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Rooster Lyrics

Those songs on Rooster, most of them were written around the time that most of King Earl was written, which was over a period of time from about 1997-2004. I had tried to write a short story which had turned into a short novel and I passed it to a friend who was also a very good writer and an honest man and he told me that it wasn’t very good although it had its moments. So I took those moments and made songs out of them. “Cheap Wine”, “Gone”, “Public Record Rag”, “Samuel Grady”, “Dead Cat on the Line”, and “One Eyed-Jack” are all from that bad little book, which might explain why they all feel related, at least to me. The little book focused in on a neighborhood and a pretty unsavory shut-in named Eddie who narrates the action from his window, making up a good part of the story that he can’t really see but feels qualified to make conjectures about. So it’s a series of digressions that start from a simple event but by the end of the story you’re left kind of wondering if the initial event wasn’t the only real thing in the whole story. Anyway it was a bad idea and the digressions ended up being better songs in any case.

It was a great time, recording this record. Tom Herbers brought up all sorts of cool old gear including the largest ribbon mic that ever lived, we had a bunch of good friends stop by including Molly Maher and Dave Carroll, Karl Anderson played bass and my friend Christian McShane brought a thing called a “Ukelin” over, which we decided must be satan’s favorite instrument (at least his particular one, which made us all cringe). Mikkel and I lined up behind the giant microphone and we just played, like we always played, and made it work. Not much changes around here.

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Bethlehem / 1928 / One Eyed Jack / Gone / Dead Cat on the Line /
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Ellen Mayhem / Cheap Wine / Public Record Rag / Samuel Grady

My favorite song on the record is “Bethlehem” and that had to do with a dream (nightmare) I had about my Dad after he’d passed on. When I woke up, trying to remember the dream and figure it out (all I can see from it now is my Dad lying in a giant kidney-shaped pan in a hospital corridor and me yelling up and down the halls for help but there was no one around) for some reason I started thinking about Herod. I thought about what kind of horror it must be for any parent in any time to lose a child because of some greed for power or money or nonsense like that. Then the song showed up.

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