No Show Ponies to Go On Hiatus

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It is with equal parts sadness and joy that I announce that my band, No Show Ponies, of which I have been a member of for probably close to 15 years, is going on hiatus while my brother, and partner in the band, attends law school in Pennsylvania.  I am sad that my best friend and band mate is moving away, but I am happy that he is pursuing something that he has a passion for.  I will be starting a new musical project, but I will talk about that at a later date.  For the time being I would like to talk about how much working with my brother has meant to me.

My brother, Ben Brown, is one of the most talented musicians that I have ever come across.  I’m talking about a guy that could learn a Beach Boys song with 15 chords in it in five minutes by ear.  I’m talking about someone that I have almost never heard sing off key in the 15 years I have worked with him. (And I personally know something about singing off key!)  This is someone that has cultivated an original voice AND an original guitar style.  These are not easy things to do.  He wrote great songs and always made my songs better by adding little twists and turns that were extremely musical.  If I got stuck on a bridge or a chorus, I would ask him what to do, and he would always come up with something inventive and catchy.

When we decided to become a three piece Ben moved to electric guitar.  He had very little experience on this instrument as he had primarily played acoustic guitar.  If necessity is the mother of invention, he soon developed a style that I have not heard anywhere else in Austin.  He could jump from the fast picking jangle guitar of someone like Johnny Marr to post punk art noise solos in the drop of a hat.  Listen to the way he works the fretboard on our song I Love You All the Same.  There is only one guitar going on there, but it seems like two.  On my song You’re Never As Good As You Think You Are, he manages to put both extremes of his playing in one song.  While most guitar players rely on stock blues and pentatonic licks, he just ignored those and went his own way.

You can hear examples of my brothers guitar playing, songwriting, and singing at www.noshowponies.bandcamp.com.  He plays all of the guitars on that record and is the one with the baritone voice.

Throughout the years we got to do some pretty neat things together.  We opened for some of our favorite bands in The Gourds and Marah.  We opened for Hillary Clinton at one of her political rallies, and one of our songs was chosen by her for a campaign commercial.  Jon Dee Graham and members of the Gourds played on one of our records.  We got a day dedicated to us by the Austin City Council and Mayor.  Numerous nights of fun are too many to mention.

For those of you that don’t know what it is like to sing and play with your brother, it is simply magical.  We could work without language.  We had the same rhythmic timing and could harmonize with very little effort.  Something happens when you play music with family that goes outside the normal realm of reason and explanation.

More than being just a great musician who I have had the honor to work with, Ben is my best friend.  It’s not anyone that you could be in a band with for 15 years.  Through low times and high times he had my back and I had his.

I have lived with Ben for all but three years of my life and in the same city for all but two.  Words can’t express how much I will miss him as my musical partner and as my roommate.  I will carry on, but just because that is what one must do in life.  We have had many ridiculous adventures along the way.  I wish him the absolute best as he moves on to this next chapter in his life.  I know at some point we will play together again.  This is but a momentary lapse in the proceedings.  I am not losing a friend or a brother, but just a band mate for the time being.  I know this, yet I still feel that these are titanic days for myself.  In closing I want to leave with a few selected lyrics from Morrissey’s song Forgive Someone.  Most of you might not understand why I am leaving it with this song, but it will bring a smile to Ben, and that is all that matters to me:

Use a weapon of words
Or a fight with your fists
But can you forgive someone?
Stand your ground and persist
And be the last one to blink
But can you forgive someone?

And if you do I’ll run to you
Betray you with a word
I would slit my own throat first of all
I will

Our truth will die with me
Our truth will die with me
Our truth will die with me

Shinyribs and No Show Ponies Dates

I’ll be appearing tomorrow night in Austin at the Saxon Pub with No Show Ponies.  Our set begins at 10pm sharp.  

http://thesaxonpub.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/July-20142.pdf

http://www.noshowponies.com

Hear our new album at http://www.noshowponies.bandcamp.com

Unfortunately, tonight’s Blues on the Green show with Shinyribs has been rescheduled for 8/13.  This show also will take place in Austin, Texas.  

http://www.shinyribs.org

 

 

Something is Missing Lyrics

The party is over
And only the losers remain
They think they’re invited
As they wait like fools in the rain

But it’s not raining
It’s just the rich pissing

Something is missing

The world we grew up in
It is forever gone
There’s nothing to do now
But make it up as we go along

Send out a signal
And hope someone’s listening

Something is missing

One day I will die
And all beautiful women will cry
Well I can dream can’t I?!!!
At least I didn’t spend my whole life
Obsessing over money

Something is missing

This is another set of lyrics to a song I demoed recently.  One of the reasons that our economic system has been allowed to go on for so long without any real challenge is that most people think that they can one day work their way up into the top economic tier.  However, the odds are stacked against most of us.  Social mobility isn’t very easy, and it is getting harder every day.

