Tokyo Damage Report

mp3 post: a brief history of vats!

 

 

 

 

 

 



Download mp3s here.

Buy the CD @ Aquarius Records! (search for Schultz)

 


This was my very first CD – from 1998.

The whole concept was to take random music (early Boredoms, Mr. Bungle, Le Scrawl, Naked City, etc.) and make it AS RANDOM AS POSSIBLE.

Nothing was overlooked. The subject matter? Vats. That's right. Vats.

The format: not one, but two fourteen-song suites.

The first suite?  A historical narrative from 2,200 years ago, all Encyclopedia Brittanica style.

The second suite? A comparative analysis of vats in the Jewish, Christian, and Mormon holy books (there's more of them than you'd think!)

The CD art? No track listing, no album title. . . just a collage of Connie Chung from TV guide.

The front cover? A crude parody of a "lowrider oldies" compilation album.

The illustrations? All traced from 1940's New Yorker cartoons.

The serial number on the back cover?  009 our of 1,000. All hand drawn, 1,000 times. Every copy was 009!

The music? You can hear that for yourself. What is amazing to me – looking back on it – is the insane, cosmic distance between the skillz on display and the recording technology.

The whole thing was recorded with pawn-shop guitars with bent necks, on a falling-apart cassette 4-track recorder, and the heads were totally filthy because I had recorded about 200 songs on the thing with no idea that heads needed to be cleaned.  And yet: I was attempting to do complex poly-rhythms, songs with no repeating parts, backwards layers, riffs where the accented note changed every time it was played, dizzying time- and genre-changes, and serious theology. Everything was based on setting up expectations and then disrupting them.

 

 

VATS:  TWO FOURTEEN-SONG SUITES

VOLUME ONE:  VATS IN THE SECOND PUNIC WAR


I’M SO PUNIC
JAZZ
2:30

Since the whole album is so stridently spastic, I though I’d kick it off with a total easy-listening red-herring tune to annoy the fuck out of anyone who might possibly like the harsh songs on the rest of it.  So sue me.  This song sets up the background for the whole 14 song suite. 

I’m
Just
A
Punic warrior, looking for a li’l punic war.
Take that, you Roman dog.
You’re thinking that you’re so bad, but you’re not…
Stupid Roman!

I’ve got a superior strategy:
A surprise attack;
I’m coming over the Alps at you.

I’m going to engage you on your lightly defended Eastern flank,
Or my name ain’t “Hannibal!”
(“Hannibal”)

And I got lots of elephants…
So many elephants…!

To carry all my swords’n’stuff
Over all those alps
I was talking about just now
Oh yeah

 


GET THOSE ROMANS!
MY STYLE
 0:09

“Get those Romans!!”


 
HANNIBAL’S ALPINE LAVORATORY ( sic)
MY STYLE
0:32
PARENTAL GUIDANCE:  mild profanity, bad spelling

Hannibal may be the inventor of the Port-a-Potty, as this song documents.  He called it a ‘lavoroatory’ as  a pun, believing that it had special scientific properties that would, like Frankenstein’s ‘laboratory’, give ‘life’ to his urine and ‘fool’ the elephants into listening to it tell yarns. As will be demonstrated 7 songs from now, the urine was always self-aware, although whether this was the kind of oversight  that would eventually cause Hannibal to lose the Second Punic War remains unclear.  The guitar only accents certain notes of the non-repeating ‘diggety-BOP’ riff in the first half, and then just loses patience and does all the notes on the second half.

Hannibal’s Alpine lavoratory:
Urn!

When it gets full, pour it
In
To
A
Vat
 


ESPRIT de VAT
MY STYLE
0:55
PARENTAL GUIDANCE: mild profanity

Obviously, elephants weren’t the only African pack animal available to Hannibal, et al. He chose them because no other pack animal was even close to being as obsessed with his (Hannibal’s) urine as elephants.  He exploited their obsession, by only letting them talk with the urine if they crossed x number of alps a day, and thus increased the speed of his advance on the hated Romans’ lightly defended Eastern  flank. 

Esprit de vat:
Climbing Alps is hard.

The only way
To raise
Elephants’
Morale is
To

Let them visit Hannibal’s
Pee vat.

The pee could talk.

It told yarns.

