Don’t give up the ship.

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Reflections, Usual Rubbish

Perry's flag

In remembrance of our mom Iris, who passed away this week, I’m posting the lyrics to this song Matt wrote more than a few years back (one of my favorites) that keeps running through my head (and out of my mouth). It’s called Don’t give up the ship, and here it is:

Well, it grieves me when I see you
in some moldy homemade raft
You’ve no life jacket, there’s no precautions
You’re spinning downstream and you’re laughing

Well, I’m not about to stop you
I’ve not the will and I’ve not the means
Still I stand here like I’m waiting
A world without you I’ve never seen
You say, read it off the flag, boy

Don’t give up the ship
says the flag that flies above the turbulent waves
Don’t give up the ship
Be a fool and hold the course away from the shore

Sailor learns something from each splinter
in those old and creaking boards
Now you’re not apt to change your reasons
You’ll never reinvent the doors
that led you up the gangway

Don’t give up the ship
say the words that are scrawled across the blue piece of cloth
Don’t give up the ship
Be a fool and hold the course away from the shore

Red sky every morning
Sailor takes his tools out
and disconnects the warning lights
Never should have tied the knots so tight

On board the S.S. Something Sacred
you coughed up copy for the commodore
Now you’re too old to keep your orders
Still you’re dredging up the naval lore
and hoist it up the main mast

Don’t give up the ship
says the flag that flies above the turbulent waves
Don’t give up the ship
Be a fool and hold the course away from the shore

Don’t give up the ship
say the words that are scrawled across the blue piece of cloth
Don’t give up the ship
Be a fool and hold the course away from the shore

Shipkeeping.

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Usual Rubbish

That one? Sure, why not? It’s been a few weeks. And I guess you could say that 25 years is a few weeks … because, well … it is.

For whatever reason this week, I am reminded of one of Matt’s songs from yesteryear, a number called “Don’t Give Up The Ship”. It’s probably because the Cheney Hammer Mill is leaking like a sieve, but that’s nothing new. Or maybe it’s because we’ve finished mixing the podcast songs (all eight of them!) and I’m starting to trawl through our old tapes for lack of anything better to do. Just call me Riley. The guy with the life.

As I’ve said here before, we’ve got a million of ’em (songs, that is), but unlike the late Prince, they are not all exquisitely recorded and salted away in a vault. No, friends … they are poorly recorded on 4-track cassette, mostly, and chucked into the cramped, musty vault called my skull. “Don’t Give Up The Ship” is a Quixotic riff centered on Perry’s flag, and it’s always had a lot of resonance with me, frankly. Here’s a sample of the lyric:

Well it grieves me when I see you
On some moldy homemade raft
You’ve no life jacket, there’s not precautions
You’re spinning downstream and you’re laughing

Well I’m not about to stop you
I’ve not the will and I’ve not the means
Still I stand here like I’m waiting
A world without you I’ve never seen
You say, “Read it off the flag …”

Don’t give up the ship, says the flag that
flies above the turbulent waves
Don’t give up the ship, be a fool and
hold the course away from the shore

Ahoy.We’ve got a lot of back pages, and a lot of archival recordings from our various periods. I’m not talking about the Precambrian here – well, not exactly. More like the 1980s, 1990s. Our earliest incarnation of the band that became Big Green was probably 1979, about a year after I took up bass as an instrument. We’ve got studio recordings from 1981, ’82, and ’91 or so. I’ve got live recordings from 1993, mostly (Matt may have some earlier material squirreled away somewhere), most of which are pretty rough.

I also stumbled upon a video that was shot by the friend of a friend. It’s essentially a demo, kind of a videotaped rehearsal. I digitized it this past week and will set about cutting it up and posting some excerpts. It’s a pretty good representation of where we were musically around the time we were playing with the very fine guitarist Jeremy Shaw, who now works his butt off all over the country.

BTW – We dropped an advance mix of one of our podcast songs, “Romney and You Know It“, last week on Soundcloud. Check it out. (Look for the podcast episode this coming week.)