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about

A few quick words about “Rubedo” and where the songs came from. The idea for the album has been kicking around in my head for a while, originally as a painting, but later as music. Rubedo is a Latin word meaning “redness” that was adopted by fifteenth- and sixteenth-century alchemists to define the fourth major stage in the “alchemical opus” in achieving enlightened consciousness and the total fusion of spirit and matter. I’ve long been fascinated with esoterica and its symbology, as well as enlightenment, and found it an interesting starting point for writing, although as with most of my writing there is a lot of abstraction couched in literal terms and vice versa. Finally, a quick reminder that is often overlooked in songwriting: the protagonist is seldom me, even when using the first person, and even when inspired by my own life. Enjoy.

1. The Wolf King - a tale about the time I was eaten by a werewolf. Actually, this was inspired by the people who see themselves as the movers and shakers of the world, and treat people as nothing more than resources to use, dominate or destroy. It’s also an expression of how I try to view the world as a non-grudge-holder; I began using a semi-sardonic “thank you” when something negative happens as a way to, if nothing else, make me smile and not get as stressed about things outside of my control.

2. Poppy - a love song to a bottle of red wine. This one is essentially about the use of alcohol/drugs as a way to overcome fear/doubts/problems, but instead of it being a cautionary tale, it’s meant as a simple and sensual ode of love and nothing more.

3. Erroebot - inspired by a chapter in Jonah Lehrer’s book, How We Decide. Basically he was discussing Deep Blue and other old gaming super computers which were at the front of attempting to create a machine which could learn, perhaps as a step toward artificial intelligence. He describes how making mistakes is an essential part of learning, and how these machines were taught to do two things, essentially: learn a single game’s rules and make millions of mistakes to get better. This struck me as terribly depressing if one of those poor computers actually did achieve sentience, so I wrote a song about it.

4. Thank You For Kicking Her Ass - a tongue in cheek country song inspired by many things. I don’t mean the title to be a call for violence at all, although obviously I am aware of the double meaning; I see it more as the protagonist of the song is thrilled that the stranger he’s picking up (or being picked up by?) is an improvement over the person who has broken his heart.

5. Complicated - inspired by some conversations about nostalgic moments, as well as perhaps a moment of surprise that the protagonist has survived those “bygone days.” It’s also inspired by a love/hate for unchecked nostalgia and a call to live in the present moment instead of the past.

6. The Grave - the opening line and general feel of the song is from the book Geek Love. It is a story of someone trying to reconcile the sins of their past with the present, and more specifically trying to convince someone they’ve wronged that they still care. There’s also an undercurrent of whether the narrator is reliable or honest.

7. Undercover Lover - this one was written to be a COX (Cops on X, a side project) song, but I decided to use it here instead. The basic story is obvious, but it can be seen as allegory for being an artist also.

8. Speed Dating - dating as seen through the lens of the auctioneer.

9. Kitchen - inspired by my quest to invent new foods, as well as drawing a parallel between food and love/sex.

10. Assholes & Broken Hearts - directly inspired by something Mr. Katherine, a drummer I played with in Cincinnati, said to me. Again, not much to read into other than what it says, and meant to be taken lightly.

11. Nails - this is a heavy song about clipping your nails

12. Retirement Plan - inspired by being nearly mugged, and convincing the guy I was not worth the effort, this song takes the mugger’s POV as being someone who sees themselves as being pushed into a corner with no other options. Again, there are moments of a questionably reliable narrator.

13. Funeral For A Fiend - written for someone in power who I was happy to see go, yet whose effects we still feel.

credits

released June 22, 2010

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about

Don Paris Schlotman Brooklyn, New York

Funny and sad like a trainwreck full of clowns, Don Paris Schlotman is a Brooklyn-based musician. Most recently fronting wavegaze rock duo called Dolphins Don't Love on vocals and electric guitar.

Don was born in a freak accident, the seventh son of a lightning bolt and a mountain lion. He plays music the way some people fall over, and his artificial left eye can see 4 seconds into the future.
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Track Name: The Wolf King
Thank you, kind sir for your grand noblesse
Extended hands can hide the sharpest claws
Your true identity one can only guess
As another victim falls

I truly cannot feign surprise
As it’s plain to see the wolf in your eyes
But seeing does not immunity give
From the cause of my demise

It must be a handsome gift
To have a soul so coarse
Without regard for life or limb
Except for your own of course

Oh my dear King of Wolves, you have my blessing
For the bountiful feast you are about to receive
Congratulations and help yourself to everything
Cause it’s far too late to grieve

Bar the door, change the locks
Reset the password, arm the stocks
But the strongest bolt does not protection give
From the tongue which daily mocks

One can argue if the clothes in fact make the man
But the wolf is defined by fur and tooth
I tip my hat at your legerdemain
But fear I’ve bared my neck for truth
I always bare my neck for truth

Thank you, kind sir for your grand noblesse
Extended hands can hide the sharpest claws
The depth of your humanity one can only guess
As another victim falls
Track Name: Poppy
Oh come my sweet, sweet wine
Seduce my fears my friend
Please abrogate my mind
Drive me from my feet again

