albums
Underway
2017 The Walking Dad
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
  • Title: Where's My Muse
  • Artist: Tripecac
  • Timespan: 1994-1997
  • Theme: hello boredom
  • Length: 79:39
  • Tracks: 27
  • Lyrics: 18
  • MP3s: 27 play all locally
  • Rating: (none) rate this album

Track List

# title lyrics time download listen started recorded rating
1 SPCA lyrics 3:42 download listen locally - 1994-03-21
2 Solid Blue lyrics 3:50 download listen locally - 1994-03-21
3 The Trap lyrics 3:47 download listen locally - 1994-03-21
4 Another Anchovies Practice lyrics 4:06 download listen locally - 1994-05-13
5 Where's My Muse? lyrics 4:33 download listen locally - 1994-06-14
6 Return to Duckville lyrics 4:17 download listen locally - 1995-02-27
7 Clearing the Cobwebs - 0:36 download listen locally - 1996-05-12
8 I Don't Do Hills lyrics 3:54 download listen locally - 1996-05-12
9 A Flat for Effort - 3:09 download listen locally - 1996-11-20
10 Good Riddance lyrics 0:04 download listen locally - 1996-11-20 (none)
11 Been Too Long lyrics 4:05 download listen locally - 1996-12-14
12 Been Way Too Long lyrics 13:40 download listen locally - 1996-12-14 (none)
13 Tick lyrics 3:22 download listen locally - 1997-02-01 (none)
14 Roach Attack - 2:27 download listen locally - 1997-02-01 (none)
15 Guitar In Out - 0:05 download listen locally - 1997-02-23 (none)
16 Half an Intro - 0:54 download listen locally - 1997-02-23 (none)
17 First Thing Intro - 0:14 download listen locally - 1997-02-23 (none)
18 First Thing in the Morning lyrics 6:08 download listen locally - 1997-02-23 (none)
19 The SS God Is Love lyrics 2:55 download listen locally - 1997-02-28 (none)
20 Analyzing Friendships to Death lyrics 2:43 download listen locally - 1997-04-19 (none)
21 Zappaccino - 0:27 download listen locally - 1997-04-19 (none)
22 Hoboes on Acid lyrics 1:46 download listen locally - 1997-04-19 (none)
23 Acid on Hoboes lyrics 1:20 download listen locally - 1997-04-19 (none)
24 California Greetings lyrics 1:11 download listen locally - 1997-04-19 (none)
25 Artificial Life lyrics 4:35 download listen locally - 1997-04-19 (none)
26 What Could Have Been - 0:55 download listen locally - 1997-04-19 (none)
27 Here's to the Future - 0:54 download listen locally - 1997-04-19 (none)
Total 79:39 play all locally album rating: (none)

Notes

On 19 April 1997, I finally finished Where's My Muse?, which, at over three years in the making, was my longest [in-progress] musical project by far. To be honest, I think I felt more relief than pride when I put the final song onto tape!

Why did it take three years? Well... I can blame it on moving in with my girlfriend, on getting a TV, a new computer, a CD player, a full-time job... I can even blame inspiration-paralyzing trepidations of "living up" to my previous album, The Hermit (1994), which I considered my creative peak. Whatever the "true" cause(s) of the musical decline, the effect was that as the months and years rolled by, I found myself recording fewer and fewer songs per year.

In the Spring of 1994, fresh from finishing The Hermit, I recorded five decent-to-good songs: ("SPCA", "Solid Blue", "The Trap", "Another Anchovies Practice", "Where's My Muse"). Then came summer break, and a move off-campus to an apartment with a TV. The rest of 1994 was barren: I just recorded two "Sleeping Gas" covers in December (not on this CD). In all of 1995 I only recorded one song ("Return to Duckville"), which made it my least productive year for the last ten!

1996 started off just as weak. By May, I was feeling guilty and frustrated by my lack of musical productivity. I'd been fiddling around with a jazzy piano riff for a few months and decided to turn it into a song for Mother's Day. I added some lyrics and a bridge, and voila: "I Don't Do Hills", my first song in over a year! The immense satisfaction I got from finishing that song inspired me to start practicing more frequently, which I did until June, when I was sent to California on travel...

California was a 6-month tedious/adventurous "open aired cocoon" for me. I was living completely alone for the first time (in a motel), and didn't know anyone. I didn't have a computer (at first), a stereo, or roommates so I was "forced" to go out into the "real world" to find things to do. The amiable Southern California weather certainly helped!

One Saturday afternoon I was exploring a nearby college campus when I noticed a Fine Arts department. It was unlocked. I went inside and found some piano practice rooms.

"Cool!" I said to myself and commenced to bang away gleefully for the next couple hours.

