The name Earth Dyed Red is a reference to the worldwide effect of Jesus’ death and His spread shed blood.
THE UNDER 500 ALBUM – so named because at one point all my equipment cost…under $500.
1. 141 SECONDS () Recorded September 2001. Acoustic guitar, keyboard, vocals.
This is, quite frankly, an odd song. I don’t plan on getting this odd again. The drums are an effect off the guitar.
“Stop vandalizing,” said the graffiti on the wall…
2. ATTITUDE () Re-recorded February 2003. Electric and acoustic guitar, keyboard, synth-bass, vocals, backing vocals, drum loops.
Didn’t record as well as I had intentioned. It’s a shame, really, because it’s a good song. Lots of punkish energy but some techno shades surrounding it. That low-volume “ooh” noise in the second chorus is me going “ooh” into the microphone. How appropriate! By the way, that keyboard hook is one of my oldest ideas to have gone into a song.
How will I shock the world today? If not through deeds, then it lies in what I say
I tossed the recipe for success so I could make my views expressed
Perhaps this wasn’t best
My attitude has been all for me and then some (2x)
My attitude has been annoying to all men
My attitude has been all for me, all for me
The ground I stand on hasn’t given way yet
And the more that I stand on this ground, the less that I regret
I tossed the recipe for success so I could make my views expressed
I guess I don’t like rest
3. WEEK OF GRATITUDE () Lyrics by Emily Paras. Re-re-recorded July 2003. Acoustic guitar, synth-bass, vocals, backing vocals, drum loops.
Written about the camp both Emily and I went to. I put together a lot of my cool chord progressions of the time and made this music. Fairly good, all things considered.
Through wide sparkling eyes, I see your smiling face
The summer has begun, with your warm embrace
You teach me how to grow, encourage me to be
The person I am deep within, beneath my city skin
You guide me through these golden days, showing me the way
Appreciating all you do, I wanna take this time to thank you
It’s the feeling we get here from the start
It’s the way this place can touch our heart
It’s the secret we hold deep within, waiting for the memories to begin
It’s the smiles on everybody’s face – there is magic about this place
With open arms I look to you to remind me what is special and what is true
You inspire me to be what I once was, young and free
Walking together hand in hand, I look down to understand
How the days pass us by – we lose track and wonder why
Cherishing all you do, I wanna take this time to thank you
It’s not the image you would see, nor the song that you would hear
It’s an image seen through closed eyes, songs heard through shut ears
Continuing through the years, following dreams, facing fears
In this beauty we are reminded the simple things we take for granted
The majesty of a starlit sky, the way time flies and passes by
Holding on to what you do, we wanna take this time to thank you
4. IN MY COURT () Re-recorded May 2003. Acoustic and electric guitar, synth-bass, vocals, drum loops.
Some of my best lyrics, and you gotta like folkie-Europop. Some fans rank this their favorite song. And it was fun to put that red herring opening with the “all-the-knobs-up-on-the-amp” electric guitar in there.
I have a job that can get old sometimes
Judging if so-and-so has done the alleged crimes
Justice never figures in to my decisions
I’m in for life up here – you’re in for life in prison
Just look at you, you’re guilty – evidence takes too long
It’s only you who will know if I’m wrong
No matter what the alibi and what is offered in support
You’re all in contempt when you come to my court
Paint a picture, frame him, hang him – matters not at all
I’ve been here 9 to 5 – I’ve answered justice’s call
This job is too hard, but it pays a ton
I just flipped a coin to see who won
Have you ever wondered why my opinions make no sense?
It’s because I don’t try to sort them out
Sure, they’re illogical and have no precedence
But my nonsense has all the clout
5. D- (UNDER 500) () Recorded Februry 2002. Accordion part written and performed by Ben Spees. Electric guitar, keyboard-bass, vocals, drum loops.
When the blues hits accordion head-on. Ben did an AWESOME job on that instrument. Another fan favorite. For that electric guitar lead toward the end, I used an E-bow for sustain and then hit the string as much as possible with a CD. Rock on. And I really can’t sing blues. Oh yes, and D- would be Roman numeral for Under 500. Joke there for ya.
I’m looking around for a group that has an opening
I’m killer on the kazoo and the glockenspiel, but no one wants that, so I’ll sit here mope-ning
Life can throw you curves, but watch for that nasty splitter
I auditioned and failed – a grade of D- will make you bitter
Well look here’s the deal – your set of skills is not in demand
I’m sure you could find a job somewhere – just maybe not with our band
Can I be a pro – do I have the strength to record stuff by myself?
Does this here kazoo provide the way to financial security and wealth?
6. McCLELLAN’S MEMOIRS () Recorded May 2003. Synthesizer, synth-bass, vocals, drum loops.
One of my favorites. Written about the delaying Civil War general – what would he be like in other endeavors? Please note that the rhyme scheme is also rigidly fixed, with first verse lines rhyming with second verse, and so forth. I’m proud of it. And the entire song for that matter.
Well, I’ve been famous and lived quite a bit
And I wanna test my literary wit
So I’ll write a book spanning birth up to now
But not quite today, for tomorrow is fine
Well now it’s tomorrow, there’s the paper and pen
But do I wanna think about my life again?
Like my army troubles – the whats, whens and hows
Tomorrow’s the day inspiration is mine
They’ve called me so cautious – I just can’t see why
This grand venture is one that will defy
My book is coming quickly, so quickly in fact
That I’m waiting no longer – tomorrow I start
See, I am McClellan, and this is my pen
I’m going to write down my stories again
But oh! It’s 11, and a picnic is packed
Tomorrow is when I’ll pour out my heart
Did you hear about the general? He died yesterday
He was planning to write his life story today
But as always, he waited and waited again
And now his personal life will never flow out of his pen
7. AUDATIM () Recorded November 2001. Electric and acoustic guitars, keyboard-bass, vocals, drum loops, speech programming
Yes, that’s a robot voice at the beginning. And yes, audatim is a made-up word; I figured it would be the sound version of verbatim. I’ve had a special place in my heart for this song.
