New Song In The Works: Powder Keg

We’ve been toying around with several tunes since (and before) “Four H and Fourteen,” but I recently got some time to work out the music to a very short punk lyric that Sir Pent wrote and pestered us about. The 1 minute 30 seconds tune is called “Powder Keg” to which I’ve added the parenthetical note: “Punk’s Not Ded!” Of course, we all know punk is dead, as dead as rock’n’roll was when punk rock started. Now they’re both dead, I suppose. I had some hope at one time that the White Stripes would save rock, but they pretty much failed us.

Can Lizards From Afar save punk? Well, if we can’t, we’ll live among the ruins.

At any rate, I now await the input of the other Lizards regarding the new music. They seem to be hiding under a rock somewhere.

–the Gecko

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73 Responses to “New Song In The Works: Powder Keg”

  1. Punk may be dead.. but it’s still twitching violently on the floor.
    (and influencing everything worth listening to.. present company INCLUDED)

  2. Punk is dead. Long live middle-of-the-road pop music!!

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    I hope to do the drums for Powder Keg over the weekend.

    Heck, now that I have my mic working finally, I may try to lay down some demo vocals.

  3. Ha! The very fact of that documentary shows that punk is dead, doesn’t it? Just like everything else in our decaying society, music is a commodity marketed by corporations who want to take our money and use it for their own nefarious ends (i.e., making their CEOs obscenely rich and perverting the political system in their favor). We just, as I said, live in the ruins and try to take pleasure where we can. The sad thing about rock (and this may have always been true about it) is that its image is rebellion and authenticity incarnated as music, but that image has become a marketing ploy, and so isn’t true anymore (if it ever were). It’s just the feel of rebellion to maintain the status quo, and the faking of authenticity to support the complete lack of it.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love punk rock (as well as plain old rock), but it’s as if I love it because I’m straining backward in time to some myth of when it was “real,” as if that straining can wrench it away from our decadent culture of consumer capitalism and make it real again. But to achieve authenticity, we need a rock and roll that ignites a revolution, not that sells records. Pah!

    Living Among the Ruins! Shouldn’t that the title of our next album? A philosophical-political punk album.

  4. Oh, and back to practical matters: I wonder if some of our timing problems with this via satellite recording are due to using different recording settings. I’ve been recording (and Powder Keg, too) at a sample rate of 44100 with a bit depth of 16 (i.e., CD quality). Is that what you are using, Pent-up-boy?

    Also, I’ll go ahead and render out the PG wav files and post them… starting in a few minutes. I’ll also post the click track and the drum-loops as a reference. You’ll have to offset the beginning by a four-beat count or something. BTW, I begin with the backward countdown just as you did on the vocal-demo (the “Four, Three, Two, One”–with the guitar beginning on the “One”).

  5. Wow. What a dissertation on the mythos of rock.

    I can check to see what sample rate and bit-depth I am using…as I can’t say as I have ever set anything to be so. Whatever it was at, it was at. I’ll give it a check this weekend hopefully.

    And I now have a new song title to work on: Pent-Up-Boy

  6. Forgot to mention, bpm for PK is 190. It’s pretty fast. Set your Cubase session for this speed and everything should line up properly, more or less.

  7. T-Shirts have been ordered…

  8. Like the mock-ups you showed us? Are they going to symbolize the rebelliousness and authenticity of Lizard Rock?

    Speaking of t-shirts, what about that LFA decal you promised me?

  9. It’s very, very similar to the mock-up…but Sticky requested that I use the Croobie font for the http://www.lizardsfromafar.com on the back. So I did.

    …and you’ll get some stickers when I get some more of my songs…

  10. Ha! I just did another one of your songs. I deserve a sticker.

    I don’t want Croobie on the back. Do mine differently. Just kidding.