The next weekend, I came back and played some more, and the next, and the next... until I was jogging or rollerblading to the campus three or four times a week. I started bringing notepads, and then a dictaphone, and soon found myself writing, practicing, and recording songs regularly, just like in the "good old days". This musical productivity made me very happy, and I kept it up.

When I came back to Virginia in November, I lost most of my musical momentum, thanks to a new apartment full of roaches and no nearby pianos. The week before Thanksgiving I found time to record "A Flat for Effort", my first guitar-only song in years. December yielded "Been Too Long" and its longer, evil twin "Been Way Too Long".

1997 opened up wimpily. I spent my weekends traveling or filling out grad school applications. But in February, I had some weekends off and managed to record five songs in just one month, a feat I hadn't managed in several years! March was taken over by beach week in Florida, a return trip to California, and girlfriend troubles.

April was pretty dead until the 19th, when I woke up determined to knock out some tunes... Six of them! Five were half-finished instrumentals and the sixth, "Artificial Life" was a hastily assembled just-get-it-over-with affair, but the bottom line was that I was finished! When the tape ran out half way through the backwards-sample "Here's to the Future", a huge smile lit my face.

Recording Notes:

I used a Yamaha SY55 keyboard workstation for most of the music, occasionally adding a Roland TR-505 drum machine or an acoustic guitar. I recorded to a four-track and used a cheap reverb box (perhaps too frequently!). I mastered to cassette using a Pioneer CT-W250 tape deck.

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

Where's My Muse? tape cover

Here are some scans of the original CD cd (from 2000-12-24):

NOTE: Looks like my scanner's dying. These scan are blurry and the colors look awful. Sorry!

Where's My Muse? front outside (2000) Where's My Muse? front inside (2000) Where's My Muse? back inside (2000) Where's My Muse? back outside (2000) Where's My Muse? sticky label (2000)

Songs

SPCA

People's reaction to The Hermit had been mixed. They said they liked the music, but thought the lyrics were too geeky, dark, and/or introverted. In reaction, I decided to "sell out" and try to make a universally likeable album.

So, while "Millions of Monkeys" kicked off The Hermit with a punk feel, "SPCA" announces my intention to make something more poppy and dancy.

My first stab was this peppy/poppy song about a puppy. I felt I needed to write about something other than myself. And what is more universally likeable than a puppy?

This particular pup is in the SPCA. He's eager for someone to adopt him. He's worried that if no one picks him, he'll get put to sleep and then cremated.

Yeah, it's a little gloomy and "lonely guy"-ish, not helped by the subdued vocals. However, I think my life was actually going great at the time. I don't know why it sounds so glum.

Lyrics to "SPCA":

INTRO:
  ssss pppp cccc aaaa
  ssss pppp cccc aaaa

VERSE:
  the fire, the fire, the fire
  it's burning higher and higher and higher
  the flame, the flame, the flame
  they're gonna put me away

  who will take me over?
  who will bring me home?
  they wanna put me under
  but i don't wanna go

CHORUS:
  who will take me over?
  who will bring me home?
  they wanna put me under
  but i don't wanna go

SOLO:
  ssss pppp cccc aaaa
  ssss pppp cccc aaaa
  ssss pppp cccc aaaa
  ssss pppp cccc aaaa

CHORUS:
  who will take me over?
  and who will bring me home?
  they wanna put me under
  but i don't wanna go
  no

BRIDGE:
  ssss pppp cccc aaaa
  ssss pppp cccc aaaa
  ssss pppp cccc aaaa
  ssss pppp cccc aaaa

VERSE:
  the door the door the door
  i wanna live some more

CHORUS:
  who will take me over?
  and who will bring me home?
  they wanna put me under
  but i don't wanna go
  no

  so who will take me over?
  and who will bring me home?
  who will roll me over?
  and give this doggie a bone?

  give this doggie a home
  

Solid Blue

Musically, this was an attempt to sound like New Order and Depeche Mode. Although it's dancy, it's also gentle and sad, miles away from the punk 'tude of The Hermit.

The lyrics are about a break-up. The girl dumps the guy. She tries to comfort him, saying the sky is "solid blue". Blue horizons meant unlimited opportunities and therefore optimism.

The guy is cynical of the girl's attempts at comforting him. He refuses to be cheered up. He turns her "sky is blue" idea into the more pessimistic-sounding "the sky is empty" (which it would be if it were blue).

In case you're wonding, no, the lyrics weren't autobiographical. Everything was groovy for me at the time. I was just trying to write about something other than myself. My heart wasn't really in this song, and it ends up sounding sappy, which is rare for Tripecac.

