
  as i put this plastic bag
  around your head

  travis is dead

  all right, guys, so what do you think?
  you wanna hear some music?
  wanna hear some tunes?
  

Drizzle (3) [Anchovies]

I like this better than the Dead Practice 4 version. The sound quality is a little less muffled, and my vocals are more energetic, even a bit hyper. It even has a rare fourth verse.

The lyrics' "August" reference makes me think this practice was recorded in August.

Lyrics to "Drizzle (3)":

INTRO:
  this one is called drizzle

VERSE 1:
  it was a cold night in december
  he walked the steps all alone
  to the door, knowing that his friends were inside there
  and he stood (they're inside) on the porch (having fun)
  out in the cold

  here we go

VERSE 2:
  it was a wet afternoon in mid-april
  he locked his car and hurried though the rain
  all the raindrops they couldn't wash his tears away
  so he cried "let me in! let me in! let me in!
  i wanna be your friend again."

BRIDGE:
  it was a humid evening in july
  the band got together and played that night
  their music was loud and thick (thick!)
  they didn't need jon, had guitars and keyboards

  and crazy anand on the sax
  funky luke on the keys
  groovy trav on the bass
  what more did they need?
  yeah!

VERSE 4:
  it was a soft night in august
  the band was all huddled in the air conditioning down in the basement
  travis wished that jon could be here to hold his microphone
  but he ???
  he thought "they're not home"
  

Aren't You Sorry (4) [Anchovies]

I don't know if the knocking near the beginning was us or my parents. Other than that, the flubbed chorus, and the nice chord at the end, this version is devoid of character. But aren't they all?

Lyrics to "Aren't You Sorry (4)":

TRAV:
  wooh

LUKE:
  get funky

TRAV:
  here's an impossible song
  it's dedicated to our rolling microphone
  which jon could be holding
  as stated in the last song

CHORUS:
  aren't you sorry that you left jon, left jon?
  aren't you sorry that you left all this?
  the anchovies are not dead yet, dead yet
  we're not dead so suck on this

CHORUS:
  the anchovies are not dead yet, dead yet
  the anch--[laughter]
  aren't you sorry that you left jon, left jon?
  aren't you sorry that you left all this?

  a capella, a capella
  here we go

BRIDGE:
        trav sky trav
  nando trav sky trav
  nando trav sky trav...

  woooh

CHORUS:
  oh, aren't you sorry that you left jon, left jon?
  aren't you sorry that you left all this?
  the anchovies are not dead yet, dead yet
  we're not dead so suck on this

END:
  suck on this
  

Stand Up 1 [Anchovies]

For some reason we decided to tell jokes. This first part centers around a (pretty funny) joke that Luke had heard recently.

I think Allen played the little keyboard run at 0:43. I banged on the drums.

Lyrics to "Stand Up 1":

TRAV:
  and now here is the joke telling extravaganza
  and we're gonna take turns telling jokes
  i'll do the drum fills
  and you guys can do the dramatic organ stuff
  you guys can start
  we'll clap too
  so you feel better

LUKE:
  ok here's a short series of jokes
  i've heard recently
  it's luke in his wtju voice
  and here's a few jokes to start the evening
  why do elephants paint their balls red?
  anyone?

ALLEN:
  why? why?

LUKE:
  so they can hide in cherry trees

ALLEN:
  ha ha ha

TRAV:
  yay yay

LUKE:
  and now for the second in the series
  what's the loudest noise in the jungle?
  anyone? anyone?

TRAV:
  wow that's great!

LUKE:
  giraffes eating cherries

ALLEN:
  oh, ha ha

TRAV:
  ???

LUKE:
  thank you thank you
  now we'll move on to somebody else

TRAV:
  really good
  

Super Studs (4) [Anchovies]

This is the final version, which I included on the tape version of The Hermit (my 1994 Tripecac album). Luke wasn't there, but Allen was. We changed the lyrics to include Allen in the story.

We recorded direct line-ins this time. The difference in sound quality is enormous. I also added more sounds to the backing music.

This was the last thing we ever recorded together, and probably the last time more than two of us were in the same room together; after that we scattered to different states and countries.

It's interesting how the last words are "I'm free". I guess I was, for better or worse.