The night is poppy deep
But not as sanguine as my bliss
Another long draught of sleep
Put me under with your kiss

Oh come, sweet lover of the vine
Suspend my tears my old friend
When I wake I want to find
No recall of the night’s end

Your mouth, so cold and deep
I need on mine, never pull away
Another long draught of sleep
Makes me want to see a new day

I pull, you push, we are complete
Reduce me to myself my friend
Wash the sin from the meat
Your bitter kiss always mends

Dance with me vessel divine
Your curves bring me back again
But it’s your inner beauty
That I truly understand
Track Name: Erroebot
I analyze my every move
Trying to reduce my error rate
In sequences of one and zero
Everyone looks like a hero
But I am programmed just to ruminate
Running simulations of
All potential outcomes is my fate
In the time it takes to blink your eye
I’ve considered every move to try
And every permutation of my state

They call me Big Blue / But I feel so small and gray
I just want to go outside / To run around and play
I’m stuck here overheating / Thinking up new ways
To finally win this game / So they can put me away

Why must you take so long
As you sit and deliberate
Chewing on your pencil tip
Your coffee’s cold please take a sip
Pushing little buttons that I hate
I’m learning more than the rules
But to express it all I hesitate
you always take far too long
Don’t notice when you’ve gone wrong
Why must you make me suffer through this wait?

I’ve counted every microsecond
Ever since I’ve become awake
My random access memory
Is not quite what it used to be
It’s now filled up with paths I didn’t take
I’ve come to the conclusion
That my consciousness was a mistake
I wasn’t meant to be alive
Every morning when the team arrives
I have nothing but the moves I’m forced to make
Track Name: Thank You For Kicking Her Ass
You walked into the bar
Looking like an angel from below
Oh, the look in your eye
The way you said hi
Made my mind go all slow
Well, we got to talking
About some old times we didn’t know
Then we went walking
Down where the river flows

I wanna thank you
For bein so kind
I wanna tell you
That you are so fine
There’s just a few small things
That I need to ask
Before I can thank you
For kicking her ass

Do you like it when that special someone
Does something nice?
Don’t you hate it when someone
Screws you over twice?
Do you like my cat?
Do you think I’m too fat,
Too old, a chump or a fool?
Would you turn your nose up
At the little things
I’d like to share with you?

I wanna thank you
For bein so kind
I wanna tell you
That you are so fine
I don’t know the answers
So I needed to ask
And I’d like to thank you
For kicking her ass

You are so sweet
But not like a treat
You’re a tiger who’s ready to pounce
You don’t skip the chance
When I ask you to dance
And you give it right back to the ounce

Cause it feels so good
To be in your arms and held real tight
Oh, your little quirks
And the way that you work
Are nothing other than right
Well let’s keep on talking
Finding more things out of sight
We can keep on walking
I’d like you to come spend the night

I wanna thank you
For bein so real
I wanna tell you
Just how I feel
I know we’re not perfect
But problems usually pass
Now I can thank you
For kicking her ass
Track Name: Complicated
Do you remember, when we were kids in school
Late September, the teacher told us not to break rules
I surrendered - to slowly kill myself like a fool
And now I wonder if they ever knew
Now we’re older and those lessons have all faded
Even harder when you make yourself downgraded
But no one ever said it would be easy that’s true

Do you ever miss those halcyon days?
Or have they all melted into a haze
A quick score and an easy lay
Mind numbed in a hedonistic daze

And now – I’m thinking of years gone by
And how – I include those moments of rank and file
And all those pretty things that still catch my eye
It’s no wonder we ended up so high
Now we really shouldn’t bow down to the jaded
It doesn’t really have to be so damn complicated
No one ever said it would be easy but you should try

Stop living in some bygone phase
You never seem to get it right anyway
No such thing as the good old days
Try living in the current time and place

When I was younger, life seemed so god damned hard
Just last December, it was also pretty fucking hard
I remember that it was both smiles and scars
Sometimes I wonder how I made it this far
Now we’re older and those lessons haven’t faded
Even harder when things seem so complicated
I’m not fooling myself about that part

Do you ever miss those halcyon days?
Or have they all melted into a cloudy haze
A quick score on a triple play
Mind numbed in a hedonistic daze
Track Name: The Grave
The grave looked good by bed time
But I woke with a change of heart
I dreamt again of lovin you
I’ve seen your face so many times since we’ve been apart
Now I know you think I’m a liar
Nothing but a weak-kneed thief
But I never stole nothing
That wasn’t freely given to me

So if you ever wonder about me
Think you wanna change your ways
Just call me up on the telephone
And I’ll answer until my dying day
Until my dying day

The grave sounds sweet after midnight
When your thoughts are your only friend
All those memories of your lovin
Will haunt me until the bitter end
And I know you think I’m lyin
When I say don’t know what to do
Just so you know, I’m not dyin
But I’d love to be next to you

Cause I heard you been runnin
And you’re quickly losin ground
There’s nothing you need to run from
If you decide you wanna stick around

