- Wounded Lion: Bastardizing Burger King jingles.
Do you believe in Traffic? Oops, I mean Magic? I do. I've seen it. Leaking out of the corners of the garbage bags of darkness the world over. Like a lone quarter that's been given up on and sitting neglected and waiting in the soda machine poised to help you get a cheaper pop, there are treasures everywhere. All you need is two paintbrushes and a microphone. Well, you also need a bass and some guitar and a couple of dancing tamborines, but you don't need much.
A gorgeous dickhead once sang "We are all of us in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars," and she was right. I turned over a rock in L.A. recently and singer Brad Eberhard was wigglin' and gleamin' underneath. I asked him to give me some answers and insight to each track on his wonderful band Wounded Lion's fantastic (Self Titled) debut LP for a new installment of TRACK MEET...
The primary question of this song, "Is it Hungry?" is a bastardization of the Burger King jingle "Aren't you hungry?" It can be taken a few different ways. Is the listener/audience hungry for rock music? Is the rock band hungry to rock, to destroy? Is the rock music hungry? Will it leave it's lair to feed? Who will it eat? The listener? The band? Unknown, my friend. All I know for sure is, "I think its hungry."
"Creatures in the Cave"
Although sometimes perceived by rock journalists as a riff on Plato's famous allegory, this song was mainly inspired by two different episodes of Gilligan's Island—the one with the giant spider and the one with the gorilla that throws grenades. Both of them lived in a cave on the island. There is a theme of loyalty in this song, even if it is pledging allegiance to staying isolated, obscure. I really like the "positive" message of many Sham 69 lyrics. "If the kids/are united/they will never/be divided!!!" Sounds great! Means nothing! One of my favorite elements on the whole LP is Shant Kalenderian's treble-y, scratchy, guitar choogle on this number.
A live favorite, written by Shant, that has caused some misunderstanding. "This band is nerdy because they like Star Wars and sing about it." Whatever. Some people are sad, and they write sad songs. Some people are angry, and they write angry songs. Pretty fancy, right? Did you know that birds can be used as a symbol of freedom? I guess we're just interested in different things—unreliable narration, absurdity, confused sincerity, etc.
Jun Ohnuki is the only member of our band with developed musical abilities. He came up with the great descending background vocal line of this song.
Monty Buckles joined Wounded Lion halfway through the recording of this album, playing simple drums part of the time and unleashing guitar power and noise part of the time, like at the end of this track. Before joining the band, Monty was one of our first fans, and introduced us to almost everyone we know in our small corner of the rock business. Monty has tons of books on the Rolling Stones—even the Bill Wyman ones.
"Hanging Ancient Circles"
I like this Korean bar in LA called OB Bear. "OB" stands for oriental brewery. I don't know what "Bear" stands for. They have great fried chicken, the hotest hot wings around, and large, inexpensive bottles of Hite beer. A few times a year, I'm driving around and maybe it's a warm, clear, smog-free day and I think, "Blade Runner didn't come true." There are still plenty of problems and miles of bland sprawl, but it's a comforting thought. OB Bear makes me think that Blade Runner did come true, and it's also a comforting thought. Mostly asian clientele, a nearby mural of Edward James Olmos, and the servers wear these weird rubber/leather aprons. Also, there are lots of TV screens. It was on one of these that a saw a commercial for a retail housewares chain that was selling these decorative, metal discs. I couldn't hear the audio, but a text within the ad declared the title of this song in flashing red letters.
"Belt of Orion"
Are you still reading this? Can there be more than five rock fans in Seattle that have heard this record?
This is a song about being a Sagittarius. About having goals that are subjective, largely symbolic, take a long time to realize, and, to most other people, seem pretty dumb. I wrote it about ten years ago and was in love with the Aisler's Set.
Raffi Kalenderian wrote this song about being an outsider in paradise. Fortune placed him as a sort of indentured servant in the Caribbean for a couple of months. When he hit the beach, his black socks repulsed the topless ladies. Lonesome Eurodisco nights. Solo drinking. Break things and throw them off the veranda into the jungle. The Doors. Martin Sheen doing karate in black briefs. Punch the mirror. Blood. Regret.
Black Flag was supposed to play at the high school near my house when I was in elementary school. Their reputation preceeded them, the show was cancelled, and all the punks that came out of the woodwork began to "riot." I think this meant to stand on the curb. Looking through a chain link fence at recess: weird teens running through the park being chased by police cars (hey- they're driving on the grass!). I didn't know what the music sounded like. Now, I knew what it looked like. A new sense of purpose. At a dark time in my life- LIGHT.
An a capella Wildman Larry Fischer song put to the chord progression from "Swelling Itching Brain" by Devo, or if you prefer, "Stigmata Martyr" by Bauhaus.
A wistful, album closing, farewell song. Sweet slide guitar solo is played by Jun Ohnuki on a keyboard. Croonchy Stars were an actual breakfast cereal that had the Swedish Chef from The Muppet Show on the box. From the Wikipedia entry: "The back of the box featured ridiculous, and sometimes unsolvable, games and puzzles." I think that brings us full circle. Thank you for listening.