Sirwin
Sirwin

Invisible Manifesto For A Rising Outlaw Nation (Take 3)

By Nathan Payne | pablosmoglives | 18 Oct 2023


"We were interested in not being considered professionals.  I still consider myself an amateur filmmaker rather than a professional.  Because professional means you do something for money, for a job.  And the root of the word 'amateur' is a love of something...  It was about the love of music and rock and roll and expression, not about filling a stadium or getting a big record deal.  So it was a kind of vibrant period."
Jim Jarmusch, I Love To Take The Subway By Myself

 

One thing about songwriting is that you can do it anywhere.  Painters need materials, actors and dancers need spacious amounts of privacy, but a poet can write a song in the luggage compartment of a Greyhound bus.  If you don't have any implements of writing or noise-making at hand, you can even scrawl songs like cave paintings on the inside of your skull.  You can't practice dance inside your head.  You can envision a sculpture or a painting, but you can't realize it in your imagination, like you can with a song.

Recording them is a different story.  Making something cool with a worthless medium is always fun.  I recorded most of All The Diamonds You Can Eat on a broken 4-track with cassette tapes purchased exclusively at the dollar store.  The lo-fi sound is just the robot flesh made manifest.  If I had had an orchestra at hand I would have used it.

As an ashtray, perhaps.

"A Beautiful Place" is 4 tracks overdubbed on a dollar-store cassette tape.  Vocals, bass guitar, acoustic guitar, a pile of pots and pans, and a tambourine.  Nothing else.  The pots and pans were recorded in tandem with the tambourine, on one general "percussion" track.  Everything was done in one take.  It wasn't my machine, and it wasn't my apartment.  I was living in my car, and had to lay a few tracks down on my buddy's broken machine when the opportunity presented itself.  Whatever I laid down was how it was going to sound until the end of time.  The strange low, howling reverb on the downbeat, that is particularly obvious in the vocal dead-zone about halfway through the song, was a product of one of the pots and pans landing against the mic stand during the performance.  It was leaning up against the mic stand, and sent a sort of strange horror shivering up into the mic, like the sound you make when you step on a ghost.  The crushing sound of invisible spines that defines the downbeat for the rest of the song wasn't intentional, and in my opinion, is one of the reasons "A Beautiful Place" is a highlight of my discography.

 

"Appreciation and money go hand in hand.  If someone does a good job at your house, and they're underpaid, they don't feel the appreciation.  'What a painter, what a wonderful job,' he leaves the house, he still can't pay for gas in his car.

When that person feels that they are really appreciated, they're going to give their all.  When they feel underappreciated...."
Soft White Underbelly, Mike Dowd (follow up)

 

I've written a handful of songs in Spanish over the last few years, but only one in English.  My last official "studio" album, homemade like all the others, was released in April of 2017.  Awhile ago, by now.  When I say "released," I mean, like a helium balloon, fossilized in mist.  The sky is a fossil, y'know.  Our hearts and minds are too petrified to see it, but the clouds are really fossils, floating through the ethersphere like the skeletons of dreams.  They seem insubstantial to us, because we've turned to stone.  Our cities are like statues of loathing, begging to be put down like a crippled horse.  But the clouds are really fossils.  The true record of our civilization is floating through the sky.  The clouds are an historic fossil record of the heavens, scientific proof of everything that has ever been perceived as beautiful, and which is not burdened with desire, degeneracy, or death.  As fossilized songs, clouds are pure balloons of harmony and light.  And we shoot missiles through them.  Hateful text messages about our enemies.  Salacious photos from the dumpster of memories burning just beyond the grave.  But we never humble ourselves, or appreciate the harmonic fossils while we're here.  We shoot them down, and wonder why the sunsets have all turned black.

The sunset is black because our hearts are black.  Our dogma is black.  Our desires are black.  We light fires and believe them to be statues, when the only thing they immortalize is our anger, and our torment.  There's nothing cool or beautiful about it.  There's no future anywhere near any of it.  It's just the past, catching up with itself at last.

There's no way to write about it.  Once you've looked over the edge, into the abyss, your muse turns to stone as though she'd seen Medusa.  The insane headdress of snakes hisses and spits and curses at you until all the beauty in the world has been consumed and turned to stone.  It sounds like oxygen, or helium, escaping from a balloon.  But it's the process of eternal petrification.  Putrefying apples of knowledge, decaying under viper trees.  It's nothing anyone can write about.  The only way to write about it is to revel in it.  If you go to a concert, or see a film, and it resembles the sound or sight of starving, roiling pigs, you know the end is near.

