Archive for the ‘Mixtape’ Category

I don’t care what rhymes with hug me.

September 6, 2013


I have written a lot of songs. I’m pretty proud of them. I know that not every lyric penned is that perfect, life-changing message, but by and large, I say what I need to say, and in a way that seems to work, at least for me. Today, rather than writing about the deeper things on my mind, the toils and troubles of being alive in an imperfect world (screws fall out all the time) I decided to pull just a few of my absolute favorite lines from Strawfoot’s catalog. I know not everything I write is great, but I feel like there are great moments hiding everywhere in this world, if you look hard enough—even in my songs.

It’s also fun to step back and chart my growth as a writer, from time to time. The band’s sound has evolved, and so have I. So, without further adieu, here’s a nice little time line of my lines.


I can tell by the way you look, clear as homemade gin

Your mouth is full of hornets, and your body’s built for sin

 –Achilles Heel, Chasing Locusts

You grab the bottle, I’ll hold the glass

We’ll toast the future and forget the past

You got an itch, I lost my cool

You ran your mouth, I broke the golden rule

–Effigy, Chasing Locusts


I wish I had a conscience,

A voice I could obey

I wish I had a heart

But my chest is made of hay

Wish I had a fiddle, for on it I would play

I would play until the lord takes me away

–Fiddle and Jug, Chasing Locusts


I’d scream right up to heaven if I thought it’d do me good.

I’d wash my hands of sin if I really thought I could

I’d speak my mind right now if I had half a mind to give

And I’d lay right down and die if I had ever really lived

–Broken Crown, How We Prospered


Well you think your words are final,

That you speak the gospel truth

But you speak them with a forked tongue

And a fang left for a tooth

–Hole, How We Prospered


Whiskey in the morning, scotch the night before

My back is full of carpet burns from snow angels on the floor

–Seven Ways, How We Prospered


I gave you everything, till everything was gone.

I’m marching on.

–Funeral March, How We Prospered



Go ahead and lie to me, say I’m the only one

I could be your Icarus if you’d only be my sun

–Poison Me, 1000 Tragedies


Abuse me like a drug, drink me like gin

For every veil that’s shed, I find another sin

–Unveiled, 1000 Tragedies


I never meant to shatter such a fragile little thing

It was not an invitation for the sadness that you bring

Deliver Me, 1000 Tragedies


You didn’t love me, until I went away

Until I tried to leave you, it didn’t matter if I stayed

–Goddamned Shadow, 1000 Tragedies


You’ve been lying to yourself more than anyone but me

As my boot scraped cross your floor you hoped I wouldn’t see

Are you the victim or the killer, whose heart is beating now

I’ve heard more stories than our pages should allow

–Telltale, 1000 Tragedies


You’re a troubled mind, an empty soul

A catalyst, a rabbit’s hole

I hate to say, though we know it’s true

I have to fall out of love with you

–Fool, 1000 Tragedies


I hate my wrinkles, my skin and bones,

I hate my weary face

It’s always staring back at me,

It whispers sweet disgrace

I hate the things you said to me

And all the damage done

Mostly I just hate the fact I’m not the only one

–Wrecking Ball, 1000 Tragedies


You were always so far away, even when you were so near

Even when you were in my arms

You were never really here

I’m tired of your ghost, and I’m tired of the blame

I’m tired of excuses and I’m tired of the pain,

You tried to fly away but keep rapping at my door

But to still the beating of my heart I cry out nevermore.

–Nevermore, 1000 Tragedies


I miss your taste, your warm embrace,

Lips fuller than the moon.

But I I despised the long goodbyes,

And all the promises of soon.

We lived through all the seasons

And stood through all the weather

So how’d we end up here,

I could swear we came together

We lived a thousand tragedies

We’ll live a thousand more

And I’ll just keep on dancing

No longer keeping score

–1000 Tragedies, 1000 Tragedies





New Music Monday: This ain’t Mary Poppins…

September 2, 2013


When we play a Beggar’s Carnivale, we usually learn about 10-15 songs per show. Some we write, some are existing originals, and many are covers, as requested by performers. By and large, our covers are exactly what you’d expect of us…Tom Waits, Devotchka, , Gogol Bordello, etc.




