I just recently self-released a new, punk influenced album on Bandcamp for my collaborative WALKING BOMBS multi-genre project called Tears We Should Have Shed. People have been really loving this one and I super appreciate the support and energy exchange with you.
This record was made safely against the odds during 2020 in beautiful, forested Upstate, NY. It deals with a lot of collective and personal grief and the idea of how do we move through and transform that without destroying ourselves as individuals or a whole. I was blessed beyond belief to have an amazing crew of friends work on this record with me, Elizabeth “Le Fey” DaPena (Globelamp), Sean Paul Pillsworth (Nightmares For A Week, Jerk Magnet), David Brenner (Gridfailure), David Bodie (ex-Time Of Orchids, Divest, Kayo Dot), Taraka Larson (Taraka, ex-Prince Rama), Jack Manley (The Jennifer Shop), and Justin Zipperle (Shadow Witch).
More info on each song from the album BELOW.
1. Brash Bandages – The first song for the album was written way before the rest and recorded (original mix) back before the start of the pandemic. It deals with essentially what it takes to survive self-destructive impulses and try and become healthier. As such, the chorus vibe is definitely Appetite For Destruction influenced but we were jokingly calling it ‘Appetite For Kombucha’. It was a super amazing thing to get the poetic artistic and musical genius Taraka of Prince Rama fame on the song because 1. I knew she was a big GnR fan, 2. Prince Rama as a band really had a perfect blend of party vibes and transcendence minded self-actualization goals and 3. she is one of my favorite musicians and people. Crafting this song with just Sean-Paul and Taraka gave me a jolt of self-confidence to kick start this era of Walking Bombs when I was feeling uncertain. We had a lot of fun and talked a lot about the band 108, living Upstate and self-improvement mantras. When I heard Taraka’s piano part in the intro I knew this had to be the way the album opened. It is so baller.
2. GeneralGrievousAngel – Another song that deals with sobriety. I love Gram Parsons and I wanted to write a ballad about sort of wrestling with faith and needing a sign to not give up. What path to take? I’m really happy with how Globelamp’s piano part completely elevates the ending of the song into ambitious classic rock territory and of course duetting on it at the end meant a lot to me because it allowed me to conjure Gram and Emmylou vibes and pay tribute to them, even if the music isn’t cosmic country. The Star Wars reference in the title is because it is funny and also I read a ton of SW Novels last year during the pandemic when I was drying up.
3. God Bless Dorothy Comingore – Learning about what happened to the famous Citizen Kane actress Dorothy Comingore and the sexist way her life was destroyed during the Red Scare really hit me hard. Like, I had an overwhelming feeling like I wanted her to look down from heaven back here and know someone had cared about what she went through.
I am an empath and her troubles were really fucking upsetting. I knew I had to write her a punk song honoring her as an amazing human being who deserves to be remembered for her huge bravery and strength. That kind of inquisition style climate to demean union advocates and people who wanted equal rights while Nationalists play victim is appaling and obviously was front and center again under Trump.
The bridge has some Fishbone influenced Trombone accents and the song benefits a lot from drummer Dave Bodie’s driving performance and his intense ability to hit way harder than most drummers out there.
4. Tears We Should Have Shed – The quite Type O and NIN influenced title track opens with the lines ,”I don’t want to get used to it/the walls closing in.” I think after 2020 a lot of people can relate to that. I didn’t mean it as urging people to be unsafe because of impatience but rather a shared acknowledgement of the anxieties of recent times. A lot of us felt very uncertain or needed to look inward deeply for strength. In my case it also relates to in the middle of the pandemic being hospitalized for a severe undiagnosed diabetic reaction. I wrote the lyrics when I was very weak and sick and alone with my rescue cat and feeling like complete dogshit (I had an A1C over 14 at the time, unbeknownst to me). It was fun crafting the beat with Sean-Paul in the studio because he hadn’t made a song like this before and we combined live drum samples we made with pre programmed elements. I also really loved having Globelamp’s co-vocals on the end because I knew her more “frail” voice would make it absolutely killer, haunting and vibey.
5. Pane Of Remorse – This is a character piece told from the perspective of a killer who feels incredibly cold and isolated inside but is emotionally super damaged and a ‘violence addict’. They feel damned and that they can’t ever re-enter society due to condemnation for their atrocities. It is up to the listener to choose if the narrator is looking back through a window “pane” of their life expressing regret for their impulses or if they are ominously looking through an actual window and know they will cause more pain and remorse to others and themself. We nailed this out in like an hour and I am super stoked how it came out.
6. Restorative Justice League – People keep asking me if the title is a bad play on Restoring The Snyderverse and while I am 100 % all for that as a nerd who loved ZSJL, the title has absolutely nothing to do with that and is older and way more serious. It is a lament for how damaged many people are and the cycles surrounding that. It was however slightly influenced by tv adaptation of The Boys and how some of those “heroes” in the show are actually deeply fucking flawed and completely defensive about it instead of humble – a mirror to real society and power abuse often. This song is about trauma and how we respond to it (including spiritual bypassing or compartmentalization) and the ‘blood in the water’ is interpretive and basically about fear. The lyric also ties into the album cover art, though the art is of Esopus Meadows, vegetated freshwater shallows along the Hudson River. So there are not a lot of sharks, haha.
