Archive for the ‘mp3’ Category

Travelers of Tyme present: “DC Metro” a new single for $1

January 25, 2011
  • This single that is a tribute to the Washington D.C. metro supports the efforts of the Travelers to create a full-length and go boldly where no band has gone before. Available in most elite formats from $1→WhatYouChooseToGive! 

    Originally entered into the Washington Post Metro-Music contest. The B-side got 2nd place and attributed oddly to John Yaya! ( Keeping the mystery alive in 2011!

    DOWNLOAD CONTAINS: Desktop backgrounds of cover art to adorn your computational device!

Picture it: a lonesome subterranean train platform. A balding man in a rumpled black suit stands, waiting, anxiously checking his watch, too often. He rocks on his heels. His train is late, so very late. And what is his final destination? Not one of us can answer that with any certainty, can we? So we might as well be patient. (Just don’t tell that to the Waiting Man. Our secret…) 

An empty train arrives – but it’s not the Waiting Man’s train. As the doors open, they unfold in slow motion as a beautiful brunette in a crisp pant suit emerges like a swan from a swirling gray mist. She seems not to walk but to hover, gliding across the platform, a gorgeous spectre existing beyond Tyme and space. With a wink and a slight smile to the Waiting Man, she mounts the escalator and is carried into an unknown fog above. What is her final destination? Who can say? Perhaps she has already arrived!

As for the Waiting Man, his train is still running late. And it always will be.


▲ ▲ ▲

The Travelers of Tyme present “Misty Businesswoman” b/w “Last Train to Limbo,” 2 songs constructed using sound samples of the Washington DC Metrorail. Whether you are waiting, in transit, or have already arrived at your destination, this music is specially designed to enhance your travel experience.

Thank you for spending six minutes and fifty-five seconds with us. We hope that you enjoy the rest of your Tyme in this Universe. It is a pleasant one.


Professor John Yaya and Doctor Klem
The Travelers of Tyme

Countdown to Jukebox of the Dead IX : “Scarface (Push It to the Limit)”

October 7, 2008

Welcome back to the new, improved Detholz! Mp3 Blog, Mark II!  I’m no longer going to list episodes in Roman numerals– the math was starting to get too challenging for my pea-brain.

Thanks to all of you who have taken up the gauntlet of the DETHOLZ! BLOG ROLL-UP! (see below for rules) You will be the first to receive piping hot advance copies of Detholz! second album of deconstructed pop songs direct from the dentist’s office : Jukebox of the Dead II : You : The Power of You.

Three cheers to those of you who dove immediately into the fray, swords swinging!  Here are the links to our winners’ blogs thus far:

The Roll-Up is far from over, however.  Seize this opportunity to gird up your blog battle-ax and take your place among the greats in Detholz! Cyber-Valhalla — see the Blogroll to the right for these newly added champions!

As we progress into the second week of the Countdown to Jukebox of the Dead IX (if you’re new, see previous post for explanation), I give you the heart and soul of this year’s show :


Penned by the Italian master of 80’s montage music, Giorgio Moroder, and originally performed by one-hit wonder, Paul Engemann, for the Brian DePalma classic, Scarface, it is my personal favorite in the “80’s montage” genre. In fact, the entire score to Scarface is, in my estimation, the quintessential 80’s synth score.

(I should say Engemann was a TWO-hit wonder : he scored a Top Ten hit with the single “Room to Move” from the Dan Aykroyd movie My Stepmother Is an Alien.)

This year’s Halloween show will hinge upon an unholy obsession with physical fitness, and I thought this song captured some of the melancholy associated with bad body image. It was arranged in a pretty straightforward way, though in rehearsal we have decided to reorchestrate it somewhat…. I won’t spoil the surprise, however!

QUESTION: What is your favorite movie montage song? Doesn’t have to be 80’s. Send me a comment below and I’ll consider adding your favorite to the list of new Detholz! covers this year! Help, folks, I need song ideas!

Tune in next week for next installment of the Covers Countdown! See below for details on the Halloween Blog Roll-Up:


To receive an advance copy of You: the Power of You, simply follow these steps:

1. Get a blog.  If you have one, skip this step.  Ha.

2. Write a Detholz!-related blog.  Whether it’s about a show, a song, or how much you want to see Karl Doerfer (DH! guitarist) prance around in a Laura Bush costume, any and all is fair game as long as it’s Detholz!-related.