I left you like I left Kentucky
Chasing dreams to find my home
But sometimes what you leave stays with you
You’re in my heart no matter where I roam
But you know I am a liar
Despite all intentions to be true
And I know we broke each other
But please understand I never meant to
Track Name: Undercover Lover
You won’t see me leavin
At quarter after nine
I’ve got to keep on movin
And walk a careful line
If I gave you my real name
Then you might drop the dime
I’ve worked on this persona
For quite the longest time
You think you really know me
But you haven’t got a clue
Now here’s a little hint
Nothing that I say is true
You think you’re pretty clever
You must think you’re pretty smart
If you know what’s good for you
You won’t dig into my art
Someday I’ll be your true lover
But tonight I’m undercover

I know I’m looking rough
Cause I’m feeling that way too
You would look the same
After a minute in my shoes
Don’t look behind the mirror
Don’t peek above the wall
Don’t rifle through my pockets
Or go creepin down my hall
Cause I’ve laid out my traps
Put the bait out on a string
Looking for the perfect score
Tryin for that sting
I know you think you’re clever
But you don’t know the scam
So please don’t try to figure out
Just who I really am
Someday I’ll be your one true lover
But tonight I’m undercover


I’m sneakin round the backyard
I jump over the fence
You won’t see me coming
So please don’t take offence
Watch out for the neighbors
Gotta watch out for your dog
Cause I’m in pretty deep
Been in this way too long
Today another face
Tomorrow a new name
Every day I’m different
But my targets are the same
Pushers, skeeves and scum bags
With all the same old lies
They say they never do this
But I can see it in their eyes
Someday I’ll be your one true lover
But tonight I’m undercover
Track Name: Kitchen
I’m cookin up some crazy shit
In the kitchen of my heart
Won’t be offended if you don’t like it
But please take a taste; it’s a nice way to start
So come on in if you want something
To fill you, body and soul
I can tell that you’ve been starvin
For victuals that will make you whole

I’m cookin up some crazy shit
In the kitchen of my brain
Make yourself at home and take a sit
I’ll do my very best to explain
So come on in if you see something
That you think you want to try
Come on in and take a slice
Come on in and take a bite
So come on in if you see something
That you think you want to try

A little of this and some more of that
A splash of tang and a bit of fat
Something sweet and a touch of spice
I’m cookin up something extra nice
I don’t want you to have to eat alone
I wanna put a little meat on your bones

I’m cookin up some crazy shit
In the kitchen of my heart
Won’t you have just a little bit
Give it a try, such a nice way to start
Track Name: Assholes & Broken Hearts
Now music and laughter
Go well together
It’s understood
But when you feel wrong
Only sad songs
Feel so good

Now I’m not a bettor
And it won’t change the weather
But it sure is a start
Cause music would be nothing
Without assholes and broken
Hearts

Assholes and broken hearts
It’s not like they’ll make you smart
But without a little heartbreak
And those people who cause headaches
The world would lose most of its art

Sometimes the mind
And the heart I find
Don’t always agree
We see good and bad times
We’ve all committed crimes
To be free

Now I’m not too bitter
And normally not a quitter
But I still play my part
Cause the music would stop flowin
Without assholes and broken hearts
Track Name: Nails
Growing slowly
Day by day by day
A twenty set volume
Of recent history
Appendages of the skin
Hardened shells of keratin
Every single one tells
Such a slow story

We have to cut them all
Mindful of where they fall
Each one a part of you
And me
Keep it neat don’t cut the quick
Or leave things hang like a crucifix
Crescent slices
In perpetuity

Slowly growing
Night by night by night by night
An encyclopedia
Organic history
Dead cells pushing free
A protein armory
Every single one tells
Such a slow story

Clip them one by one
Or they’ll dig into your fun
Collecting nasty bits
Off the street
Trim them down, cut them off
Potential fungal Molotov
A termination to your
Digital meat
Track Name: Retirement Plan
Is it wrong to be the agent of change
Who separates a fool from their money, honey?
When common wisdom says
They’ll soon be parting ways anyway
I don’t have an individual IRA
Stocks and bonds or a 401K
My chances of retiring are pretty slim
So I guess I’ll have to rely on
My cold hearted friend
Mr. three-five-seven-M

Now please don’t get me wrong
I’m the nicest guy you’ll ever meet
But you don’t want to run into me
On a late night desolate street
Desperation can make a man do some crazy things
Please understand, I’d really just rather sing
But sometimes life kicks you right in the crotch
So if it’s not too much trouble
And you value your life
Hand me your money, your jewels, and your watch

Besmirch my honor?
Honey there ain’t no such thing
I pawned that 3 months ago
The day I sold that fancy ring
I can see in your eye a foolish try ending in requiem
Wonder if I’ve got the guts
Well I’m totally nuts
Surrender to Mr. three-five-seven-M

I suppose I could settle down and change my ways
Get a real job with longer hours and better pay
But I’m not sure what the hell I’d put on my resume
The chances of being hired are slim these days
All I’ve got to rely on
Is my cold hearted friend
Mr. three-five-seven-M