Personnel Envelo​-​file (1997)

by Thunderegg

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about

Now a 21-song album with 6 bonus tracks, exclusively available with the digital download!

This fan favorite is the ideal nexus between the early albums’ batty enthusiasm and the later releases’ more straightforward songwriting. Bulls-eyes here include "Cop on a Horse," "Double Reverse," "Will Bite," "The Building of the Bed," and the one-two punch of "They’re All Rats" and "My Mad Hatter," which marks the addition of bass guitar to the mix.

Bonus tracks: "Hardly Needs Ironing!," "Bad Dog Part Two," "Still Want to Be Your Man," "The Plotter," "On the Rug Again," "DM."

credits

released February 18, 1997

Recorded between June 1, 1996, and February 1, 1997, at 411 Union Street, Brooklyn, NY.

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Track Name: Cop on a Horse
Cop on a horse, cop on a horse, he’s the pride of the force, he’s the cop on a horse. The only thing tougher than a regular fed is the one that’s sitting four feet above your head.

Let’s see him on a high-speed chase. Bring that horse out to the interstate. Thought I’d test his muster so I went and yanked his tail. Then I sped off in my Duster with the horse hot on my trail. Now he’s at a gallop and he’s riding jockey-style, whipping and waving me over all the while. With rider’s grace he tames the beast, his long scarf flapping in the breeze, and all too clearly I now see that I must use some strategy. So I slam it into fourth, push the Duster to its max, and head straight for the embankment over by the freighter tracks. To the service road, the pedal to the floor, I hit the ramp and jump the tracks like I’ve always done before. But when I check the rearview and start patting my own back I see the cop jumping the freight train that’s come barreling down the tracks. He’s one tough cookie, I concede, but it seems that this horse is built for speed. So I head down El Tercero with its twisting downhill curves and I think to myself that now’s the time that cop on horse gets served. My car swerving forty and the horse full tilt, I slam on the brakes at the bottom of the hill. The cop goes flying and the horse takes a spill, and the rear window shatters but time stands still as visions flash through the horse’s mind of the old glue mill. I speed off and they might catch me, but I don’t think they will, cause the cops are out looking for some horseshoes to fill, after they get back from the horse’s funeral.

Cop on a horse, cop on a horse, he’s the pride of the force, he’s the cop on a horse. The only thing tougher than a regular fed is the one that’s riding a horse that’s dead.
Track Name: Double Reverse
It’s a good thing you didn’t want to come to my party, cause no one else did either, it would have just been you and me, eating dip and playing games of Sorry. And every single time that I sent you home, said "Sorry!," snapped my fingers, made another roll, you’d look under the card table just to steal a quick look at your watch, wishing I’d sent you home for real.

Looks like I’m working the double reverse again. I think I’ve heard it said that two wrongs don’t make a right, but three rights will turn around and make a left. Looks like I’m working that double reverse bit. I can say that I don’t want you, but now who am I gonna play all my board games with?

Well, if I only live to be forty-six, that would explain why I’m feeling so drained, I’m already in the middle of a mid-life crisis. There’s a moment in your life when you realize that there’s nothing left to happen except getting fat, and happy songs are sadder than the very saddest ones. When you hear them when you’re sad, you see how sad that you’ve become.

In the summertime here, the rain never stops, it condenses in drops from the window box. I turned on the air when we stepped inside, but I believe it was you who turned out the light. So I jumped on to the bed and slipped to the floor, the traction on nylon blankets is pretty poor, but I decided that was where I would lay my head so I wouldn’t have to get up from the wrong side of the bed.
Track Name: How the Mail Works
I wanna know how the mail works, I wanna hang out with the mail clerks.

The letter first gets organized by the zip code’s first digit, to determine east-to-west which zone it is to visit. The second digit provides a north-south coordinate, the third gets the letter to the correct state. The fourth gets it sent to the county proper, the fifth gets it delivered to your local post office.

From there the local mail’s divided into routes, and the postal carrier brings the letter directly to your house. This may or may not be how the mail works, it is just a sketch, and it is not based on fact, just on my best guess.
Track Name: Quasi-Fascination
I’m a hard-core child-baby doll so stand way clear unless you want to join me in my search for no career. I’m drunk on orange soda I’m wired on Lucky Charms, I’m sucking IV Nutrasweet through a hole in my arm. I am non-committal, drifting’s a full-time job, and I’d be a big bank robber if I could part-time rob. I do nothing, nothing but pretend that quasi-fascination is a means to a world without end.

Grains of coffee fleck my shirt like amphetamine dandruff. The wash would get them out if I ever washed this stuff. It’s not my shirt anyway, you can check the inner wrap. My name tag isn’t in there, it belongs to some guy named Gap. And they can make me wear it, and they can make me sell goods, but we both know that there’s no way that they can make me smell good.