Lyrics to "Super Studs (4)":

TRAV:
  ??? speakers

VERSE: [Anand]
  it was a saturday, people walking around
  'cause it was christmas time and there was shopping going down
  there was one old lady who was walking really slow
  dressed in a scarf that covered her from head to toe

  she walked so slow like she was going in reverse
  a guy ran by her and then he took off with her purse
  she screamed for help but no one could hear
  the guy kept running and figured he was in the clear

CHORUS: [Anand, and then Allen+Travis]
  super studs, they call us, heroes of the day
    (heroes of the day)
  super studs, they call us, but the robber got away
    (but the robber got away)
  super studs, they call us, and they've never heard us play
    (and they've never heard us play)
  super studs, they call us, we made the old lady go away
    (go away!)

VERSE: [Anand]
  all of a sudden, caught by surprise
  the guy was tackled by four extremely good-looking guys
  it was the anchovies: allen, anand, travis, and luke
  the guy was so scared he gave up the purse and then he puked

CHORUS: [Anand, and then Allen+Travis]
  super studs, they call us, heroes of the day
    (heroes of the day)
  super studs, they call us, but the robber got away
    (but the robber got away)
  super studs, they call us, and they've never heard us play
    (and they've never heard us play)
  super studs, they call us, we made the old lady go away
    (go away!)

VERSE: [Allen]
  they walked back up the mall and returned the purse
  the lady was so happy that she asked them to sing a verse
  nando was the drummer, luke and allen couldn't sing
  but travis went first with some lyrics that he had to wing

BRIDGE: [Trav]
  oh, it's colder than a popsicle
  so pardon me if i don't carry your groceries
  but i like your checkered socks, ma'am
  okay, that's enough, gramma, get out of my face!

  i gave a little push and her legs gave way
  she hit the ground will a yell of pain
  anand and luke got their butts out of there
  but i ran too slow; the cops put me in jail

CHORUS: [Anand, and then Allen+Travis]
  super studs, they call us, heroes of the day
    (heroes of the day)
  super studs, they call us, but the robber got away
    (but the robber got away)
  super studs, they call us, and they've never heard us play
    (and they've never heard us play)
  super studs, they call us, we made the old lady go away
    (go away!)

VERSE: [solo]
  solo
  good solo!
  take it all on!
  we're out of lyrics
  ad lib

CHORUS: [Anand, and then Allen+Travis]
  super studs, they call us, heroes of the day
    (heroes of the day)
  super studs, they call us, but the robber got away
    (but the robber got away)
  super studs, they call us, and they've never heard us play
    (and they've never heard us play)
  super studs, they call us, we made the old lady go away
    (go away!)

VERSE: [Anand]
  sunday, travis was still sitting in jail
  we checked our pockets but couldn't come up with the bail
  we tried to plan a way to get travis home
  we sent out allen to bust travis on his own

TRAV:
  and what to my wondering eyes should appear
  but allen in his honda

ALLEN:
  blue honda

TRAV:
  blue honda
  i said "allen, my pal, whatcha doin' here?"
  and he said

ALLEN:
  trav, i set the t-n-t
  in 30 seconds you'll be free

CHORUS: [Anand, and then Allen+Travis]
  super studs, they call us, heroes of the day
    (heroes of the day)
  super studs, they call us, but the robber got away
    (but the robber got away)

  super studs, they call us, and they've never heard us play
    (and they've never heard us play)
  super studs, they call us we made the old lady go away

TRAV:
  i'm free!
  

Psychedelic Anchovies [Anchovies]

This was the last piece of music we played together as a band. It was a moody improv, with me on drums and Allen and Luke on keyboards. It's pretty awful, musically.

Lyrics to "Psychedelic Anchovies":

TRAV:
  this is psychedelic anchovies
  ??? anchovies
  look at allen's keyboard
  ???
  all that's nice
  new age anchovies
  with a little bit of african music
  ???
  that's very nice
  ???
  ah, that's nice
  ah, that's nice
  

All My Love Intro (1997)

This separated the Anchovies songs from the Tripecac songs on Songs to Sleep By 2. It also introduced "All My Love" (from Archives), with a warning about the profanity.

In the background you can hear "Fireflyz" (from College Collage).

Lyrics to "All My Love Intro (1997)":

COMMENT:
  hello, this is travis
  you're about to hear travis songs, 1990-1997

  i'll introduce a couple of them but then i'll leave you alone

  this first song is called "all my love"
  and it's the only song that i'll put on here that has bad words
  but i didn't write these bad words
  no, they were taken from a letter that an ex-girlfriend wrote me
  so, i know that's sounds really tacky
  because i put that letter to mustic

  but it's a catchy little song
  and like i said, it's the only exception
  so if you have sensitive ears, cover them up
  there only i think one instance where i use bad language

  but it's a catchy song
  ignore the lyrics
  and enjoy the rest of the tape
  

All My Love

This is my favorite song on the Archives album. It's very bouncy and sassy (if you listen to the lyrics).