Sometimes, the requests are…out of our comfort zone.


But we persevere, and do our best to make them ours.


When Jeez Loueeze approached us with Chim Chim Cher-ee from Mary Poppins, my first reaction was one of dread.


A Disney song? Us?


But then I remembered something. I am a rather large fan of Dick Van Dyke. He’s one of the last great song and dance men in Hollywood.


Plus, how can you say no to Jeez?


So we learned it. Played it. And honestly, it’s become one of my favorite songs to sing, original or otherwise.


So, enjoy, download it while you can.




Last Practice…

April 24, 2012

This week we stepped away from Django Tango and other such pieces to focus on original transitions for the next Beggar’s Carnivale, May 19th. We’re giving the key characters their own themes, and scoring the action. Professor Thump and Baron Von Winterbach are a regular Rogers and Hammerschtein.

The first piece is a little bit of Too-Me’s theme song. Just a taste, though…You’ll have to come to the show for the full shebang.

The other piece we worked on is the Knock’em Outs/Bon Bons Theme, two variations on the same progression.

All in all, a good practice. Only two chairs were broken.

Rhapsody in bloom.

April 15, 2012


Rhapsody in Blue.


I can still remember the very first time I heard it. Wafting through the house on a warm Sunday afternoon, I was all of five. My mom was here and there, moving about the house, dusting…Dad was laying on the couch listening intently.


I sat down and closed my eyes and listened to the song. Every moment—every ebb and  flow. A story unfolded in my mind, as a child’s imagination took over and went for a ride with Mr. Gershwin, by virtue of Mr. Bernstein. A frantic story of love and loss flashed before my eyes. Forbidden, contested love. Two lovers, desperate for one another, but kept apart by the world, by their lives, by another man. A stronger man, perhaps. A story of fighting for what you want, what you love. A story of overcoming the rational odds and winning. In the end, I suppose it was really just a love story. But at the age of five, it was an epic, and one I’ll never forget.


I have this moment because my parents love good music, more than silence, more than television, more than most. I’m fortunate to have a mother and father so full of passion and appreciation for that which is truly beautiful in this world. It’s the very best quality I learned from them. I still have the vinyl record that played that very first time, pilfered from their collection, always available for a Sunday afternoon.

Duck and Cover: Whose Way?

December 12, 2009


Regrets, I’ve had a few….But then again, too few to mention….

He didn’t write it, but once he sang it, the song was eternally his. He lived and breathed that song.

My Way was adapted in 1969 by Paul Anka from an old French song, Comme d’habitude. He changed the lyrics, kept the music.

Originally, David Bowie intended to record an English adaptation of the song called Even a Fool Learns to Love.

But thankfully, Anka beat him to the punch, purchasing the rights to the song before Bowie had a chance to record.

As a result, a slightly peeved Bowie locked himself in a room with a piano, ashtray and a chaise lounge, ultimately resurfacing with the song Life on Mars, a surreal parody of the song that “got away”.

The liner notes for it even read, “Inspired by Frankie”.

It would seem fate intervened for the audiocrats of the world—just as My Way went on to become one of Mr. Sinatra’s most revered songs, Life On Mars became one of Bowie’s.

But this is neither about fate nor Bowie.

Anka wrote My Way with Frank Sinatra in mind, sculpting his lyrics for Old Blue Eyes specifically.

When it was released, Anka’s record label was angry he didn’t keep it for himself, but Anka said it was for Frank…Only Frank.

In 1973, against Anka’s advice, Elvis Presley put My Way in his set for the Aloha From Hawaii special.

It was well received, ultimately becoming a posthumous hit.

Few people have really earned the right to sing this.

Elvis earned that right.


A lot of people covered this song. Crap loads.

But none of them mattered.

None of them did it their way.

They did it his way, and that way has already been done.

With one exception.

Now, as a self-professed Sinatraphile, I should hate Sid Vicious‘ version with all my heart and soul.

But I don’t. I like it almost as much as the original.


Maybe I’m just a little punk deep down inside, but whether you love the electric guitar and Britt-Punk growls or not, you have to make one admission.

He did it his way.