Elephants love a good yarn.
Extra Alps were crossed.
Elephants would eagerly crouch for hours,
The better to hear some
Pee-vat yarns


 
YARN-REQUESTING SESSION
MY STYLE
0:28
PARENTAL GUIDANCE: squeaky clean

This song was written specifically for those of you who, having heard the previous songs, are now just not gonna be able to sleep tonight unless you find out what a typical conversation between elephants and the pee sounds like.  Ok, twist my arm, here it is:

What’s
It
Like
Inside?

Inside Hannibal’s bladder?

Tell
Allofit

To
Elephant

“We’re quite curious about dese t’ings!”
 


HANS KREBS
MY STYLE
1:02
PARENTAL GUIDANCE: very scientific profanity

Hans Krebs was the Dr. Frankenstein of pee.  A Swiss man who pursued as his life’s goal the creation of artificial pee which couldn’t be told apart from the real deal.  Hannibal’s urine, not content with being self-aware and oratorically gifted, apparently also can see into the future! It relates the story of Dr. Krebs to the elephant, as well as fielding questions about daily life in the bladder.  Plus the middle part, the one where I attempt to sing actual human notes, has the guitar and bass doing one of those false poly-rhythms.

Prior
To our voyage
Down Hannibal’s urethra,
Life was never dull.

…We had the
Uric acid and the cretanine,
Of course,  and extra bits of potassium,
Because Hannibal liked bannannas.

Also
We saw carbonic acid,
Bonding with orthinine and ammonia,
Forming urea
    (Which,
    In 1932,
    Will also be synthesized by a man called
    Hans!)
 


218 B.C.
MY STYLE
0:50

This was the date that Hannibal started the Second Punic War.   Of course the hated Romans didn’t know it started until years later when Hannibal actually showed up on their Lightly Defended Norther Flank.  Who says losers don’t write the history books?
 


ROGUE KIDNEY STONE
MY STYLE
0:52
PARENTAL GUIDANCE

This is the pee vat’s all time most-requested yarn.  The last couple of bars were coming too close to being catchy, so I just ended the song in the middle of them.

A kidney stone came in the bladder, being chased by Muslims

Pee said,
“You look
Familiar.”

“Yess, I’m
Salman
Rushdie’s
Kidney
Stone.”

“Oh, wow, I’m honored.
Could you look at my screenplay?”

 

 


THE SCREENPLAY
FUNK
0:57

The pee delineates the screenplay that it would like Salman’s time traveling kidney stone to show to NYC publishers. The pee, being ‘magic,’ can forsee Salman Rushdie’s future, a land where such a film might do well, but unfortunately wants to stick with 200 BC actors.  This also has the most soulful kazoo solo of my career.

Handicapped
Midwestern teen
Coming of age
In the
Reagan
Era.

Possibly
Scipio in the lead role,
Or Cato the elder.

 


HANNIBAL SCREAMS IN PAIN AS SALMAN’S KIDNEY STONE SHOWS SCREENPLAY TO N.Y.C. PUBLISHERS
METAL
1:03
PARENTAL  GUIDANCE:  mild profanity

This is the climax to the pee’s most famous tale, which holds the elephants in rapt attention, and raises their morale to the point where they really don’t mind being starved, overworked, and frozen to death by a man whose pee is such a gifted raconteur.

Musically it’s completely insane.  The bridge has the guitar in 10, the drums in 8 and the bass in 6.  Then they all converge and the drum and guitar unite to play 3 bars of 8, while the bass obstinately plays 4 more bars of 6.   This might actually be interesting to listen to if I made it repeat more than once, but now it’s just plain confusing.

Folksinger Yusef Islam’s kidney stones target  Rushdie’s kidney stones for death.
Hannibal fortunately urinates
Pee forms vortex in the bladder.
Islam’s kidney stones are passed.
Hannibal screams in pain as Salman’s kidney stone shows screenplay to N.Y.C. publishers.


 
THE MANY HOURS
ROCK
0:47
PARENTAL GUIDANCE:  mild profanity, occult practices

This is a rather lovely folk song, the kind Yusef Islam himself might sing if he was waylaid by Grind-core guys half way through… It describes the aftermath of the pee-vat telling the elephants’ favorite story.  You see, Hannibal was trying to exploit the elephants’ obsessions, but they could still get revenge by sitting listening to the pee vat for too long.  A dialectic if you will.  And I know you will, you pretentious bastard…

The…
Many hours were wasted
By elephants starting into the pee-vat
Searching (in vain) for Cat Stevens’ kidney stone

But he changed his name
To Yusef Islam
So don’t call him Cat Stevens;
He gets mad.