Lyrics to "Solid Blue":

VERSE:
  you tell me that you need to go
  and then my heart runs cold
  you tell me that you need some time,
  time to spend on your own

CHORUS:
  "look up", you say, "and you will see
  the sky is solid blue
  a cloudless day, a memory
  our dreams will all come true"

VERSE:
  you tell me not to worry
  you tell me not to cry
  you comfort me instinctively
  but i'm breaking up inside

CHORUS:
  "and now, now" you say
  "now is the time for goodbye
  a hug, a kiss, and a parting glance
  you're gone and i have died"

BRIDGE:
  and i said,
  "why must you do this?
  and why must i care?
  why am i here?
  and why are you there?"

  look up, look up,  look up, look up
  look up, look up, look up, look up
  look up, look up,  look up, look up
  look up, look up, look up, look up

  "you will be happy"
  "no, i don't think so"
  "you will be happy"
  "no, i don't think so"

  i will lose everything
  i will have nothing
  i will lose everything
  i will have nothing

  my glass is empty
  the sky is empty
  my life is empty
  the sky is empty
  

The Trap

This was my third straight "dance" song. I didn't really like "SPCA" or "Solid Blue", and hoped this one would be the charm. Musically, it's pretty peppy, a definitely improvement. The vocals are also more engaging (though cruder). Lyrically, though, well...

I had started writing a song about an ex-girlfriend from a town named Surry. She used to tell me how peaceful is was where she lived.

After writing a couple verses, I decided to abort the idea. I was dating a different girl at the time, and didn't want to upset things by singing about an ex-girlfriend in a song. I changed the town name (from "Surry" to "Shelley") and then mangled the rest of the song into an exaggerated drama.

The lyrics were turning nasty again, like something you're hear in The Hermit. I think this was because I was disgusted with the cheesy romantic vocals on "Solid Blue".

The "Stop Playing the Blues" excerpt at the end was probably accidental (since I was recording onto the same 4-track tape). I left it in because it gives a clue as to the identity of the ex-girlfriend, since Jon liked her too.

Lyrics to "The Trap":

INTRO:
  here
  here was
  here was a
  here was a girl
  here was a girl that
  here was a girl that i'd
  here was a girl that i'd just
  here was a girl that i'd just met

VERSE 1:
  she said
  "in shelley you can see the stars
  you can lie on your back
  in the cool, deep grass

  and in shelley you're at one with god
  you can smell the cows
  and watch the dogs and horses play

TRANSITION:
  it's a serious offer
  it's not just another penny in your coffer
  chastity is not my game
  i promise you're not just another flame"

VERSE 2:
  she said
  "in shelley you can meet my folks
  my mom's really sweet and a good cook too

  my dad likes to keep to himself
  but you'll soon find out
  he has a great sense of humor

TRANSITION:
  it's a serious offer
  it's not just another penny in the coffer
  chastity, it ain't my game
  you can take it from me: i want more than a fling"

CHORUS:
  oh how can i say no?
  oh how can i say no?

VERSE 3:
  she was breathing down my neck
  all hot n' heavy 'bout committal
  and for the first time i noticed
  she was getting big around middle

  my eyes went wide and i surmised a trap;
  could this be true?
  she saw my fear  and bit my ear and said
  "i'll never let go of you!

  ha ha ha ha"

CHORUS:
  oh but now i gotta go!
  oh now i gotta go!

BRIDGE:
  run away run away it's a trap a trap
  run away run away it's a trap a trap
  gotta get away get away it's a trap a trap
  gotta get away get away it's a trap a trap

CHORUS:
  oh now i gotta go!
  oh now i gotta go!

VERSE:
  she said "in shelly you can be my man"
  and i turned and ran just as fast as i can
  i didn't stop till i got home
  and just to be safe i disconnected my phone

  so much for her serious offer
  she was terribly upset that i scoffed her
  and while i'm glad i escaped her
  she'll probably claim that i raped her

CHORUS:
  oh what a ho
  oh what a ho
  oh what a ho
  oh what a ho

  stop playing the blues
  

Another Anchovies Practice

For some reason, I didn't think the dance theme was working. So what did I do instead? I recorded a weird piano-based jam, and then threw on some silly lyrics. There's definitely a huge contrast between this and the first three ("dance") songs.

Lyrically and musically, this makes fun of the post-Jon Anchovies practices. I mimicked the remaining bandmates (Allen, Anand, Luke, and myself); great voice work, huh? :)

The practices weren't actually this bad. We didn't get hostile or insulting. Instead, I think the other guys just got bored.

The music was a cheesy attempt at an "epic" medley. I lost interest in finishing or polishing it, and recorded it (along with the mostly improvised vocals) to get it off my keyboard and 4-track.

I've added back the weird climactic ending ("there's conflict in...") which I had omitted from the first CD version.