The words came straight from a break-up letter. I thought it'd be funny to put these super-negative words to bright, poppy music, so I did.

Was I right about the dark/light juxtaposition being "funny"? I don't know. It's certainly a theme that stuck with me. I'd take a really dark topic, and make fun of it by adding peppy music. Many of the songs on The Hermit and Aminals are like that. This song was my first "success" with the formula. It encouraged me to keep doing it.

I censored the really bad parts, even though I didn't write them. I'm trying to keep this site [relatively] free of profanity. Enjoy the tune!

Lyrics to "All My Love":

VERSE:
  this is the last letter you will ever get from me so enjoy
  you have become some person that i don't know
  someone that i don't want to know
  look at your last note to be and consider

  you're an [censored], plain and simple
  i feel bad for you; you're a self-centered [censored]
  i never want to see or hear from you again
  that [censored] makes me sick

CHORUS:
  all my love and all that i have given
  all my love and all that i have given

VERSE:
  after i talked to you last night
  i scrubbed my body like it had radiation
  i felt like i had been raped
  and in a way i had been

  you've taken all my love and trashed it, baby, trashed it
  you've taken all my love and trashed it, trashed it

CHORUS:
  all my love and all that i have given
  all my love and all that i have given

VERSE:
  i hope you have better luck
  with your girlfriends over there
  because you'll never have me again
  as a friend or anything else
  signed [censored]

  i could have signed it "love ya" but i don't mean it
  i could have signed it "love ya" but i don't mean it
  i'm in love with someone here so don't worry about me
  i could have signed it "love ya" but i don't mean it

CHORUS:
  all my love and all that i have given
  all my love and all that i have given
  

Not a Day of Rest

I liked this peppy instrumental so much that I put it on Songs to Sleep By 2. It's the only Tripecac instrumental that made it on there.

Lyrics to "Not a Day of Rest":

not a day of rest
not a day of rest
  

The Dairy Poops

I wrote this for my then-girlfriend Beth, who was lactose intolerant. The voice in the beginning is from the end of the Voice Mail that she left me. The music is catchy and the lyrics are funny, if a little gross.

Lyrics to "The Dairy Poops":

INTRO: [beth]
  so call me, call me, call me, call me
  call me, call me, call me, call me, call me!

VERSE:
  oh plain vanilla,
  strawberry, chocolate
  what is your flavor?
  do you have a favorite?

  or is ice cream too rich?
  you want yoghurt instead?
  allergic to lactose?
  or is it all in your head?

  rocky road,
  egg nog and milk shake
  keep you running to the bathroom
  make you stay awake

  are you terrified of milk
  of cheeses and cream?
  allergic to lactose?
  or is it all a dream?

CHORUS:
  you've got the poops
  the dairy poops
  you've got the poops
  the dairy poops
  you've got the poops
  the dairy poops
  you've got the poops
  the dairy poops

VERSE:
  you're allergic to milk,
  but you're still sexy anyway
  i'd pick you over cheese eaters
  on any and every day

  you've got dairy ease
  to keep you safe and satisfied
  and here's a box of depends
  in case emergencies arise

  so don't be ashamed
  you've got your bowels safe and sound
  but don't forget your pills
  if you want me around

  now smile my friend
  wipe the shame from your eyes
  i'll still hang around you
  after i milk this song dry
  no pun intented

CHORUS:
  now smile and say the poops
  now say the poops
  poops!
  you've got the poops, you've got the poops
  poops!
  now smile and say the, say the poops
  poops! poops! poops! poops!
  for life

VERSE:
  oh plain vanilla,
  strawberry, chocolate
  what is your flavor?
  do you have a favorite?

  or is ice cream too rich?
  you want yoghurt instead?
  allergic to lactose?
  or is it all in your head?

  rocky road,
  egg nog and milk shake
  keep you running to the bathroom
  make you stay awake

  are you terrified of milk
  of cheeses and cream?
  allergic to lactose?
  or is it all a dream?

CHORUS:
  you've got the poops
  you've got the poops, you've got the poops
  you've got the poops
  now smile and say the poops
  no pun intended
  now smile and say the poops
  you've got the poops, you've got the poops
  you've got the poops, you've got the poops
  you've got the poops, you've got the poops
  etc.
  