So you’re tired of me? Well, then, fire me. You must be dumber than I am, you’re the sucker that hired me.
Track Name: Denise Digs the Vibes
The last time I went out to eat with Denise she plucked out a hair and flossed her teeth. She grows one fingernail long so she can clean under the others. She’s not ashamed that she’s self-contained, and I want her but she doesn’t need a lover.

Denise plays her own jazz and she likes to improvise. But she’d rather go solo and rock out on the vibes. She closes her eyes tight as she kicks out those covers. Movement furious, nothing spurious. And I want her but she doesn’t need a lover.

Man, she’s hot. Denise digs the vibes. But she don’t mind if I watch, so I still get a rise.

I got a chance to jam with Denise during her North American tour. And we were on fire that night, we played five or six encores. We’re a grooving machine and she lets out a scream with angels and me floating above her. Denise was diggin’ my vibe for the very first time, and for a few moments there maybe we were lovers.
Track Name: Flower Hole
The door to the sedan is now open and the keys are in the ignition, setting off an on and off, on and off chiming of reminding repetition. If I pulled the keys, all the noise would cease, but then so would the engine. I could still move forward if I just shut the door, but which side I’ll be on remains in contention.

Now for some reason, God always turns off the heat just when it gets cold outside, and some little kid has already taken all the good warm places to hide. So I stand exposed in the living room judging the internal debate of whether I should drop six bucks on Spice, or is it a waste cause the hour’s so late? (There’s always Baywatch.)

I’ve seen the rows of flowers blossoming in the park. I know that every one of them pushed up from the dark. And my street hasn’t been plowed in weeks, the good times rolled but they got stuck. Everything that is beautiful was once a hole in the muck.

Some might say there’s no excuse for running out of gas at my age. But when you’re getting a free ride, you don’t keep your eye on the fuel gauge. In the back you look out the sides and take it as it comes, and when you’re not throwing up, you’re sitting there rolling your thumbs.
Track Name: Windmill
Wish I was a windmill, pull energy straight from the sky. And storing it up, warm and satisfied, when the wind could not provide. Setting up something for heroes to knock down, living on a hill with tulips all around. I wish I was a windmill sitting and spinning while sitting on solid ground.

Wish I was a solar panel, so I could live on light. And hold it to warm houses and run calculators into the night. Always having the perfect rooftop view. Glass with light and water pumping through. Crystal clear and pulling power from the elements and giving it to you.

Wish I was a thermos jug, so I could stay warm inside. Or cool in the summer months with secret methods human minds could not divine. A cup on the top to share the essence I hold. A handle on the side so that I could hit the road. I wish I was a thermos jug so I could keep cool, be warm, how do I know?
Track Name: Rosasharn
Rosasharn of the subway car, when you step off and leave me to vanish into the dark, are you walking home to be in somebody’s arms? Rosasharn, with no left hand ring that I can see so far. If I speak, don’t be alarmed. I’m incapable of causing harm. And if we were to speak, I’ve thought of dozens of things to say, two stops too late, you’d already walked off the train. Would have asked you if your book was ok, I would have offered you grapes.

Rosasharn, talking to no one at the bar. Should I ask you if you want to play darts? Or should I make myself sparse? Well, maybe I stepped off the train a little sooner than I usually do. And maybe I did it so that I could follow you. I’m an out-of-practice talker, I’m a chasing speed walker, a non-practicing rocker, but I am not a stalker, and I have feelings, too.

Rosasharn, nice to finally meet you in the park. I hope I didn’t take it too far. I’m incapable of causing harm.
Track Name: That All Depends
I depend upon being depended on, so when I saw you yesterday with another shoulder to lean your head on, I felt redundant and ran away. And I don’t want to be the thing that I have called you since I knew your name. I always said that you were the dependent one, it looks like things have changed. It looks like I have taken your place.

Twenty-four hours since I left you behind, and I’ve thought of nothing but you. I must have checked voicemail twenty-four times, so who’s depending on who? And I don’t envy me a thing when that phone rings and you’re on the other end. Cause I know exactly what you’re gonna say, don’t pull this shit again unless you don’t want to be my friend.

No one wants to be pushed around by nobody, least of all the one they used to push around. But maybe now you’re feeling righteous because I wronged you, so my control scheme continues to stand, I hold your ego in my hands, and such rationalizations help me feel like the master till you trump me and call me a manipulative bastard.

