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about

Few artists can make a masterpiece for their first album.

Well, Scott Erickson was no different. His second and third albums weren't that great either.

So, after he'd improved a bit as a musician, he decided to go back and re-record some of the songs from his first few albums, and invited his friends to come along for the ride. This album is the result.

credits

released April 10, 2012

All songs written by Scott Erickson except for a few quotes in Pieces of the Known ("La. La. La. I am following my fish" is from "The Kindly Ones" by Neil Gaiman, and "There's no such thing as a weird human being, it's just that some ... require more understanding..." is from "Another Roadside Attraction" by Tom Robbins). The chorus of Catastrophic was adapted from some improv by Justen Ray on Coral Island, Thailand prior to going snorkeling. The phrase "There will always be pheasants" was invented by Morgan Carnes.

Musician credits listed by individual song

Produced by Aaron James Gates and Scott Erickson
Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Aaron and Scott in the living room of Care-a-lot (Olympia, WA), the Evergreen State College (Olympia, WA), Nora Zeller's house (Santa Cruz, CA), and Tuesday's living room (Vermillion, SD).

Cover illustration by Scott Erickson

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about

Scott Steven Erickson Olympia, Washington

A skeptical iconoclast who tries to shake up regressive paradigms with his weird and wacky songwriting.

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Track Name: Space Distresses Me
I have this new hobby of sending out postcards
old postcards from junkshops to faraway friends
“Old Soddy From Yesteryear,” corny jokes, cans of beer,
and of course places I’ve never been

‘Cause space distresses me
Money distresses me
And normally it wouldn’t,
and I know well it shouldn’t,
but it keeps me apart from the people I love

I could blame it on George Bush, or our lame economy
I could bitch and complain as I so often do
But instead, I’ll just deal, and send out these postcards,
and hope that, in time, this small world will come true

Now here I am at the end of a new year,
the end of a new dream, for all I’ve prepared
I don’t know if it’s loveless, or if I’ll even survive it
I know close to nothing, still I am not scared

Well I’m happy wherever I am,
with every new setting content
And though happy I can be
without my beloved Cast C
I do dearly miss them, and I hope it comes soon -
that time when I’ll see them again
Track Name: Want The Rainbow
I don’t know why my conscience [is] dry from dancing with myself
near random people pairing off and grinding at the groin
You’d think the Gender Bend would be my opportune exception
Instead, I’m dancing with girlfriends for lack of confidence

I get within the spheres of spontaneous unison,
but shy away for fear of reactions to my persona
I wish I’d get the guts to just go up and start a session
of movements that can constitute a road to my romance

So I thought I’d started to regain my faith in concepts of love,
but then you took the sofa, kicked me out for the next week
You served me up some ignorance made of virginal longings,
but couldn’t take the burden of our intimate embrace

So now I’m having aneurisms for my favorite songs
I’m seizuring with feather boas as I scream along
I try my best to find a match – the cards aren’t matching up
So I guess I’ll just spasm solo, and leave the rest to luck
Track Name: Pieces Of The Known
I may not be able to sing all that well,
but I’ll certainly make joyful noise
What we hear isn’t part of the world,
it’s just an echo inside of our minds
So I’ll sing “La. La. La. I am following my fish.”
And I’ll try to take heed of what your perception is

I’d like to hear what your voice sounds like,
with your bones as my reception
the way it sounds to you inside your mind,
different to everyone else
By the way those hairs vibrate and bend –
sounds different than it does on a cassette

I’ll admit, sometimes I’m a hypocrite,
but I try to do what’s genuine
I’m oft intellectual, though not scholarly,
certainly not elitist
‘Cause “there’s no such thing as a weird human being,
it’s just that some ... require more understanding...”

To your biases of their worldly facades,
knowing nothing of their collective thoughts
If we just undo our abusive vetoes,
we’ll learn that all we are’s pieces of the known
We’ll discover the end to immortality
So we can finally relax,
can finally be
Track Name: Hypocrite
When you told me about your addictions,
your foolish longings,
your prized convictions –
these things that weren’t actually quite a surprise
mostly just the ways you over-analyze
Every thought turned to action,
every action to speech
And I offered guidance psychologically
Just a premonition of future correlations,
though I thought I wouldn’t be the best for advice

Because I am a hypocrite.
I believe in paradox.

My ideals are pretty, though hard to achieve
I’m often encumbered by my humanity
Like Tori, I sometimes can be, frankly, quite cruel,
though kindness and acceptance are what I work towards

But I am a hypocrite.
I believe in, adhere to, I am a paradox.