PACHYDERM FUNERAL
MY STYLE
0:50
PARENTAL GUIDANCE: A-OK

This tune starts out with some unstructured blurring, punctuated by vocals.  Later, the blurring comes back but with guitar, bass, and drums sort of doing a relay-race with the blur:  each improvises for one beat in turn.  Later still, the drums and bass do something that sounds like a ‘regular riff’ and just when the guitar is about to come in and make it official, the songs ends.  Doh.  Lyrically it depicts the Punic custom of disposing with the elephants that die while crossing, yes, the Alps.

Pachyderm
Funeral:
Starved to death

Drag the body
Up
Alp

Roll it down south:

Speed its soul on its journey
Back to Africa


PUNIC SOOTHSAYER FRISBEE
MY STYLE
0:39
PARENTAL GUIDANCE: Mild profanity (‘pee’), occult practices

The quintessential Vats song:  Breakneck tempo and mood changes, but performed with totally non-chaotic precision.  It’s about how soothsayers would use the dead elephant’s ears to see into the future and offer military advice to Hannibal.

Elephant ear:
Cut off from corpse

Soak
In
Hannibal’s
Pee

Dry

Tan

On alpine summit, throw like frisbee.

Soothsayer predicts the next battle based on
Where it lands

North?

South?
 


PANTSING THE CUNCTURION
MY STYLE
1:05
PARENTAL GUIDANCE:in a perfect world, this would  get a profanity warning for ‘cuncturion’

On the liner notes for the album, this song is listed as being one minute and seven seconds.  I would like to formally apologize to anyone who paid the whole $1.99 for it used in the discount bin.  The ‘cuncturion’ isn’t an antique profanity, it was actually a high Roman military rank, and it was the Cuncturion responsible for tracking down and eliminating Hannibal.  “Pantsing” here is the historical act of sneaking up behind one’s enemy and tugging their pants down to their ankles, both making them a figure of fun and also keeping them from chasing you down and unleashing some reprisals on your sneaky ass. Although, strictly speaking, pants hadn’t been invented yet, so if I was a true scholar this would be called ‘skirting the Cuncturion’ but ‘skirting’ already has a definition:  going around; circumlocuting, which would only provoke confusion in this context.  So I am vindicated.

 The music seems to suggest, Hannibal running furiously to get behind the Cuncturion ( the thrashing intro), the pantsing per se (the last 8 notes, falling in pitch) , and then the Cuncturion becoming disoriented at the sudden laughter of his troops ( the woozy Ska part), followed by his sudden rage upon realizing his plight, and him just as quickly falling down as he is tripped by his own pants while trying to give chase ( the blur ending.)



 
VOLUME TWO:  BIBLICAL VATS


BIBLE-VAT BLUES
MY STYLE
0:20

Like HANNIBAL’S ALPINE LAVORATORY, this song features not so much a riff but 2 or 3 building blocks which are assembled in an arbitrary  order to form something improvised, but as technically tight as any riff.

Bible, vat, bible,
Vat-vat, bible, vat,
Bible, vat-vat, bible-bible,
Vat, bible, vat-vat, bible, vat,
Bible, vat, bible-bible, vat, bible,
Vat-vat-vat-vat-vat-vat, bible, vat, bible!


 
PROVERBS 3: 9-10
MY STYLE
1:04

In this and the following songs, I am quoting directly from the Bible,all the parts having to do with vats.  In other songs, I attempt to make sense of how vats influenced the development of Judeo-Christian thought.  Here, for example, the Bible seems to say God is trying to get  the Hebrews drunk.  Is YHVH a ‘sleep bandit’?? 

Honor
The Lord
With your substance

And with
The first fruits of all your produce

And then your barns will be filled with plenty
And your VATS  will be bursting with

Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine!

 


BURST VAT
MY STYLE
0:50

My anthropological insight into what a hypothetical Israelite would say if his vat burst, because of an overgenerous god.

