Thunderegg History Unit, Volume 1 (2012)

by Thunderegg

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Twice a week between January and March 2012, Will presented the Thunderegg History Lesson: a short essay about a song from each of the Egg's first fourteen albums, from 1994's Larry ("You String Me") to 2011's Line Line ("Skeletons"). Taken as a whole, these fourteen chapters tell one version of Thunderegg's coming-of-age story—and their corresponding fourteen songs constitute a nice little sampler from the big catalog. Plus, the special versions here feature the History Lessons embedded right into the songs' digital IDs, so you can read about the Egg's foibles as you listen, even on your mobile device. It's liner notes for the songs. It's also a story with a soundtrack. Totally fun.


released March 6, 2012

This compilation and Thunderegg History Unit essays ©2012 Will Georgantas. All songs by Will Georgantas and ©1994–2011 Zivlizdin Music (BMI). Thank you to the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Amherst, VA, for providing space and time while this project unfolded.




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Track Name: You String Me
Tie a yellow ribbon round my neck, make sure it's tight. Hang a carrot right in front of my nose, but don't give me a bite. A few months in limbo wasn't so bad, just hanging around. Then you pulled my string and I came crashing in flames to the ground. You string me. You string me on and on and on and on and on.

The other day you strung me up on St. Abelard's Place. Then you cut me down and gave me a hug and slapped a pie in my face. And then you asked me what it is I'm so sad about. Well, I've got 4,947 reasons to be bummed out. You string me. You string me on and on and on and on and on.
Track Name: Conversation Hearts
Tell me, dear one, will you be mine? Gotcha, my star, you cutie pie. U R good, U R A 10, oh, U R # 1. Please don’t say go away, come on, give me just one.

Love me, my star, and I will always be true. Luv ya, my girl, mmm, you sure are cute. Ask me if I am E Z 2 love, and I will tell you: Yes. No. Maybe so.
Track Name: Dog Leg
Dog Leg, I can’t see you true. Every day I get a different angle on you. And I don’t want to sink another ball in the drink. Dog Leg, you’re not worth it, I guess I’m through.

Dog Leg doesn’t let you walk away without getting in the last word and ruining your day. We’re going to have to let you go, is what Dog Leg will say, even though you were just about to quit anyway.

Dog Leg has these bosses who she can’t interrupt. She wants to be me when she asks me to speak, but she’s them when she tells me to shut up.

Dog Leg looks all right at first, but there’s a lot that you can’t see. And if you hit into her rough, then you’re history. And she can’t fire me, I already Q-U-I-T. I know she did it first, but that’s a technicality.

Dog Leg I still win cause I’ll never have to see your face again.
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: The Mighty Battlecat
Your voice echoes in my head as I’m lying in my bed and pays no mind to my kind silence or respect for my weakness. It repeats reassurances I know I never heard and sings a song of memory that hasn’t any words. There once was a time when I thought I had a chance, told her when she wasn’t looking was when I danced. I could make her laugh when I talked about the past, but impressing in the present was a little tougher task. I wished upon a fuzz ball that came drifting my way that you would fall in love with me one day, but the wind would not permit it and the wish will not come true. It blew the seed back to me instead of blowing it to you.

By then it will be too late for that because Cringer never became the Mighty Battlecat.

So let’s fast forward to when I’m thirty-four and I’ve rented a car to visit you and yours. I almost get lost on the ride across, but for once I take a right turn at the fork. I’ll know you wound up with someone strong because your driveway is so long and I’ll know that I won’t dress like him and I’ll hope that you won’t rub it in. But injury would be insulted twice if you said the same thing that you said tonight, that you have warmest memories of times forgotten long and gone. Why couldn’t I have been there to remind you all along?
Track Name: This Is Just Like California!
This is the sunshine song. (Yippee!) Pretend you’re at a park. Pretend you’re at a park! Just pretend you’re at a park! Ohh . . . (Whoop-i-doo! Yay!) what a nice day it is! (Skip-i-dee-boo!) I’ve got the picnic basket (Who brought the Frisbee?), I’ve got the Frisbee and the transistor radio . . . (Catch! Catch!) Whoo-hoo. (Yippee-doo! Yippeeee! Whoo-hoo! Yahoo! Yippee-doo!) Yahoo, yahoo! La la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la (I feel like taking my shirt off!) (Go for it, man!) (Whoo-hoo.) Yahoo! Hey, throw me the football! (Okay, here I go! Catch! [Whee-hee!] Nice catch!) (Whoo-hoo.) La la la la la la la. Hey, man, this is just like California! Yee-hee! (Skee-be-dub-i-dee-dub-i-dee-doo!) (Rrrrrrrrrrr-row-de-dow-dow-dow-dow!) (Here, boy! Here, boy!) (Arf! Arf arf arf!) (Yipp-i-dee-dipp-i-dee-dap-i-dee-bap-i-dee-bow!)
Track Name: The Drapes Come Open, Revealing the Grand Ballroom
And now something’s happening. The whole wall of red drapes across from the reception area has just started to come open from the bottom. An ever-increasing arc, rising, getting higher and wider, the opening revealing the wide expanses of a dining room: Didn’t even know it was there. A huge dining room, filled with tables with tiny, flickering candles among the flowers. Looking across, it looks almost like a castle ballroom. Way at the far end, we see Donna and Tom, embracing…
Track Name: Deliverance from Crack Rock
It first came up when tuning one night down in Vera Rubin, sliding down the scale to match the E. Woodfin rocked a break under the Scorpion of Jake and Justin took the mic, surprisingly. I was only twenty-one but the way that our band swung, I was sure that we were gonna be huge. In exchange for my commitment, started acquiring equipment, and bought a four-track when I turned twenty-two. I taped a couple versions, had mixed results with the dispersion, but was still positioned well at twenty-three. One thing that I did know was that rock radio did blow and that there had to be an opening for me. Deliverance from crack rock, deliverance from crack rock.