YouTube suggested this guy to me recently.  He reminds me why I never write anymore.  Clearly, he believes in what he's doing.  I hear him and am transported to the museum/mausoleum of beauty, and am reminded that I no longer believe in what I see.  My guitar is not a flying carpet; it's a work truck.  I don't even see it as a bad thing.  I just don't have anything else to say (in song) anymore.  Perhaps I need a dance studio, or an orchestra in which I can extinguish the cigarettes of my disbelief.  Meaning, my disbelief in my own disbelief.  Cuz I don't really believe in the fact that I no longer believe.  I'm just not shooting myself in the knees for free anymore. 

I would if I could.  But not anymore.  Not now.  I lived in cars and vans for 15 years, writing songs on the inside of my skull while riding a flying carpet around the entire United States.  It has its moments, but it gets old. 

Toward the end, I reached around from the driver's seat, to pick up something on the floor of the van, far enough behind me that I had to stretch but not far enough to have to get out of my seat (I was parked), and dislocated my knee.  Fortunately, it popped back in right away, but I had to drive to the nearest rest stop with my left foot and figure out a plan.  Fortunately there was a cheap hotel with a weed store across the street, just a few exits down the highway (I-76 in Northeastern Colorado).  The weed store had a cane, left behind ages ago by some old lady.  I was able to spend the night in the hotel across the street, after buying a few joints and hobbling over there on my newly-acquired pink, flowered cane.  But I can't carve any more fossils in the sky.  I can't brush my teeth in the city park on Christmas ever again, or bear the weight of the derision of the ages, which is a polite euphemism for something else, I'm not sure I can ever talk about.

What.  For tips and a bag of mushrooms, I can eat while driving through Colorado, so I don't have to travel across state lines with them?  Waste them on a "hiking" trip I know I'll never take?  Cruising through the hills and over the passes, until the mountainous Van Gogh painting is breathing all around me...  It's not a bad trip, and I would regret to inform you that my driving wasn't affected at all, if I could. 

But I can't. 

Cuz it wasn't.

"Far as I roam; 'ever I go
There is a place where to lay my bones
A place that I know
All my dreams lay there a place called home"
Wolf van der Made

 

If I could write like that, meaning like someone who believes in what they're doing again, I would.  I don't know if it's never getting paid that burned me out, or sleeping on a flying carpet so long I dislocated my knee.  I don't even care, which is a dramatic way of saying it doesn't matter.  But I don't want to go out there anymore.  There was definitely a time that, like Jim Jarmusch, I loved to ride the subway by myself.  But I don't want to ride the subway anymore at all.  I no longer believe there's anything in the world worth absorbing.  I have become a museum-mausoleum of my own mind, a tomb full of pinball machines whose power cords no longer fit into the wall sockets of the world.  Do I have to wait until I get to Heaven, to ever play the pinball songs again?  Is it moribund or deadly, some kind of proto-suicidal plea for Beatlemania, beating like a wooden heart, the pathetic, bleeding bleatings of a professional marionette who no longer enjoys the sound made by the vibrations of his own supporting strings?

Of course not.  If it was dramatic, I wouldn't write about it.  I would commit an act of mortal, self-absorbent drama.  Clearly, the work is of no importance whatsoever.  It's a relief.  I'm tellinya.

So if you ever lose your faith, take heart.  It's not the end.

It's the beginning.  I've been explaining and/or justifying my existence to every sentient creature I've ever met for years.  They all think I'm a bum, because all I have is a mausoleum full of antique pinball machines.  "Songs," depending on which terminology you prefer.  It isn't "work" to them, because they can't do it.  So, for them, creating sonic fossils for the layer of forgotten dreams that floats above the world like a moldy Swiss cheese full of missile holes, is a complete and total waste of time.  Making missiles, of course, and coming up with reasons to shoot them off, is a skilled, high-paying, and well-respected career.  It's a real profession.

But it's alright.  It is.  All those subway rides are training, all those albums, songs, and poems.  All the cave paintings you scrawl like a homeless street urchin on the cracked walls of your own cranium, that is just the prologue.

I don't care if you're Mozart, and you're in the middle of your own Requiem.

It's the beginning.  Of the end, perhaps.  The beginning of the end.

But a beginning, nevertheless.

He never finished it, y'know.  His death song.  Was it the fact of the commission of it, that finally killed him?  Or did the commission allow him to let the music do the job, that his enemies never could?

Would he have written the Requiem in the subway tunnels of Paris, sipping on some horse rum?

Was his patron, finally, Medusa?

Did she turn his faith to stone, so that the only way for him to finish the song would be to die?

Or was it too many drunken winters in Vienna?

Either way, whether he's in Heaven or in Hell,

He doesn't care.  Ennio Morricone hung Mozart's Requiem from the vulture tree.  Morricone showed us a close-up of the sweaty, unshaven face of the unfinished work of genius.  It was like the twisted visage of a bandito.  Grimacing and wild.  Its tongue was a nest of smoking worms.