Lyrics to "Another Anchovies Practice":

INTRO:
  hello, this is the mas--
  hey, can you please turn that down?
  all right
  this is the master anchovies
  we're gonna play for you a song we've been practicing this summer
  and, umm, it's really, really, really, really, uh, new
  and someone is screaming out my window
  so we have to keep it a little quiet
  anyway, so, okay...
  let's get out your bass, anand
  turn that stuff down!
  all right, um, all right
  get out your bass and
  luke, you'll be playing on the drums
  turn that stuff off!
  here we go

LUKE:
  travis, i don't know how to, uh, oh shoot
  i don't know what key it is...
  g'day, everybody
  g'day, g'day
  the master anchovies

TRAV:
  someday i'll look outside
  and i'll see the little kitty
  lying on the floor of the chicken coop
  pecked to death by a thousand angry hens
  for stealing their babi-- [cough]
  for stealing their babies

CHORUS:
  and someday we'll be famous guys
  and someday we'll have gorgeous wives

LUKE:
  sorry, travis, i can't really play today
  or sing, or count to three; sorry

TRAV:
  okay
  someday i'll punch luke in the nose
  for turning up his amp too loud

LUKE:
  what?
  hey, i didn't turn it up at all! you did!

TRAV:
  shut up! someday i'll punch --

LUKE:
  no, no no you shut up. travis sucks!

TRAV:
  someday i'll leave this bunch of losers

LUKE:
  i'm gonna go home
  i'm not kidding

CHORUS:
  someday i'll leave this bunch of losers
  and someday i'll have a nice computer

LUKE:
  oh man, that's too much
  i'm going now
  good bye

ALLEN:
  hey, travis
  i think luke's leaving
  you shouldn't fun of him
  i mean, he can't help being australian and all

LUKE:
  stop it!  stop it!

ALLEN:
  travis, you better quit
  travis, you're kind of being a jerk today
  i'm gonna have to go home
  all right, i'll see you later

ANAND:
  maybe we'll have practice next week
  yeah, good bye
  i'm leaving
  good bye

TRAV:
  i think y'all should go home
  cool it off, and maybe next time we'll have a nice practice
  this one stinks
  bye guys
  hey, don't slam that door!

TRAV:
  hey, mom

MOM:
  yes travis?

TRAV:
  practice was kinda sucky

MOM:
  oh... why?

TRAV:
  i don't know if i'm gonna be playing in the band this summer



  there's conflict in the anchovies
    there's conflict in the anchovies
  what are we going to do?
    what am i going to do?

  there's conflict in the anchovies
    there's conflict in the anchovies
  what am i going to do?
    what am i going to do?

  there's conflict in
    conflict

  there's conflict in the anchovies
    there's conflict in the anchovies
  what are we going to do?
    what am i going to do?

  there's conflict in the anchovies
    there's conflict in the anchovies
  allen, anand, travis, and luke
    allen, anand, travis, and luke

  there's conflict in the anchovies
    there's conflict in the anchovies

  [animal noises, burping]

  gonna drink some beer and play on the computer

  this bunch of geeks
  this bunch of geeks
  you know
  i think we're just
  i think we're just worthless
  

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?
  

Return to Duckville

It had been several months since my last song ("Where's My Muse"). Thanks to TV and the fact that my keyboard wasn't in a convenient location, I made very little music.

This was the most finished song idea I had at the time. It was a sparse, jazzy dance groove. I happened to record it on the same part of the 4-track tape as the last two songs on The Hermit. Most of the vocals were from "Amateur Night" and the "Interview" from The Hermit. I sang a few chanted a few new lines in response to the excerpts.

I called it "Return to Duckville" because the excerpts have Beth in them; a "theme song" of ours was "Little Ducky". Also, the clav part sounds like quacking in some parts.

I've added back the "Super Studs" excerpts at the end. It sounds horrible, but is consistent with the album's increasingly nostalgic tone.

Lyrics to "Return to Duckville":

TRAV:
  1, 2, 3, hit it

BETH:
  oh, why don't you tell us your inspiration
  for this particular monkey song?

TRAV: [new]
  for this particular monkey song
  for this particular monkey song
  for this particular monkey song
  for this particular monkey song
  [repeat]

BETH:
  and something plopped in my eye
  she was?
  what was your inspiration?

TRAV:
  oh, well, i rarely have inspiration
  i just kind of wing it

BETH:
  smelly, smelly, why do i like him?

TRAV: [new]
  return to duckville
  return to duckville
  return to duckville
  return to duckville
    [repeat]

BETH:
  that rotted, that rotted...

TRAV:
  anyway, as i was saying
  this was at least my 44th album
  and if you out there
  if you want any of the other ones,
  i have them on back order.
  all you need to do is give me a ring
  my phone number is, uh...

BETH:
  decompose, decompose
  pew pew, smelly, pew
  thank you

ANAND:
  it was a saturday

???:
  bicycle

ANAND:
  she screamed for help but no one could hear
  the guy kept running and figured he was in the clear

ANAND, and then ALLEN+TRAV:
  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)
    (go away!)

