specs & notes
(click on title for lyrics)

Think Tank
©1996 WD Neely, EA Emmert, DG Bly, BBly
Performed by Left Field, recorded at St. Peter's Church in NYC, 14 November 1987. That's BBly doing the lead vocal & shaking the afuche, with Bill Neely (aka Capt. Nemo) on guitar and backup vocals along with Liz Emmert and Deborah Griffin Bly, Mark Dann on bass.
At that very moment, John, deep undercover at the Macintosh Composition conference in Lincoln, Nebraska, was writing one of the songs that brought down John Scully's evil empire at Apple.

Hands of Captain Ludd
©1999 John McDaid
Recorded in Bill Neely's basement the day after Thanksgiving 2000. John on vocal, BBly on guitar, Nemo on 2nd guitar and bass. At this session it was determined that Nemo & John, who had never met before, own ash Guild D-46 guitars from the 1980s whose serial numbers are less than 10 digits apart.

The remaining seven tunes were all recorded at Mark Dann's Digital Music Emporium, 12 & 27 June 2001, each done in more or less one take with both boys singing and playing in the same room at the same time. Our operant aesthetic: if nothing falls over, it's a wrap!

Flash in the Pan
©1999 John McDaid

New Beatitudes
©1998 WDNeely

Television Show
©1999 John McDaid

Skeptic's Lullaby
©1998 WDNeely

Mother Atlantis
©1998 John McDaid

Billions
©1980 WDNeely

Wasted in America
©1999 John McDaid

 


lyrics

Think Tank (after Sam Cooke)
©1996 WD Neely, EA Emmert, DG Bly, BBly

I hear something saying --
Hm, ah, hm, aha!

Well, don't you know --
That's the sound of the men workin at the
Think... tank!
That's the sound of the men workin at the
Think... tank!

All day long they work so hard
Who, what, where, and how
Workin out the humdrum conundrums
And wearin a furrowed brow
They're cogitatin their lives away
The wheels are turnin night and day

Well, don't you know --
That's the sound of the men workin at the
Think... tank!
That's the sound of the men workin at the
Think... tank!

All day long they're sayin hmmmm
I'll get it right one of these days
I'll figure it out
I'll see the answer so simple and clear
But meanwhile, I gotta stay right here

Well, don't you know --
That's the sound of the men workin at the
Think... tank!
That's the sound of the men workin at the
Think... tank!

I hear someone sayin....

 

Hands of Captain Ludd
© 1999 John McDaid

I was born in Cornwall, in 1793
We made our living weaving, till the coming of the machines
Now it's in and out of prison, from the factory to the tomb
They've replaced skilled human fingers with the flashing metal loom.

REFRAIN
Well, well, it's a terrible tale
And I tell you it'll end in blood
Long as I stand I'll take my commands
From the hands of Captain Ludd
Well, well, it's a tortuous trail
And I tell you it'll end in blood
As long as I stand I'll take my commands
From the hands of Captain Ludd

For years in slow migration from the cottages and farms
To the bright lights of the city with all its dreams and its false alarms
Early to late at the factory gate for enough to survive a week
Working like a slave for a minimum wage till you haven't got the strength to speak

REFRAIN

When the Roman Empire fell the Church used the bell for a hell of a devious scheme
To summon their flock they invented the clock, they made time with their new machine
Down through the Middle Ages the central pattern grew
Before you know it had taken control and there was nothing anybody could do

REFRAIN

We wander around from town to town, living off the land
Spreading the shame of the knitting frames, destroying whenever we can
When the final battle comes between machines and men
You know I heard the Captain say that he'd be back again

REFRAIN

 

Flash in the Pan
© 2000 John McDaid

It's easier out at sea when they bury you
Here in the Western World they're just gonna carry you
Inro some marble room where they can worship you
For being at last without mind

Just another flash in the pan
Just another mind in a cage
Just another 2000 Man
Just another product of the age

Walking down the street snared up in Indra's net
Trying to make enough to keep all the monsters out of my head
Trying to keep up a little with all those books I read
Don't make no difference now what Plato said

