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I thought it would be cool to include the lyrics and some explanations for our songs. So here goes with the album. All explanations are by Will DeNiro except for Mary Lou, which was written by Sammie the Giant.

THE SUMMER I FELL IN LOVE WITH JIMMY'S GIRL

The first song to bring in our mortal enemies The Vipers. I wrote it in a rocking chair in Berlin sometime in early 2002 but I can't remember much more about it than that. It has been correctly pointed out on the Stardumb Board that in the second verse I appear to be driving an automobile (hence, the cops are able to pull me over to the side of the road) and then I promptly proceed to "hitch a ride", which implies I was actually on foot. I could be pedantic and argue that I was riding a bicycle, which would be plausible since I own a bike but not a valid (or even an invalid) driver's licence. However, the Beach Boys sang about Hondas, not rusting 3-gear 1987 Raleigh Speed-o-trons, and so it is with the Viper songs. Suspension of disbelief is required here.  

 
There's some kind of commotion by the jukebox machine
A sea of leather jackets and tight blue jeans, oh yeah
And they're coming for me, 'cos I've got myself all tangled up
All upside-down and dummystruck, oh yeah, because of just one thing
 
I know she's Jimmy's girl but I love her
The guys at the Hop don't seem to understand
She's got me in a whirl, I'm in trouble
And now's the time I up and ran
 
The cops pulled me over to the side of the road
and said, "Get out of here, son, things are going to explode in your face,
those guys are coming after you,"
So I hitched a ride out to Dead Man's Curve and rued the day I fell in love
And threw it all away
 
'Cos I know she's Jimmy's girl...
 
Jimmy and the Vipers found me up at the Pass
I could have sworn this Friday night on earth was gonna be my last
But I stood my ground like I was greeting old friends
'Cos some day every jukebox record must come to an end
Jimmy clapped his hands, his boys moved in for the kill
Then I heard the Giant's T-Bird cruising slowly up the hill
I turned and smiled, said:
"You've got one choice, I think you'd better run- here come the Zatopek boys."
 
TURKISH BREAD CHRONICLE

I was on the bus from Hannover to Brussels for the Stardumb Rumble in February 2002. The bus from Berlin to Hannover was a fucking nightmare, some girls moved their seats back and I was in the last row so the blood circulation to my legs was cut off and I was too polite to ask them to move their seats forward again. So I was in some pain when I had to change buses. The "cute German girl with dreads" happened to live a few streets away from me and was travelling to Amsterdam to edit some anti-capitalist film or other made by friends from a place which memory has long-since erased. We smoked a joint together and I got on the bus nice and stoned. In this cheerful mood I found a vacant seat next to the Greek girl of the song. We were silent at first but then two insane ladies started fighting over a sleeping place and laughing our arses off together broke the ice. She offered me a biscuit. I was travelling with a fucking huge loaf of soft Turkish bread which I was using both as a pillow and sustainance, and we ate some together. The rest is in the song. I sometimes wonder if she would be weirded out to know that a band tours singing a love song based on a conversation she had years ago, but hopefully she wouldn't mind. The Turkish bread is used as a parody of the optimism/pessimism image of the half-full or half-empty glass. Deciding at the end that the Turkish bread is diminishing but still delicious is the conclusion that we should just be fucking glad that the glass is there in the first place! Full or empty are secondary issues. Make of that what you will. Incidentally the song was written quite a while after the event. I wrote a song when she got off the bus called, "I haven't pissed since Germany," which was mercifully never set to music or recorded. But then, never say never.  


Smoked a joint down at the bus stop with that cute German girl with dreads
Took my seat, it's nearly 2am, a few more braincells dead
Greek girl sitting next to me, we ate Turkish bread
And talked about the European Union- its effects on the Greek economy
 
She said "ship", I thought she said "sheep"
She put her head upon my shoulder, yeah we drifted off to sleep
 
Before you realise it everyone is gone
The building is empty, the lights are still on
Talk into the morning, goodbyes are said
What am I left with?
A broken heart, and a loaf of this half-eaten Turkish bread
 
She told me about her life in Greece, society built around debate
Is that the German border? Man, I hope this bus will be delayed!
They sit around just dodging work just like we do at home
"And just remember, boy, that Athens is much prettier than Rome"
 
And before you realise it everyone is gone
The buildings they're empty, the lights they're still on
Walk into the morning where goodbyes are said
What am I left with?
Yeah before I realise, the Greek girl she's gone
The bus is nearly empty, the lights are coming on
She walks into the morning where goodbyes are said
I take another bite of this delicious Turkish bread
 

CITY LIGHTS

 

This song is about walking around my old neighbourhood in Berlin after a break-up. I think it was actually a composite break-up based upon two girls, and the song was written at a time when nobody in particular had broken up with me so I was just looking for things to rant about. The lyrics confuse me because the bridge they refer to in the final section is at Ostkreuz, and I don't know why. My favourite bridge in the area is Warschauer Strasse, which is parallel to Ostkreuz and visible down the train tracks. You get funny looks if you stand at Ostkreuz too long.