3. Put the following text somewhere in your post:

Jukebox of the Dead IX
“Detholz! FLEX!”
w/special guests Aleks and the Drummer & Hood Internet
Friday, October 31, 2008
Empty Bottle
1035 N Western Avenue
Chicago, IL
Buy tickets at

3. Post a link to the Detholz! Mp3 Blog in your blog roll.

4. Send the link to misterb at detholz dot com.

If you carefully follow these steps to the letter, here’s what you get:

1. An advance copy of “You: the Power of You” in its entirety

2. One other downloadable Detholz! record of your choosing

3. A link to your blog posted on the Detholz! blogroll

4. The satisfaction that only BLOG can provide

Klassic Detholz! Reject – “Victory Mansion”

February 21, 2008

Welcome to Detholz! Mp3 Blog, Episode XVII — and for our regular readers, welcome back to the February Detholz! retrospective!

Today a demo track from the era of “Who Are The Detholz!?” (first Detholz! LP, 2000) that was voted down by the band even before it had finished playing:


(Thanks to regular Kebab Dylan for forwarding this song to me. I had all but forgotten it existed, and now it has a home! In fact, I’m almost embarrassed to post it, except that Mr. Kebab has assured me on numerous occasions that this song is worth hearing.)

This is a “fresh out of music school” sort of number, and suffers from many of the warts of last week’s DH! dusty, “Cinema Verite” :

1. Painful dorkiness

2. Over-cluttered with ideas

3. Choppy, elephantine construction

4. Forced vocal delivery

5. Crappy lyrics

Even so, as I listened to this for the first time in 8 years, I couldn’t help but get a tad sentimental for those halcyon, more innocent days when Detholz! was a younger, hungrier, unabashedly nerdier band. At 24, I was convinced that we possessed some sort of cock-and-balls formula for “success” and harbored more than a few grand delusions about where the band was headed– that the nerds of the world would line up in force behind us and, by virtue of superior gadgetry and programming, propel us past the skinny Chicago scenesters right to the top of the heap!

Surprise! It’s The Detholz! (We still had the “The” in those days.)

Those were the days of standing outside of The Metro in the cold and passing out handbills to the Creatures from Planet Wrigleyville, CD assembly parties, driving from the city out to the suburbs every week for rehearsal, annual attendance at “Mobfest” [Chicago’s music industry bullshit-slingin’ dog-and-pony show], shows at the illustrious Elbo Room, the elusive and well-dressed Fabian Guerra and his doomed-from-the-start music mgmt. co., Quest Management, the crazy three-fingered Mexican man who owned the venerable Big Horse [literally a taco stand that would book bands!], bi-monthly brush-off’s from the booking dept. at Empty Bottle that lasted for almost 2 years… ahh, yes, indeed. Those were the days! Some of you Detholz! graybeards remember, I’m sure.

Looking back on all of that, those were actually some of the best times of my life thus far. Make no mistake– I have no wish to relive them. LAWS, no. But you can hear a little bit of that bristling itchiness of early Detholz! in this track.

We were all obsessed with Frank Black’s first record at that time, having just cleared the 90’s and all. “Victory Mansion” was my attempt at the time to emulate Frank Black’s Ethos — wide, death-defying harmonic changes, spacey lyrics, chunga-chunga bar chords in the 5 or so layered guitar tracks, etc. There’s also a curious “Broadway” element that I missed back then– almost certainly a holdover from my recently completed schooling and obsessive need to tie up the musical ends.

Anyway, it’s in the world now, for better or worse. Hope some of you get something out of it, if even just a nod and a chuckle.

Tune in next week for the final installment in our February Detholz! Retrospective!

Klassic Detholz! Demo: “Cinema Verite”

February 14, 2008

Welcome to Detholz! Mp3 Blog, Episode XVI!