In Time Lyrics

What are the things that you can’t lose?
Is it that mansion on the hill or that flashy car that’s new?
Is it that money you’ve been saving or the gold watch keeping time?
Is it that big TV that lets you escape into the night?
Well none of those things mean a damn to me all right
I could lose everything if I could just reach my baby in time 

I’ve been working like a dog and drinking like a fool
I’ve been killing off the hours with whatever gets me through
I’m scared of what I’m becoming, scared of what I’ll do
They say a man must have some place to go
Or else he’ll just go someplace new
I might not be a hero but hey that’s just fine
But I could be a good man if I could reach my baby in time 

Tonight I can’t see the stars
Tonight I can’t see the moon
Dreaming of our future
Is the only light getting me through

I don’t need a crowd of strangers telling me I’m great
I don’t need to be worshiped, leave that to the saints
I don’t need to be famous, there’s no nobility in fame alone
You can’t take that stuff with you into the great unknown
I just want to be loved and I want to be kind
And I could be both if I could just reach my baby in time

Lyrics to a song I demoed recently at home.  Trying to keep my focus on what’s important in life.  And yes, sometimes I post lyrics to make up for the fact that I don’t have a good blog idea!  

Melody Lyrics

Well now I’m mostly sober
And I only argue in my mind with the Lord
He says I’m not worthy of heaven
I say I know, but I’m just bored
Of the absurdity of daily life
And of the nights I sleep alone
I don’t mean to take His name in vain
But I’m not sure that He’s home

 I’m not sure He’s home

Sometimes I feel the Spirit
But it’s never where He should be
The only time I feel He’s with us
Is when I hear a sweet melody

I’ve read every book I got my hands on
I’ve traveled anytime I could
I’ve turned to so called men of wisdom
I’ve went alone into the woods
I’ve defiled myself with drink and drugs
I’ve broken every vow I said
I’ve crossed mountains, I’ve crossed valleys
I’ve spent silent weeks in bed

Oh God, alone in bed!

Sometimes I feel the Spirit
But it’s never where He should be
The only time I feel He’s with us
Is when I hear a sweet melody

Look what we’ve done to this country
It’s just a giant shopping mall
God if you’re listening
I’m sure you must be appalled
I’m begging you to keep your promise
And come back to from where you’ve gone
Though they always lift my spirits
Sometimes I need more than just songs 

Sometimes I need more than songs

Sometimes I feel the Spirit
But it’s never where He should be
The only time I feel He’s with us
Is when I hear a sweet melody

These are lyrics to a song I demoed.  I still feel the second verse could use some work, but I’m getting there.

The Grownups and Mad Men

The grownups they don’t know any more
Than you do
They still ache in their hearts
They’re just a little better at hiding the truth

Make me young
Make me young
Make me young again
There’s so much I don’t understand

They say a life viewed from the inside
Is just a series of defeats
And while that is partially true
Sometimes you find a love that’s sweet

Make me young
Make me young
Make me young again
There’s so much I don’t understand

We remain a mystery
Even to ourselves
Waiting on that one
That reflects us well

Make me young
Make me young
Make me young again
There’s so much I don’t understand

These are the lyrics to a song called The Grownups that I wrote.  It’s written from the perspective of a grownup talking to a child, letting them know that they still don’t have anything figured out.

I wrote this after I watched a really profound episode of Mad Men one time which also shares the title.  It takes place during the Kennedy assassination.  The characters are at a wedding when the news breaks.  Throughout the episode you realize that the younger characters are not as damaged as the older ones.  I also stole from one of my favorite George Orwell lines.

Mad Men is probably my favorite show on TV now because its story-lines play the long game.  It is almost like a novel in its approach.  It creates such a deep sense of character that by the time you get late into a season you can tell what is going on just by the way the characters look at each other.  This sort of long form narrative also leads to bigger emotional payoffs.  When Don Draper listened to The Beatles Tomorrow Never Knows, for a brief moment I realized how shocking that music was at that time.  That is because it was shocking to the character of Don Draper, who is so well written.

The show is also excellent at capturing the existential despair that we all feel in our lives at times.  The anxiety that we face as the world changes around us seems very realistic to me in the way that it is portrayed in the show.  Most people marvel at the way the lives of the characters, the show takes place in the 60’s, are so different from our own.  I do to, but like most great art, it also is about us now.  Whatever time period we are in, we are still human.

That’s not to say that Mad Men is not also greatly entertaining and filled with moments of humor.  Anyone that has seen the show knows about the office party riding mower scene.  I don’t want to spoil anything, but let’s just say that booze and riding mowers don’t go well together in an office.

If you haven’t seen the show, or have and haven’t enjoyed it, try starting it from the beginning.  This is a show where the journey from point A to point B is more important than any one episode.

Benefit and Birthday Party Tonight

I try to limit the amount of posts that I have on here promoting stuff.  Although in this day and age one must promote ones work however they can, I also want this site to have value to readers in and of itself.  Otherwise there is no reason to come here!

However, my band No Show Ponies is playing a very special event tonight in Austin.  We are playing a birthday event at Roadhouse Rags for a friend that has also has been diagnosed with cancer.  The show is free and you can BYOB, but they will be taking donations if you are willing and able.  There will also be potluck food.

This will also be the last show at Roadhouse Rags.  It is another old school Austin venue that is going away.  It is one of the first places I played when I first moved to Austin about 9 years ago.

So if you are in Austin and want to have a celebratory night of fun, we will be out there…