Christmas in Cancun 2

This is musically unrelated to "Christmas in Cancun", which I wrote for the Master Anchovies. The only thing they have in common is that I wrote them right before (or after) trips to Cancun.

I had emailed the Dead Anchovies that I was going to write a second song about Cancun. These lyrics are directed at them (Allen, Anand, and Luke). I was just basically bragging about going to Cancun while they stayed home. Pretty simple[minded] stuff.

People liked it. A lot. This was my first "hit" song (among my friends). I got tons of positive feedback for it and many people actually requested copies of it. It was a nice dose of encourage, a good way to end the year.

Lyrics to "Christmas in Cancun 2":

VERSE:
  have a merry christmas, y'all
  with plenty of good cheer
  and lots of toys to sing about
  to celebrate this year

  have a happy new year too
  don't forget your resolutions
  help out a little bit with cleaning up
  all the wrappings and ribbons

CHORUS:
  well, i'm gonna fly across the sea
  to mexico with my family
  where the air is warm
  and the palm trees sway
  and the sun is always shining

  i'm gonna fly across the sea
  to blue cancun with my family
  and never see a snowflake
  or a christmas tree worth buying

BRIDGE:
  i'm spend christmas in cancun
  i'm not gonna see you
  i'll be basking in the sun
  and vegitating all day too

  i'll be having christmas in cancun
  and i don't want to be you
  freezing off your butt
  and being bored out of your shoes

  watching the clock, too
  al, anand, and luke
  waiting for the school year to begin
  yippee

  christmas in cancun
  christmas in cancun

CHORUS:
  i'm gonna fly across the sea
  to mexico with my family
  where the air is warm
  and the palm trees sway
  and the sun is always shining

  i'm gonna fly across the sea
  to blue cancun with my family
  and never see a snowflake
  or a christmas tree worth buying

  oh no
  i'm feeling sick
  oh no
  i think i'm gonna puke

VERSE:
  oh have a merry christmas, y'all
  with plenty of good beer
  and lots of girls to brag about
  and rudolph the reindeer

  have a happy new year too
  don't forget to get wasted
  party 'til you cannot breath anymore
  and then you will be dead

CHORUS:
  i'm gonna fly across the sea
  to mexico with my family
  where the air is warm
  and the palm trees sway
  and the sun is always shining

  i'm gonna fly across the sea
  to blue cancun with my family
  and never see a snowflake
  or a christmas tree worth buying
  

Painted Friend

The intro states that the song is about Jon, but it's actually not. It's a fictional story about posessiveness.

Not many people said they liked this song when I first recorded it. Perhaps it sounded too much like a "conventional" pop-song. I always liked it, though; it's probably my favorite song on the album.

The date is approximate. I know it preceded "Numb (live)", which was recorded on 1993-01-03, and I'm pretty sure I wrote it in 1993.

Lyrics to "Painted Friend":

INTRO:
  from the depths of the ocean came the nerd
  flying his ego like a tethered bird
  a falconer with guano stains
  and fish guts where his heart should be
  tactless, foolish sophomore
  filthy head, drowned in dreams

  this is a song about our friend jon
  a covetous geek who fell in love
  but eventually became enamoured
  with his own artisty
  all else perished

VERSE:
  i want your eyes forever
  and i want your hair for keeps
  i'm gonna make you stare at me
  i'm gonna make you live with me

CHORUS:
  i want to nail you to the wall
  and put you in a frame
  and keep you in my room
  you're my little painted friend

VERSE:
  i want your lips forever (forever)
  and i want your beautiful cheeks
  i'm gonna make you mine, all mine (all mine)
  the painting never sleeps

CHORUS:
  i want to nail you to the wall
  and put you in a frame
  and keep you in my room
  you're my little painted friend

  hit it trav
  [EP solo]

BRIDGE:
  mine, all mine
  gotta make ya, gotta make ya
  you're mine, all mine
  gotta get ya, gotta get ya
  mine, all mine
  gotta get ya, gotta get ya
  you're mine, all mine

VERSE: [EP solo]

VERSE:
  my life is but a canvas
  my brain is but a bowl (but a bowl)
  you're the beautifullest painting (beautiful)
  that ever caressed my soul

CHORUS:
  i want to nail you to the wall
  and put you in a frame
  and keep you in my room
  you're my little painted friend

BRIDGE:
  mine, all mine
  mine, all mine
  gotta make ya, gotta make ya, gotta make ya
  mine, all mine
  mine, all mine
  

I Don't Wanna

I initially wrote this for Anand, who told me he was getting tired of being a student. For a while it became a "theme song" for me, at least in my own head, especially whenever I wasn't feeling enthusiastic about going to work or classes or anything "un-fun". It's not about depression; it's about loving entertainment and not wanting to leave it.