Today we continue our stroll down memory lane with an old, decrepit Detholz! B-side:


I don’t recall the exact date of conception, but I’d guess the vintage is from late summer 2002. This was among a wave of songs penned after the release of “Who Are The Detholz!?” that share the painful nerdiness of that period, which we had yet to shed at that point. [“Who Are The Detholz!” = Detholz! first LP, released in 2001 (out of print). If you’re curious, it’s available for download on our website: ] In fact, given its jerky style and musical whirligigs, “Cinema” could have easily fit with the other zitty paens to unbridled dorkdom on “WATDH!?”

This song enjoyed a year or so in the limelight of Detholz! live set rotation, and as I remember it, the little music-school gnomes inside of us enjoyed playing this one a lot. Given the consistently lukewarm response from audiences– and as we began adding better songs, some of which ended up “Cast Out Devils” (“Spectacula” and “IMA Believer” were written during this period)– we retired “Cinema” sometime in 2003. [“Cast Out Devils” = 2nd Detholz! LP, released 2006, NOT out of print and available for download and/or on compact disc at!]

The vocal delivery on this track is embarrassingly dorky. This was recorded long before I had discovered that one shouldn’t to try so hard when recording vocals.

Speaking of which, as you recordists know, vocals are usually the toughest thing to get right on record. The reason the vocals sound so tense and strained on “Cinema” is because I was overcompensating for colossal vocal problems we’d had the year before. We had recorded nearly ALL of the vocals for “Who Are The Detholz!?” with picture-perfect precision– a process that took many, many weeks– before we discovered that picture-perfect precision can transform even the greatest song ever committed to tape into an insufferable bore. We scrapped ALL of the vocals and redid them with one- or two-take passes, and it saved the record… well, heh, such as it is.

The lyrics to “Cinema” are also an almost total miss. I’ve always felt like a fish out of water when writing lyrics over the years– I’m a musician, not a poet, Captain!– so a few of these old Detholz! songs are real dogs lyrically, and this is one of ’em. The lyrical miss I shan’t ever live down is a song the rest of the band STILL mercilessly teases me for: “Time Traveling Peterbilt Semi.” *shudder*

“Peterbilt Semi” got one spin at a Chicago show and was received so poorly that it was downright laughable. It was deep-sixed posthaste.

Anyway, enough of this self deprecation. There are parts of this song that work really well, and parts that don’t. In all it suffers from what will likely be graven in stone as my epitaph: “HE TRIED TOO HARD.”

I’d be curious to hear what you all think.

Tune in next week for another B-side from the bottom of the VORTECS Corporation’s circular file!

New Detholz! demo – “Napoleon Tex”

January 23, 2008

Greetings and welcome to Detholz! Mp3 Blog, Episode XXIII!

This week, another trophy to stuff and hang in the wood-paneled “Death to the Traitor” parlor: NAPOLEON TEX

Also, ignite the home fires! It’s cold outside!


Without going into to too much detail, this song was inspired by some things I’ve been observing lately at my church. I know, I know– that’s a subject Detholz! have done to death, especially on our “Cast Out Devils” record. In this instance, however, it comes from a place of deep sadness rather than youthful angst. I guess we’re all growing up… at least a little.

Many of the songs we’re writing for the upcoming “Death to the Traitor” album are caricatures — like “Piggly Man” or “Catherine Zeta-Jones”, for example (see previous posts)– and this one is no exception. In my fantasy world, I’m hoping to include a comic book with the record with back stories for this growing band of cartoon grotesques… Any comic book artists — any artist, for that matter– out there that want to take a crack at these? I’d welcome submissions of drawings of any of these characters– if you feel inspired, leave a comment with a link to a picture! I will hook you up with Detholz! party favors in return!

“Napoleon Tex” is a cruel, bloodthirsty outlaw from the Old West situated in a grand medieval cathedral who glories in torturing and burning Christian martyrs– a demon of sorts, the ultimate “Bad Dad.” (Another sunshiny paen to sweetness and light. Sorry, folks!) He is a parasite and traitor to needy people he pretends to protect– hence, the image of cannibalism. In large part, he is the embodiment of my feelings about church politics, and the current state of the American evangelical church. Don’t mistake me. This isn’t an angry song so much as a sad one, and if it’s included on the record will fit in the context of other songs that counter-balance (redeem?) this bleak outlook.