  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!)

ALLEN:
  they walked back up the mall and returned the purse
  the lady --
  

Clearing the Cobwebs

It had now been over a year since my last song. I was ready to record a "real" song ("I Don't Do Hills") but needed to free up space on my keyboard. This was the most complete song idea I had on there at the time, so I recorded it quickly, as-is. I didn't bother to add vocals to it.

The title is a reference to how long it had been since I had finished a song.

I Don't Do Hills

I recorded this simple and gentle jazz/rock ditty for my mom on Mother's Day 1996. It's about her reluctance to bike up big hills. She actually used to say, "I don't do hills". The lyrics are repetitive (cyclical - get it?).

The bicycle noises are my spinning a bike tire and pedals. The wind noises are completely fake!

Lyrics to "I Don't Do Hills":

VERSE:
  i don't do hills
  i don't do hills
  i don't do hills
  i don't do hills

  come on mom

CHORUS:
  you can, you can
  you can make it if you try, you try
  pedal, push, or ask dad for help
  once you're at the top
  you'll fly, you'll fly,
  you'll fly and sigh and smile

VERSE:
  i don't do hills
  i don't do hills
  i don't do hills
  i don't do hills

  come on mom

CHORUS:
  you can, you can
  you can make it if you try, you try
  pedal, push, or ask dad for help
  once you're at the top
  you'll fly, you'll fly,
  you'll fly and sigh and smile

BRIDGE:

CHORUS:
  you can, you can
  you can make it if you try, you try
  pedal, push, or ask dad for help
  once you're at the top
  you'll fly, you'll fly,
  you'll fly and sigh and smile

VERSE:
  i don't do hills
  i don't do hills
  i don't do hills
  i don't do hills

  come on mom

CHORUS:
  you can, you can
  you can make it if you try, you try
  pedal, push, or ask dad for help
  once you're at the top
  you'll fly, you'll fly,
  you'll fly and sigh and smile

  you'll fly and sigh and smile

BRIDGE:
  people flying by
  roads flying by
  people flying by
  roads flying by
  

A Flat for Effort

This was my first guitar-only song since I had gotten my SY55. It was two tracks of acoustic guitar which I played along to my drum machine (which is very faint).

I hated this song for years, but kind of like it now; it's mellow and relaxing. Maybe after listening to all those Trex recordings my ears are getting used to Tripecac guitar!

The title is a pun on "A for effort". An "A flat" is a note that's pretty hard to hit on a guitar. At least for me.

What you hear now is much longer than the excerpt included on the first version of the CD. This is the restored original. It's a little more annoying musically, but I think it does a better job of capturing my mellow mood at the time.

Good Riddance

I was making fun of my guitar playing on "A Flat for Effort". The music in the background is "Stop Playing the Blues" (from The hermit), which was a musical pun; I thought my guitar sounded bluesy. Get it?

Lyrics to "Good Riddance":

good riddance
  

Been Too Long

This rhythm-heavy jam is actually a lot closer stylistically to recent Tripecac than to the other songs on the album. At the time, I considered it a throwaway, mere filler for the end of side 1 of the tape.

The faint talking at 2:53 is from the same recording that I used on "Acid on Hoboes".

In 2000 I let my musician friend Andy listen to Where's My Muse, which was the only Tripecac album I had on mp3 at that point. This song was his favorite. I don't know why. Maybe he liked the hyper drums?

Lyrics to "Been Too Long":

they disappear when the dead skin goes away
ewww
  

Been Way Too Long

I felt that "Been Too Long" was too mechanical and sterile. I decided to try something "looser" and ended up creating this sound collage my first "epic jam" as Tripecac.

I decided to slow it down (to half-speed) and re-record it. On top of it I improvised reverb-laden keyboard solos.

There are three parts to the song:

Part 1 (0:00 - 2:26) is mostly residue from previous recordings. Tracks 1+2 are musical leftovers from "SPCA" and "Been Too Long", and then some improvised keyboard percussion. Track 3 starts off with talking from the "Interview" at the end of The Hermit, and then turns into guitar. Track 4 is a distant-sounding keyboard solo, recorded live.

Part 2 (2:27 - 13:18) is the main chunk. Tracks 1+2 are "Been Too Long" played at half speed. Track 3 is guitar. Track 4 is the keyboard solo, switching between warbly synth sounds and a crisper EP sound. There's lots of reverb and distortion to give it a "live" feel.

Part 3 (13:19 - end) is short and sweet. It's a musical excerpt from "I Don't Do Hills".

