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#28 New Roman Times part 4: Unabomber as Folk Hero. Steve Reich as Pop Star

Posted in Camper Van Beethoven with tags , , , , , , on August 14, 2010 by Dr. David C Lowery

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06 Might Makes Right

I don’t know how i can top that last story.  That gum you like is back in style.  I’m not even gonna try.

Might makes Right has our young  Texan on patrol with his unit in the Middle East. He is slowly growing disillusioned with his role and his units mission.  In particular he was entered the Army a fairly devout christian.  He actually bought into a lot of the the notion that God was on the side of Texas.  After 9 months in the middle east he has come to doubt many things.  The lyrics tell the story well enough.

[INTRO/BREAK:]
[Bm] [F#7] [Bm]
[Bm] [F#7] [Bm]

CHORUS:
Yeah might makes [G] right
Yeah might makes [D] right
They say that [F#7] god is on our side and made us [Bm] mighty
Yeah might makes [G] right
Yeah might makes [D] right
They say that [F#7] god is on our side I don’t believe them

I’m [Bm] crawling through the under brush, we’re [F#7] teched up to the hilt
Compared to us these poor guys should be [Bm] wearing shorts and kilts
I’ve got a living breathing shadow crossed up in my scope
My partner gives the signal, pull the trigger, then there’s smoke

CHORUS:
Might makes right
Yeah might makes right
They say that god is on our side and makes us mighty
Yeah might makes right
Yeah might makes right
They say that god is on our side I don’t believe them

[REPEAT BREAK]

CHORUS:
Might makes right
Yeah might makes right
I guess that god is on our side and makes us mighty
Yeah might makes right
Yeah might makes right
They say that god is on our side I don’t believe them

They want us from the villages, they want us from the towns
Who could really blame them, shit blows up when we’re around
We fly above their houses with our Huey double-props
We scare the crap out of their kids, their mothers and their flocks

CHORUS:
Might makes right
Yeah might makes right
I guess ’cause god is on our side it makes us mighty
Yeah might makes right
Yeah might makes right
They say that god is on our side I don’t believe them

Also here is a video that John Croxton did for the song.  He interpreted it differently. He did a sort of Fight Club thing to it.

07 Militia Song

This is another of the songs that had been around before we came up with the concept for New Roman Times.  It was originally titled The Unabomber song.  Cause clearly it was written about Ted Kaczynski. And as a basic idea, it had been kicking around in my head since he was caught.  I was kind of fascinated by some of the details of his life.  It didn’t hurt that he was a mathematician.  I mean that always gets me interested.  I also developed a weird fascination with his manifesto cause excerpts  printed in the papers started to make sense to me. I was starting to freak myself out. The guy was a violent terrorist and very nearly succeeded in bringing down a passenger jet.  Not to mention the innocent people he killed and maimed. And i was developing an unhealthy empathy for the guy.

And then there were the just plain weird details.  When his brother turned him in,  a brief profileon CNN mentioned that his brother had “lived in west texas in a hole in the ground”.  As if that was a normal biographical detail.

In the alternate reality of New Roman Times.  The Unabomber song is a favorite underground country song popular  w with the right wing militia set in Deseret, Texas, and Southern California. These groups were very instrumental in supporting the Mormon Uprising in California. Like the infamous Rodeo song many artists have covered it and there are many variations,  some quite vulgar and all politically incorrect.

New Roman Times- Camper Van Beethoven

We discussed this in the first post.  But this is our young protagonist loses a leg while on patrol in the middle east.  He comes home, a bitter broken man.  begins to drink heavily and finally runs away from his young wife and family to occupied California.  Las Vegas California to be exact.

11 The Poppies Of Balmorhea

Balmorhea is a famous spring in the arid country of West Texas.  In our story The Poppies of Balmorhea is a bar in Las Vegas,  frequented by members of the Texan intelligence community. It’s an Oasis -get it- for the hardcore black bag and private intelligence contractors. BTW there are no Deseret Intelligence folks here as they don’t drink, they do however set up shop at the Jamba Juice directly across the street in case their Texan allies deign to speak to them.

It is here in this bar that he is recruited by agents from the quasi private TexIntelSecuiCorp (Doo Dah). They are the sleaziest and most ruthless of the lot. The plan is for him to become a double agent.  All he needs to do is play himself: a bitter and disgruntled wounded former soldier in the Army of Texas.  They want him to either infiltrate the Los Tigres Trafficante organization or the CVB.  Since he has recently developed a taste for the barely illegal “Flower” he accepts. But he also has a vague sense that he can somehow exact revenge.  On who he’s not sure?  But it’s not the Los Tigres or the CVB.  He has no beef with them.

 

12 The Long Plastic Hallway

In the song the protagonist goes to LA with his TexIntelSecuriCorp handlers.  He is wined and dined.  He is partying like a rock star.  He meets aliens and movie stars.  It’s crazy.