A few words about the lyrics:

“Montjoie Saint-Denis” is a battle cry that medieval French knights (is there any other kind of knight?) would utter before wildly waving their swords about and riding into the fray.

“Remember” is a partial reference to the Texan battle cry, “Remember the Alamo!,” which you may remember from “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure.” It’s also a warning to those cross Napoleon Tex’s path — to remember what he is.

The “bitch in France” refers to Joan of Arc.


Though I am very happy with the lyrics and the overall concept of this song, I vacillate on whether or not I like the music.

I view this song as a musical companion to “Millionairess” (see previous post), since the composition unfolded in a similarly messy, discombobulated manner– a real bitch to work on, from start to finish. Also, I decided not to show much restraint in the orchestration/arrangement so my poor laptop almost threw itself out of the window.

The journey began with the usual “repetitive bass line” I’ve been toying with of late. This one proved to be a real challenge to write melodies around, however, which surprised me since it doesn’t involve especially daunting intervals and is fairly consonant– lots of minor thirds. I really banged my head against the wall to come up with convincing melodies for both the verse and chorus, and I’m still not sure I succeeded completely. There is even another version of this song that goes in a totally different direction…. I was suffering from a little “type-B” indecision here.

The bridge section really stumped me on this one, too. I’m still not completely happy with how it enters– there’s really no glue between the 2nd chorus and bridge, it’s just plopped in there “cut/paste” style. Listening to it again as I write this, however, I guess that maneuver works in a “booty shake dance club” sort of way. It builds to a nice pitch in additive fashion as parts come in over the kick drum. Hmmm…

The bridge transition back into the verse, however, DOES work, I think. Writing the bridge yielded an alternate bass line that was a little easier to work with– I liked it so much I just kept it going into the 3rd verse and reprised it again in the “outro” chorus.

Speaking of which, the only section of the song I am satisfied with is the outro chorus, where the violins and oboes enter. With the addition of the alternate bass line underneath, and the inclusion of the “Traitor motive” (see previous posts), I think it all hangs together nicely in a rump-shaking, sad-clown sort of way. Speaking of the Traitor motive, you music nerds will appreciate that it occurs and then immediately REOCCURS in a different key in harmony. I was smugly self-satisfied with the size of my musical quill on that move!

I was also satisfied with how the “bossa” drum pattern was able to be sustained throughout and not be overly distracting or even especially “bossa”-like. “Bossa” is fun to say. Bossa.

The rest of the Detholz! responded enthusiastically to this one, but I’m still very much on the fence about it. Doughty Reader, we need your help! Like it? Hate it? Weigh in and make a comment– I really need your input here. Is this a keeper, or one for the bargain bin?

Tune in next Wednesday for more free music and another uplifting character sketch!


Montjoie Saint-Denis!
Montjoie Saint-Denis!
En garde!

Walk a bowlegged walk
Talk a swaggering talk
Shove a gentleman’s gun
In the mouth of your only son
Your only son

Break his jaw, break his teeth
Strip him down to the meat
Bring a casserole pan
Cook him up like a Son of Man
A Son of Man
Like we did to that bitch in France
That bitch in France

Montjoie Saint-Denis!
Montjoie Saint-Denis!
En garde!


Draw and fire
Draw and fire
Burn with fire
With heavenly fire

Your cathedral is stained
With holy martyrs’ remains
Give a flick to your spur
Toss a match and burn
Burn them alive
The cowboy smiles
“Adieu, mon frer, adieu!”

Montjoie Saint-Denis!
Montjoie Saint-Denis!
En garde!


New Detholz! demo – “Ghost of Christmas Palsy”

January 16, 2008

DETHOLZ! play one of their only shows this winter– and it’s ALL AGES! THIS SATURDAY, 1/19/08 at AVIE AERIE with our friends, PIT ER PAT and REDS AND BLUE. Mr. Bobby Conn will also be DJ-ing that night. This is a benefit for the lovely Dill Pickle food co-op, and is a great cause caused by great people. For more information, go here :

Welcome to Detholz! Mp3 Blog XXII!

This week, it’s back to business– another “Death to the Traitor” demo (see previous posts). Feel free to utter a hearty “bah humbug” if you don’t like this one:


If you DO, however, then God bless you, every one!