Whether it was drinking till dawn and chasing skirts on the strip, wearing a polyester jumpsuit and shooting at TV’s or a slow suicide attempt through hard drugs and even harder living, these three never relented from themselves or their demons.

They did what they did, and nobody could stop them. For better or worse they truly did it their way.

Alright, Christmas: Mixtapes and Desperation

December 9, 2009

I love the mixtape.

Or, perhaps, the mix CD, iTunes playlist or podcast, depending on your age and technical abilities.

I’ve lived through almost every era of music recording and playback, save for phonographs and 78 rpms…

I’ve witnessed each evolutionary leap from the vinyl record on, embracing and adapting to each new format as quickly as possible.

I remember 8-Tracks, and I remember 45’s. Hundreds of little plastic inserts littered the carpet in our family room, allowing me to play my single of Come On Eileen on our gigantic, solid oak record player/cabinet. My collection of cassettes and casingles filled countless shoeboxes, shelves and glove compartments.

I remember my first walkman, discman, and the wonderous day I simultaneously discovered MP3s and Napster.

My first record player/tape deck combo was, perhaps, the greatest leap forward. It was a brave new world—a world I could control.

Thus began the dawn of the mixtape for a young, mildly obsessive/compulsive audiophile.

I made mixtapes for everything—mixes of lovesongs, break-up songs, songs for road trips, songs for sleeping…

They became a self-authored soundtrack to my life, as if it were a movie.

This obsession only grew with the advent of MP3s and burnable CDs.

These days, I make a playlist to run up the street for a pack of cigarettes. CDs have become disposable, turning quickly from music to drink coasters, laying unmarked in piles never to be played again.

Thank god for the iPod, my carbon footprint was getting bigger than King Kong driving a Hummer.

My conscience is guilty enough as it is.

I do sometimes use my powers for good.

I remember the first time I was unemployed for the holidays.

It was about ten years ago.

Money was extremely tight and the gift giving season was standing on the top turnbuckle, ready to drop an elbow on my head.

I could only afford to give my family small things; a book, calendar or DVD from the clearance table—it just didn’t feel personal enough.

I had to supplement with homemade gifts. My wife made some cranberry bread, and I made the first CD in what has become one of the longest standing holiday traditions I keep.

The first one was nothing but the classics: Bing’s Christmas was white, Elvis’ was blue. Dean crooned about snow and Ella asked what we were doing New Year’s Eve. Nat King Cole sang about chestnuts while Ray Charles walked us through a winter wonderland.

After that, they began taking a different direction.

Everybody already had all the classics. If they wanted to listen to Wham or Mariah Carey, they need only find the holiday station on radio or satellite.

I wanted to give them what they didn’t already have.

The first few years were easy, as I searched the modern Christmas compilation CDs on Amazon, finding some of the most wonderful, god-awful and sometimes downright absurd modern takes on timeless classics.

The longer I make them however, the harder it becomes to find new songs that don’t suck.

I tried to stop about five years ago, but the anger was palpable when I told my friends and family.

I feared a visit from three ghosts if I didn’t keep the tradition going.

When I was gainfully employed in a nondescript, cubicle-ridden, corporate-casual office, the CD became my annual Christmas card—by my final year as a corporate soldier, I was handing out more than fifty.

And now, here we are, ten years later.

Money is tight and the gift giving season is looming.

It would seem recessions and unemployment are a Christmas tradition, as well.

Just as they were so many years ago, my gifts have reverted back to small trinkets and homemade goods, with the CD being at the top of the list once more.

Times may be a little tough, but so long as there’s music, we can always still dance…

…And I have the perfect mix CD for just such an occasion.

(Retro)spect: Did G-Force Get Coldplayed?

November 20, 2009

Pretty much everything before 1979 is a blur. Bits and pieces flash before my eyes, but they’re fleeting.

1973-1978 are little more than flickering visions of polyester and plaid.

But for the longest time I could swear I was a child obsessed—with a cartoon.

I have visions of jumping around the backyard in a homemade costume, a paper “G” safety-pinned to my chest.

But it’s all so…fuzzy.

Maybe I was just thinking about Voltron.

But I could have sworn there was something before that—better than that.

It drove me nuts trying to grasp at the details of something that may or may not have existed.

20 years later, I was flipping through the channels when I landed on Cartoon Network.

