Monthly Archives: September 2009

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the definitive Dance Karate


Dustin on bass
Al Thomas on drums
video taken by Eric

Posters, Innit

Posters available for purchase and delivery soon.  They were made by Elsie.

Also a new Demos Of Nod shirt is on its way.  Maybe more.

Brett Ripley: Drummer, Journalist

gaze.jpg

Just now, I got this Facebook message that my drummer sent out.  It made me chuckle like a chubby German child full of chocolate (alliteration?).  Like Üter from The Simpsons.

Having trouble deciding whether or not to give Chris Merritt’s new album a listen (keep reading, don’t close out yet)? This anonymous fan testimonial should help make up your mind:

Hi, my name is Dave and I am an anonymous fan of Chris Merritt (still keep reading). If you haven’t checked out Chris Merritt yet, I know what’s probably going through your mind right now; “Who names a band after themselves?” Well, I don’t know. That’s a question you should probably ask Chris.
What I can tell you is this: six weeks ago, today, I weighed over 454 lbs. and my life was in a downward spiral. Then, I started listening to Chris Merritt. Now, just eight weeks later, my manhood has increased in size by 3 inches.
How did I accomplish all of this in just 5 short weeks?? It’s easy! Just buy Chris Merritts new album, “Virginia is For Hoverers” available now on itunes and at www.Chrismerrittmusic.com, ya dummies! It’s only six dang bucks!! And it really works!!!
Also, if you act now and buy a $10 advanced ticket to Chris Merritt’s up coming show at the National on Oct. 17th in Richmond, VA, you will get a free limited edition hard copy of the new album with album art by chris’ mom (offer only applies to those who buy tickets directly from Chris, Brett, Rachyl Farely, or on Chris’ website).

WOW! After reading that heart warming testimonial, how can you say no?……That was a trick question..don’t say no. Check us out!
(This testimonial was neither prompted or supported by nor does this testimonial represent the views of Chris Merritt)

K bye!
Brett

Check out the TOUR DATES page RIGHT NOW

Do you live in the United States in the middle of the desert?

WELL COME ON OUT TO THE VELOUR SHOW THIS WEEKEND IN PROVO, UT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Sat 19 what time

ALSO LOGAN, UT TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  7:30, truth

CLICK ON “TOUR DATES”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I flew down here for the seventh time

Oh, and also, my band and me somehow got a show at The National in Richmond, VA, which is like, a real venue.  COME TO THE RICHMOND SHOW AND WATCH A REAL MAN’S BAND!!!!!!!  OCTOBER SOMETHING AT LIKE TEN OF CLOCK!!!!!!!!

LOGAN TOMORROW!!

PROVO TOMORROW TOMORROW TOMORROW!!

RICHMOND TOMORROW TOMORROW TOMORROW TOMORROW TOMORROW TOMORROW TOMORROW TOMORROW TOMORROW TOMORROW TOMORROW TOMORROW a bunch more times

more of the bearded man

The Turing Machine

This is kind of weird.

Just days after Virginia Is For Hoverers (1) was released, which includes a song called The Turing Machine, a petition was started to get Prime Minister Gordon Brown to apologize for the historical mistreatment of Alan Turing by the British Government.  Turing was a great mathematician, prosecuted for being a homosexual and chemically castrated around 1950.  Apparently, the petition has succeeded.

I’ve been obsessed with the man for a while.  I first read about him in other physics literature, specifically referring to his (most important) work on computable numbers.  Lately I’ve been reading specifically about his papers and achievements, his stranger-than-fiction adventures cracking the Nazi Germany’s Enigma Machine (which, arguably, saved more lives than any single act in World War II), his superhuman-like foresight into the idea of a computer and A.I., and his incredibly tragic last years.  I thought the human drama contrasted with the logical and mathematical genius of Turing would make an interesting song, and also feed my strange hunger to write music about important physics.