The songs aren't hiding.  You won't find them in the hyena den full of naked, roiling idiots, but they are out there.  Train the artificial YouTube cultural detachment rhythm to suggest unknown cloud-sculptors to you.  Preferably people with double-digit listens/views, or less.  The weird guy in the corner, perhaps, antisocial and detached, for reasons of having no outlets suitable for plugging into. 

Forget your hyper-corporate grocers of degeneracy, peddling rotten meat and crippled vegetables.  People whose idea of beauty is a cockfight, and whose spirits are like warthogs, rooting through the steel intestines of a puppet.  Who turn up or dig in the earth with the snout of their own haughty, subjective morals, and for whom the world is a place comprised of subjects, dirty, revolting people who need to be frowned upon, and ruled.

 

"Are you smoking bubblegum, or steroids?
Are you the dominant clown with guns?
Are you obsessed with power?
Okay then.
Show us how it's done."
from Invisible Manifesto For A Rising Outlaw Nation (Take 2)

 

Invisible Manifesto For a Rising Outlaw Nation (Take 1)


A waterfall of concrete, bubbles made of people, taxi horns & earrings.  All my car troubles so far have been psychosomatic.  I wanna know the chromosomes of the digital world, the DNA of binary code.  X & Y, the boiling sky.  Bums & heroes, 1's & zeros.  All my frustrations come from the delusional belief that my life should have some sort of plotline.  What if my life fails to depict this bowl of burning gumballs in a linear manner?  Is that a watercolor, or a water cooler?  The only 2 choices are life or death, which is to say there are no life & death choices, except of course the choice of life or death (there is nothing else that matters).

Is civilization a place?  An entity?  Or is it a process by which we are stripped of the sovereign hearts & minds that make us human (no Universal Mind for me no thankyou), while learning to pose & act in a morbid caricature of humanity, an over-rehearsed scene performed by second-rate actors destroying each other over petty disagreements about the stage directions.  I AM not civilized, I HAVE BEEN civilized.  & hopelessly civilized I will remain.  It's when I resign myself to the process of civilization (bleak cartoon) that i turn my back on God, turn my back on life, turn my back on the invisible drums, & dreaming; turn my back on love & life (forgiveness), & spread the gospel of misery & death.

Am I a cheerleader of death?

Is that my self-own I hear ringing?

To what end have I destroyed myself?

Do I gottagit my handsdirty?

Cops, dogs, sucker outfits: Your repression gives me voice; by binding me in shackles you put me on a platform from which I can be seen & heard.  What you call rotting, I call breathing.  I am not a threat to you and/or your system, I'm a threat to you and/or your system.  Are you reading me?  Feeding me?  Beating me?

Are we fighting?  Am I bleeding?  Is someone here at war with you?  Do you think that because this is your house, the rest of us have to play by your rules?  Do you think this is your house?  Do you think these are your rules?

Do you wanna keep me down?  Leave me alone to my fanciful imaginings.  Do you want to keep your illusion of control?  Then you have to let me do what I want.  There are pitfalls involved in spitting spitballs at a pitbull.  My brain is full of gaylords, swords, & handwritten rainclouds.  You can't tell me nothin'.

There is no need for civilization in the Invisible Nation, & being right about everything doesn't change anything.

There's hope you crazy punk-ass.

I'm talking to myself you know.

Take 1 of "The Invisible Manifesto" is from my "book" Dancing on the Ceiling of My Existential Kitchen.  Don't buy it.  It's the blueprint to a bomb crater.  Some half-eaten dog plans to construct a fallout zone, in verse, and poetry, and lime.  There's a lot of garbage in that book.  But I meant it at the time.  Bury me a house, and an orchestra to put it in, and maybe I'll do better.

Or maybe we should just wait 'til we get to Heaven.  We won't be limited by 12 tones, or 3 dimensions.  Imagine a piano 80 feet long, it takes 10 people to play.  1000 notes in the scale.  Sculptures that can be trained to do flips.  Words like acrobats of praise, dancing on our tongues.  Painters not limited by the visible color spectrum, or 3 dimensions.

Yawanna talk about glory?  Yawanna see some proof?  Yawanna hear the sound of worship?

Listen to the clouds.  If you ever get the "peace and contentment blues," remember, the key words are PEACE,

And contentment.  After all the crap we've been through, the blues are the easy part.

Don't you think?

How do you rate this article?

6


Nathan Payne
Nathan Payne

I am a songwriter and bandleader who travels the world in search of the golden ticket. http://www.pablosmoglives.com


pablosmoglives
pablosmoglives

Replacing my blog at http://pablosmoglives.wordpress.com

Send a $0.01 microtip in crypto to the author, and earn yourself as you read!

20% to author / 80% to me.
We pay the tips from our rewards pool.