NEW SONG(?): Channeling You (Channeling Lou)

As I write this post our drummer and lyricist, Sir Pent (aka Bob), is in the hospital. Seems only yesterday we were all dumb college kids in the prime of health and youth. As Heraclitus said, however, all is flux, all is change. And that is at least one of the things this new song is about.

Fans from our college days will undoubtedly remember the long, rambling, and absolutely brilliant improv chant by Gator entitled “Channeling Lou.” Here it is performed live in 1992:

Channeling Lou Video by Lizards from Afar – MySpace Video.

Back when we decided to start recording music again, I immediately proposed a remake of this song. I don’t know why I wanted to do this, and it nearly proved impossible, but somehow I managed–after more than a year–to pull it together.

Of course, another improvisational lyric didn’t make sense, so Gator graciously wrote up a set lyric and I composed various musical treatments for it before deciding upon “the one.” The song, as you will hear, did not exactly turn out to be a remake. It’s more of a riff on the original tune. Lyrically, it is Gator’s contemplation of what those college years meant, and still mean to us now. It is no longer improvisation, but this song is packed with angst, pathos, love, understanding, and misunderstanding. Musically, I played heavily upon the original song and incorporated some of its ideas, but (like all of us) it’s more mature and complex.

After a great deal of cajoling, which eventually degenerated into threats, I got Chopper Newt to do a super backing vocal, small lead vocal part, and rhythm guitar track. He did a great Maggie May-ish solo line in the coda, too. I did a rare (unheard of back in the old days) lead vocal myself along with most of the guitar and bass. Sir Pent, despite his health, delivered the goods with a drum track and contributed a stirring lead vocal on one of the later verses.

We hope you enjoy it, whether you are a new fan or an old:

CHANNELING YOU (Channeling Lou 2009)

Lyrics:

CHANNELING YOU by Gator (aka Ivan)

(Spoken: It was 1993 when we left Bloomington in the safe and solid hands of the spirit of democracy. We knew exactly where we were going and what we each needed to do to make it happen. The world was going to be set on fire from the launching pad of a university in the middle of a god-damned cornfield. We were four kids who were too busy dreaming to keep our eyes on the road ahead.)

I once had a dream, but now my dreaming days are done
I’ve passed the time to my daughter and my son
You can’t call this a day job the tenth year you’re employed
And I never did get out of my hometown in Illinois

There was no road to heaven – only the passage of the years.
There was no band of brothers – only the trail of tears.

The El Dorado’s closed its doors, the old roundhouse burnt down,
Joe Strummer’s gone to Heaven and Warren Zevon’s in the ground.
The corn that grew beneath our feet’s been ripped out of the soil
To rock the casbah’s werewolves, cheap substitute for oil.

Seems like the best days of my life are stuck (in the rear view mirror).
Seems like the things that I love the most have become (ten times as clear).

Took everything for granted and that took me for a ride,
Can’t say I saw it coming but I can’t say I’m surprised.
Thought I was a cynic the day the headman shook my hand,
Still don’t have a clue how much I didn’t understand.

There was no road to nowhere – only the passage of the years.
There was no band of brothers – only the trail of tears.

Seems like the best friends of my life are stuck (in the rear view mirror).
Seems like the one’s I love the most have become (ten times as clear).

So pull yourself together, man, there’s nothing you can do
Now that you’ve had a lifetime you’ve got too much shit to lose.
All the things that you let go and all the people you forgot
Will come slouching back from Bethlehem, ready for them or not.

There was no road to nowhere – only the passage of the years.
There was no band of brothers – there was no trail of tears.

You tell me you’re unshuttering the El Dorado Bar,
I’ll leave behind my grudges if you don’t bring up your scars.
Put the kings back on the chessboard. This time I’ll fade to black.
We may have left our hometown but there’s no harm in looking back.

Seems like the best plans of my life come (in the rear view mirror).
Seems like the dreams that I love the most have become (ten times as clear).

(When all is said and done, there’s more life in doing than in dreaming. I guess that’s true and I guess a smarter man might just accept it as fact, sure, but there’s still more to life than accepting what you’re given. There’s still music in everything and there’s still a reason to look outside ourselves, to pass the lessons we learned on to our children and to love the fact that they know better than we do. There’s still a purpose, even if we’re none of us the men we once knew we were all supposed to become.

There’s still a dream at the crystalline heart of the world.

There’s still poetry in the people we wound up being.

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10 Responses to “NEW SONG(?): Channeling You (Channeling Lou)”

  1. Forgot to mention: the cool Maggie May-ish guitar line in the coda of this song is courtesy of Chopper Newt. The idea works great, since both songs are long rambles of nearly the same length.

    Also, the good news for those who don’t know already: Sir Pent is back at home.

  2. I think this song proves that I should’ve been the lead singer all along.

  3. So, Aerosmith becomes like Journey, Yes, and all those other old bands that are just too big business to fail. The thing with Aerosmith is that it essentially IS Steven Tyler. Nobody could possibly replace him without being a parody of him. If he wants to quit, why can’t they all just retire, or form new bands? So stupid.

    • I can get the Journey thing. They were a (somewhat successful) band with other singers before Steve Perry. They just happened to have a couple of HUGE albums with him.
      But with Aerosmith I agree with you…he really IS 50% of the band!

  4. I think a lot of people believe that, but I’ve heard Joe Perrys’ solo projects and think those other guys contribute a LOT.

  5. Tyler announced last night that he was NOT leaving Aerosmith at a Joe Perry solo concert.

  6. How much bad shit can happen to the LFA crew in such a short time? It seems the release of this song was timed perfectly to memorialize the passing of an era. At least Sir Pent is out of the hospital!

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