#27 New Roman Times. Part 3. Start smoking weed now cause by the time you get to the end of this one you need to be really high to understand it.


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The album New Roman Times.  A song by song explanation of the plot.  Yes i know it varies a bit from the liner notes of New Roman Times.  And seriously this gets pretty silly by the end.

01 Prelude

An instrumental meant to invoke growing tension.  It climaxes with a backwards piano chord.  Meant to symbolize the catastrophic events that sets all the events in the story in motion.  A terror attack like 9-11 from a country in the middle east.  This causes Texas and it’s allies The CSA, Quebec, and Deseret to send troops to the middle east.  Despite their mutual defense pact California declines to send troops.

In parallel a Waco type event in California.  Fundamentalist Mormon offshoot in California Republic end up in a bloody clash with California Paramilitary Civil Guard.  This provokes an uprising among the large Mormon population in the Las Vegas, Bakersfield,  San Bernardino, Ensenada  and San Diego Provinces.  A state of insurrection exists. There is widespread sympathy towards Texas in these Provinces.  Especially with regards to their military campaign in the Middle East.

02 Sons Of The New Golden West

A shadowy Cabal of Southern California business leaders,  politicians, paramilitary and military officers.  They have pro-Texas sympathies.  With the terror attack, the Mormon uprising, and the President of California Paul MacKinney refusing to honor the mutual defense treaty with Texas they challenge the constitutionality and legitimacy of the Government of California.  The leaders of The Sons of The New Golden West set up a parallel government in Pasadena. Much of the paramilitary California Civil Guard,  and key elements of the California Military side with the Pasadena Government.  The  entire California Air Force defects or stands down.  But most importantly Admiral Krummenacher in La Paz allows the entire Texan Pacific Fleet out of the Bay of California.  In support of the Government in the Pasadena,  the Texas Navy defeats the California Navy at San Diego and seizes the Port of San Diego.  Admiral Krummenacher is rewarded by being appointed Minisister of Defense for the Pasadena government.   California is now effectively divided into two separate countrys.  The Pasadena government controls the coast from Monterey to  Cabo San Lucas.  The Pasadena Government controls all of the central valley south of  sacramento.   The south also controls the cities of San Jose and Fremont  in the South Bay.  The provinces of Las Vegas, San Bernardino are occupied by Deseret Troops.  Texas also send troops to support the Pasadena Government.  The Civil War/Invasion last for about 3 weeks.  Then for reasons that are not entirely clear The Grey aliens intervene and destroy half of the Texan Pacific Fleet and most of their Aircraft using highly advanced energy weapons.  The Greys and Blues then force a truce upon the warring factions. The aliens revealing themselves publicly is a big shock to most of the population of the world. However most governments had long been aware of their presence in the deserts of California.

But wait this is an instrumental.  Yeah exactly. So we can say it’s about whatever we want. If it were real opera the dancers would act all this out.  Oh yes and Chris molla wrote this song and just emailed it to us.  we did loosely describe that we needed a whole tone instrumental that had a very warlike feeling.  Or something like that.  It’s a fantastic piece of prog-rock in my opinion.  We kept parts of Chris guitar and keyboard parts from the demo.  He wasn’t actually in the studio with us ever. He actually also sent us the sheet music, because the damn thing is  totally complex. it took us days to learn to play the melodies.  Kudos Chris Molla.

Also Chris Molla cleverly combined the Masons-like “Sons of the New West”  and the pancake restaurant “Golden West Pancake House”, to come up with the name of this Cabal.

03 51-7

This is where you meet the protagonist, the young Texan.  He is eager to join the an elite Texan military unit known informally as “The 51-7”

The Lyrics tell the story well enough.

I’ve been through all kind of changes
Cut my hair dyed it black in stages
Been in trouble with the law, but that’s all over now
I’m ready for the big time: 51-7

Left home don’t think my five brothers ever noticed
Mom half-baked on weed and scientology
My father if I ever find, well don’t you never mind
I’m ready for the big time: 51-7

CHORUS:
You think you’re strong enough
You think you’re tough enough
You think you’ve got what it takes to be 51-7
You think you’re smart enough
You think you know everything
But you don’t know anything ’til you’re 51-7
51-7 51-7 51-7 51-7

Nothing to believe in except God and country
Can’t stand to see ourselves pushed around or fucked with (clean alternative = or disrespected)
Well give me a chance to show the world what I’m made of
Come on, come on, 51-7

CHORUS (x2):
You think you’re tough enough
You think you’ve seen everything
But you ain’t seen anything ’til you’re 51-7
You think you’re smart enough
You think you know it all
But you don’t know anything ’til you’re 51-7
51-7 51-7 51-7 51-7

04 White Fluffy Clouds

The young Texan is deployed to the middle east.  When he arrives the older more experienced soldiers sing the praises of their favorite  weapons system.

The music in this song deserves some mention.  The instrumental passages are a tip to the great 70’s prog rock bands. In particular the later King Crimson albums  Larks Tongue in Aspic and Red.  Also if the original Camper Van Beethoven broke apart into pieces (like a urinal cake remember).   This was me trying to incorporate the pieces back into the whole. This song is all about exploiting the  prog-rock leanings of The Monks of Doom.