Lyrics to "Been Way Too Long":

FROM "Interview":
  i started mailing tapes to my cousin kim in about 1986,
  which was 8 years ago
  i think in all i mailed her about 30 tapes,
  so it had hundreds and hundreds of songs on it

  but anyway, since then i have done a few albums with ipecac
  now, ipecac was a band i was with from about 1988 to 1989
  and there were just two of us: a sax player and myself
  i think that ipecac did about maybe 8 albums.

  and then i was in this band called the master anchovies
  and while we didn't really sit down and record our stuff
    like in a studio situation,
  we often recorded our live sessions,
  and i put them all together so we have at least an album of that
  so that's, what, 9?

  and then also i had a somewhat lo-fidelity
    solo album of my own from about 1989
  and it's not very good
  but i did play some of the music on soundtracks for english projects and stuff
  so that's 10

  since then, all right, i did at least 1, 2, 3 and then this one,
  so 3 more albums, and this, that's 4,
  so 14 plus however many i sent to my cousin kim
  about 30, i said
  so that's about 44 albums

FROM "I Don't Do Hills":
  people flying by
  dogs flying by
  people flying by
  dogs flying by
  

Tick

I never finished this song, and always considered it a throwaway. Dad liked it, however, and asked me to put it on Dad's Picks.

The vocals were adlibbed, and mostly inaudible.

This fully restored version includes the stupid "oh yeah" vocal and the musical variation at the end. It also ends with "i hate bugs", which seques nicely into the next song ("Roach Attack").

Lyrics to "Tick":

INTRO:
  ha ha
  this one doesn't have a title or anything

VERSE:
  grow and grow and grow and grow

  [inaudible]

  'cause i'm a tick
  and i'll take every drop you've got

  oh yeah
  oh

  [inaudible]

  ha ha ha

  shoot, it's another ???
  i hate those things
  ??? everything

  yuck, i hate bugs
  

Roach Attack

My apartment (in Alexandria, VA) had tons of roaches! They were a big a source of stress for me. This short instrumental was my "ode" to them. Ugh...

I don't know what a swinging synth groove has to do with roaches. This is probably one of the worst titles I've picked!

Thing starts off soothing. You can picture me in my apartment, relaxing. Ahhh...

Then a martial theme comes in at 0:42. It's supposed to represent the roach army. Here they come!

The battle starts at 1:20. Chaos ensues. Body parts and bad notes fly all over the place. It isn't pretty.

Finally, things quiet back down. But the initial, comfortable groove is lost. The mood is still broken, still twitchy. A jarring guitar thrashing in the background hints at more bad things to come.

It finally ends with some "psycho" music.

This is a much longer version than the one on the 2000 CD. There's more bad notes, but more good notes too! Lots more notes! And more is better, right?

Well, at least we get to hear the story more completely. Before, the song just had the relaxing beginning part; now it has the comfrontational bits too.

Guitar In Out

This is a very short excerpt of guitar strumming. Return of the "roaches", perhaps?

Half an Intro

This is a short instrumental snippet that doesn't really go anywhere. It may have been planned as an intro for something. However, it's awfully busy for an intro. So I guess it was just an aborted song idea.

First Thing Intro

This is a short excerpt of some of the music for "First Thing in the Morning". I think I recorded it as a test, and then forgot to erase it from the tape. So it serves as a kind of intro (or reprise).

First Thing in the Morning

I wrote and recorded the first version of this on piano in California on 1996-11-03. When I got back to Alexandria, I recorded it with my Yamaha SY55.

The lyrics are a more pessimistic and whiny sequel to "I Don't Wanna" (1993). However, instead of complaining about having to work (which I didn't mind), I'm complaining about having to deal with boring people.

The talking during the bridge is from an "audio tour" I made of an apartment I was house-sitting in Alexandria before I went to California. The full version is captured in "Alexandria Chat" (on Trex's NoVaSoCa).

Lyrics to "First Thing in the Morning":

INTRO:
  hello?

VERSE:
  i get up early, brush my teeth and take a shower
  put on my clothes and have a bite to eat
  wave to my mirror and i try to feel empowered
  as i pull my fancy shoes onto my feet

  walk to my car and i turn on the radio
  but they are hyper, mentally diapered
  they don't say anything i don't already know
  but they're making money quote being funny unquote

CHORUS:
  first thing in the morning
  i hate them, i hate them

VERSE:
  drive to the bus stop and i take my place in line
  i check my watch about 200 times
  i don't know anyone so i just read my book
  sit by myself because i don't really mind

  i finally get to work and i'm the only person there
  that's the way i like it; colleagues annoy me
  they don't say anything i don't already know
  all they care about is work and money
  oh

CHORUS:
  i go to work and put my hours in
  and i hate it, i hate
  they're inanities get boring
  i hate them, i hate them

  oh yeah!

