2015: The Busiest Year of My Life. Part 1 – Hot Breakfast, A Song, & A Documentary

I’m going to make a brave and possibly futile attempt  at documenting some of the more interesting things that happened to me in 2015 (the strangest year of my life), over a series of posts. I hope you enjoy them.

It’s the after of Saturday, January 17th, 2015, and I am urinating, live, on the internet.

Maybe I’d better rewind a little…

A month or so earlier, our friend an co-conspirator Brain McTear asked us (The Dead Milkmen) if  we’d like to take part in Weathervane Music’s Shaking Through series.  Basicly, the series works like this: a band drops by Brian’s studio for two days – one day of recording  and one day of mixing . Both sessions are streamed live over the internet, and later the song and a little documentary are released.  We said yes – otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this.

I was really excited about the invite (Here’s my original tumblr post ) for a couple of reasons. First, I really enjoy working with Brian. Second, how often can you turn on your computer and watch a band record and mix a song live? I’m a total studio-spaz; I’m fascinated with the studio in much the same way that Mike Huckabee is fascinated by shiny objects, also, I can think of about 50 bands whom I’d love to watch recording a song. And, finally, it would give the band a chance to record “The Prisoner’s Cinema”  – a song that I’d really wanted to include on Pretty Music For Pretty People.

OK. I’m getting to the urination, but first I’d like to tell you a little bit about the the origin of the song and my friends Kyle, MC Lars and Matt & Jill (AKA Hot Breakfast!). Oh, here’s 10 hours of The Dead Milkmen in the studio, just in case you think I’m making all of this up.

At some point back in 2014 my friend MC Lars, who knows about my love of traditional Irish music, had asked tag a old folk song on to the beginning of a Hip Hop track. Since the Milkmen had covered “William Bloat” on The King in Yellow , I didn’t want to hand over another re-working of an existing tune, so I wrote an “original cover” called “Blow Winds Blow”. This experiment never really panned out (it’s OK; Lars and I would get another project going before the end of 2015), but I was fascinated by the combo of a traditional Irish song mixed with Hip Hop, so I set out to write a Traditional/Punk/Gothic/Trip Hop/Industrial tune. And that’s how the first version of “The Prisoner’s Cinema” was born. It went into the pile of songs we were working on for PMFPP, but, for some reason, never rose to the top of the heap. Then again, my demo was very different from the finished version (it contained a “Clock Punk” sequence that, although sounding great and having been inspired by Dead When I Found Her’s “No More Nightmares” and Velvet Acid Christ’s “Dire” never really jelled when played by the band.)

While we we’re working on “The Prisoner’s Cinema” I had the idea that the “Irish” part of the song should sound like a sample (Brian would later say that it sounded like a 1950’s commercial jingle…grrrrrr), so I suggested bringing my friends Matt & Jill (or Jill & Matt) to perform the “Blow winds blow…” part. Matt is a brilliant musician and songwriter, and Jill has one of the best voices on the planet. You an get their new album here.

I met Jill & Matt (or Matt & Jill) a few back when I needed tickets to see Amanda F. Palmer, and we’ve been the best of friends ever since. And there’s nothing better than sharing an adventure with your friends. Speaking of Amanda Palmer, Mill & Jatt (or Jatt & Mill) appear in a beautiful book of photographs, inspired by Amanda’s “Bed Song”, which was photographed by our friend mutual friend Kyle.

Speaking  of Kyle (who went to High School with my wife Vienna – whose favorite Milkmen song is “The Prisoner’s Cinema” ), it was Kyle who helped provide me with my favorite lyric in the song (Kyle, also photographed the cover for PMFPP  – he’ll be turning up a lot in these posts): “They try to make famous friends; we try to make our friends famous”. Kyle had told me a very sad story about a young lady who wasn’t sure who her real friends were, and that got me thinking Why do people go out of their way to befriend famous people? Why not just you treat your friends like the Rock Stars and royalty that they really are? This way, you’ll  always be surrounded by A-listers.

And that’s the point of the song.

Oh, yeah – the urination! I’d forgotten that I was wearing a wireless mic and I relieved myself without removing it. I guess, at that moment, there were two “live steams” going at once.

Here’s the documentary….

Next time, I make four new friends , watch many attractive lesbians make out, and consume my body-weight in kale as I link up with Velvet Acid Christ, Mindless Faith , and Ego Likeness for two amazing and possibly illegal shows.