As another installment for consideration on “Death to the Traitor” (the next Detholz! release), “Ghost” follows suit in the Grand Guignol tradition, this time chronicling the sad ending of a life ruined by bad decisions.

Without getting too personal, I’ll say that this one is more biographical than other newer songs– a vision of my own death and potential regrets that I put down here mainly as a warning to myself. Hence the Dickensian reference to the Ghost of Christmas Future… this is a picture of a possible future, if my personal Scrooge were to get the best of me.

The gist? “Make Good Choices.”

Thanks, Mom.


The next few Detholz! songs will be written without guitars — the “Piggly Man” approach (see previous post). This is as much practical as artistic — Karl, the Detholz! guitarist, is in school this semester, so we’ll have to do some shows without him. Plus, I’d like to be freed of my instrument in order to prance about with more reckless abandon!

I attempted to limit myself here to only 3 different keyboard tones — ended up using 4. Not bad, given the shameful lack of restraint I’ve exhibited on another new song, written directly before this one, which I’ll post next week. It almost exploded my laptop.

As with the other installments in the “Traitor” series, the bass line is constant throughout which always presents a interesting challenge when crafting melodies for verse as opposed to chorus. I feel a lot more freedom to write verse melodies that are more improvisatory — as I’ve discussed before, I’m not an especially good improviser. All the same, a little variation in verse melodies helps songs breathe better, in my opinion. There are innumerable examples of this in popular music. In this case, I borrowed a little bit from The Smiths and Morrisey (can you believe it?!?).

The centerpiece of this song, of course, is the bass line. I also wanted, once again, to write a “Hall and Oates” type of drum part — a simple, 4-on-the-floor that remains unchanging throughout the song. I’ve discussed my fascination with this simple approach in other posts. Trim-trimminy, trim-trimminy, trim-trim the fat! It’s an interesting challenge– very tough to write this way, at least for me. With practice, though, it’s getting a little easier and I was satisfied with the result here.

The chorus melody involves a lot of triplets and “staggered” rhythms, which was an attempt at word-painting. Once the “Do It Again’s” were in place, the chorus came quickly and painlessly. Yes, yes, I realize using phrases like that is a cheap maneuver, but… hey, it was exciting to me when the song was working itself out!

Perhaps that’s a topic for next time… lately, I’ve been feeling more and more like a thrall to whatever song is working itself through my system. This one is case in point.

Tune in next week for another brand-new Detholz! demo…



Veiny gums
Hospital slums
Wad of phlegm in the Gerber

State ward
Bed sores
Memories of a pervert

The cheerleaders say:
The pretty nurse says:
Anyone gotta liquor?

Blank stare, Medicare
Thick blood on a hospital blouse
He’s code blue and quiet as a mouse

Do it again
Shake me like a dying friend
Do it again
Shake me to the end
Do it again
Make me shake under the ground
Do it again
Make me shake without a sound

And now the doctor is in
And now the nurse is with him
Shaking her head and his body
I got my teeth in a jar
Picked off the floor of some bar
It’s a long and lonely story

My dead ex-wife says:
My secretary:
How I used to love to liquor/lick her

Had the right pills and marketable skills…
Thick blood dribbles out of my mouth
If you got the shakes, you gotta shake it out

Do it again
Shake me like a dying friend
Do it again
Shake me to the end
Do it again
Make me shake under the ground
Do it again
Make me shake without a sound

Do it again
Shake me
Shake without a sound

New Detholz video – “Imagine” from “Jukebox of the Dead VIII” @ Empty Bottle, 10-31-07

January 10, 2008

Welcome to Detholz! Mp3 Blog, Episode XXI! Sorry for the late posting today, ladies and gentles.

This week, a special video installment featuring another sneak preview from the upcoming live Detholz! “Jukebox of the Dead VIII” DVD, filmed and edited by the Grand Vizier of Maplewood himself, Mr. Steve Niketopoulos at Empty Bottle in Chicago, IL, USA. (Newcomers: for an explanation of the annual “Jukebox of the Dead” Halloween show, scroll back to our October blogs for free mp3’s and commentary!)

Click here to view: IMAGINE

Audio quality is a little lo-fi, but it will repaired for the final product. Just a taste of the good video to come…

Tune in next Wednesday for a brand new Detholz! track!