  11. Over in the pics page I replaced the old mockup with new mockups of the tshirts.

    Also…if you have the original image for that B&W sticker you want created, send it to my email. (It will be better quality than if I downloaded it from the blog.)
    Then…maybe if you get 5 or 6 more songs done, I’ll print out a bunch for ya…

  12. I am giving you the finger.

  13. I agree with you, Matt, insofar as we keep the scope of the discussion upon the music that is marketed to us by commercial labels. But that’s not all there is.

    even here in Korea, if I want to hear true punk music, I don’t have to go far.
    there are 3 clubs in Busan alone that one can hear a pretty active Korean punk rock scene. The real thing, man. (i’m not counting cuttlefish, nor should I, we’re middle-aged English teachers and a bartender going to art school) These guys dress, talk, eat (when they can afford it) and live punk.
    You should see these guys perform. Serious balls on these guys.
    Will you find their CDs in stores? No… not even if you can find a CD store anymore. Are they making a single dime for their effort? Nope.
    They have day jobs.
    one proudly tells us he’s an exterminator.. “(grinning fiendishly) I kill bugs every day.” … isn’t that the perfect punker day job?

    anyhow, you can bemoan the fatcat music industry suit fucks wiping their asses with our imagined rebellion, and you should.
    but you *can* go hear music the way it was done before people thought about getting rich doing it.

    and I don’t hear funeral marches.

  14. I disagree with both of you in a way that makes me seem like I actually know what I am talking about.

  15. OK, I have not recorded anything yet…but I have downloaded all the guitar tracks.

    I set up a new project at 44100 with a bit depth of 16.
    [NOTE: Cubase was defaulting to a bit depth of 24, if that explains anything]

    I’ve set up Cubase click-track AND loaded YOUR click track. They are both clicking at the EXACT same spots.

    Now…all I need to do is record some drums!!

  16. OK, recorded drums and uploaded. It’s up to the Chopper now to see what he can do…

  17. Stop disagreeing, Pent-up-boy. Everybody knows I’m right. Anyway, I’ll go with Gordon’s idea that all the real punk is being played by unsigned, poor, live-by-day exterminators in Korea. I guess the idea is that you have to LIVE Rock (of whatever sort), and if you ain’t living it, you ain’t really playing it.

    But what if you are an English teacher or, ahem, a professor and you feel the rebellion in your soul, or whatever?

    Anyway, I’m glad to hear the clicktrack lined up exactly and that you changed the bit depth. I can record at 24, of course–it’s higher fidelity. But whatever we use, it ought to be the same across the board. Hopefully this will clean up some of the problems (although I doubt it).

    Where has Chops been lately? I want to hear what he can do with this tune and then we HAVE to add our backing vocals… somehow.

  18. Just listened to the drum track. It sounds excellent–particularly like the drumming during the blues turn-arounds. Except for one thing. At the end of the line “One more word and I’m going to explode,” I have the explosion sound effect. I think we’d need silence after, until the music starts up again, but you keep playing drums for another measure.

    I can probably strip that right out seamlessly, however, if you don’t want to rerecord.

    Edit: I just did pull it out and it works fine.

  19. Cool. Felt like I was killing myself to record. (Having trouble with the side again.)
    Plus, I had a good take that I was really happy with and Cubase locked up right as I was hitting “save”.
    [Note: I hate computers]
    So I had to do 7 or 8 more takes until…excuse the pun…couldn’t do any more.

    Also…do what you need to do to them to make them sound like I can play AND that I can play this song.

  20. “But what if you are an English teacher or, ahem, a professor and you feel the rebellion in your soul, or whatever?”

    I think we do feel the rebellion in our souls. We have bands. We play accordingly. Some of the music can be called punk rock. But I stop short of calling us a punk band.

    I don’t know.

  21. What if you watch lots and lots of porn?
    Is that punk?

  22. Punk is an existential condition, not a praxis, then.

    Or, for Sir Bent: Porno ergo sum.

  23. what i do know is this:

    (cue dramatic music)

    this is a pivotal moment in music history.
    the geese that lay the golden eggs are flying their coops.
    the cigar puffing, pinky-ringed Neros of the recording industry are screaming for their lawyers.

    independent bands from every corner of the world are appearing on podcasts and internet music distributor sites.