And I do not approve the behaviors I use,
but they’re not used intentionally

But I guess I’m just a hypocrite,
but paradox ain't so bad.
I’m a hippo, a hippie, a hippogriff.
I’m a hypocrite.
Track Name: Probably Not
I should’ve known that night,
when you passed out on my lap,
that things probably wouldn’t work out well with you
But I kept telling myself
you had more redeeming traits,
but it turns out after all you just had one, or two
We had a date for Thursday
for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,”
but you bailed out and stood me up by text
And when I asked “Another night?”
after your lame excuse,
“Probably not” was what you sent me next

Probably not, probably not!
You don’t even use your own lips!
My romantic delusions would best be forgot,
without a Midsummer’s eclipse!

When you saw me the next day,
as you passed me by at lunch,
when you scurried, hoping that I wouldn’t look,
I simply had to chuckle
even though ‘twas offensive,
especially when you de-friended me on Facebook
You do notice the absurd things in the universe,
but you cannot even handle conversation
So you absurdly sent excuses that perpetuate
the absurd cell phone plague that’s swept our nation

So what’s next in your regime
of these juvenile techniques?
Are you gonna uninvite me from your birthday?
No, you’ll probably just get drunk,
pass out on the floor again,
and not take heed of one damn thing I have to say.
Sure, you have great taste in music,
and you talk philosophy,
and I’ve grown to think your beard is rather hot.
But I guess fondness for Ani DiFranco’s apparently
the only real standard that I’ve got!!!
Track Name: My Body
My mouth is the garden of mucus.
My stomach – home waters of manatees.
My throat is the hallway for antibiotics.
My body – the temple of disease.
My rectum is now a post office.
My plumber should fix all my tubes.
My skin is the surface of Jupiter.
My hair’s manifesting my pubes.
My feet are the soldiers of searching.
My genitals – the fountain of youth.
My lungs are the feathers of seraphim.
My mind is a telephone booth.
My intuition’s earning unemployment.
My memory museum’s closed its doors.
My mind no longer controls this creature.
My soul can’t survive here anymore.
My eyes are slowly closing their curtains.
My ears – slowing the beat of their drums.
My tongue has now grown a shag carpet.
My toes no longer write to my thumbs.
My brain is a safe that holds wisdom.
My hands guide my life with their strings.
My heart is a tomb of emotions, but
My spirit’s not made of these things.
Track Name: Unicorn Insurance
You ran over a unicorn
in your kick-ass Mitsubishi
And as it punctured both your front tires,
you just prayed about insurance

‘Cause you believe
in a man,
in the man,
in a toxic aerosol can
While in your heart’s
a lesson plan
for your entire, humdrum life

And as you pine for new relationships,
and obsess about your weight,
you’ve simply put the seal upon
your self-fulfilling fate

You simply love to toe the line,
and file down all your claws
Domesticate, and medicate,
your deviant, wild flaws

Make a living,
embrace routine,
and just dream about exemption
You’ve stifled every raw impulse,
with no room for your redemption
So you’ve become, too willingly,
just some grease in a machine
Empty of blood,
inner flame’s a dud,
with no imagination
But you can still undo the spell,
escape this hell,
no soul to sell
You can save that unicorn,
and avoid all that stagnation
Track Name: Short Term Vanity
Last night,
I was looking
into the mirror,
not wearing a shirt
I flexed my humble muscles
and was shocked
by how much they had grown without me
And I thought “Jeez! I may not be
as horrible looking
as I make myself out to be!”

And then I returned my glasses to my face
Track Name: There Will Always Be Pheasants
They build their comfort zones out of dollar signs,
and imaginary lines
Then they take a “NO TRESPASSING” sign,
and staple it on top,
prosecuting anyone who tries to enter
This house is full of boundaries,
without much form of diplomacy
This house is full of enemies,
with no reason to be hostile
Take me away…

‘Cause they’re just so afraid of living

They built their comfort zones out of $s
and imaginary lines
Then they erected giant walls to keep each other out
Then they called themselves countries,
and the rest were aliens –
prone to get zapped if they tried to get in
This country's full of boundaries
without much form of diplomacy
This country has some enemies
with some reason to be hostile
Take me away…