The radio billed this next batch of songs as new
But hey! This one sounds familiar – so does this one too
When you use the same progression, you regress
It’s easy to play more and try less
13 notes to use, 14 if you’re off-key
Quality evaporated as you boiled them down to 3
Audatim, sound-for-sound – congratulations you copied it down (2x)
Big whoop-tee-doo – everyone already sounds just like you
Think before you write, oh Musician Not-So-Bright
Have you seen someone to correct your lack of musical sight?
Why is this music so bland? Oh! It’s the generic brand
I’m too busy being original to give you a hand
13 notes to use, 14 if you’re off-key
When you boiled it down is when you alienated me
If a stricter person like me ran the copyright office, then you would have infringed so many copyrights you couldn’t handle all the lawsuits. But don’t say I didn’t warn you. In time your fans will come running to my batch of truly original and exciting songs. The way to avoid this gruesome fate is to…well, you’re the competition, so I won’t tell you!
8-10. WE NEED HIM ()/ (0:55)/AND HIM ALONE () Recorded July 2003. Lyrics to 8 by David Grim. Electric and acoustic guitars, synth-bass, vocals, drum loops. 9 is only drum loops.
Originally not a trilogy, I wrote “And Him Alone” quite some time after David Grim wrote the excellent “We Need Him”. “8 to 5” serves to change time signatures. I’m really proud of “And Him Alone”. Great words, and I love the instrumental with the first appearance of my guitar effects pedal.
Why do we sacrifice? Why do we give our lives for something we cannot see?
Why do we give our all? Why do we feel so small? Why do we say, “let it be?”
‘Coz we need Him to save our souls and we need Him to reach the goal
And we need Him to be with us when we need Him
Why must we always fight? Why must our lives shine bright?
Why must we stand like a tree?
Why is the world so strong? Why do they say we’re wrong?
How can we still let it be?
We never know which way to go, yet our hearts are still aglow
Why did You send the One? Why did You send Your Son
To live His life just like me?
Why did He give His life and suffer such pain and strife?
Why did He say, “let it be?”
How would you respond if I told you I was seeking a new path?
Would you have me count the cost with fudged numbers and fuzzy math?
Tell me the exact amount of writings that are inspired
How high would your figures run? 2, 3, 10 or may be higher?
Well one of them claims it’s the only one
So does that mean the others are written just for fun?
I’m so glad to see you found the missing piece so we’re not all lost
There just wasn’t enough power emanating from the cross
Please explain how he is the beginning and the ending
If his words weren’t good before your mending
God says He’s the Only One
Do we put words in His mouth just for fun?
Do you truly think you need Him, or can you dwell in something else?
Can you achieve freedom by getting chains to bind yourself?
Why do you think this way? Are you feeling OK? Do you know what it’s about?
Will add-ons save your soul? Is salvation their role?
Do you need just Him to be?
We need Him to save our souls and we need Him to reach the goal
Are His words 100% whole?
11. THE TRAGEDY OF THADDEUS (THE FRAY) () Recorded July 2003. Electric guitar, vocals. I wrote this poem in 8th grade and then put the music to it. Kinda weird, but you do get to hear me sing opera!
It was a muggy day in April (or was it May?)
That one small boy named Thaddeus had touched the fray.
Thaddeus thought that he was big and independent;
So when the AC broke, he tried hard to mend it.
First off he checked the wiring, as Dad had done before
He found the problem – the wires stopped at the floor
“Well,” said Thaddeus after he had seen the main fault.
“I know what to do – I will call my Uncle Walt.”
Now Uncle Walt was an expert on such things as this.
He solved problems; his solutions near never missed.
Thaddeus called Walt, but he only got his voice mail.
“I’ll fix it by myself!” he said. “I couldn’t fail!”
His dad had told him not to touch an active wire.
But Thaddeus said, “I’ll be fine! It’s not fire!”
What Thaddeus didn’t notice was the short-circuit
In the new wires he thought would maybe work it.
He plugged in the new wires and turned on the power.
Thad touched the fray and was char-broiled in half an hour.
Thaddeus burned up completely from the big fire.
He should have listened to his dad – “Don’t touch wire!”
12. ATTITUDE (FROZEN MIX) () Recorded October 2001. Acoustic guitar, keyboard bass, keyboard, vocals.
The chill-out (hence “frozen”) version of “Attitude”. Listen to the opening acoustic guitar chords and you will notice they’re a slowed-down version of the power chords. Plus I copied the flanger vocals concept from “141 Seconds,” as well as the keyboard part, which in “141 Seconds” was an effect, and in this song is actually played notes. I’m proud of that.
LYRICS: See chorus of “Attitude.”
YEARS LATER…I don’t listen to this album a whole lot, though it definitely had its moments. I must say, though, that there are certain traits in my admittedly youthful outlook (this album was finished when I was 17, and the songs written at 15/16) that I admire and want to keep in my songwriting: my whimsical lyrical perspective, and my mad genre-crossing (I think that’s going to show up a lot on album 5, more so than any album since this one). My writing’s a lot more refined than it was at this stage, but it’s still fun to pull it out every now and again and remember how my really young self was. “D- (Under 500” and “McClellan’s Memoirs” seem to have done the best over time, the latter being surprising as it was not intended by any means to be the highlights of the album (just for the “record,” I suppose the highlights are to be 2-3, 5, and 7), but it’s one of my very rare concise songs with a generally normal structure. Anyway…this is my least favorite EDR album, but it’s still fun.