Also known as “My Baby Is A White Fluffy Cloud”. Weapons: OH-58 (a Bell helicopter), JDAMs (Joint Direct Attack Munition – thanks Rob Buntz for this info!) M-9 a little handgun, hence lowly. The 3rd verse is omitted from the version on New Roman Times, but is present on the iTunes digital MP3 EP release and on earlier demo version.

[INTRO:]
[E]

My baby’s in the [A] white fluffy clouds
She’s [D] miles above but she drops [A] J. [G] DAM.s [E] down
My baby’s an OH-[A]-58
She’s [D] like a flying rough rider [A] mo-[G]-tor-[E]-bike

My baby’s an M-4 Carbine
Good for close combat gets you home alive
My baby’s an M-24
Put a condom on the muzzle keep the desert out

[INSTRUMENTAL BREAK:]
[C] [G] [D] [A] [E] [B] [C]
[REPEAT CHORD SEQUEUNCE]

[E]

[E] [D] [E] [D]

[E]

My baby’s an 82-A
for less than ten dollars take a jet plane down
My baby’s a lowly M-9
When you’re left-handed it works mighty fine

[E] [D] [E] [D]

[C] [G] [D] [A] [E] [B] [C]
[REPEAT CHORD SEQUEUNCE TO FADE]

05 That Gum You Like Is Back In Style

Meanwhile back in California Northern sympathizers in the occupied regions of the southern California have formed an underground insurgent group known as The CVB.  It is never clear why ” CVB” but it is rumored to be a reference to a very poplular band from a parallel alternate reality. How is that for being self-referential!  The entire song is a Crypto key.  OK?

Well i suppose i do have to explain it: a Cyrpto key is something that allows you to encode and decode messages.   The CVB and the northern California government have developed an unbreakable quantum encoding system.  They use this to communicate intelligence and other information. The CVB and Northern Californians  learned this method from the Mexican Intelligence Services.  The Mexicans in turn probably learned this technology from the Blue or Greys.

As an aside  Mexican scientists have been making extraordinary breakthroughs in genetics,  mathematics materials and guayabera shirt technology at an unusual rate.  It appears they alien races are specifically helping the Mexicans or they have access to a super strong versions of the new Marijuana known as “Flower” or “Chocolate” that dramatically increases intelligence.  This marijuana in turn likely came from one or both of the alien races as they are Chronic Flower smokers.

Back to the crypto key.  It’s a little too hard to explain in great detail.  Suffice it to say that it’s based on small seemingly insignificant differences between two parallell universes.  For instance the crypto key being used here based upon Three distinct Variation Axes.

1.Differences between the plot lines of  Twin Peaks in two different parallel universes.  In one universe this line is spoken in a dream by the familiar bright green Doberman Pinscher, in another it’s spoken by a little person.

2. Differences in autobiographical details  of one of the main dancers in Cirque Du Soliel franchise at Morongo Casino in Cabazon.  In one alternate reality she suffers an episode of Bells Palsy and for the rest of the 6 week engagement she paints her face in the manner of a Sad Clown.

3. Differences in the career of the obscure English  60’s Garage Rock group The Beatles.  In one parallel universe the lead guitar role is not filled by guitar legend Keenan Wynne, instead that role is (bizarrely ) filled by Conservative British Prime Minister George Harrison (1989-1992).

Now of course this is all made up after the fact.  This is one one of a handful of songs that existed before the New Roman Times album was even conceived.  This is the story that we made up to fit the song into the album.   The truth is, like many of my songs, the words don’t mean shit.  They were meant to evoke a mood.  In this case a very werid david lynch type mood.  Further this song was actually written by Cracker guitarist and co-founder Johnny Hickman and myself.  It should have been a Cracker song i suppose.  But it was so much more a part of the Camper Van Beethoven ouevre that it got thrown to Camper Van Beethoven.

Tomorrow in Part 4 we’ll finish it up.

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This is the PEDAL STEEL intro, as played by David Immergluck and transcribed by John Lockney (thanks for this John!)

. D           A           Em               G      D       A        Em
1 __________|___________|_____3__________|______|_______|________|_________|
2 __________|___________|_____3__________|______|_______|________|_________|
3 __________|___________|__3_____________|______|_______|________|_________|
4 __________|___________|__3____3___3____|_3__3_|_5__5__|__5_ 5__|__5~__3__|
5 __________|___________|_______3~A_3~A__|_3__3_|_5~_5A_|__5A~_5_|__5~__3__|
6 __________|___________|________________|____3_|_5~_5B_|__5B~_5_|__5~__3__|
7 __________|___________|________________|______|_______|________|_________|
8 __________|___________|________________|______|_______|________|_________|
9 __________|___________|________________|______|_______|________|_________|
10__________|___________|________________|______|_______|________|_________|