The intro is actually the ending from the previous song ("IPECAC is Dead").

There are actually some more lyrics which never made it into the song. They explain the context a little better:

AT START:
  "tell me about it."
  "tell you about what?"
  "well, how's school goin'?"
  "pretty awful, to tell the truth."

AT END:
  well you say that every morning
  when you're head's still thick and sleepy
  and you'd rather just keep on snoring
  well, what if you kept on sleeping?

Lyrics to "I Don't Wanna":

INTRO:
  don't mourn for me
  ipec- (sigh)
  song for anand
  hit it

VERSE:
  oh, I don't wanna go to school today
  i just wanna stay home and bum
  i don't wanna pull out all my books today
  i just wanna relax and have fun

CHORUS:
  yee-hoo!!!

VERSE:
  oh, i don't wanna go to class today
  i just wanna stay in bed and read
  i don't wanna do any work today
  my books and my music - that's all I really need

CHORUS:
  come on, baby!
  

The Hermit

Here we go!!! This is where everything "clicked" into place. It was my dad's birthday, and I think I recorded this very quickly as a last-minute gift for him.

Musically, I turned to simple, catchy piano-based pop which I probably wrote in half and hour on my parents' upright piano before scurrying off to my room to finish the song. The lyrics are simple and straightforward. There's no symbolism, no pretentiousness, no real effort... It all flowed very naturally.

Everyone liked this song, including me. My parents enjoyed the music but thought the lyrics were "sad".

By this time I think I started realizing that my parents just didn't "get" the point of many of my songs, which is that:

  1. I enjoy being a hermit.
  2. I like to talk (and sing) about myself.
  3. I like to be funny when I write.
  4. So, I often make fun of myself when I sing.

There is no "depression" in my life. There's no real tension, and rarely is there any stress. My life is fun and easy, and I like it! However, when it comes time to sing, I feel like I need something dramatic, some sort of conflict.

It's like making faces in a mirror (or on a video). I don't want to make pretty faces; I want to make ugly faces, the more grotesque and disturbing the better! That's one of the "fun" things about self-reflection.

It's the same way with lyrics. When I'm writing a song (about my favorite subject: me), I'm "looking" at myself and instead of posing "properly" or "handsomely" I prefer to look like the Biggest Dork Ever.

Right now, I'm in my room writing this, getting a total kick out of listening to my music and writing about myself and looking forward to a nice long jog or bike ride this afternoon... I love the control that solitude gives me over my activities. I am having a blast doing these things by myself, and I've always been like that for as long as I can remember.

Of course, every once in a while it's fun to actually talk to another human being. :) There's something inside me, either an instinct or something I was taught at an early age, that tells me to "socialize every once in a while". My guess is that this drive is natural (hardware), that most animals have a primal urge to seek companionship...

Regardless of its origin, for me, the drive to seek human companionship is usually nowhere near as compelling as the drive to accomplish things. For me, creativity, organization, learning, and exploration are the Big Satisfiers, both exciting and pride-instilling, and along with them comes (either naturally or through experiential associations) a desire for "daytime" independence from The Pack.

Of course, if The Pack actually shared 90% of my interests, then maybe I wouldn't "have" to be a hermit in order to pursue the Big Satisfiers. Maybe someday I will find a Travis-compatible Pack, but right now the easiest, most reliable way to have a Good Day is to plan to do things by myself.

If you don't believe me, listen to the music rather than the words. The music is un-selfconscious and FUN, just like my days in my room... It's joyfully indulgent! :)

Lyrics to "The Hermit":

VERSE 1:
  another day of sitting at home
  reading a book and staying close to the phone
  just in case somebody happens to call
  and when they do i hop in my car

  drive to the city, taking care not to wreck
  it's been 17 days since i've been out of my shack
  i've subsisted on pop tarts and cracker jacks
  my mother'd kill me if she knew 'bout that

CHORUS 1:
  oh i'm a hermit yes i know
  but i don't dress like a hobo
  i don't wear rags with holes in fact i...
  i look pretty normal

VERSE 2:
  i was pushing 20 livin' in a dorm
  my hallmates often came and knocked on my door
  they said "hey travis, wanna go out with us?"
  and i said "nah, i'm busy downloading from a bbs"

  pretty soon people stopped dropping by
  i guess i said "no" too many times
  a couple nights i tried to call them up
  but they were busy -
  so after that i pretty much kept to myself