 
The city lights up like a cigarette
The moon's a broken heart and the stars are set like peep-holes in an empty sky
I wander lost alone on a Saturday night
I pass the Stalinist flats, I pass the Marxist punks
I pass the anarchist graffiti and although I'm drunk
My mind is clear, my heart's alive
I've been through this before and I know that I'll survive
 
I don't need your eyes, I've got the city lights
Electric lifeblood flowing through these concrete veins
And I don't need your truths
I've got one of my own...
 
Walking around in circles and I'm laughing at the night
You always said I was a psycho, I'm just trying to prove you right
And so the cards were stacked, I had no hand to play
The house we built collapsed, that's why I'm singing here today
And now I'm heading down to Simon-Dach, turn right up by the lights
Following the train tracks leading deep into the night
Dancing in the gutter, playing football with a stone
Turn left down by the bridge and then I take the long way home
 
I don't need your eyes, I've got the city lights
Electric lifeblood flowing through these concrete veins
And I don't need your words
I've got some of my own
 
Cold dark river keeps on flowing
I watch it from the bridge above
The moon's just another light that's glowing
On this heap of concrete that I love
 

I don't need your eyes, I don't need you

 

MARY LOU

 

One might guess that this story is not wholly truthful. That indeed I am not a middle aged American, licking the wounds of a messy divorce, with only a broken guitar and a handful of children to his name. I would truly have preferred to keep the car than the kids. A car accident may be messy, but it's better than a house smelling of shit and medicine. Don't quite know if that sounds how it was intended. Ah well.

Written and initially recorded at my buddy Mic 'Militia' Castro's house, the bass line changed slightly so that I didn't have to do something metal kids refer to as' drop D'. That kind of thing is unnecessary, although i'm sure Mic and Spider will disagree. It was a good crack recording this. The 'hoo ha' chants in the outro originally sprang from a drinking session with the Apers and Random Heroes in Coventry.

(Sammie the Giant)

 
You broke my heart and everything in sight
All I wanted was to feel alright
Now I'm stuck here I don't know what to do
 
Stamped my foot and broke my shoe
My blood ran red I sang the blues
For Mary Lou
 
We had a fight I don't know what I did
You took the car and left me with the kids
Now I'm stuck here drinking all alone
 
Stamped my foot...
 
Oh I don't care what they say about you my love
I don't care what they think about about me
'Cos everytime I look into your eyes
I know our love was meant to be
 
So I was sat there drinking all alone
I heard a car I thought that she'd come home
But she just slapped me snapped my guitar
 
Drove down to the roadhouse where we kissed for the first time
I bought a hooker just to get you off my mind
Can't pay my bills now crying in the dark
 
Stamped my foot...
 
SOME TOWN IN NORTHERN FRANCE

I'd just finished high school and went with some mates to France. We went to hang out in a town near Calais but it was shite so we left the awful empty nightclub we were in and started walking from village to village in the middle of the night in search of adventure. We saw the girls of the song. Or should I say, "I" saw them. Nobody else did and they all thought I was crazy drooling over what was quite possibly a mermaid fountain. Were they our age? Were they even punk rockers? Maybe it was a Marilyn Manson t-shirt I was seeing. But they were there, dressed in black and drinking. We went to sleep in a skatepark up the hill but these creepy white vans kept driving past and we began to get paranoid. Seriously, every ten minutes they would go past with no reason at 4am in the middle of nowhere. I nearly kneecapped myself hiding from them. Then I went with one mate to find the girls after convincing him that they were real. He was singing that Des'Ree song, "I'm afraid to see the ghost, that's the sight that I fear most, I'd rather have a piece of toast and watch the evening news." I've liked that song ever since, although it was the last time I ever heard it. The cops did search us, that's true. I had one lukewarm bottle of Kronenburg 1664 beer and three strawberry Chupa Chups, which probably caused quite an uproar in the local press.