“Need more ‘Bounty!’”

 


MORMON DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS 133: 48
MY STYLE
0:45

I couldn’t find a codex for the Book of  Mormon, so I actually got a Mormon to look it up for me.  She said her mormon computer gave lots of listings for ‘fats’ but just this one for ‘vats.’  Why would Mormons call vats ‘fats’? 

And the Lord shall be red in his apparel
And his garments like him that treadeth in the wine
VAT.

 


JOEL 3: 9-10
MY STYLE
1:50

Proclaim this among the nations:
Prepare war

Stir up the Mighty-Men

Let all the men of war draw near
Let them come up
Beat your ploughshares into swords
And your pruning hooks into spears
Let the weak say :
“I’m a warrior.”
 


JOEL 3: 13
MY STYLE
1:56
PARENTAL GUIDANCE:  cannibalism, encouragements to violence, oh , wait, it’s in the Bible.  That’s ok.  Let your 3 year old listen to it.

Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe
Yes, Lord, put in the sickle, for their harvest is ripe
Go in.  Tread, for the wine press is full.
The VATS
O-
Ver
FLow

For
Their
Wicked-
Ness
Is great
 


ISRAELITE PLOWSHARE ASSAULT
METAL
0:38

This was another musical joke:  do a sort of Melvins riff, the kind that takes like 2 minutes to even get off the ground, and only do 2 bars of it.  This damn riff is so slow, I had the bass do poly-rhythms inside each note!  ( It divides the first note in thirds, the next in fourths, the next two into fifths, the next one is cut in half, the next one is trisected, the next one is left intact, the ones after that are both cut in fives, then the next one is quartered).  So it is actually like Israelites setting upon their enemies!!! 


 
JOEL 2: 23-MOST OF 25
MY STYLE
2:07

Here, King Joel gloats to his people after he has won an argument with God.  How Jewish is that?  Why would anyone be a Christian if they read the Bible and knew that Jews can out-argue God?? 

As a change of pace, this song takes the form of a chant, which comes back at the end really heavy.

Be glad, o sons of
    Zion.  Rejoice in the Lord your God for he
    has given the early
    rain
    for your vindictation.  He has poured down for
    you abundant
    rain.

The early rain and the later rain as
    before.  The threshing floors
    shall
    be full of grain; the
    VAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATS
    shall overflow
    with
    wine and oil.  I will restore to you the
    year which
    the
    swarming locust has eaten.

The
Hopper, the destroyer and the cutter

My great army which I


 
“OH-OH….. LOCUSTS!”
METAL
0:42

Musically this tells the story of why it’s not good to be ironic in the middle of a dively ordained locust plague:  First comes the scream of Israelites seeing the locusts about to destroy the crops, then there’s mad thrashing while the locusts attack, and then some wag  decides to say, “oh-oh… locusts!”  right after the attack is over, and then there’s a bunch of unstructured mayhem as they take out their aggression on the guy that made light of the whole thing, and  only after they’re done with the beat-down do they stop and survey the desolation, which is represented by the ambient, plaintive horns. 

“Oh-oh… Locusts!”

 


KING JOEL ( SON OF PETHUEL) AND HIS MICROSCOPIC MISHAP
PUNK
1:24
PARENTAL GUIDANCE:  adult germ situations, occult practices

By this time I was sick of ‘crazy, mistake-sounding riffs’ so I went back to punk and metal riffs, but would only let them repeat once, which is why it still sounds spazzy.  The bridge has improvised drums, guitar in 4 and bass in 3.

Tragically, king Joel vomits excess wine back into the vat,
Causing an E. Coli bacterium living in his gut to find a new home and happiness with some foxy Athlete’s Foot fungus formerly of an Israelite vintner, which ended in disaster:
The Rabbi refused to marry them
He knew for a fact that the E. Coli had never been brissed by a mohel.

 


PLIGHT OF THE UNKOSHER MICROBE
MY STYLE
0:06

No Lyrics? Well, he’s a microbe.  You can’t expect him to fuckin’ filibuster!
 


 
MORE SPURNED COLI LAMENTATIONS
MY STYLE
0:13

Psyche!