CHORUS 2:
  oh i'm a hermit yes i know
  but i don't put on a show
  i don't beg like a bum in fact i...
  i act pretty normal

  oh i'm a hermit yes i know
  i know my life seems slow
  i don't have anywhere to go
  so i guess i'll stay at home sweet home

  stay at home, baby

VERSE 3:
  so here i am - driving to town
    (for games)
  got my seatbelt on and a worried frown
    (what if they're out of stock?)
  i feel like such a loser - look at me now
    (i used to have friends on the mud)
    (but it closed down)

CHORUS 3:
  oh i'm a hermit yes i know
  but i don't dress like a hobo
  i don't wear shoes full of holes in fact i...
  i look pretty normal

  oh i'm a hermit, yes i know
  i think real fast but i move too slow
  i had my youth and my looks but i threw it all away
  i can't think of anything else to say

CHORUS: [a capella]
  oh i'm a hermit, yes i know
  i know my life seems slow
  i don't have anywhere to go
  so i guess i'll stay at home sweet home

REGGAE:
  [humming]

  i've got my computer
  and i've got my radio
  and i've got my books to read
  and i've got my piano let's go!

  hit it trav!

  i've gotta get out on my own,
  i've just gotta get out on my own
  i've gotta get out on my own,
  i've just gotta get out on my own

  i've just gotta get out, gotta get out,
  gotta get out on my own
  i've just gotta get out, gotta get out,
  gotta get out on my own

  tomorrow.  tomorrow...

  [repeat]
  

Introvert

My girlfriend at the time (Beth) asked me to write a gentle song, so I wrote this. Like "The Hermit", it was constructed around a simple piano-based melody. The mix emphasizes the vocals which is a good thing because these are some of my favorite lyrics (and the music's a bit distorted).

The lyrics are very autobiographical, poking fun at my introversion (the tendency to fixate on my own interests even when other people are right there trying to interact with me).

By the end of the song, however, I was fixating on my girlfriend. Sometimes the bubble of introversion extends to include other people, and when that happens, the Hermit is doubly happy! :)

Although this song is not "punk" or even "manly", I liked it enough to play it on the radio (I was an occasional DJ). When I broadcasted it, it didn't matter to me that no one was listening except my girlfriend (who recorded my shows); by playing "Introvert" on the air I was saying, "look, here's something I like, and if it happens to be girl-pop, then so be it!" Maybe that "ah, just go for it" attitude is punk?

Anyway, this was another well-liked song. Most of my audience by this time was girls. :)

Lyrics to "Introvert":

VERSE 1:
  hello little girl
  do you know my name?
  have you seen me before?
  do you like my shoes?

  well, my name's travis
  and this is my computer
  i collect lots of tapes
  i write my own songs too

CHORUS 1:
  i - n - t - r - o - v - e - r - t is me
  i - n - t - r - o - v - e - r - t is me

VERSE 2:
  see here are my tapes
  do you like my room?
  should i die my hair blonde
  what's your name, by the way?

  you call yourself beth?
  that's a pretty name
  let's get out my photo album
  and look at some pictures of me

CHORUS:
  i - n - t - r - o - v - e - r - t is me
  i - n - t - r - o - v - e - r - t is me

BRIDGE 1:
  i say seven "i's" for every "you"
  well, what else is an introverted guy to do?
  i'm not like you.

CHORUS:
  you can listen to me play
  my keyboard all day
  you can listen to me play

VERSE 3:
  hey beth i think you're kinda cute
  and you seem to be real nice
  can i see you tomorrow?
  i can show you my games

  or maybe we can bike
  over to jamestown
  and sit on a quilt
  and cuddle up all day

CHORUS:
  i - n - t - r - o - v - e - r - t is me
  i'm not worried because what else can i be?

BRIDGE 2:
  i say seven "i's" for every "you"
  but for some reason
  you felt that i'd be right for you
  what a lucky guy i am
  what a lucky guy i am
  what a lucky guy i am

CHORUS:
  i'm singing,
  i - n - t - r - o - v - e - r - t is me
  i never had someone take an interest in me
  i - n - t - r - o - v - e - r - t are we
  my baby's got my number now i am happy

  i - n - t - r - o - v - e - r - t is me
  i never had somebody take an interest in me
  i - n - t - r - o - v - e - r - t are we
  

Stop Playing the Blues

Jon was my bandmate in both IPECAC and The Master Anchovies. During high school, Jon quit the Anchovies to join a "real band" (which played Jazz standards). In college, Jon was playing with some other bands and although their music was technically impressive, I didn't hear anything original or exciting in their music.