    Collaborating on every aspect, the Lizards from Afar are about to release a highly original album of fantastic solid rock songs… without being in the same room (state?) throughout the entire process.
    No producers, engineers, recording studios, promoters, or managers were hired.
    That’s significant.

    the Revolution has begun.
    And the Lizards are among those storming the barricades.
    (fanfare; fade to black)

  24. Sir Pent…

    That’s SPUNK, punk with hissing.

  25. Taking a brief moment to be serious:
    I think it IS a very interesting time in music. There are lots of ways that the big guys could’ve changed their business model and been very successful. They chose to be obstinate.
    Now to Gordons point above, independent music is reaching an entirely new level of acceptance and success. They had the world. They refused to evolve. They are dying.

    Now, back to the porn.

  26. OK, if I get to be part of the Revolution–via LFA– then I support Gordon’s optimistic take on the future of music. Indeed, I see his point. If we’ve broken free of corporate capitalism, then we can’t be controlled.

    What we need to do now, then, is slip the bonds of genre altogether. Punk was always about busting loose from the stultified world of classic rock.

  27. Stickers are printed. Maybe not “exactly” what the Gecko was hoping for…but I consider it a compromise. (My delicate art sensibilities just wouldn’t let me do the black lizard on black world.)

    Anyway, will send them soon…

  28. My theme is black and white. My new guitar is, after all, entirely black except for the white trim of the pick guard, the knobs, and the white maple of the neck. Well, black, white, and chrome.

    I’m sure the decals are fine, but the black and white was undoubtedly more cool. Colors are bourgeois.

  29. It’s hardly a color…it’s more like a black with a green hue to it.
    Also, I hope the size is fine. I built the file to the dimension of the file you sent.

  30. I’m sure if will be great. Send those suckers out. Do you have my address?

  31. Yeah! FUCK GENRES!

    let the bloggers figure it out.

    decals, you say?
    could I get a link to a jpg or something?

  32. How many decals did you make, Pent? If there are enough, you’ll have to send one all the way to Korea for Gordon. I want a picture of him playing a gig with a LFA decal on his guitar.

    As for genres, I’m going to try something entirely new in one of the next LFA songs…. Won’t let the cat out of the bag yet, though. We also have a new version of Gator’s tune “Channeling Lou” that I’m still working on, oh so slowly. It’s going to start out quite folksy, if I can get my idea to work, then build into a rock anthem.

    It’s hard to break out of the rock genres, I admit, though. Rock in all its forms has become quite formulaic.

  33. Incidentally, I found this on YouTube and find myself fascinated:

  34. I think my lyrics transcend genre…AND I have sent lyrics intended for Zappa-like experimentation. (Funny but serious.)

    If Gordon sends me his address…and the Gecko does the same…I will send out these “decals” when I get some free time here at work.

  35. Incidentally, have I mentioned I really dig this bittorrent thing. I sit here at my computer working and meanwhile I’m downloading stuff. Just got a copy of Court of the Crimson King.

  36. Absolutely yes on the pic of me playing with a LFA decal on my guitar.
    I’ll email my address to Pent.
    sweet.

    Will Gator be on vocals as in the original Channeling Lou?.. I do hope so.

    Mix up those genres like a mad alchemist from electric ziggyland, brethren!

  37. I’m also thinking that…with Britney Spears going crazy…there’s an opening for us to become a top 40, mainstream, pop act!!
    Hit me baby…once more please.

  38. I was actually in contact with the Chopper today. He is deeply immersed in his burgeoning VoiceOver career and has been spending many hours commuting up to Chi-Village.
    On top of that, I’m sure he is spending time playing his beloved Halo instead of working on Powder Keg…so NO tshirt for him!!

  39. I’m re-dubbing Chopper Newt “The Phantom Voice.” I’d love to know, however, why this VO career is taking off now and not, say, ten years ago? Did his voice have to mature like a good cask of scotch or something?

    As for Gator’s vocals on Channeling Lou, Gordon, I think Gator has no plans to recapitulate his early 90s vocal greatness. He sticks to writing now. He wrote new lyrics for Channeling Lou several months back–now renamed Channeling You, I suppose–but they are difficult to parse with the music we had. That, and other problems, shelved that piece for a while. I’m working on parsing the lyrics, maybe even today since I’m barely working at all right now (even though I should be).