There it was. Or was it?

I could have sworn it was called something else, but there it was.

G-Force: Guardians of the Universe.

I sat for a moment and watched.

Suddenly a flood of memories came rushing back, but…the memories weren’t matching up. Wasn’t this called Battle of the Planets?

And who the fuck are Ace Goodheart and Dirk Daring? Weren’t they named Mark and Jason?

It looked right, but the voices seemed off, the names were wrong…and wasn’t there originally a talking robot involved?

Was my memory that bad? I know I had my fun in college, but I had to have a few functioning brain cells left.

I turned the TV off and went to bed, confused and mildly angry that my childhood memories were so wrong.

But this was in a time before Wikipedia.

It turns out my childhood memories hadn’t failed me. I was right.

Sort of.

in 1972 Kagaku Ninja Tai Gathchaman was created in Japan. A few years later Sandy Frank, a producer most famous for the game show Name that Tune introduced an American dubbed version called Battle of the Planets.

But there were some changes. To hit the American juvenile television market of the late 1970s, Frank removed most of the elements of graphic violence, profanity and transgenderism—and added a talking robot, most likely to cash in on the popularity of a little movie called Star Wars.

So what the hell was on Cartoon Network?

In 1986 the cartoon was retooled as G-Force: Defenders of the Universe by Turner Entertainment. They added back in all the violence, removed the cute little robot and changed the names and voices.

And this is what aired on Cartoon Network.

Now, I like me some violent television, but…

I don’t like watching classic moments from my youth vandalized—even if it was restored it to its original glory.

Even if, in reality, that which I held so dearly was the actual vandalism.

As I read about my beloved childhood cartoon, I began noticing a strange similarity— another dubbed Japanese classic from the “good old days” bared some striking resemblances.

It got me wondering.

Did Voltron coldplay Battle of the Planets?

Now, before I continue, let me stress that as a child, I loved Voltron. Just about every boy my age did.

This isn’t about whether or not Voltron was bad ass. We all know Voltron was bad ass.


Let’s just look at some of the evidence, shall we?

Battle of the Planets was a team of five. Each had a vehicle that fit into their main ship, the Phoenix.

Voltron was a team of five. Each had a vehicle that fit together to form the super robot, Voltron.


Perhaps, but, let’s look at the teams, shall we?

Each color-coordinated team is lead by a stoic leader, level headed and heroic.

Both teams have an impetuous, hot-headed second in command, always ready to contest the decisions of the leader.

Chunky lummox with a heart of gold? Check.

Quirky, little guy with a speech impediment? Check.

Pink-clad female team member named Princess? Check and check. (Why do they always name the female team member Princess?)

Like I said before, I loved me some Voltron as a kid. They formed a blazing sword, for god’s sake.

But this isn’t about which show was better.

Truth be told, this isn’t even about which came first.

It’s really about proving my childhood was real. Those faded memories wrapped up in polyester and plaid—they were real…

As real as skinned knees and birthday cakes, an inevitable part of my childhood that was almost lost to the annals of time.



Vodpod videos no longer available.

Work In Progress

November 7, 2009

forkI’ve been working on our next gig poster, for our show at the Deluxe November 27th…

Here’s what I’ve got so far, as usual, it might be finished, it might not…


Me and Ole’ Honest Abe? We’ve Got History…

October 9, 2009


He lead our country through civil war. He is the great emancipator, and considered the greatest American President by historians.

And now, 200 years after his birth, he is a (Gothic/Americana) rock star.

In honor of Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday, my band, Strawfoot, has taken Lincoln’s words and turned them into a dark song about a man slowly going mad.

Lincoln was a complicated man, he fought a lot of demons. He was also a phenomenal poet.

One of his poems in particular, But Here’s an Object More of Dread really jumped out at me. It was simultaneously ominous and beautiful. It was perfect for Strawfoot.

But Here’s an Object More of Dread was written by Lincoln in 1846, upon returning to his childhood home.

In a letter to close friend, William Johnston, Lincoln wrote:

abe2abe3Included in the letter was the poem But Here’s an Object More of Dread. This being his 200th birthday, it seemed only fitting to bring his poem to life, and put it on our upcoming CD, How We Prospered.