Detholz! demo – “Next New Now”

January 2, 2008

*A note to music fans everywhere: a band in need is a band indeed. Visit and help a great Chicago band hobbled by a disastrous car accident last Fall!

Welcome to Detholz! Mp3 Blog Episode XX! And welcome to your Future — ’08 for a Safer State! Happy New Year to one and all!

2008 marks Detholz! 12th year as a musical entity– hard to believe we’re all getting this old! So, in the spirit of aging gracefully– and since the Iowa Caucus closes up shop this week– I thought I’d dip into the Detholz! back catalog from a stage in our musical development we’d prefer to forget: the Disco Period.


Here is our love paen to America (circa 2003), trussed up in the requisite platforms and ruffles:


*Note: the original demo tracks for “Next New Now” have been lost, so the quality of this mp3 isn’t great. If any of you DH! archivists out there still posses a higher quality version of this demo, I will happily replace the lo-fi version posted above.


“Next New Now” was the working title of the album that eventually became “Cast Out Devils” (released Halloween 2006). Originally, I had envisioned that we would pen a record full of danceable pop numbers like this one. As it turned out, Detholz! doesn’t do straight-up disco all that well– and the other members bristled at playing in that style– so we abandoned this course after preparing 2 songs: “Next New Now,” and its companion, “Palaces of Delight,” which I may post at a later date.

As I recall, the lyrics were mostly stream of consciousness. Detholz! eschews politics in its songs, but if I had to pigeonhole this one I’d say it’s a confused love song to Lady Liberty. At the time this was written, we were most of the way through George W. Bush’s first term in office and the Iraq invasion was in full swing. A confusing time for most Americans, no doubt!

Rather than reference specific events, I chose to depict the love/hate feelings that I have for America as an overweight, wayward tourist with a short attention span whom you can’t help but love. She’s the elusive and slippery dream girl with a shopping bag in one hand and an ice cream cone in the other.

Well… it made sense to me at the time.


As I had just begun my stints in other Chicago acts Baby Teeth and Bobby Conn in 2003, I had become enamored with R&B/disco, which up to that point I had avoided religiously. Both of those bands draw heavily from dance music of various flavors.

Given the musicianship of Detholz!, I figured we could tackle the “dance” genre with the best of them. Having listened to a few old live recordings from this period, I think we did a decent job, but there’s no doubt that as a group we’re uncomfortable with the “four on the floor” disco format. Speaking of the Caucuses, our “Caucasian” leanings may have gotten the best of us here!

The most successful part of this song is, in my opinion, the bridge. As I recall, I was listening to a lot of Barry White and Isaac Hayes tunes around the time I wrote this, and most likely copped the bridge from one of their songs– especially the staggered hi-hat/bass hits.

A side note: this song was intended to be an entirely different animal as evidenced by the intro. Deerhoof’s “Milk Man” had just been released– a brilliant record. I had seen them for the first time at a warehouse show in Oakland– so, we were all going ga-ga over Deerhoof at the time. This is clear from the intro to this song, which was an attempt to appropriate some of Deerhoof’s angular phrasing.

Why it turned into the disco monstrosity that it became is anybody’s guess. Feel free to weigh in on the scales of justice– just be sensitive. Miss America is easily offended!

Tune in next Wednesday for the 2nd 2008 installment of the Detholz! Mp3 Blog…. Until then, “God bless you, and God Bless the United States of America.”



It’s a perfect day for a halter top
It’s a perfect day for a coup d’etat
Take a holiday at the Pentagon
Take a break from the heat with an ice cream cone

I love the sweat on your head
When you sit in the sun
Under your visor from the Smithsonian
Your bracelet states that your colors never run

Next New Now
Show me around
Tell me secrets that you’re ashamed of
Why don’t you take me down
Lay me right down
Show me everything that you’re made of
Show me how
Next New Now
Why don’t you take me down?
Take me, shake me down

In the sky above there’s a loud report
There’s an American flag sewn on your jeans shorts
In a reflecting pool, some mini-watersports
Your tiny battleships are sailing off course

I love your bullet-proof hair
I love your bullet-proof ways
I love your cottage-cheese thighs on Sundays
I love the way you say “Out of Many, One”


I waited for you
I would have waited all night
In the fading Washington sunlight
Like a white obelisk, I saw you from afar
Driving away in a luxury car

Get in to get out
Get out to get in
Put your hand on your heart
Put your heart in your hand
I’m always wrong
So you must be right



Detholz! live recording – “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”

December 12, 2007

A DETHOLZ! Live DVD is in the works — ETA Spring 2008!
Preview “You the Power of You” from Detholz! 8th Annual “Jukebox of the Dead” Halloween show here:

Welcome to Detholz! Mp3 Blog, Episode XVIII!

