The songs on this album were all recorded live last spring at our annual May Day concert in Vienna’s Stadtpark. If you’ve never been, you really should, ‘cause it’s one incredible daylong party where the beer flows, the good times roll and everyfuckingbody lets their psychosexual development hang out. It’s crazy (though not clinically so) fun.
For all the fans who do turn out for our show year after year, thanks. When you guys come together and, as a group, suppress your individual identities, the consequential lack of inhibition, your primitive, animal enthusiasm, never fails to ignite our libidos, perpetuate our delusions of grandeur and gratify us like a mother’s proffered breast.
But enough talk. Like our drummer, “Cleanhead” Schimmel, always says, “Talk’s just pain without a melody.” Time to put on the album and enjoy. If that emotion’s available to you.
“Hangman, Hear My Plea”
Oedipal urges may explain a patricide but they sure don’t excuse it. This is the song of a condemned man, vainly beseeching the State, i.e., the surrogate parent, to acknowledge and validate the legitimate rage of its “disobedient child” before carrying out his execution.
Sometimes, it’s like your id gets all up in your superego’s face and damn if your prospects for happiness don’t go up in flames, so that your life stretches out before you as a highway of misery and shame and hopelessness, yet, for all that, you can’t explain, indeed, don’t even realize, why that’s so, because you’re completely unaware of the influence the id and the superego exert on your psyche. That’s where this song’s coming from.
“No Good Transference”
I noodled this out on piano one morning after a 50-minute-hour or so with Maria K., a young woman I’d been spending a lot of time with. From the first moment I saw her, I knew Maria was like no one else I’d ever met: deaf, blind, legs paralyzed, a schnitzel addiction and, bless my soul, the cutest little button nose in all Austria. Of course, everything but the button nose was all in her head. As you might expect, after several months of us talking about her life, her dreams, her witnessing, at age three, the father she hated being slashed to ribbons by a combine, Maria’s infirmities slowly began to diminish. Which only made way for a new problem: she thought she was in love with me. This one’s for you, Maria. I’ll always remember you as a central paradigm.
Every so often, a person’s just too repressed to put their hurt and troubles into words, too insecure to raise their voice. That’s when it’s time to hum the blues.
“I Got Some Outside Help I
Needed Pretty Desperately, Really”
You don’t have to look very hard to know this world can be a rough and tumble passage. Full of heartbreak and sorrow and dreams of mutilating the sex organs of a childhood pet while riding on a driverless train made of Limburger cheese and rosary beads. And then, just when you think you can’t go on, someone comes into your hospital room and listens to you and understands and explains why you can never leave the hospital. Been there, ’splained that.
“’Bout to Kill Myself”
This one’s for all you magnificently morose Swedes out there.
“Ain’t Nobody’s Fault But Your Own”
About a year ago, we were playing this biergarten in Innsbruck and at one of the tables this man was yelling at his wife, accusing her of cheating on him. Even from across the room, though, it was obvious, at least to me, the guy was projecting his own impure thoughts and/or deeds onto his innocent bride. Conduct like that, I knew, could easily drive her to another man’s arms, thus making the husband his own victim. The song practically wrote itself.
A poker buddy of mine, a surgeon named Dr. Franz Hoffenmacher, with an office in Stephansplatz, Vienna, is something of a narcissist: always preening, constantly relating his triumphs, status and possessions. This ballad’s the story of how he’s compensating for the fact he still wears a diaper.
On the road, it gets pretty lonely. Especially when the nominative authority figure finds it necessary to sequester himself so as not to become the object of the homoerotic domination fantasies of the other guys in the band. At such solitary times, I like to find a dark and private place, slowly combust the blunt end of a cigar, draw deeply on the firm, fragrant cylinder as I roll it between my thumb and fingers, then methodically extract its full pleasure. I composed this solo acoustic piece with a mind to articulating the elusive gratification of such sublime moments while maintaining the cigar as nothing more than just a cigar.
“I Miss You, Baby”
When your schizophrenic lover’s previously subordinate personality rises up to become the dominant personality and that personality hates you, well, buster, that there’s the blues.