I depend upon being depended on, let’s call it my stock in trade. And if you pluck from my lips what I nourish on, I’ll secure it some other way. I hate to break it down to make it sound like this is the only way it can be. But we have to come to a round agreement on which dependence it’s gonna be, and I think that you’ll find that you can’t escape depending on me.
Track Name: Baby's Going Through Some Change
My baby sent me a letter looking for a higher truth. Turns out the questions were hypothetical, and by answering I presumed way too much. My baby sent another letter, ice cold words and just one page. Seems my presumption did upset her. My baby’s going through some change.

Then I sat down to intellect it. What changes could there be? The one change she’s implemented was getting rid of me. I sent my baby another letter with an apology because I will not let her get a rise out of me.

Cause the change that she’s been counting on to make her world and self to gel will destroy all of her self-doubting, but leave no room for no one else. My baby sent me a letter, if she wants an answer, guess she’ll say. Till then she’ll want me to forget her. My baby’s going through some change.
Track Name: You're a Writer Now
When you go to your room and the blank-top, no-product table welcomes you, what do you do? You’re worth eighty-three cents in a town where a toasted bagel costs a dollar ten. The one thing you don’t is what you want to do cause if it turns out you can’t do it, then you’re through. But when there’s a wreck on the freeway there’s no way you’re good and able to look away. I know it’s a cliché.

So you concentrate on one spot on the wall heatedly and imagine that’s where you’d bang your head repeatedly. You have no idea how to spend a weekend agreeably. Write that down. You’re a writer now.

So you go toe-to-toe with a stack of white bond paper and a fistful of No-Doz. The one thing you know when you wake up eight hours later, it made a good pillow.
Track Name: They're All Rats
Now, where I grew up, it was deer in the back yard eating all the flowers and using their bodies to crack speeding cars. See, the humans pushed all the wolves out, I guess we were scared of their teeth, so the deer have all multiplied and prance down the middle of Nassau Street.

They’re all rats, different ones wherever you go, but I’d trade my rat for your rat any day cause my rat’s getting old.

My grandmother lives on Long Beach Isle, and there are white rats with wings sweeping down whenever we eat outside. They sit on top of the ranch house and caw to their friends, and stare at my cob of corn till I throw it to them.

Once I almost kicked a pigeon, he got away just in time. Next time I’ll get my three-wood and drive him right down the line. In my apartment there’s mosquitoes, and there’s viruses at my job, where I have to go incognito to avoid the janitor who calls me Todd.
Track Name: My Mad Hatter
Here ya go man, let me into access to the party hearty, the scene of my crime, baby, so you think you’re such a smarty well no you’re not well maybe, but there are some things I’ll never admit even when both you and I are right in front of it. It don’t matter, my mad hatter, you were butter on my bread when I had her, I put you on a big silver platter, and from there, I don’t care, do what you dare.

So here we go again, nunchuks in the hand of the local bully men. Is this where I began to hide in corners and fireplaces from the ones with the skateboards and the holes in their faces? They were powder in my chowder back when I was ten but now I’m the one that’s running from them.

Ma’am you know where’s the hardware store? No I don’t you little whore! Stay here and I’ll abuse you a little more. You love it cause you think you’re worthless to your core. But sometimes the things you use for protection are the ones that bring you down by your power of suggestion.

Why do I play Operation with the toaster every day? Why do pans catch on fire while what’s in them stays the same? Why do I ride the cable wire, looking for someone to take the blame? Why do pans catch on fire, while what’s in them stays the same? It don’t matter if you’re madder, I got the arsenic into your batter, the cookie is the last thing you’ll eat, I want you going out with something that tastes sweet.

Well it’s Simpsons on at six, Simpsons on at seven, Seinfeld on at seven-thirty, Seinfeld on at eleven. Picking up the phone to make a call to you. Don’t I have anything better to do? It don’t matter, my mad hatter, you just fell with a resounding clatter, then you asked me what was the matter, I said I was feeling fine even close to divine.
Track Name: Wilson Calls It Quits
I had the most terrible dream during last night’s dark scene, I looked down to see my clothes. In dark gray suit I seemed to be in, funeral-garbed from head to toe.

It was an outdoor affair in an ill-defined where, but who was the dead man, no one could confuse it. Brian Wilson lay cold in a mahogany hold, and I was in charge of the service music.

So I chose "Surf’s Up" and I chose "Till I Die" and the crowd reacted with shock, and mouths agape and tears in their eyes, said you should have picked his early, happy rock.
Track Name: Inches from Doom
Many days have fallen behind me so now I’m inches from doom. I can’t say that I’m faster than time, but recently can be closer than soon. Anywhere I see lowered blinds means I’ve finally found your room. I’ve come too late to make you mine, but that doesn’t mean that baby, I still won’t do everything for you.