When I was twenty-four I was the Man, when I was twenty-five I was the mack. When I was twenty-six I had the bitterest existence trip, I didn't know if I would ever come back. At twenty-seven I had to regroup, at twenty-eight I had to pay some dues. Now I just turned twenty-nine, had the same list at twenty-five, but I'm not dumb enough anymore to follow through. Deliverance from crack rock, deliverance from crack rock.

You can postulate forever why you are no longer clever or why you can't seem to get up the nerve. What that accomplishes is never gonna serve you any better than if you just sat down and did your work. Time cannot be recaptured, but the past's a total bastard, who wants to hang out with him anyway? Better to focus on what's lasted and whatever's coming after and to count our blessings while we pray for a Deliverance from crack rock, deliverance from crack rock.
Track Name: What Was I Gonna Do?
Everyman knows everything and Everyman’s a fool, but Everyman’s got a whole new thing [sic] coming for when he meets the likes of you. You defy all known statistics and what I pin on you. You’re an atheistic mystic, a sugar-free sweet tooth. What was I gonna do? You’re fading in the distance. You ran away, should I be chasing you? What was I gonna do?

If I had to buy you a present, I wonder what I’d choose, for I should give you nothing if I believed in the Golden Rule. I’m cutting tighter and tighter circles. When I drop over I come in twos: the rabbit and the turtle, I don’t know which one of us you refuse. What was I gonna do? You’re fading in the distance. You ran away, should I be chasing you? What was I gonna do?

Let’s go down to the seashore or to the Delaware Water Gap. Forget all that came before and what’s coming down the track. When I’m lying, I’ll tell you that I’m lying so even lies will be true, and in the still of the night I’ll tell you that I’m dying, dying, dying, dying over you. What was I gonna do? You’re fading in the distance. You ran away, should I be chasing you? What was I gonna do?
Track Name: I Felt Wonderful
And I felt wonderful, just like summer would if a season could feel. I felt so good, like all was understood. Lightning-struck and thunder-shook. I felt wonderful.

So I told myself I’d always remember exactly the way it felt, so that every time we were together, I could think back and tell myself that I felt wonderful, just like summer would if a season could feel. I felt so good, like all was understood. Lightning-struck and thunder-shook. I felt wonderful.

Sometimes you can’t rely on rules you invented. Other times you find they work too well. But you find no matter what you intended, there are lessons learned and the world still turns and it wouldn’t be living if it didn’t sometimes hurt. And I felt wonderful, just like summer would if a season could feel. I felt so good, like all was understood. Lightning-struck and thunder-shook. I felt wonderful.
Track Name: I Don't Want to Stay Here (with Me)
I don't wanna stay here with me.
Track Name: Retarty
Did you hear about their party, the one they told no one to tell me of—as if that even should alarm me, or send me crying to the telephone, that they were throwing this big soiree, inviting everybody else on earth, and they conveniently forgot me, so they can chuckle to themselves.

Don't give a fuck about their party, pushing nerds into the pool, mixing mojitos at the barbecue like it's still 2002. I'm not going to their party: Too many asses just like you, with telescopes aimed at the sorority, with dopey 'staches to outdo one another.

They should call it a retarty. Some place where they can take their helmets and listen to the Arctic Monkeys, and shoot their shooters and their Jell-O. Yeah, they should call it a retarty. Bacardi floaters get ignited—tomorrow morning they'll be sorry. I'm glad that I wasn't invited to their dumb retarty, their stupid fun retarty. I'm not going to their party because their sorry party sucks.
Track Name: Skeletons
One restless night I felt so strange, my sense of sight had somehow changed. I saw no bodies, saw no souls, but skeletons—I saw just bones. I saw my darling Annalee. I saw her start to notice me. I saw her skeleton so frail. Her pretty face was but a veil.

She ran away from where she’d hid, back to the same predicament. What was contained so deep within to drive her straight right back to him? I was in pain, I was perplexed, wanted to blame her for my mess that I’d created by myself, without her harm, without her help.

I walked the streets of lonely folks, hearts surely beating beneath their coats. Surrounding me all that I saw were skeletons shuffling along. For a long while I could not keep my wandering mind from Annalee. But slowly I got on my feet. Sure enough, time took care of me.

I met a girl not long ago. At night with her, I pull her close. Under her clothes I feel her flesh, along my neck I feel her breath. And her green eyes have made me see all that once had eluded me. The skeletons may lie beneath, but now I see, now I’m complete.