But again  this is one of the songs that at least partially was written before the  concept of New Roman Times album came about.  And the true story it’s based on happened in 1984.

First the Long Plastic Hallway is from a quote widely (mis)attributed to Hunter S. Thompson:

  • The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.”

Second the song is a metaphor for selling out.  For doing the wrong thing for money.  For selling your soul.  And finally doing stupid stuff for your own vanity.

Thirdly there is the true story that goes with this song.  That in real life involves flying saucers and aliens.  And it’s a Doozy.  It deserves it’s own separate post.  Stay tuned.

Finally the video is only evocative of the theme of the song. Not literal. The child represents the innocence that will be lost. Drag queen Manley Lennox represents our protagonist. He of course is “cross dress” his allegiances.

 

I Am Talking To This Flower- Camper Van Beethoven

In this song the protagonist is working with Los Tigres. Trying to get information about the CVB and Mexican informants in Southern California.  But  mostly he’s  thinking out loud.  He is essentially talking himself into joining the CVB.  His bosses of course think this is a good idea He is supposed to be a double agent after all. But he has his own plans.  He intends to join the Rebels for real. I guess that makes him a triple agent.  He is at this point completely disillusioned with his own government. He also is feeling the effects of the Flower. He’s got a plan it’s just not quite clear….

Also while researching odds and ends for this post I’ve discovered there are a lot of people who believe that Marijuana really is a plant that Extraterrestrials brought to Earth.  Here is one such nut.

The song starts with a sample from Steve Reich’s Come out to show them.

(sampled voice:)
I had to like, open the bruise up and let some of the blues blood come out to show them…

[G] I’m working California [D-Em-C]
[G] Tex Securintellicorps [D-Em-C]
[Am] And I’m smoking lots of [C] flower
‘cos I’m really [G] bored [D-Em-C] [G] [C]

I’m talking to my contacts
They’re el tigres traficantes
They always bring me flower, for known intelligence

CHORUS:
And if I [D] weren’t high on the flower
[C] could not work for the power
that [G] stands for nothing decent any-[F]-more
Yeah if I [D] weren’t high on the flower
I would [C] walk into a [A7] tower
Do some-[G]-thing [D-Em-C] nuclear, or worse [C]

I’m talking to this flower
So what ya lookin’ at?
Texas bureau little crew cuts
You need me much more

I’m talking to this flower
Without me he’d be lost
Maybe I should join the rebels
At least the chicks are hot

REPEAT CHORUS

 

14 Come Out

Well going back to the alternate universes and pop star theme: in our New Roman Times reality  Steve Reich is a pop star.  He plays a sort of highly repetitive hypnotic blues rock.  Often singing one phrase over and over again.  In California and Mexico where there is a lot of Flower smokers he is especially popular.  This song he makse  in reference to a martyred mormon separatists famous last words to his followers  “Come out to show them”.  This song is playing on the radio as our protagonist drives back from Fresno CA to LA.

This song was really just a tag on the end of I am Talking to this Flower, we hadn’t developed a proper ending and one take  David Immergluck, Jonathan Segel and i just kept playing.  Some how i got inspired to start singing “Come out to Show them” over the end.  It accidentally developed into a this strange plot point.

Tomorrow part 5.

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#26- New Roman Times Album- Camper Van Beethoven Pt 2.

Posted in Camper Van Beethoven with tags , on August 12, 2010 by Dr. David C Lowery

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Last Post i put up my beautifully annotated map and never really explained it’s significance.  Let me explain the map and the backstory to New Roman Times.  This backstory was created by Jonathan Segel and I over a couple of weeks via email exchanges.

As a counterpoint to the  Red State/Blue State theme We divided  North America up into 13 distinct Nations.  So North America looks more like south America.  We did this based on our experiences touring.  Calgary with it’s cowboy heritage and country music; Edmonton with it’s oil patch politics seemed part ofTexas.  Greater Texas if you will. The western half of South Dakota, for similar reasons is part of Greater Texaas. Half of South Dakota is green farms, restaurants advertising Swedish Meatballs  and polka nights.  The Sunday sermons listed on the Lutheran Churches seem fairly pragmatic and don’t suggest any snake handling is going on inside.  But you cross the Missouri river and it’s range land, cowboys and off- brand  evangelical churches in old storefronts. Their signs scream “Repent Sinners”.  You also get weird billboards urging the US to leave the UN cause it’s part of the Anti-Christ’s plan for one world government.

 

 

So therefore Texas includes all the high plains and front range grasslands.  All the way up to Canada’s arctic oil patch.  Texas also includes the other North American oil patches in west texas, Louisiana,  and the Mexican gulf coast down to Veracruz..  And a good bit of the Commanche, Apache and Navajo Country.  The latter as part of the semi-autonomous Aztlan.  Similarly Louisiana (Acadia ) is semi autonomous as well as parts of the Yukon and Canadian arctic.