This song is very Far and Deftones influenced musically and the guys on it really helped me execute the sounds I wanted perfectly. Jack Manley from The Jennifer Shop was a no-brainer to sing with me because his voice is so distinct but also catchy and yet bittersweet sounding. His melodic guitar at the end also kind of reminds me of Mike Mills if he was playing post-hardcore. Also the Smiths ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ reference at the end was because I wanted the lyrics “still looking for a light…” to reflect trying to keep hope even after very painful experiences or something has been badly tarnished (which I am sure a lot of people tired of Moz’s bullshit can relate too, haha).
Oh, Justin Zipperle (Shadow Witch) used to play in an emo band Pontius Pilate Sales Pitch with me and he nailed the sort of At The Drive in rolling beat on this one. Everyone keeps remarking how big the drums sound when they kick in. I hope to do more with Justin again in the future, a great dude.
7. Focus Shifting The Apocalypse – David Brenner (Gridfailure) sent me a handful of potential beats and vibes for his musical contribution for this one and I picked the dirtiest, slowest and dirgiest. Not only did I need room to yell a lot from a longer and slower track, but the ominous and insistent beat reminded me of Godflesh’s S/T era. Sold! There was plenty of slow build noise gloom in his textures and space for me to both scream and add lots of avant garde trombone explosions! I love working with David because he creates these insane sound sculptures as ‘songs’ unlike anyone I have ever worked with.
The author Natasha Lennard has a brilliant book Being Numerous: Essays On Non-Fascist Life which I am reading. She writes about how she naively thought that ,“Faced with the spectacle of Charlottesville, liberal commentators who had written baseless screeds comparing the threat of far-left anti-fascists to that of white nationalism would surely think twice about such a false equivalency.” And how she was sorely let down when the media proved otherwise and enabled “both sides” narratives more and more. The Walking Bombs and Gridfailure song “Now We Know Who You Are” (with BJ Allen, Tad Doyle and others) from our Suicide By Citizenship release more directly deals with Charlottesville than this song, but the Lennard quote still applies.
This song ‘Focus Shifting The Apocalypse’ deals with what I like to call the ‘cult of ignoring the fucking obvious’. Turning everything into mush, distortions and warped context. Spreading lies to undermine the ability to have a consensus reality and thus make it easier to gaslight is a tactic of Putin as well as traditionally white supremacists. It is a huge problem and has completely been mainstreamed. Be it systemic racism to global warming to privilege to foreign policy discussions to meat consumption to all manner of regressive horrors. Whataboutism and disinformation as well as intellectually inferior trolls and essentially frat boys dodging any subject at hand. It is a (cough) deplorable tactic of many a goon online and my most hated form of “debate”. Instead of adressing legitimate critique, these fash apologists and bootlickers go out of their way to talk about “BLM LoOtEd” when the topic at hand is the Jan. 6th white nationalist coup attempt founded in the Big Lie, for example. I’m absolutely disgusted with people who would compare centuries of rage over racism to the fucking QAnon Shaman.
8. I Will Miss You – Gentrification is really fucking up my city of Kingston, NY and there is an ongoing fight for affordable housing. We had a brilliant arts and music community (and still do) but a lot of the people who – to quote Jefferson Starship – “built this city on rock n roll” are getting priced out. Due to vulture gentrification we even just lost one of our best venues for indie rock… BSP Kingston. It was a club which I loved and which also hosted many a show with the likes of small up and coming local and national acts all the way up to Kristin Kontrol and Stereolab, for example. Way before that happened I had taken a photo of graffiti on their back entrance wall that said “I Will Miss You” which struck me as moody and emo looking. I made some art of a phoenix and my birth chart coming out of a scraggly forest of flames over the photoshopped actual writing. Ended up using that as the single art for the song.
It is basically a hardcore song I wrote for me and Sean Paul to get to scratch our Bad Religion itch. My gf Globelamp had been asking me to journal my many weird ass dreams more but a lot of them were sad for me because I often see lots of deceased friends in my dreams. And with my health scare of 2020 I wanted to write a hypothetical “one last song” about the Woodstock, New Paltz and Kingston area music scene I grew up in, the good and the bad times. How it all was special.
9. Time To Go (Fuck Q) – I wanted to end the album with the catchiest song, to leave the listener humming while also singing about incedibly fucked up and regretful things that are destroying us as a collective species. So it is kind of like saying the album is almost over “time to go” and also the planet isn’t going to put up with us as humans much longer if we stay so toxic. This song was obviously very Jawbreaker and pop punk influenced. Sean-Paul and I share a deep love of Jawbreaker.
Lizzie (Globelamp) also used to be in a killer West Coast punk band called Meowtain where she was a very confrontational frontwoman and I wanted to showcase her bratty punk vocals on this tune with me, since more people know her psych folk, dreamy vocals. Another major theme of this song is once again disinformation and how QAnon has destroyed many familes with their anti-Semitic based Protocols of The Elders of Zion repurposed bullshit that was seeded into everything from the New Age community to national discourse.