VERSE:
  i get home early, lay around and watch tv
  i call my friends and talk about old times
  i keep on wondering what has happened to me
  because i planned to be productive in my prime

  now all i seem to care about is prime time nbc
  my keyboard and my brain are collecting dust
  i don't do anything i don't already do
  no one to force me to try something new

CHORUS:
  last thing in the evening
  i hate me, i hate me
  regret the way i used the day
  i'm wasting, i'm wasting away

BRIDGE:
  hello, how was it?
  i've never been inside of a closed refrigerator before
  was it nice?

  here's the sound of the air conditioner [whoosh]
  it's kinda cold in here, which is what i like it
  there's free utilities, so i can turn up the a/c as loud as i want
  or as high as i want
  it does get loud though
  okay i'm gonna gonna flush the toilet...
  here's the toilet flushing [flush]
  okay wanna hear the sink?

  there's little bits of gum all over the sink
  because often i fall asleep with gum in my mouth
  um, and then when i get up in the morning
  i brush my teeth and all the little gum bits go all over the place

  and, of course, whenever i brush my teeth, um, i'm very sloppy
  because i'm an aggressive brusher
  they don't call me "travis mister aggressive brusher" (ab) for nothing
  how about that?

  [inaudible]

  i don't think that's gonna work
  all right, let me try to find something else in here
  here's another air conditioning unit
  air conditioner, with some hangers, and a hat
  um, see, i'm supposed to...
  actually, you know monday i leave to go back to california

VERSE:
  i worry that i'm already metamorphing
  into something someone as boring as them
  i'll be just a number with no creativity
  flattened up for slaugher like a hen

  but some of that fat i know was served by my own hand
  i'm not treating myself much better than them
  i don't say anything you haven't heard before
  my muse is gone, my muse is dead

CHORUS:
  first thing in the morning
  i hate it, i hate it
  last thing in evening
  i hate it, i hate it
  

The SS God Is Love

My family took a vacation to Vieques (near Puerto Rico) in December 1996. On a deserted beach we found an old, abandoned boat, half submerged in the sand and with "God Is Love" written on the hull. Dad and I decided to see if we could get it to float. With Jess's help, we spent about an hour scooping sand out of it and pushing it towards the water. I took pictures while Dad and Jess pushed it the last few inches into the water and got inside it. It sank almost immediately. I used a picture of the boat for the cover to Sunday Sampler.

This song tells the story. The music was specifically design to be "family-oriented", so it's catchy and simple. The vocals are gentle.

Lyrics to "The SS God Is Love":

VERSE 1:
  let's get it right
  let's look it over
  let's do it right
  let's tip it over

  you get some poles
  we'll make a lever
  i'll find a scoop
  say, aren't we clever?

  okay, now rock it
  and push it harder
  each time i'll prop it
  a little bit higher

CHORUS:
  the ss god is love

VERSE 2:
  oh hi there, jessica       "hi"
  you wanna help us?         "okay"
  we need to scoop this out  "hmmm"
  so dad can lift it         "oh"

  now help us slide it       "all right"
  down to the water          "oh neat"
  across the ramp            "i'll help"
  a little farther           "okay"

  we're almost there
  here comes the tide
  it's finally moving
  so hop inside!

CHORUS:
  the ss god is love

VERSE 3:
  you're setting sail
  across the sea
  but now the surf's
  up to your knees

  i'll get the camera
  hold up a number
  i think the boat
  is going under

  you gotta bail
  you gotta row
  you gotta keep
  up with the flow

  so hold on tight
  and plug the holes
  i think we're sinking
  we're losing the boat

  the ss god is love
  oh it has floundered
  in three feet of water

CHORUS:
  the ss god is love
  the ss god is love
  the ss god is love
  the ss god is love
  

Analyzing Friendships to Death

This is really boring! I was reading an essay I had written in California.

You can also hear bits of "First Thing in the Morning". Don't ask me why. Not much quality control on this song.

There's also a quote from "Anchovy Rock". And some acoustic guitar. A little bit of everything.

Lyrics to "Analyzing Friendships to Death":

LEFT:
  [rooster]
  you have been hurt before
  first thing in the morning
  i hate it, i hate it

RIGHT:
  keep in mind:
  while you will meet a finite number of people through your life,
  you will have the opportunity to acquaint yourself
    with an even finiter number

  since your days are limited, your hours are limited,
  your each second is limited,
  you undoubtably and necessarily undertake acquaintance management
  that is, you must budget the time you spend with certain people

  imagine, for example, you are seated at a bus stop
  there are a handful of people present
  knowing that the next bus isn't due for another 20 minutes,
  and feeling talkative,
  you decide to start up a conversation with one of the people,
  none of whom you know

  so which one shall it be?
  the serious-faced but apparently successful businessman
    in his expensive designer suit?
  the attractive young lady scowling at you?
  the 12-year old oriental boy holding a soccer ball?

  the fact is, you must decide whom to talk to,
  whom to invest your time in

  and this happens w/ friend-management as well
  it is up to you to decide who to visit this evening
  it is up to you to decide which of your friendships
    you want to (try to) strengthen

  so, every day we make these decisions
  when the attractive young lady scowls at you,
  she might be doing it unintentionally,
  but then again,
  she might be signalling you not to pursue a conversation with her

  you do the same

  now, think hard: whom do you want to invest your time in?

  of course, the question that you are probably more interested in is:
  who wants to invest time in you?

  optimally, those 2 questions will have the same answer(s)

  [...]

  hello

  mouth and hits you in the face

  hey wake you
  you getting bored?
  