Texas is the most powerful nation in North America. It is the only Country with access to the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Oceans. It also controls most of the oil and gas resources of North America.

Texas is closely allied with Deseret the Mormon nation which occupies much of the Great Basin of the intermountain west. It is also closely allied with The Confederate States of America.

The Confederate States of North America are occupy the exact area that you imagine they would.  Except they’ve managed to annex Cuba, The Bahamas and other islands in the Caribbean.

Maritime Canada is it’s own nation Nova Scotia.  This seemed to make sense to us as Maritme Canada seems much culturally closer to Scotland, Ireland or England.  And few Americans realize that Labrador and Newfoundland were not part of Canada until the late 1940’s.

Quebec is where you would imagine.  The United States is basically  everything above the mason Dixon line and East of the Missouri river.  There are a couple of notable exceptions:  Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia,  Franklin ( a new state formed by union loyalists in Eastern TN and Western NC) Kentucky,  Missouri parts of Northern Arkansas, Washington DC and northern Virginia north of the Rappahanock river are all part of the United states.

Cascadia is most of Oregon, Washington State, Northern Idaho and parts of Montana,  British Columbia and Alaska.  Cascadia was established as a separate English colony after President Millard Fillmore ceded the most of the great plains west of the Missouri to Texas and the Pacific Northwest to England.  It was rumored but never proven that president Fillmore and some of his cabinet received enormous bribes from the British and Texan Governments. (White or Tsarist Russian Alaska joined Cascadia in 1922 after the Bolshevik Revolution.)

\

In Reality Reality This was the Proposed State of Deseret.

Texas then encouraged the Mormons in parts of the Northwest to rebel against the British and establish their own polygamous nation. Texas also allowed Mormon areas of Utah, Nevada, Wyoming and eastern Oregon to secede and join the Mormon state.

Earlier Texas had wrested much of this area from Mexico in the second Texan-Mexican War of 1845.   At this time Texas also helped California (including Baja California)  break away from Mexico.  California at first was a virtual colony of Texas.  But as many Union loyalist from the Northwest, Deseret and Plains filtered into California it became more and more independent.  This division between the chiefly Texan  Confederate and Mormon settlers in the sparsely populated and impoverished  Southern California and the wealthy Union loyalists in the North would come back to haunt California.

Indeed this is how our story begins. In 2004  parts of Southern California try to Secede from the Republic of California and a civil war ensues.   The Republic of Texas and The Mormon republic Deseret opportunistically intervene on the side of the Southerners.

Deseret hopes to expand their borders  to include the large mormon communities in the Las Vegas and San Bernadino Provinces of California.

The Texans gain control the Pacific ports at Ensenada and San Diego.  This is important because previously their Pacific Fleet was based out of Rocky Point or Puerto Penasco on the bay of California in the semi-autonomous Aztlan region of Texas. Mexico and California could effectively “bottle up” the Texan fleet in the Bay of California.

And also about this time It is revealed that two distinct Space Alien races have  established secret bases in the California.  The “Blues” in Baja California near Loreto.  And the “Greys” just outside of Las Vegas.  At area 51.

The Blues and the Greys who had taken a hands off approach to Earthling politics up to  this point intervene to enforce a truce on the two warring sides.  The conflict becomes a simmering insurgency.  The northern Insurgents call themselves The CVB.  No one is sure exactly what the acronym stands for.

There is also this new genetically altered weed that is floating around.  It actually increases ones intelligence and it may have come from the aliens.  It may also explain Californias sudden technological advances. It’s called Flower in English or Chocolate in Spanish.  It’s distribution is controlled by a Mexican gang (Los Tigres Trafficantes) operating with the complicity of the Mexican intelligence services.

See my post on Jo stalins Cadillac for the Camper Van Beethoven patented songwriting formula.   But I believe we have the three main elements.

Aliens.  Check

Pot or Psychedelics.  Check

Crazy conspiracy theories.  Check

Seems like a Camper Van Beethoven Album to me.

Los Tigres Traficantes- Camper Van Beethoven

In reality Jonathan recorded this guy selling chocolate on a street corner in Lima Peru.  He chopped it up and put it to this instrumental.

I Am Talking To This Flower- Camper Van Beethoven

The young Texan Soldier is now working for Texintelsecuricorp.  A private intelligence company in Texas.  He’s supposed to be gathering intelligence on the CVB and Mexican operatives in Southern California but he’s really just spending most of his time smoking Flower with Los Tigres Trafficantes.

Also TexIntelSecuriCorp is none as a “Doo Dah”  in other words it has the same cadence as “Camptown Races five miles long”.   Frank Funaro Cracker’s drummer can hear any instance of this cadence.  He quickly says “Doo Dah”.  I was singing practicing pronouncing TexIntelSecuirCorp when Frank Funaro shouted across the room “Doo Dah”.

In part three I will do the songs and the story chronologically.

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