 
ISAIAH 5:1-6 / SILENT NIGHT
MY STYLE
4:30

This has a new gimmick:  a 5-note riff, where the accent falls on only the first note on bar 1 and the second note on bar 2 and so on.  Later it just goes into this bizarre a-cappella thing, which is itself disrupted by a pause while a Simpsons version of Rush Limbaugh (Birchibald T. Barlow) chortles backwards.  Cus that’s how I heard it in my head, allright?!?
 
Then, sick of all the chaos and quick-changes,  it goes sideways into this hell of long groove, which you expect it to mutate again but it never does,  while the guitar does a Hendrix version of Silent Night, and the  bass and drums do something completely uncalled for: the drums play in a regular 3, while the bass plays 3 and a half measures  of three. I’m still not sure how you can have half a three, but it is.  So every other repetition of the bass part is one beat off from the drums, making it sound like either the drums or the bass is playing 2 different riffs, and alternating, but they are not.  Try listening to just one and then the other and you’ll hear what I’m talking about.  The final joke, of course, is that, rather than fading out, it fades into the famous Scorpions’ fade out from the Zoo. Ha ha.

Let me sing for my beloved
A love song concerning his vineyard:
My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill.  He digged it and cleared
It of stones and planted it with choice vines.
He built a watchtower in the midst of it and hewed out a wine VAT  in it, and
He looked for it to yield grapes,
But it yielded wild grapes.
And now inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, between me and my vineyard.
What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it
When I looked for it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes?
And now I will tell you what I will do
To my vineyard:  I will remove its hedge and it shall be devoured.
I will break down its wall and it shall be trampled down.  I will make it a waste.  It shall not be pruned or hoed, and briars and thorns shall grow up.  I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain…
 


HEW THAT VAT, YOU 12-STEP BASTARD!
ROCK
2:40
PARENTAL GUIDANCE:  substance abuse, profanity

This is my theological commentary on Isaiah.  I figured a little R&B would be the perfect antidote to the rest of the album, sort of like a bookend with the soft jazz of  I’m so Punic. I didn’t expect it would be so fucking fun.

Gonna get some sticks and picks so I can dig.
Gonna get some sticks and picks so I can dig.
Dig me a vat so awful big!

Hew that vat!
Hew that vat!
Hew that vat!
Hew that vat!
Hew that vat!
Hew, hew, hew, hew, hew, hew, hew that vat all night long

Plant that pick deep in fertile soil
I’m gonna plant that pick deep in fertile soil
Im’a fill it with wine and ride my hydrofoil

Hew that vat, you 12-step bastard!
Hew that vat, you 12-step bastard!
Hew that vat, you 12-step bastard!
Hew that vat, you 12-step bastard!

What are you gonna do?  Hew, hew!


NEVER SAY NEVER
PUNK
COVERS
2:38

It’s a Romeo Void cover done by Capitalist Casualties.
 

3 comments Tags: ,

3 Comments so far

  1. Shelby Cobras September 10th, 2010 7:23 pm

    Hey, i noticed that you are insane.
     
    ps i've listened to panda fucker maniac revolution, the rap album, and puny humans at least once a day EACH in the last week.

  2. Mark September 11th, 2010 12:01 am

    Vats all folks!!

  3. szaszha September 15th, 2010 11:25 pm

    VATS? i havent listened yet as i'm still downloading it, but by the cover art i though you had made a typo and meant to call it VATOS.
     
    i will keep this in mind as i listen. 
     
    as for your gear, i totally remember that type of shit. the first songs i wrote were on a nylon string guitar missing two strings with a cracked and warped neck that my grandfather had brought back from his war days in korea! some of the best jams me and my friends ever recorded were on a karaoke machine, with the reverb turned all the way up while recording, so that when we played it back, all of our shit was totally garbled and unintelligible! everyone was like, "damn, that was a good jam, thats too bad" but i was like, wow turn this shit up its HEAVY. nothing made any sense! it was a wall of reverb madness punctuated by heavy cymbal crashes on the ONE, godfather of soul style.
     
    i'm currently writing music on a pentium 4 pc using audacity and buzz modular synth, and i'm working on getting an equally outdated external soundcard so i can record mad bass riffs and fuck all that shit up too. i guess one of these days i'll have to digitize that old karaoke machine tape and post it up for posterity. til then, heres to the real garage bands! *glug glug*  XD

Leave a reply

Mexico