Here’s the song and lyrics:

DownloadTuring Machine

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The Turing Machine

spending his vacation at a drinking station
performing calulations to the adoration

of a beautiful face that would later be kissed red
far away from where you can’t sleep in your own bed

solving any system, it was simple with him
but try putting algorithms into alan’s rhythms

the universe, it comes all the way ’round
it’s irrational, but if it’s not, you’ll find out

from my brain is a new brain

any brain can calculate any brain’s calculations

humans are a tragic and beautiful mess,
sometimes the rest
hurt the best

so if it will pass the test
when asked of its father’s death
with denial and distress suppressed heartbreak suggests,
it’ll simulate the smell of whiskey on its breath,

and say, “i didn’t even notice he was gone, no I didn’t even notice he was gone.  I didn’t even notice you were gone, father, i didn’t even notice you were gone…”

Doing a google search for Alan Turing will obviously be your best bet for further reading, but also check out this great lecture I found last month in my research – http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/423.

PUNKK ROCKK

A nice lady sent me this article, written by Steve Albini, the producer of (most notably) Nirvana’s In Utero.

It was written in the mid-90s, when large sums of money were still being used for toilet paper at major record labels.

I’m glad it’s not like that anymore.  Things might be in transition for music, but I think it’s a chance for artists to finally right all the wrongs of ridiculous label abuse, which has been going on since the days of Scott Joplin.  But if you don’t believe me, check out this great quote from Peter Gabriel from a recent interview with CNN:

“I think that a lot of artists aren’t very good when it comes to marketing or accounts or doing a lot of the jobs that record companies do, so we’re going to want somebody to do that. And probably the people we will look to do it are probably those who have the experience. But what I fundamentally believe is that the relationship should be a partnership. It shouldn’t be we own you therefore we do what we want with your work. Those days should be gone, and if artists aren’t smart enough to get off their arses and change that now, then we deserve what we get, because we have the opportunity [to change that]. It’s quite hard talking to artists sometimes to get them motivated because there is not a lot of money in it at this point. But I think there will be and it’s more sort of a power balance and I just think people in record companies now are a lot more willing to consider power-sharing deals.”

Hell yes.  This is exactly what I’ve been ranting about.

Speaking Out Against Cheesy Bios

I just put Virginia Is For Hoverers on Nimbit, which is how it gets to iTunes, Amazon, etc.

Anyway, check out the Bio I wrote up….writing it entertained me for at least a half-an-hour. :)

To read the bio, just click on the little man-head button.

Oh, and speaking of Nimbit, now you can listen to samples from the whole album, and download two tracks for free. I also installed it on Facebook, so you just click on MyStore on my Facebook profile and diggity check yourself before you wreck yourself! Tell a facebook friend today!

lyrics to Tarmac

this is no fun
this is music from a shallow man
these are movies from a shiny can

then why are my friends
sitting over on the other side
sitting over on the other side
i could barely make it through alive
but the cannery workers
are players and millionaires

buddy, you still set on taking off?  yes, as a matter of fact
give me a chance, can I get my wings out on the tarmac?

industry gone
information is becoming free
no more radio or mtv

singing why are my friends
shaking booty for computer king
shake your booty, we’ve got everything
entertainment, air conditioning
but the blood on the carpet is making me manic

buddy, you still set on taking off?  yes, as a matter of fact
give me a chance, can I get my wings out on the tarmac?
well buddy, what if the world is mostly full of brown-eyes?
come on and give me a chance, can i get my wings out on the tarmac?

everyone gets a chance in cybermocracy
maybe i’d like that more if people didn’t suck
turn down the voices of the singularity
and turn up the music

and i’m singing i want something to break but all the pipelines are broken i
am just fine and i am fed and im well but i am still feeling broken i

Tools Vs. Tools

The other day, my friend and I were talking.  He proposed that there could potentially be an exponential number of competitors in the music world and that there would be more and more good bands because the technology is more and more easily available and cheaper.  Couldn’t it be possible that with more free time, more free tools, and a higher quality of life, the amount of artists will approach infinity and it will become less and less meaningful to be an artist?

I’ve often wondered about this, and I think it could be possible.  But also, I propose this counter position – that there is a solid division between a great artist and a mediocre artist, and that the former doesn’t significantly depend on the available tools.