.  G              D
1 ____3_______|___________|
2 ____3_______|___________|
3 _3__________|___________|
4 _3___3______|___5__5____|
5 _____3__3___|___5~_5A___|
6 ________3___|___________|
7 ____________|___________|
8 ____________|___________|
9 ____________|___________|
10____________|___________|

INTRO
[D] [A] [Em] [G]
[D] aah [A] aah [Em] [G]

CHORUS:
[D] That gum you like [A] is back in [Em] style, again [G]
[D] Haven’t seen [A] ya for awhile, [Em] my friend [G]

[A] Spent all of saturday pining away [Em]
[A] For that strange Quebecoise girl in Cirque du Soleil [Em] [G] [A]

REPEAT CHORUS

I was daydreaming of better days
At the Chelsea Hotel before I scared you away

REPEAT CHORUS

[D] [A] [Em] [G]
[D] [A] [Em] [G]
[D] aah [A] aah [Em] [G]
[D] aah [A] aah [Em] [G]

Who could be calling waking me from my dreams
Of John, Paul and Ringo with Keenan Wynn (no George)

REPEAT CHORUS x3

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24 Responses to “#27 New Roman Times. Part 3. Start smoking weed now cause by the time you get to the end of this one you need to be really high to understand it.”

  1. Tony Barrack Says:

    Great story David. I want to know more of the aliens and the chocolate.
    Thanks for the insight to 51-7. I’ve asked crumbs, or is it campers, about its meaning and everyone didn’t know. That guitar jam at the end of White Fluffy Clouds is like a Jackie Chan fight. Thanks, much love to the CVB, Spike.

  2. That Gum You Like certainly evokes a mood. Who hasn’t spent all the Saturday pining away for a Québécoise?

  3. Heh — between the space aliens and the exploding (electric) monks (of doom), this might have a tie-in to Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirk_Gently%27s_Holistic_Detective_Agency

  4. I remember when this came out and how much I loved ‘That Gum You Like’…could you guys make an EP of songs in the tone and mood of ‘That Gum You Like’? Not an entire album…just like 5 or 6 stoney ballads. That’s my request

  5. Wow. In addition to Massive Flower, try listening to each song as you read the entry. Sorta like what you would do with liner notes but in an expanded bloggy kinda way. Extra bonus points if you can time your reading to fit the song. And, who knew the Green Manalishi was a Doberman !?!

  6. I had always felt that the early part of the album was very Monks of Doom-esque.
    I also remember the demo for fluffy clouds being longer… I didn’t know there was an Itunes EP… which is apparently long gone…

  7. VelvetElvis Says:

    I’ve never written a screenplay before in my life but I’m feeling strangely inspired.

  8. Kick that crazy beat homie!

  9. Do not follow the instructions in the headline, it’s a trap.

    My brain just about exploded while reading the “That Gum You Like is Back in Style.” section.

  10. I don’t trust you anymore.

  11. Thanks – I look forward to getting the rest explained, as for a while in 2004 my distress over foreign policies was pulled into the murky depths of abandonment by people I thought were on the page; Hey Brother helped me make up my mind to become an expat. Betrayed.

  12. I must visit the desert next year to meet those little blue aliens. I was told to drink certain substances before they made an appearance. It takes a year to prepare for this, but I’m determined to succeed . Kudos to the story it often raises a smile.

  13. Dr. F Zen Hinkopf Says:

    Ausgezeichnet, Herr Lowery.

    It is most enlightening to learn of the Cracker influx to the CVB universe, in the middle of an opera, no less! The transition from frenetic munitions jam to That Gum is one of my favorite parts.

    Note also that your ‘random’ selection process resulted in the post describing the crypto key, mit 3 variation axes, to appear in post 27, which of course is 3 to the 3rd power. Ach!

    Also spracht Flower.

  14. jan switzer Says:

    the red velvet curtains are woven with flower. Thanks……..

  15. What’s the vocal aside at 1:10 after “For that strange Quebecoise girl in Cirque du Soleil”
    It sounds like “C’est Vache?”

    Blue alien sashimi is pretty good, actually.

  16. dontcallmepaddy Says:

    Was the “you don’t know shit…for brains” line ad-libbed?

  17. Thanks for the clear directions at the beginning of your explication D.L. It helped. I forgot if I was in 300 Songs or in a Dungeons and Dragons campaign conjured up by my mathematician friend Ross. Sheer post-apocolyptic awesomeness.

  18. Bubblicious?

  19. Dr. F Zen Hinkopf Says:

    And all this time I thought the 4th Beatle was Keenan Wayans.

  20. False_Skorpion Says:

    I want to point out that among it’s many, many virtues, “that gum you like” is an excellent, if not unparalleled, sonic hangover remedy. Maybe not remedy in the sense of a cure but in the sense that it has the power to transform the mental anguish that attends certain really bad hangover experiences into some kind of dim euphoria. The very specific references to events in time (spent all of saturday pining away), people (Keenan Wynne) and places (Chelsea Hotel) give the lyrics a visceral quality which exquisitely balances the abstractness of the other lines and the overall intoxicating vibe of the song. In this way the song reminds me of Kerouac’s “Big Sur”.

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