Zappaccino

This sounds like Frank Zappa after too many coffees. Not much structure. Not much value, actually.

Hoboes on Acid

This was originally called "(H)oboes on Acid" because it has an instrument that sounds kinda like an oboe. The talking is a reading of an essay I wrote in 1995.

It's a little distorted in bits. There's also a burst of background music which sounds like IPECAC.

Lyrics to "Hoboes on Acid":

good riddance    
    
is anyone happy?

is anyone happy most of the time?

i just wonder what i've become

will anyone put in solitaire become depressed?
is that the "cause" of my unhappiness - the solitude?

i wrote these lines slowly, lingeringly
but even now as i reread them they are flat

sometimes i think that i am only truly happy when i am in the presence of a woman
the times i spend w/ guys be nice and rowdy (most often mentally)
but it is not nourishing
i always get tired of them and wish they'd go

but the catch is that i don't think girls value my company
  any more than i value other guys'
is it a truism that comfort can only come from women?

i'm not talking about sex
i'm talking about attention
simple "being there" companionship
someone to tell me i'm alive and important

[it cannot be just an "airheaded" or unattractive girl, either
it has to be someone that i feel is important
these drugs] 
have put me so far behind in the areas of life that really matter
health family happiness

well what isn't a drug?
what can i do to get people to like me
what can i do to get lots of money
two concerns ???
she's got what i want: a bunch of admiring comforting friends
i have what she wants: money
???
i want to no longer worry about finding friends
she wants to no longer worry about finding money
but then what will we worry about 
can we ever find what we lack 

tomorrow
did the beautiful maternal in high school ever worry about this stuff
??? most coveted boys ???
is my life goal ever ???
or is this a result of my ???
???
???
have to turn off the tv
???
  

Acid on Hoboes

Funny title, but dull song. I was still reading the same letter or journal entry from "Hoboes on Acid". The last part is about a bad sunburn.

Lyrics to "Acid on Hoboes":

[reading a letter]
???
the blisters are still there
but they disappear when the dead skin goes away

the swelling is almost all gone now
i can move my arm again
and i can sleep without taking more aspirin

my world was shattered because of a massive quake on two --
  

California Greetings

The lyrics are from a letter I wrote to an ex-girlfriend while I was in California in 1996. They are "interlaced"; the left and right voices take turns reading sentences from different bits of the letter. I never sent the letter.

The mellow background music is intended to be "wistful".

There's a longer version of this song on South or Southeast. I had to stick with a shorter version on the Where's My Muse CD due to time constraints. I don't think any of the other songs on Where's My Muse are shorter; just this one.

Lyrics to "California Greetings":

LEFT:
  and that reminds me all the more strongly of how much time has passed since 1991

RIGHT:
  14th of june, 1996

LEFT:
  life in general has changed by bits and leaps

RIGHT:
  a letter than was never sent

LEFT:
  i'm the same person, really, but...

RIGHT:
  i don't know why, but i had an overwhelming urge to write to you tonight

LEFT:
  but my "self" has been tested and shown back at me

RIGHT:
  here it is, 1:30am and i was all curled up for bed tonight

LEFT:
  the dice have been rolled
  more of my life is set in stone now

RIGHT:
  and then suddenly I felt an intense desire to write to you

LEFT:
  i've made a lot of decisions that i never expected to be making

RIGHT:
  odd, isn't it?

LEFT:
  well, yeah

RIGHT:
  odd, isn't it?

LEFT:
  now that i think of it

RIGHT:
  well, perhaps not
  for one thing, i am where i never really pictured i would be

LEFT:
  enough of the abstract for the moment - my brain is aching

RIGHT:
  i'm in california
  and this is my first time here, my first time travelling free

LEFT:
  was yours where you wrote to me from san francisco?

RIGHT:
  i recalled your trip to san francisco over christmas break, 1991
  

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
  

What Could Have Been

This has a brain-dead drum part, and semi-funky bass, clav, and EP parts. It was so unsubtle that I gave up on it. I recorded it to tape to get it off the keyboard.

I think its name refers to lost potential. Kinda appropriate.

Here's to the Future

This is a backwards version of something; I'm not sure what. The title is ironic, since the music is looking back rather than forward.