Here it is…I hope we did it justice…the video is just a bunch of our promo shots thrown together to accompany the music…all of the band photography was taken by Marshall Gibson…He’s one of the best at what he does…

I’m no film maker…so if you can do better, please, by all means have at it…we’ll even email you the MP3…

Our CD will be available Halloween.


120 Minutes of my Life

June 7, 2009


I’m old. It’s true.

I’m old enough to be that guy that says things like, “I remember when MTV played music videos”.

So far I’ve lived through 8-tracks, records, cassettes, CDs and into the digital age.


I had an apple IIc…I think I still do, as a matter of fact. I remember black and white TVs, and life before cable or VCRs.

I remember flash cubes, and a little something called the Kodak Disc.

I remember the original versions of all the TV shows and movies being remade these days.

I remember being afraid of the nuclear bomb…(looks like even that’s getting a remake, thanks S. Korea)

I lived through both Bush presidencies, and remember Coke before it was Classic.

I mean, I remember when MTV played music videos.

More specifically, I remember watching videos on MTV during those lovely high school years–riddled with all the angst a Gen Xer could muster up, for reasons still unclear to me.

I remember coming home late at night, sometimes drunk, sometimes not. Sometimes buzzing from potential love, other times, unable to sleep because something didn’t happen, and I wasn’t sure what.

Whatever the reason, I was awake, and they hadn’t invented the internet yet.

That’s when I’d turn on MTV and watch a little show called 120 minutes. This was my education. This delivered me from hair bands, and bubble gum pop.

I’d watch videos from The Jesus and Mary Chain, Bronski Beat, New Order, The Replacements, School of Fish, Trashcan Sinatras, Robyn Hitchcock, KMFDM, Kate Bush, Echo and the Bunnymen, Erasure, Ministry, Sonic Youth, Violent Femmes, Blake Babies, Happy Mondays, Morrissey, Kitchens of Distinction, They Might Be Giants, and Hüsker Dü…

I could go on for days listing the alt.bands of yesteryear…The type of band that was once described as “college radio”, but would now be saddled with the horrible genre label “indie.” It’s a far cry from what I listen to these days, but it’s what got me to where I am now. It taught me what being alternative meant.

I mean, jesus …it introduced me to grunge. It introduced me to Nirvana and Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam…(mad props to Eddie Vedder for not overdosing and/or being dead)

It opened me up to a culture that sat just below the surface of the mainstream, at least for a little while…

Any time I stumble across a song on youtube from this era, I can’t help but pause and listen. I close my eyes and remember my youth. I remember a young, nearly optimistic kid getting his mind blown by something completely new…before I got old and started fearing change.

It almost makes me feel indestructible for a minute or two.

So in honor of that, here’s this:

and what the hell, here’s this:

Cold(play) Case: the final argument…

May 31, 2009

So far, we’ve heard from Satriani and Stevens, both of whom have given compelling arguments regarding the fact that Coldplay:

A. Ripped them off Coldplayed them

B. Sucks horribly.

Let’s recap:

Satriani v Coldplay

Stevens v Coldplay

The final testimony comes from the band Creaky Boards…in what can only be described as musical irony (or perhaps a slap in the face), the song they submit as having been coldplayed is called The songs I Didn’t Write…let’s hear their argument, in their own words:

So…if Creaky Boards were to be the song Coldplay didn’t write, then should Satriani sue them? And if that’s the case, should Cat sue Sat?

Or perhaps they should just start a class action suit against Coldplay…I’m sure there will be more to come…

Sad Kermit…

May 31, 2009

I love this…

Sad Kermit. According to his website,

“Soon after the death of Jim Henson, Sad Kermit spiraled downward into a life full of addiction, romance and pain. The songs and videos on this web page shed light on Sad Kermit’s descent into his dark, hurting world.”

From wiki:

Sad Kermit is an unauthorized parody of Kermit the Frog, the popular Muppet. The video first appeared on YouTube in March 2007, showing a store-bought Kermit puppet performing a version of the Nine Inch Nails song “Hurt” in a style similar to Johnny Cash’s version.

