News / Blog

June 27, 2010

New Video, No Lyrics, Parenting Advice

My dearest friend:

There’s a Jacqueline Susann video. We spent all $47 CDN in profit we made on the pre-orders to make it, and thus, have depleted the tour support fund. But, we think you’ll agree it was worth it. If you have a blog, or are planning to do an electronic family holiday card this year, feel free to embed it. You can view it here, or grab it here. I have also posted it on our facebook page, where you can grab and share. And, before you ask, the answer is yes. Bikes will be featured in all Pernice videos moving forward.

Let me say right off the bat, that this epistle is rated R, if not NC17. I only got three or four unsubscribe requests after the last few, which contained some pretty salty language. I figure all of the well-mannered people who live in polite society have left, and now it’s just us. Therefore, I will no longer hold back, knowing it’s not possible to offend you. Several of you write to me or post on the social media that your children are listening to Pernice records. I’ve even heard from some who have been reading to children from Pernice To Me. I am certainly not going to tell you how to raise your kids. I mean, I love children (they taste like chicken), but since my knowledge of them comes largely from literature and movies, it’s one of the few subjects on God’s increasingly less green earth I’m not qualified to speak about ad nauseum. But I do know child abuse when I see it. I’ll leave it at that.

The second most FAQ here at Ashmont HQ, after the touring question (addressed in last week’s lecture) is “Why aren’t the lyrics included?” I must admit this question makes me think you lazy, and elicits sympathy. Back when I was a young innocent, before you were born, we had to work for the lyrics. We spent hours and hours holding tape recorders up to AM radios and rewinding cassette tapes until they broke. Or we stayed up past our bedtimes listening at low volume, lifting the needle back to hear the same line over and over and over again. This built character, and it also encouraged creativity. I’m not calling you a bunch of spoiled brats; I’m just left to wonder if you’re all Spock babies – cuddled all the time, fed when hungry – perhaps you were given a car on your 16th birthday. It would certainly explain this aversion to working for someone else’s art. Without these lyric quests, the world would never have enjoyed such gems as “Wrapped up like a douche, another rumor in the night,” “Hold me close now, Tony Danza,” and “Algebra had a devil for a sidekick.” I think we can all agree that these are concepts that enriched us. And who’s to say that the lyricist is actually the best person to write the definitive lyrics?

Here’s a case in point that hits close to home. Leigh, a fan (Well not enough of a fan to actually BUY the record. Her boyfriend purchased and she pilfered. But I digress.) posted on our facebook page that when listening to “Jacqueline Susann,” instead of “I want to gum up her plans” she heard, “I want to cum in her pants.” I would argue that hers is the better lyric. It pushes the song’s protagonist out of the harmless stalker realm and into serial rapist territory, making the song more likely to be placed in an FX original series. That, in turn, makes the song more lucrative, and I think we can all agree that more lucrative is more better. See also “Dumb it down for the average Jew,” which I JUST learned is actually “Dumb it down for the average Joe.” I chalked that one up to Joe’s equal-opportunity hate for everyone, when in fact, it’s just more of his self-loathing. I almost feel bad for him. Almost.

This concept also extends beyond lyrics to misunderstood concepts. For instance I was surprised to find out not long ago, that the Scud Mountain Boys’ song “Penthouse in the Woods” is about a magazine. I thought it was about a tree fort. Thus, the line “All the serious questions seem to eat my time away” seemed to me to be the musings of an innocent, creative young boy who would rather daydream than do his homework. Who can’t relate to that? Imagine my complete disgust upon finding it’s about that activity which causes blindness in young Catholic boys. (But not girls of course, as they don’t do it.) I have also written in the past about “PCH One” from “Live A Little.” To me it’s a tribute to the relationship between CHiPs’ Ponch and Jon, which those of you old enough will remember, got rocky after season four. The “myth” the protagonist muses about killing is obvious. And I think we all know that “through the sticky optimism hardening in me” is code for for something. People weren’t as opened-minded in the 70’s as they were in the 90’s, and are no longer in the 10’s.

So, what I’m really saying is that you need to go out and make your own lyrics and assign your own meaning to the songs. I even encourage you to try “your” songs at the open mic at your local coffeehouse sometime. (If the local BMI guy shows up looking for money, “Joyce said it’s okay” won’t be enough. Just FYI.) Me? No, I can’t come. Frankly, I’d rather have all my teeth pulled. TABS? No. I don’t have any. That’s a subject for another lecture I’m afraid.

Yes, I realize that it’s been over a week since we released a record, and you’ve forgotten about us. But we haven’t forgotten about you. Thanks, as always for your support. Stay tuned for the Pernice To Me puppet show videos coming soon. No, I am not making that up.

Yours truly,

Dorchester, Mass.

Joyce @ 1:06 pm