  40. I think his VO career is taking off because there is a real popularity right now for effeminate sounding men…and he fits the bill perfectly.

    …and I think you should work on Mr. Peabody today…

  41. choppernewt Says:

    Bitch.

  42. Well, I did mostly new music to Channeling You this afternoon. And it’s pretty good, but still in need of some work. It was my first recording of an acoustic guitar using a capo on the F#. Cool.

    I also worked on parsing the lyrics, which did work pretty well–if only I could sing and had a good microphone, etc. My singing sounds like a tuneless dog with his head in a bucket. Anyway, I’ll listen to it a few more times and possibly release it for your mockery if it will generate some ideas. I had to cut some of Gator’s lyrics to make the damned thing fit, but only in a minor way. The song is longer now, too, since otherwise it was cramming too many words into too short a space.

  43. When I did the vocals on that older version I really struggled to fit in all of those lyrics. It was like a tongue twister sometimes. It’s not that what he wrote isn’t interesting…it’s that the lines all do not fit into similar rhythmic pattern. It’s like you’d have to figure out which line of the song is the longest and build the music around that. The rest of the lines would just have a lot of room to “breath”.

  44. I just listened to my attempt at singing and I think for the sake of my good reputation I’ll just bury it. Ugh. Maybe I’ll do a spoken version… That’s not a bad idea. I also want to change the ending because I realized I need space there for Chopper to add one of his ultra-cool guitar solos (I’m jamming away in the coda). At any rate, by 1) changing the chord structure, and 2) even the key from G maj to D maj, and 3) adding some significant changes in the course of the song, I made the song not only more interesting musically, but capable of fitting most of the words. I also cut some words. Anything extraneous had to go since I had to figure out a regular pattern, as you say. At any rate, I’ll send a revised version of the lyrics when it’s ready to go. I think it’s good, though.

    And I’ll see what I can do with Mr. Peabody–although I don’t know when, unfortunately. This weekend is totally booked. I might have some time next week, then I’m back off to NYC, and I’m not taking my guitar at least the first week. I’ll drag the electric there eventually.

  45. Don’t be such a bitch (like Chopper) and just send it.
    How often have I embarrassed myself with my singing on demos?

  46. I’m not you. I don’t enjoy humiliating myself. But I will send the revised lyrics with chord notations.

  47. I know you just want an opportunity to laugh at me. Anyway, this microphone I’m using must be bad because people tell me I have a nice voice…. at least for talking.

    I’d really like to add some screaming to KFL and Powder Keg, tho’. Any chance Chops will get some time with PK? Also, did the KFL toms sound any better after my minor tweaking? Or worse? Maybe you should just play them again.

  48. Chopper is pretty much incognito right now. Apparently making money and forging a career that provides him with fulfillment is more important than us.

    As far as the KFL…I haven’t listened to it. I got caught up at work with a bunch of meetings, getting home late, etc…
    I have tomorrow off, so I will listen to it then.
    If I am not happy, I will record KFL…again…
    I need to redo PK because of the pops as well…unless Chops can get rid of them.

    Chops?

  49. choppernewt Says:

    What kind of pops?

  50. There are a couple of pops where the snare drums were redlining.

  51. Forget about making money, Chopper. Stick to juvenile hobbies like making punk rock and calling yourself Chopper Newt.

    I hate to say it, but once my fall semester starts I may be incognito, too–or less cognito at any rate. I’m applying for some fellowships, as well as new (and better) jobs, writing an article, teaching, and (I hope) revising my book for publication if the press that’s reviewing it decides to publish it.

    But I’ll always make some time for playing guitar, now that I caught that bug again. Just have to sacrifice sleep, which is what I did last semester. Still, only 4 hours of sleep a night really started to wear on me.

  52. Well, better for me to know now that you will be quite busy and Chimper will be busy with his VO I know that I will not have to invest that $1500 in the new drumset!

