Bands of Co-Conspirators

band collage3 (1)

I have been making music for over 40 years and have had the good fortune in that time to have worked with some insanely talented people. In my college dorm, in my wife’s office, even in my parents’ basement, I found musicians, singers, and songwriters who astounded and challenged me. It is impossible to say how much I learned from each of them. I only know that every note I play comes from a foundation we built together.

I was tempted to harangue some, all, or as many as I could persuade, of my previous co-conspirators, to join me for this show, but new phases sometimes require new faces. My instinct this time around was to work only with artists I hadn’t worked with before.

The first one added to the roster for this show is a man, like me, who has played for many years with many bands. His bands include Letters From Home, The Providers, and the Snook Brothers. He is the wonderful guitarist Vinny Armanino. How wonderful? You can pick up a ticket and find out. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Get your tickets here.

Vinny and I – and the rest of the fife and drum corps jug band orchestra and fellow-travelers – will spend the next month preparing a uniquely memorable experience for each member of our audience. We would love to see you there.

Here is a recording by one of the 1990s version of my co-conspirators named Late Model Humans, performing one of the songs that will be featured at the show: You’re The Only One (I Think).

In your chain I’m just a link
A valentine that isn’t pink
Like all the others in a blink
I’m gone like water down your sink
But if you’ll give me one more drink
If you’ll just give me one more drink then I’ll say

You’re the only one, you’re the only one
You’re the only one, I think
You’re the only one, you’re the only one
You’re the only one, I think

Next time we’re down at the bar
And you say this time I’ve gone too far
That I just want to drink and play guitar
Like I’m some kind of fucking star
I’ll pound down another drink
I’ll pound down another drink and I’ll say

You’re the only one, you’re the only one
You’re the only one, I think

What can I do to make you stay
Why do I always have to say
You’re the only one for me, girl
Why do I always have to say
You’re the only one, you’re the only one

This is no ordinary thirst
I’m fighting off the family curse
And still I know it would be worse
If I was alone in this universe
A universe as black as ink
But if you’ll give me one more drink then I’ll say

You’re the only one, you’re the only one
You’re the only one, I think

Coming Full Circle in NYC

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Thirty five years ago, I moved to New York City, into a friend’s apartment at 4 Saint Mark’s Place. On September 22, I will be performing a show at the Kraine Theater, four blocks away from that first apartment. I’ll be playing songs that I wrote during the years I lived in Greenwich Village, songs I wrote when I lived on the Upper West Side, and ones written in my current home in the Bronx.

Get your tickets here.

The city has changed a lot since my first days here, hanging out in clubs like the Ritz, the Limelight, Danceteria, and CBGBs, finding new experiences that seeped into my songs. In music I found the power of melody and poetry to inspire and soothe and reveal and heal. I would love to share some of these experiences with you in the city that always will be home to me.

Here is a recording from the mid-nineties, by an early incarnation of Late Model Humans, of one of the songs I’ll be performing: New York City.

I Have To Say

This song, like John Lennon’s Woman, is addressed both to the specific woman I’ve built my life around, and to all individuals of her gender. This feels like a moment for me to be quiet and do some listening. I’ve already heard everything I Have To Say.

In another similarity with Beatle John, my compositions sometimes slip into the familiar ¾ time of the waltz. I never learned how to do the dance but its rhythm speaks to me.

I’m sorry I forget to tell you sometimes
I love you
I’m sorry I forget to tell you sometimes
how beautiful you are
Some things seem so obvious that I don’t have to say them
But I do have to say them
And you do have to hear them
Because they’re more important than anything I have to say
I have to say
.
I know I get under
Your skin and you wonder
What life would be like
Without Mr. Mike
Probably better
And probably worse
And probably someday the last will be first
Before we get to that day
I want to hear everything that you say
And I do have to hear you
You do need to speak
Because I’ve already heard everything I have to say
.
The first one I ever saw fade into black
was my Uncle Jack
He never came back
Now there’s so many slipped through the cracks
That I’m losing track
And the voices of these ghosts
Drown out the one that I need most
And I do need to hear you
You do need to speak
Because I’ve already heard everything I have to say

So Sad

This one goes back a few years, and then a few years more, and a few more years on top of that. I like to think I’ve improved as a songwriter but I like these more than most of my old lyrics. This comes from the first session we did in a real recording studio. The band was called Racy Dates. I haven’t seen the bass player in many years but I see the other guitarist every once in a while and I’m meeting the drummer for drinks tonight. I married the harmony vocalist/percussionist.


All the days when we walked in the sun

All the nights when we talked in the dark
And the time we spent
Worrying about money and the government
Even if we cried
Thinking about whether we lied
All the days we slept away
All the same
All the nights we drank away
All the same
And the time we had
Falling in love over and over again
Even if we cried
At least we did it side by side
All the days we spent locked up
Torn apart
All the nights we learned to grow
In our hearts
And the time we threw away
I’d give anything for just one day
That we wasted in a fight
I’d give anything for just one night
So sad
What we did with the time we had
All gone
But I can’t move on
So sad
What we did with the time we had
All gone
But I can’t move on
I can’t turn away
Honey, give me one more day

Butterfingers


You’re holding something delicate
Butterfingers
Try not to lose your train of thought
Butterfingers

Remember why you picked her up
Butterfingers
Don’t you ever let her drop
Butterfingers
Time is what it always was
It just feels different because
You don’t have as much left
You don’t have as much
Cross your legs and hope to die
Butterfingers
Stick a needle in your eye
Butterfingers
Tell that joke you told before
Butterfingers
It doesn’t matter anymore
Butterfingers