Just another flash in the pan
Just another mind in the cave
Just another 2000-year-old scam
Just another Nobly Lied-to slave

Working in the air-conditioned office, talking on the phone
To all the target demographics undercover back home
Drawing conclusions on the bathroom wall, cowering under your desk
Staring out the window at the concrete wilderness
-- You can be my guest, cuz I'm

Living in a world of make believe
What does it enhance? What does it obsolesce? What does it retrieve?
It reverses into the world to be taken as real
At the speed of light phenomenology gets a pretty raw deal

Just another flash in the pan
Just another mind in a cage
Just another 2000 man
Just another product of the age

Broken on the wheel of temporal causality
The telephone pole of information replaced the wisdom of the tree
Sipping tea sitting by the radiator, waiting for the mail
You know that plain brown wrapper just might contain the Holy Grail
-- It never fails, cuz I'm

Stuck in this wetware network of on-off gates
Trying to find a way to cross over into some altered states
Thinking about the latest transmission from the Beast
She said you know there ain't no way back from that Journey to the East

Just another flash in the pan
Just another mind in a cage
Just another 2000 man
Just another product of the age

 

New Beatitudes
1998 WDNeely

Blessed are the high and mighty
And all the powers that be
Bless they pointy little heads
The Scribe and Pharisee

Blessed are the self-anointed
Spokesmen for the Lord
And blessed are the shareholders
And chairmen of the board

And God help all the rest
Who finish second best
They pray their souls to keep
And cry themselves to sleep

So blessed are the barracudas
The cutthroats and the sharks
And heaven help the bleeding hearts
And other easy marks

No good deed goes unpunished
No evil goes unsung
Every dog has his day
And some have more than one

 

Television Show
© 1999 John McDaid

With Kami & Kana at half past nine, I went down to my battlefield tapes
Looking over the history of the world and the trail of the risen apes
When the dreamwork freezes it creates diseases, trying to show you the way to go
It's all right, save it for another night, it's just a television show

And it feels like the death of culture, the death of time
If I don't bust free, it'll be the death of me and my second-hand Jesuit mind
The way things look I could write a book if there was anybody left to read
But they've been driven blind, frozen to the signs, that they sucked in their terminal greed

Alone alone all all alone on the clanking IRT
All the friends I've known cut back to the bone by the "New Economy"
Sounds like science fiction, sounds like a bad idea
It's the Yukaihan, the Digimon, the Monsters of the Year
(Yeah, monsters!)

Alone alone all all alone
(Monsters!)
Alone alone all all alone
(Monsters!)
Alone alone all all alone
(Monsters!)
Alone alone all all alone

With Coco and Lana at half past nine, I went down to my battlefield tapes
Looking over the herstory of the world and the trail of the risen apes
When the dreamwork freezes it creates diseases, trying to show you the way to go
It's all right, save it for another night, it's just a television show

It's just a television show
It's just a television show
It's just a television show
It's just a television show

It's just a television show
Repression & sublimation
It's just a television show
Western civilization
It's just a television show
Running in the brains of mmammals
It's just a television show
You don't like it, you gotta change the channels
It's just a television show
Cause the medium is the mass age"
It's just a television show
A digital rite of passage
It's just a television show
Re-enact the agon
It's just a television show
And wait for dawn

It's just a television show
And wait for dawn
It's just a television show
And wait for dawn
It's just a television show
And wait for dawn
It's just a television show
And wait for dawn....

 

Skeptic's Lullaby
1998 WDNeely

The road to hell and dark despair
Is a heav'ly travelled thoroughfare
In sorry state of disrepair
Dubito ergo sum.

But even so, I would not care
To tread on heaven's golden stair
If William Bennett's going there
Dubito ergo sum.

Gods will come, and gods will go
Kingdoms rise and fall
Doubt outlives them all
It holds the world in thrall

Tho' all that glitters is not gold
Our doubts return a thousandfold
And we will not be oversold
Dubito ergo sum.