Meanwhile, Jon seemed to become less playful and more serious and "proper" all the time, so he was less "fun", at least to me.

"Stop Playing the Blues" was my plea to Jon to "lighten up". I don't know if I ever played this song for him. I think I was worried that the lyrics would offend him, even though they were a kind-hearted attempt to reconnect with him. I didn't have much faith in people's ability to interpret my music.

Musically, I wanted something very happy and light that could act as a cheer-me-up, something that's the opposite of the blues. The end result was this jazzy, polka-like ditty. The bass line is based on the one in "How Ya Is'n", which was a song Jon and I had co-written and sang together in IPECAC.

Lyrics to "Stop Playing the Blues":

INTRO: [computer voice]
  do you like this?
  do you have ants in your food?

VERSE 1:
  jon, jon friesen
  tell me where your life is leading
  these days you look so depressed
  tell me, are your insides bleeding?

  we had great times when we were young
  but now you seem to never have fun
  you look so pained, so bored, so unenthused
  you gotta stop playing the blues

CHORUS 1:
  stop playing the blues
  stop playing the blues
  stop playing the blues

VERSE 2:
  jon, jon friesen
  tell me where's your humor gone
  your eyes have lost their twinkle
  have you married your saxophone?

  it's okay that you still wear velcro
  and it's okay that you still wear ring socks
  i'll accept your slouch and dorky shoes
  if you stop playing the blues

CHORUS 2:
  stop playing the blues
  stop playing the blues
  stop playing the blues
  stop playing the blues
  gotta stop playing the blues
  stop playing the blues

  please jon, please jon,
  please stop playing the blues
  please jon, please jon,
  please stop playing those silly blues

SOLO:
  go allen, go allen
  go allen, go allen
  play up a storm for us
  go allen, go allen
  go allen, go allen
  play up a storm for us

BRIDGE:
  and for your information,
  the band is still alive
  perhaps you thought when you quit
  that we'd be through

  but we still get together
  and jam every once in a while
  though I admit we sound a little empty
  without you, that's true

  go anand, go luke
  go anand, go luke

CHORUS 3:
  gotta gotta gotta gotta...
  gotta stop playing the blues
  gotta gotta gotta gotta...
  gotta stop playing the blues

  please jon, please jon,
  please stop playing the blues
  please jon, please jon,
  please stop playing those silly blues

VERSE 4:
  jon, jon friesen
  tell me what's your reason
  for totally forsaking
  the music we were making

  ipecac at least had energy
  the anchovies at least have hope
  so what's with all this
  perpetual doom and gloom?

  stop playing the blues

CHORUS 4:
  gotta gotta gotta gotta...
  gotta stop playing the blues
  gotta gotta gotta gotta...
  gotta stop playing the blues

  please jon, please jon,
  please stop playing the blues
  please jon, please jon,
  please stop playing those silly blues
  

Where's My Muse?

By the time I recorded this, my audience had dwindled to my family and girlfriend. Feedback from them was lukewarm. I felt like the new album wasn't living up to its predecessor, The Hermit. "SPCA" was trivial, "Solid Blue" was sappy, "The Trap" was mean, and "Another Anchovies Practice" was an aimless mess.

So I decided to write a song about my musical decline.

The lyrics express my frustration. They're introverted again, like on the The Hermit. The music is peppy, and my vocal energy was high (though a little juvenile). I actually liked it a lot, enough to name the album after it.

Soon after I finished it, however, I moved off campus and got a TV. My musical productivity plummeted even further.

Lyrics to "Where's My Muse?":

VERSE:
  no fire, uninspired
  i can't write a poem to save my life
  head achin', so frustrating
  my paper's naked, blank just like my mind
  i'm staring bored at the board,
  trying to absorb a brainstorm

  zap, crack, splat, snap, crackle, and pop
  will this writer's block ever stop?
  will my songs ever reach the top?
  will even this one be a flop?

CHORUS:
  where's my muse, y'all? where's my muse?
  where's my muse, y'all? where's my muse?
  where's my muse, y'all? where's my muse?
  where's my muse, y'all? where's my muse?