‘Cause they’re just so afraid of living

I deconstructed my comfort zones –
no more $s or lines,
and I welcome anyone, for I’ve no need for boundaries
And I welcome all the challenges I can find for myself
It keeps me alive
keeps me alive
I can do so much more than just survive!
It keeps me alive

So take me to Siam
Take me to Canaan
Take me away to Czechoslovakia, to the USSR
Take me away to any kind of place
that can give me hope for change
Take me away…

but there will always be pheasants,
who can fly across borders
There will always be pheasants,
who’ve no need for fucking passports!
There will always be pheasants.
Track Name: Chakras On Ebay
Sell your heart chakra on Ebay
It helps to clear out while you decay
It’s so hard these days to know what to believe,
especially with things you can’t touch, or see
There’s so much to choose from, so much to doubt –
complete spiritual ambiguity
‘Cause they don’t believe…
Track Name: Fiends in a Hive
I’ve been here for almost two weeks now
and finally the anthill’s occupied
We’ve overpopulated to the point pinnacle
and must live like fiends in a hive
I have no privacy
and must succumb every second
to faux professionalism

Smiling sermons of lip service –
my opinions sacrificed
I’m a chameleon changing personas
to match each person’s whim
I’m hawking up blood in the morning,
catching sickness I’m so damn rundown
Must adhere to 47 schedules,
dividing and serving out time

I collapse when I finally recognize
how superficial each moment’s become
Each action’s a duty, each joy is a chore,
and who cares if it even gets noticed?
Just keep busy.
Just keep busy.
Just keep busy, busy, busy.
Busy disease, busy.
Just keep busy to hinder your mind
Keep it double preoccupied
with the tedious
So it can’t breathe, can only succumb
Your life is now prepackaged
Forget making your own
Track Name: Dating Your Skeleton
I don’t believe your apathy’s really your inhibition
You act as if your preference is just a coalition
I finally got kissed in my band uniform
after nostalgic festival of marching indecision

You know it’s hard when you’re dating your skeleton
when your expiration is still years away
and you’re sick of raw femurs and shoulder blades
and you know you’re the only one to blame

The eggs just don’t understand the mastery of art,
cynical of coral reefs and Eskimo insulation
First encounter belly dancing
Guess they’ll prefer false sanity of reality television

But I’ll keep on spelunking ‘til my soul falls off
holding a Northern Light into the dark
I’m playing checkers with Lucifer on a board of white squares
just us, and Persephone ballet-ing in his hair
He’ll use his intangibility while in the Marines,
and ship my presence to Nostalgia
My pocket’s got stars and atoms next to my keys
It’s astounding how high nostalgic rates can be!
Well, I’ve resigned to this somewhat melancholy content,
with this skeleton in the next cinema seat
It’s sometimes lonely, and conversation’s, frankly, quite bleak
But I’ve found he’s the only soul who’s really perfect for me!
Track Name: Manatee Hickies
Dressed up like a cupcake,
erotic like toast
yet you refuse to sing to me
I’m such a pushover,
can persuade me of anything,
but I can’t even convince you to sing

But if you mix my passion with your apathy,
and my ideals with your smooth reality,
the equation creates an arrangement that might
just work out between you and me

I know my history can be intimidating –
freshman year of serial dating –
but I know that those romantic mishaps were just
my education

So you stifle my tongue, and send me to Wisconsin,
when my domestication’s in Wyoming
And I’m not sure how I feel about our different breeds,
but you know, that’s all right with me

Manatee hickies
and melee-strung fools,
but with ground rules of no PDA
So I stroke your sock
with my half-hidden toe,
hoping you won’t tickle, but stay
Track Name: Sheridan
I heard she moved to Wisconsin, to hole the winter away
Painting and living in an anarchist colony,
closer to the Brahman than I’ve ever been

And I know that she’s wiser than most will ever be,
and when I see her, I realize how truly we’re all free

She dropped out of college to pursue happiness –
to learn instead while hitchhiking across the Midwest
Knowing knowledge isn’t tangible – it’s all around us
Absorb it with your petals, like the sun, like a kiss

And she knows that money simply won’t suffice,
that there’s so much more that cannot be diminished with a price

She was the first from Vermillion to discover my wings
With Molly – both of them could sense metaphysical things
For logic can only get one oh so far,
but Sheridan looks past it to see things just as they are

She rekindled my faith in magic,
and she’s helped me to see what’s important
And I don’t know if I’ll ever see her again
That would’ve used to bother me, but now it’s different