Apologies that I was AWOL last week. On an East Coast Baby Teeth tour, dubbed “Lush Life ’07,” for reasons I won’t go into. There was the requisite pain and suffering, including driving in a blizzard and getting hopelessly lost in mid-town Manhattan. Anyway… no time to type!

In the spirit of giving, for the duration of December I’ll be posting a special blend of holiday music– so grease up your shopping cart! This week, the Detholz! interpretation of:



Santa Claus is coming!


An exhaustive exegesis of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” seems silly, somehow. Let’s not rob this little gem of its holiday magic, shall we? Just sit back, relax, and douse yourself in eggnog.

Merry Christmas, everyone! [Or, for those of you who don’t celebrate Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa!]

Tune in next week for another sparkling holiday snowflake…

Detholz! demo – “Piggly Man”

November 28, 2007

DETHOLZ! play their last show of 2007
@ Hideout
1354 W Wabansia
Chicago, IL, USA

Welcome to Detholz! Mp3 Blog, Episode XVII!

This Friday marks Detholz!’s last show of 2007 – the conclusion of our 11th year together as a band. This is a bill we are anticipating greatly, with two other bands breaking ground of their own with respect to music and performance. Forget Detholz! — we’ve been around 4 eva’!– instead come experience the nightmare club ritual of BRILLIANT PEBBLES and the hurdy-gurdy magic of THE CASSETTES!

To mark this event, we’re giving one away today that I thought I’d keep under wraps until “Death to the Traitor” (Detholz! forthcoming record) is released next year. In many ways, this is my favorite track developed for “Death to the Traitor” thus far, and wraps the blood, animal and betrayal imagery in human (feral?) flesh:



This song is near and dear to my heart as it’s about a former co-worker of mine who was debilitated by a number of massive strokes earlier this year. The effects on his brain– esp. on his centers of speech– were devastating, and his situation is nothing if not tragic for him and his family.

Here’s the rub: the man

a. is a pathological liar,

b. has a speaking voice that closely resembles that of Mickey Mouse,

c. is morbidly obese and has no compunction about loudly breaking wind in the workplace (at one point, I had to look over at him and yell, “Hey– were you raised in @#$%in’ barn?”),

d. is consumed with greed– down to falsifying company records in order to qualify for sales prizes– and ruined countless potential sales for his colleagues by meddling with customers in order to qualify for pieces of commission,

e. earned the nickname “Bologna Loaf” among his peers, and

f. is generally one of the most unpleasant people it’s been my misfortune to meet.

Get the picture? He is Homer Simpson come to life and moving among us.

Which is why, of course, he deserved a song. On one hand, he almost TRIES to make himself hateful to others. On the other hand, his humanity is so painfully transparent– especially in light of his staggering health problems. Many of us at my company developed a strange affection for this man, which I found to be a curious phenomenon. His unpleasantness was SO over the top that, well… you couldn’t help but like the guy.

On that note, a strange episode occurred one morning as I arrived for work, took my place at my desk and started setting up for the day. My desk was across the room from the Loafer’s, but he couldn’t hear very well so he didn’t hear me come in. On this particular morning, I sat and watched him for awhile. He would scratch nonsensical, pseudo-motivational catchphrases to himself on a large, yellow pad, which he was doing that morning. Suddenly, he stopped, straightened up in his chair and began loudly cawing like a crow. He punctuated each “caw!” by banging his meaty palm on his desk:


I jumped in my seat. To this day, I have no idea what prompted him to do this. It will, I fear, remain a mystery.