VERSE:
  hot tang, bubble gum gang
  a dozen cliches from the bad old days
  when neon ruled, high school was cool,
  velcro was in, and jordon was slammin'

  oh, sure,
  i could spit out a dozen empty phrases
  or analyze my life's many phases
  or i could describe a million familiar places
  or even preach harmony between the races

  whatever

CHORUS:
  where's my muse, y'all? where's my muse?
  where's my muse, y'all? where's my muse?
  where's my muse, y'all? where's my muse?
  where's my muse, y'all? where's my muse?

VERSE:
  no more from the brainstorm
  i wish i could visit the idea store
  maybe there i'd find my muse
  maybe there i'd find my muse
  maybe there i'd find my muse

CHORUS:
  where's my muse, y'all? where's my muse?
  where's my muse, y'all? where's my muse?
  where's my muse, y'all? where's my muse?
  where's my muse, y'all? where's my muse?

  [repeats under next lyrics:]

  where's my muse, y'all?
  did she slip out the back door?
  or did she die of starvation?
  while i was paying attention to that?

  where's my muse, y'all?
  did she slip out the back door?
  did she die of starvation?
  did i use her up?
  did i wear her out?
  did i work her to death?

  gotta get out of my stuffy room
  get out of my stuffy life
  gotta take a walk outside
  and leave the computer behind

  gotta get out of my stuffy room
  get out of my stuffy life
  gotta take a walk outside
  and leave the computer behind

  oh, where's my, where's my, where's my,
  where's my muse?
  where's my, where's my, where's my,
  where's my muse?
  where's my, where's my, where's my,
  where's my muse?
  where where where where...

  oh what a ho...
  where's my muse?
  

Artificial Life

This is driving and insightful. It's the last big song on the album, and exudes both humor and power. I love the lyrics!

Lyrics to "Artificial Life":

CHORUS 1:
  see what you think about artifical life
  say what you think about artifical life

VERSE 1:
  comfy in my cubby hole
  nine at work and six at home
  two on the bus, i'm driving, zooming
  always thinking, working, moving

  clickety clack my fingers go
  day after day, row after row
  sun like a rocket through the sky
  one less day until i die

CHORUS 2:
  who needs friends when i've got my art?
  i write and play all the parts
  see what you think about artifical life

  who needs love when you've got a brain?
  if you go to bed happy, it's all the same
  say what you think about artifical life

  hit it, trav

CHORUS 3:
  see what you think about artifical life
  say what you think about artifical life

BRIDGE VERSE 4:
  and then i open my eyes
  and see the world 'round me
  and i smell the fresh air
  i feel the sun on my skin

  so i take out my bike
  and i go for a ride
  and i smell the fresh air
  and i see the world 'round me

  and that first day is great
  'cause i feel so alive
  i think i'm starting to like
  being outside

  and the second day's better
  'cause i know where to go
  i head straight for the park
  and i sit and i watch... life flow

BRIDGE CHORUS:
  i could get used to it
  i could get used to it
  being outside

  i could get used to it
  i could get used to it
  being outside

BRIDGE VERSE 5:
  but it seems kind of quiet
  and my fingers are restless
  so the third day i bring
  a magazine

  but that's not enough
  so on the fourth day i bring
  a book and my camera
  and on the fifth i bring my laptop

BRIDGE CHORUS:
  i could get used to it
  i could get used to it
  being outside

  i could get used to it
  i could get used to it
  being outside

BRIDGE VERSE 6:
  the sixth day it rains
  and i have to stay home
  so i call up some friends
  i don't want to be alone

  but nobody's there
  and it's still raining outside
  so i turn on the tv
  but i quickly get bored

  so i turn on my computer
  pull out my book and my tapes
  and i try to document
  the last five days

  but my mind starts to wander
  and i remember my games
  so i immerse myself
  for another hundred days!

BRIDGE CHORUS:
  i couldn't get used to it
  i couldn't get used to it
  being outside

  i couldn't get used to it
  i couldn't get used to it
  being outside

  i couldn't get used to it
  could not get used to it
  being outside

  could not get used to it
  could not get used to it
  being outside

  could not get used to it

VERSE:
  let's do it!

CHORUS:
  see what you think about artifical life
  say what you think about artifical life

  see what you think about artifical life
  say what you think about artifical life
  

STSB2 Outro

These comments ended the 1997 compilation: Songs to Sleep By 2.

Lyrics to "STSB2 Outro":

COMMENT:
  well, there you have it:
  ipecac, the master anchovies, the dead anchovies, tripecac
  nine years of stellar, stellar music

  join us next time when we sit and subject ourselves
  to more tunes from the bottle of travis
  wow