[Dubiscenti Chorale]
Dubito, dubito, dubito, dubito
Dubito, dubito, dubito ergo sum.

Courage falters, vision fades
Resolution fails
Doubt alone prevails
Except in fairy tales

So close your eyes and go to sleep
And rest assured, life is cheap
The road is long, the climb is steep
Dubito ergo sum.

The moon is cheese, the earth is flat
Your god's a hapless bureaucrat
So let's just let it go at that
Dubito ergo sum.

 

Mother Atlantis
© 1999 John McDaid

Long ago when the great rains came and the sea rose up on the land
We stood on the shores like dinosaurs with crystals in our hands
Caught in the jaws of the final wars between the forces of dark and light
With energy drawn off the earth's own core, ringing on down the night

Mother Atlantis, we're coming on home to you
Mother Atlantis, every word they said was true
All the gods and goddesses, all the mirrors in our minds
Down through the stones and forests, no future hands will ever find

Well the sons of Law and the sons of Baal squared off for the hearts and minds
With their hands in the heads of the walking dead and their eyes on the bottom line
Forcing a choice on the silent voice and the center now betrayed
Out of the wild they took the child and beat her till she obeyed

Mother Atlantis, we're coming on home to you
Mother Atlantis, every word they said was true
All the gods and goddesses, all the mirrors in our minds
Down through the stones and forests, no future hands will ever find

Spoken: And the priest said to Solon, "Solon, you Greeks are but children.
There have been many destructions.
And there was an island that stood before the pillars of Herakles
That sank in a single day and night of rain."

All these emanations from a higher plane
For a taste of breath they were trapped by death and enfleshed now they remain
Caught in the scream of the animal dream, pressed back into their own skin
They lost the way in the day to day and they're going back down again

Mother Atlantis, we're coming on home to you
Mother Atlantis, every word they said was true
All the gods and goddesses, all the mirrors in our minds
Down through the stones and forests, no future hands will ever find

 

Billions
(1980 WDNeely)

Billions of brain cells
Billions of brain cells ago
They're dead and gone, alas, alack
The victims of a sneak attack
O how I wish I had them back --
The things I used to know
Billions of brain cells ago

There's so much I've forgotten
La la la la la la la
My lights are dim, my lobes are lame
I know I'll never think the same
But at least they didn't die in vain --
The things I used to know
Billions of brain cells ago

Hic, haec, hoc
This brain is such a joke!
Fee, fie, fo, fum
I wasn't always this dumb!

Billions of brain cells
Billions of brain cells ago
It truly is a sorry sight
To see your brain cells burning bright
But ah! they give such lovely light
The things I used to know
Billions of brain cells ago

Trillions and zillions
And quadraquintillions
Times billions of brain cells ago.

 

Wasted in America
© 2000 John McDaid

It was morning in America, we had heroes once again
We were the leaders of the New World Order, we couldn't pick our friends
We went to war to keep the peace, and preserve the price of oil
(No, that's not right...)
Uh, we went to war to keep the peace, and preserve the... -- rights of man!
(That's more like it!)
We lost the beauty, kept the beast --- we were King Kong and Peter Pan

We were wasted in America
Wasted in America

The richest people in the land got richer every day
Mechanization took command, we did the play-by-play
We learned that wealth would trickle down and that greed (for want of a better word) was good
With bloody hands we grabbed the crown and kept a sharp eye out for Birnham wood

We were wasted in America
Wasted in America

Well, we were wasted you and me in a system gone insane
Trapped by drug cartels and MNCs would we even recognize freedom again

We were wasted in America
Wasted in America

We walked like giants in the earth and took whatever the fuck we pleased
We ignored the whole continent of human birth and the dreadful rise of new disease
By the time we finally wriggled free there wasn't much left worth saving
You look up "hubris" in the OED and there we are -- smiling and waving!

We were wasted in America
Wasted in America
Wasted in America
Wasted in America


Last updated: 30 October 2001.