No introductions ever were made, technically we left off the same as we came, except visions of you have burned into my brain. I do everything for you though I know I’ll never see you again.

I sunk my name in a silver bottle to see if it would float, and every day I look at the bottom to remind myself what I wrote. Every morning I wake up and wonder if today’s the day. I haven’t seen her since the F line last summer, I got off on Broadway, she stayed on the train.
Track Name: Pretend You're Famous
Well, it’s not a big deal, if you lost, you will win some, some day soon. And it’s not a big scene: if you didn’t make it, don’t make one. Well, it’s anyone’s guess if you’ll be famous, so just pretend you’ve had success and now you need reclusiveness.

The Catcher in the Rye dropped from the public eye years ago. Pretend you’re that guy. You just might be, for all I know. Because getting famous is hot, but being famous is not, and some chumps will take the lumps, but it’s lonely at the top.

Greta Garbo was well known. She wanted to be left alone. Kurt Cobain was all that was in. We don’t need to say what happened to him. You don’t need all that, you’re already where it’s at, that’s a fact. So just go back to your pad and keep up your act, because it’s anyone’s guess if you’ll be famous, so just pretend you’ve had success and now you need reclusiveness.
Track Name: Will Bite
My day goes slower than the train rolls by the only road to my home when I’ve worked late. Now I’m looking toward the sideline, taking all your guidelines, tossing them away. My conscience is getting so obnoxious, we’re not on speaking terms until it shapes up. Quitting is an active thing, passivity is employing, I’ll show you what an action hero’s really made of.

Fifty-one, forty-nine, better pick one side of the line. Through all sorrows and delight, don’t push me, I will bite.

My cubicle keeps me safe from human view so I can work my Rubic’s Cube free from prying eyes. My passion is being counteractive, jamming up the faxes, being drunk by five. I only speak the truth, the sky is blue and so are you, so I have made you carrot cake. I used cream cheese, I know it always makes you sneeze, but that means all the more for me, now that’s a lucky break.

Here’s Ashley, looking like a lesser Gatsby, rolling up a fatty in toilet paper. Makes me wake and have a taste-y, a little shake n’ bake-sy, or his feelings get hurt. I’ve slept plenty, it’s already four-twenty, I shouldn’t be so sedimentary lying on the floor. I take a drag of Ashley’s stick of magma and feel more igneous than the second just before.
Track Name: The Building of the Bed
He built a bed based on what she said, to raise his mattress from the floor and him from the dead. Two-by-fours and four-inch bolts at Home Depot purchased.

And there they lay through the winter haze, through draft-dodging nights and dismal days, till one morn he dismantled it, the day he moved away.

He brought the lumber to his new place of slumber, rebuilt the bed alone, finally unencumbered. But the slats fell through, the wedding bed had been put asunder.
Track Name: Old Girlfriendses
What be it that doth dull the senses when I think about my old girlfriendses? That maketh a milder man of me, that pusheth pain to furthest memory? That doth not vex me in my wakefulness, or steep me deep in helplessness? Woe be the day that crashes my defenses, and my heart is washed away by old girlfriendses.
Track Name: This Piece of Paper
Threaded this page to write a letter to you, only the finest linen weave stock would do. The ivory white stared me down cold and grim, I reeled and I staggered, searching for a pseudonym, I wretched and doubled over and fell out of my chair, and when I pulled myself up, this piece of paper was still there. This piece of paper still did glare.

I wrote you three times, but twice to apologize for the one time I wrote to psychoanalyze. To show I’m past petty grievance, I thought I’d drop you a line. I want to tell you happy birthday even though you forgot mine. I wrote the whole thing in my head from the viewpoint of my bear, but when I opened up my eyes, this piece of paper was still there. This piece of paper still did glare.

Now I heard from a friend you went out on a date. I’m afraid you’re not alone, which is why I won’t call late. I won’t call you in the afternoon, you might be with him at your classes, and I won’t call you early, he may be making morning passes. But I can script the gilded letter and plead how much I care. The quill will pause in mid-air, the piece of paper is still there. This piece of paper still does stare.

The empty page reminded me of the void I felt inside, so that is what I wrote about, and that took up two lines. A pathetic sentence fragment led me to feel even worse, so I wrote about that, too, and I wound up with a verse. I spent the next half hour writing down all that was wrong, and the blank page blinked, and what stared back was what stared back all along. This piece of paper is now a song.
Track Name: Empathos
I think about you when I’m thumbing women’s magazines, I’ll bet that all the other guys don’t try so hard to empathize. I think about you when I’m trying on your underwear, I don’t think it’s such a sin to be in the things against your skin. I think about you times I don’t think you’d appreciate, but at least I can extrapolate it means deep down I think you’re great.