Now that he can’t work, he calls in sometimes, just to say “hi” (at least, I think that’s what he saying– after his strokes, he’s very difficult to understand). Many of my current co-workers will not answer the phone when they see his number flashing on the caller ID. “I don’t want to talk to him,” one man said, almost visibly shuddering. I also find this to be a curious phenomenon.

The Loaf was man who betrayed himself at every turn: by his selfishness and greed, etc. Ultimately, though, he was betrayed by something beyond any of our control: his own mortality. People don’t want to talk to him– not because he’s a jerk (which he is), but because he serves as a reminder of human frailty. He is a walking warning sign that reads: “THIS COULD HAPPEN TO YOU.”

After he left, I took his staff picture home. It now adorns my wall, in a frame, above my home studio space. I take a weird sort of comfort in the baldness of the Loaf’s humanity– both in his consuming greed and his failing health. He’s no different than you or I, really.  He just isn’t as skilled at glossing over his baser nature. Subsequently, this song is not meant AT ALL as a slight– it was written out of love for the man.

I hope that comes through.


This was one in a series of home demos for “Death to the Traitor” where I left the guitars out altogether. This was at Karl’s (Detholz! guitarist) suggestion: that I not limit myself to the “band” instruments in recording demos. He thought it would be interesting to reassign parts to regular “band” instruments in rehearsal. As it turned out– at least with this song– he was right.

As with most of the newer material, the song’s axis revolves around the repeated organ figure — intervallically, a tritone to major third, back to a tritone, then to a perfect fifth. In that musical “cell,” there is plenty of tension and release, except the tonal center remains very strong. I found it to be a challenging “drone” to write around. As it turned out, this figure was also adaptable to some interesting harmonic motion in the chorus.

You’ll notice the “Traitor motive” (see previous post, “Death to the Traitor”) hinted at in the second half of the chorus– in the flutes! The flute is my least favorite orchestral instrument, which is why I felt compelled to use it here, of course. It’s a principle an old art professor taught me in school: if you hate a piece of art, immerse yourself in it. Find out if you’re harboring irrational prejudices; see if there’s anything you can use creatively. At the time, he forced me to sit in front of an Agnes Martin painting for 3 hours, then write an essay on what I got out of the experience. Generally, I can’t stand Agnes Martin’s work– it’s that annoying brand of minimalism that seems completely theory-driven, with little to no substance to the actual pieces. Still, after sitting in front of that blank, cloudy canvas for 3 hours, I managed to extract some things out of the work.

Same idea here. Flute is not my favorite, but it provides an interesting texture in this context (if I do say so myself). I liked it so much, in fact, that it shows up on other new songs as well!

The centerpiece of the song is the “piggly” bridge, of course, with samples of real pigs. This section was expanded in rehearsal, and now sounds much different live than on the demo. Jonny added a brilliant, layered line which is built upon additively by Karl and I on the guitars. Very spooky, even “Castlevania”-esque!

Also, as with many of the newer songs, the bass line is largely the same throughout the song. It is an exceptional challenge to write a song with contrasting sections while the bass line remains the same–at least I think so. More often than not, I fail using this approach. In the case of “Piggly Man,” however, I was pleased with the result.

Comments/questions/criticisms welcome! Hope to see you all on Friday before the long, dark night of the soul for Detholz!…


Rosy cheeks and
Tight buttons
Packing the pounds

Chew slowly
Chew slowly
A Midwestern mound

High in a cloudy brain
A lumpy mountain range
Makes all the speaking strangely…?

I’m waiting again
For you, my lonely friend
Open your mouth
Pick it on up
Chew it on up
A man is a pig
When a pig is a man

Quiet morning
Can’t hear it
Write on a pad

Scratch yourself some
Like Carnegie said

But when the pressure builds
Forget to take your pills
Hot when the coffee spills, you…?

Now I’m watching again
The birds are not your friends
Open your mouth
Caw like a crow
Caw like a crow
Death is a bird
When a pig is a man

The piano
Is confusing
Head on the keys

Little mermaids
Swimming through you
Sing “Under the Sea”

Now you are seeing spots
Now on a mountaintop
Now you are jumping off, don’t you…?

You’re seated again
On sacks of pickled skin
Open your mouth
Shove it on in
Shove it on in

A man is a pig
When a pig is a man