I submit this example.  I’ve been obsessed with cartoons and animation ever since I was a kid.  I used to make hundreds and hundreds of pages of flip-books and I made my mom drive me to all the animation festivals in Washington DC.  When Flash animation first started getting popular, I had the thought, “great.  Now everyone and their mom is going to be able to easily create animation, and EVERYONE is going to be making awesome cartoons, all over the internet.”  I figured that my special little talent and knowledge would become obsolete.

But how many great Flash cartoons were there?  How many ARE there?  I can think of only one off the top of my head (Homestar Runner).  Even series like Home Movies that used Flash animation seemed independent of the medium…the show could have been achieved as cel-drawn animation, cut-out animation, claymation, anything, really.  The charm and genius of both examples is the abstract, tounge-in-cheek humor and the depth of characters.  Both were creations made mostly by one or two people that had a strong vision and saw it through using the best tools available.  Flash animation’s cheapness and easier learning curve (arguable) only affected the amount of mediocre, run-of-the-mill animation.

And remember, there’s a big divide between great art and popular art, too.  It usually takes a few years for the trendy stuff to erode away and leave the objectively good stuff still standing.  In music, this seems especially true.  There are for sure more bands than ever in existence today, but just as many great bands as there were fifty years ago.  I’ve heard LOTS of bands in my lifetime.  I mean, LOTS.  And yet, there are only a handful that deliver this deep burning wonder in my belly when I hear them.  Daniel Johnston doesn’t need ProTools.  His poorly-recorded tapes can reduce me to tears.  This song by Beethoven paralyzes me, even though he never recorded it on anything, except pen and paper, and even though it’s being played by people hundreds of years after his death.  Beethoven does more to me emotionally than almost anyone I’ve heard in my lifetime.  The tools become arbitrary when an artist has an overwhelming genius of vision.

The same is true with photography.  Who is an amateur photographer now?  Everyone.  How many great photographers can I think of?  One.

The internet is teeming with computer generated “art”.  It’s amazing.  It’s polished.  But it’s just eye candy.  This guy can reduce my day to stupefaction with pen and paper.

I’ve been listening to the new David Bazan record.  And my suspicion is, that this guy would have been writing incredible music for a string quartet if he had lived in the year 1527.  Which is a silly thing to propose, really, and falls apart at any logical or scientific level, but that’s not my point.  I tend to think that great music is about something else.  It’s not about guitars, or production, or even how many hours in a day someone has (Johnny Cash wrote some of his best songs secretly behind hangers in the Air Force).  It’s about….I don’t know, but something else.  Probably something to do with objective beauty and internal explosions.

Thoughts?

Chris

Lyrics to She-Wolf

This is from an email I sent to a friend today. She wanted the lyrics to She-Wolf:

She-Wolf

(Edward II:)
Since I was fresh on my throne, for you I did hunger
Isabelle, Isabelle, Isabelle
Oh, and now that you left me alone, it’s you that I want
Isabelle, Isabelle, Isabelle
Our union was written in stone when you were much younger
Isabelle, Isabelle, Isabelle
Oh, but now that you lay with another, it’s me that you hunt
Isabelle, Isabelle, Isabelle

She was an earl
And a brother to me
She was alone
And she needed love

I would do anything just to see you
I would do anything just to find you
I would give all that i have if i need to
I would give anything just to slay you

(Isabella:)
Powerful blood in my veins
But will I have your head?
I can try i can try
Oh with March, like a horse at my reins,
I execute plans
Carnavon, Carnavon, Carnavon
Now that law and my heart are a blur
My royalty unwed
I would die i would die i would die
For your head on a stick and your lover’s
Red blood on my hands
Isabelle, Isabelle, Isabelle

He was a beast
Who had stolen your heart
I was alone
And i needed love

I would do anything just to see you
I would do anything just to find you
I would give all that i have if i need to
I would give anything just to slay you

It’s about Queen Isabella, who was called the She-Wolf, who was married to King Edward II.

He cheated on her with his not-so-secret gay lover, and she left him for his adversary, gained power, and had his lover tracked down, hanged (but not enough to kill him), dragged behind a horse, nailed to the side of a building, skinned, castrated (while he was still alive), and then had his intestines taken out and burned in front of him and finally had him beheaded. Which all happened while she and the royalty watched, feasting.

But it was crazy. There were wars fought over these two’s marriage troubles.