    …or I still might…

  53. No, you have to buy a drumset. It’s required. Or at least a new snare.

  54. I’m not going to buy anything if we’re not going to be recording any music. I’m foolish with money, but not stupid.

  55. Hey, I’m going to keep recording, although it’s possible we’ll have to slow up from our speedy pace of, what, one song a month! Just kidding. No, I’m still into it, and in fact I’d still like to work on generating more fans and getting the music distributed a little better. Why not? But we all have our jobs and regular lives, too. Of course, much depends quite on Chops’ ability to record, since without his voice and guitar we’re just a couple of hacks. You’re not going to get me to be a vocalist even after my little Channeling Lou rendition.

    Hell, I even found us a gig if you can drag yourselves down to Dayton! And you need to work on the IWU reunion gig, man.

  56. I want to keep recording, but will struggle along with old set.
    1) as you said, we’ve been getting about 1 song per month done right now. When we have all been relatively open.
    2) If you and Chops are both going to be “busier”…then I would guess we’ll get about 1 song every 3 months done.
    3) I don’t have enough money to invest $1500 for 4 songs
    4) I will struggle through with the equipment I have until it looks like there is more activity. (When that happens, I’ll start looking into buying new drums again.)

  57. You’re just trying to justify not spending the money! No, don’t listen to me, I have no damn money.

    Anyway, what about a new snare and hi-hat? Everything else works fine, right?

    And I forgot: I just did two songs in a few weeks. Get the Chopper to stop wasting his time with career and family and do some recording. 😉

  58. He’s too selfish…

  59. Yeah, it’s remarkable how irresponsible he is, too.

    Could you use something like this?: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Hart-Dynamics-Pro-Snare-Drum-Pad-with-TE3.2-Trigger-System?sku=449580

    There are some cheaper ones, too.

    I’m still considering trading my guitar for a better one, but I suppose there’s no rush.

  60. I can’t believe he’s more concerned with his VO career or spending time with his family. It’s a matter of fact that WE have known him longer than either of those things. WE should be given priority.

    – – – –

    I probably could use that snare. My module does allow for input…so I could run from that drum to my module, my module to the computer.
    However, that is pretty much what the snare on the set I would like to own has.

  61. Do I have to say it? Either get the whole set, or just the snare. Or get neither and continue to sound like crap.

    Damn, the price of flights to and from NYC just went up another $50. I think I’m priced out of commuting to work now, at least every week. I knew this had to happen sooner or later.

    On the bright side of things, I’ll have all sorts of time to play guitar when I have no job! But also not enough money even to buy a set of guitar strings.

  62. I really would like to buy the new set…with the fancy new snare, but at best THAT would be December or 1st quarter next year.

    – – – – – – – – –

    If you are looking for work, I hear voice-over work is easy to get. They will let just about anyone do it.

  63. Have any of your ever approached the old IWU radio station to play our new music, by the way? I just looked up IWU radio and found WESN 88.1. Was that the same station as back in the day?

    I’ll send them an e-mail, if no one else has. Agreed?

  64. I hadn’t really thought about it. They didn’t play our music while we were there, so why now?
    Feel free to give it a shot, though.

  65. T-shirts are supposed to arrive tomorrow.
    (When they arrive, I will send out those along with some decals… )

    I basically ordered just enough for us and a few extra for myself.
    Gecko = Sm
    Pent = Med
    Chopper = Lg
    Gator = XL (sorry Gator if that offends)

  66. Whoo Hoo! As they say.

    I feel like the virtual band is on a virtual hiatus, however. Think I’ll work on an instrumental next, since the Chop has fled the coup. In for it, Pent-boy? It’ll be the YYZ of LFA.

  67. It does kinda feel that way, doesn’t it?
    I’m up for an instrumental…but who is gonna play bass?

  68. I have tshirts…

  69. Don’t worry, Chopper will probably reemerge from under his rock at some point. Possibly. And if he doesn’t, I can play bass with the synthesizer.

    You should start a new post and put up images of the shirts. We need a new post and I have nothing new to introduce at this point.

  70. choppernewt Says:

    I will re-emerge at some point. As soon as Pent quits being such a nancy. So it might be a while.

  71. I have a sister named Nancy. (True)

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