For now I know that whichever ways we go,
there’s pieces of me with her imprint
And I know that she’s wiser than most will ever be,
and when I see her, I realize how truly we’re all free
Track Name: Catastrophic (the Cataclyz-mix)
When I said a relationship with you would be catastrophic,
what I really meant to say was, simply, I was scared
Scared of the realizations you'd inspired within myself
Scared of surrendering myself to an unknown destination
Scared of your spontaneity and your reckless explorations
Scared of exposing myself in ways I was not prepared

But those times I gave in, followed your lead, turned out to be so sweet
like that time on Coral Island you convinced me to feed the fishies
which turned out to be one of the most perfect moments of my life
seeing coral for the first time, tropical fish nibbled my fingers
and to this day there still remain sensations that still linger
and to think, it would not have happened if you'd given up on me

Singing:
"Let's feed the fishies!
It will be so much fun!
Let's feed the fishies!
Come on everyone
Let's feed the fishies!
before it gets too dark
Let's feed the fishies!
and hope we don't meet sharks

But now I've come along quite a bit since that day in Erfurt
Heaven forbid, not 'grown up' in that age-old compromise
But I've grown beyond the parameters of my pathetic comfort zones
and have realized the value of abandoning hesitations
which have ruined so many moment of beauty or creation
I've developed a newfound sort of light around my eyes

And you saw it in its beginnings, when you noticed it in Easton
and Sheridan saw it radiate from a distance of three blocks
and you coaxed it diligently, though at the time I wasn't ready
to embody all those aspects of who I was to be
many of which you too embodied, and did so effortlessly
It would take a few more months for me, more new faces and conversations

Singing:
Let's feed the fishies!
We'll feed them mangosteens
Let's feed the fishies!
and hope they're not too mean
Let's feed the fishies!
La la la la la
Let's feed the fishies!
La la la la la

Now I've developed a healthy perspective of having no regrets
but with you I can't help wonder if I've missed an opportunity
but we can't regret the past because it remains unchanged
and besides, it doesn't exist, and neither does the future
so we'll just have to be present, though it's still a bit unsure
and eventually it will reveal just what we'll grow to be

When I said a relationship with you would be catastrophic,
what I really meant to say was, simply, I was scared
Track Name: Storage Unit Empire
We build empires of storage units
to hold our unnecessary stuff
a fortress of moth-eaten memories,
guarded with whimsical boundaries –
a providence for buying things
we crave, but really do not need –
the materials to which we cling,
that we think will bring happiness

Generations addicted to television,
and other mind-numbing distractions,
keep us focused on brainwashing remedies
to pessimistically veto individuality
Acquire our thoughts and mindsets from celebrities,
or preachers, politicians, and quacks –
whose regimes we follow religiously
to avoid the stress of formulating our own thoughts

Today it’s hip to be cynical –
assume the worst, right from the start.
Pass judgments on things we know nothing about,
or have obtained only first impressions.
People are easy to consume and discard,
the result of McDonaldization.
Nearly nothing in this world’s sacred anymore –
just gets used, thrown away, fully wasted!

Important is only the future,
and achieving a lucrative job.
Start planning your life back in middle school,
choose your way of reaching the money.
Strive for deadlines, paydays, and release dates,
and simply tolerate the present.
It all won’t come fast enough, so just rush through your life.
If you’re bored, just watch more TV!

The soul has rather little power anymore.
Our dictators are our own bodies.
Our physical assets define who we are –
especially if we’re fat, or ugly.
Our skin pigment’s especially vital as well –
skin tone apparently defines personality!
Let’s get skeptical if someone’s not beautiful –
actions discredited by their own bodies.

Nothing’s enough – everything’s never enough!
Greed has manifested gratitude.
The paradigm’s stuck on the external things,
and thinking of oneself as most important.
Shallow’s the fashion, self-obsession the fad,
and everything seems quite hopeless.
But if we first work on rearranging ourselves,
and directly start fighting the Feed,
we’ll have more individual unity,
all without committing mutiny.
We could achieve a state influenced by love,
and peacefully destroy this empire.
Track Name: Unity
With my favorite song on my headphones,
with the worst over I walk home.
It’s a cold winter’s night,
and I am all alone.
Nothing can stop this feeling,
and I look up at the sky.
No branch obscures the beautiful view
of the stars so far and high.
Then I look at one particular star,
then a planet, then a being,
doing the same thing as me –
light years away, still this I’m seeing.
This being I look at
is a creature quite like me –
both from troubled planets,
joined in unity.