“In contrast to the real Kermit character’s usual family friendly antics, the video shows the faux puppet engaging in drug abuse, smoking, alcoholism, masturbation, vomiting, performing oral sex on Rowlf the Dog, smashing a picture of Miss Piggy (with a breast exposed) and attempting suicide. The video was credited to ‘sadkermit’ at In addition to the video, audio parodies of “Creep” by Radiohead, “Twilight” and “Needle in the Hay” by Elliott Smith, “The Rainbow Connection” (referred to as “The Rainbow Disconnection”), “Something I Can Never Have” by Nine Inch Nails and “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen as covered by Jeff Buckley are also available, together with the audio only version of “Hurt”.”

Here’s a video:

This, of course, is a parody of the suicide scene of the Royal Tennenbaums…

Here’s that for comparison:

You can download a good number of songs from the site…My personal favorite of his songs has to be Something I Can Never Have.

Here’s the video that started it all:


poor kermit

Have You Met My Friend Dana?

May 30, 2009

I once lived in London, tending bar in Chelsea…Actually, I tended a few bars. I loved my time there…So much so, every time it rains I sigh deeply, wishing I had a cask-conditioned pint…

But this isn’t about me…

I remember when myspace was still in its infancy, I met a gal named Dana…Dana Immanuel…She caught my attention because she was:

a.) From London

b.) Playing a banjo


A female banjo player is a strange and wonderful thing…I’m not sure why exactly…maybe it’s because I know enough banjo players to see Dana as somewhat of a rarity…Maybe it’s because most banjo players are rough, loud, foul-mouthed, hairy old men…So when you see a banjo on the knee of a woman, it’s a nice change of pace…

By and large, female banjo players are usually the type who could drink you under the table…the type who enjoy filthy jokes, and even filthier company…and I’d put money down that Dana could drink more bourbon than I…even though I practice…a lot…

I’ve never met Dana in person—it’s been 10 years since I’ve been back to England…but I consider her a very good friend…we have a mutual respect for one another, I reckon…We’ve been sharing the rough progressions of our songs from demo to mastered for the better part of five years…

Dana is an incredible songwriter…She got her start in music busking the tube…I would have killed to see her in such a live, intimate setting…

There’s one particular song she wrote called Drift Away…the studio version is really, really produced…which goes against the general ethos of a banjo playing street performer…and my own personal tastes…but for this song, it works…it works really well…It’s the type of song I find myself replaying as soon as it’s finished, sometimes…The type of song that’s so good you wish it were longer…

here’s a live version:

From her myspace about me section:

Armed with a guitar, a banjo, a part-time assortment of bluesy and folky musical collaborators and a little box to stomp on, Dana Immanuel’s peculiar brand of honey-voiced North London-based Americana and pseudo-folk could be bottled and sold as moonshine.

With a performance style honed by years of professional busking and influences from Alice Cooper to Ani Difranco via Hank Williams and the local dope peddler, her live show is not to be missed.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t give you some banjo, so here’s another bit o’ live…

I hope one day, Strawfoot can work with her…

I don’t fully understand why she isn’t famous yet….

…and that’s kind of the point of this post…to raise awareness of an undiscovered talent…so discover her already, folks…buy the 3 Track EP…tell your friends…Make her famous.


Free Music Sunday (the Washboard)

May 24, 2009

In honor of our highly anticipated (by us, at least) upcoming show with the Ditty Bops, this week’s free music downloads come from the Washboard, a site devoted to the live music of…you guessed it, the Ditty Bops


This site has a lot of great live shows, including but not limited to, their appearance(s) on a Prairie Home Companion…as well as a fine selection of pics and flyers…

They’re incredible performers, I recommend stopping by and giving a listen…in the meantime, here’s another lovely video of these my-tea fine songbirds

They also have a link to the Ditty Bops complete archive of live shows…So enjoy the live music, and get excited…they’re coming to a Mad Art Gallery near you*…

rings*providing you live near the Mad Art Gallery in the Lou…

We SOOOO Need to Cover This…

May 17, 2009

Yeah, I get nostalgic for my youth…For those carefree days when optimism was still blind…when all there was to do in life was absorb it all.

Nostalgia is a handy thing though…it allows me stumble across fantastic gems like this…

Strawfoot needs to cover the intro, and quite frankly, Fattback needs to cover Mr, M’s song…