 
3am and 18 years old, some town in Northern France
15 pounds across the sea and back
We were not looking for no answers, just fun
Like a mirage in the night we saw them there
Punk rock girls about our age
Hanging for no reason in the moonlit village square
We looked ahead and carried on our way
 
Where'd those strangers get to, and where are they today?
Re-traced our steps but they're gone forever
Life just seems to be that way
 
One hour later a mate and I went back to find those girls again
Left our friends sleeping underneath the stars
Cops stopped and searched us, "What you doing in our town at 4am?"
We finally hit the sad and empty square, just the beercans remained
The girls had vanished into their smalltown Gallic world
We woke our mates and tried to find the nearest train
 
But where'd those strangers get to, and where are they today?
Re-traced our steps but they're gone forever
Life just seems to be that way
It's okay, life just seems to be that way
 
THE BOY DONE GOOD

A cutting social commentary on West London drinking culture, or a lame excuse for me to sing about beer and football? I'd been listening to the Pogues when I wrote this. Enough said. Incidentally, there is no canal in Chiswick. I wasn't being clever or metaphorical, my local geography is just shite.

 
I got pissed in a thousand cities, or so it seems
I've been kissed by a million pretty women
And they say, "the boy done good"
I'm well known to a billion faces down the local pub
I've been jipped at the Millwall races betting on the wrong dog
Still they say, "the boy done good" 
 
Pour me another glass of your liquid poetry
I used to own my destiny, I used to own my destiny
Pour me another glass of your liquid poetry
I used to own my destiny- now my destiny owns me
 
First wife left me said I was pathetic, so did the sixth
I had a trial down at Charlton Athletic, I was too damned drunk to kick
Still they said, "the boy done good"
 
Pour me another glass...
 
I walked up Chiswick way, past the roundabout and down by the canal
I found an old man pub, Fats Waller 45s spinning on a Wurlitzer in the corner
They said, "come on in son, I see you're from South Ealing,
First pint of Pride is on the house, and why don't you sing a little song with us?
It goes like this..."
You should have heard 'em sing, you should've heard them old drunks sing...
 
Pour me another glass...
 
THE NIGHT SPIDER EARNED HIS COLOURS

Welcoming the Spider to the band with an ode written in his honour. Once he'd cleaned off all that Viper blood we realised he could play guitar a bit, too.

 
Well don't you know I'm number one in this town but I don't mind
When the girls like another guy's style
But the word was on the street from the Rebel's Rock insiders
There's a new kid hanging around and he calls himself the Spider
And the girl's know DeNiro is a tolerant man
To all the local gangs I know I like to lend a helping hand
But things were getting kind of crazy and the only choice I saw
Was for a drag-race at the point, we've got to lay down the law
 
Well the moon was shining high above Rebel Point that night
As Spider's Chevy slowly topped the hill
He stepped out on the kerb and leaned real casual on the hood
Said, "These guys been hanging 'round, look like they're up to no good"
He seemed the kind of cat who likes to play it straight
So I took him at his word and said, "Let's get on with the race"
We jumped behind the wheels and dropped the lights down low
Then the Giant dropped the flag and shouted "1-2-3-Go!"
 
The race was neck and neck until the final curve
We saw some Vipers on the line, I guess we both had to swerve
We took a head-count, we were looking at a ten-versus-two
Spider shrugged it off, he dug it, man, he knew what to do
In three seconds flat he'd put old Jimmy on the floor
The Vipers backing off, they were not liking what they saw
I lit a smoke, I shook his hand, said, "Kid, I guess you're alright
I wonder, son, you wanna cruise with the Zatopeks tonight?"
 
ANOTHER NIGHT ON THE DIVIDE

A weird situation with a girl had ended, and I went to this squat gig to meet another girl who'd invited me out. She was there with a bloke and waved without speaking to me. The place was rammed and I already wanted to get out after five minutes. There were weird French girls on some kind of drug who had no teeth, cackling maniacally. I felt like I was in some kind of nightmare, added to which the band was fucking diabolical. So I got out into the open air and began walking home. My mood improved as I walked and finally I realised that all of the aforementioned events had accumulated just enough existential angst for me to write a "fuck the world" song. Incidentally, in the late 19th Century Georges Rodenbach was already doing the thing of making the city (Bruges, in his case) a character in his stories. The city takes you over and you become at one with your surroundings. I don't think that the great Belgian writer was talking about going to shit squat gigs to meet girls with pink dreadlocks but apart from that our situations are identical. Identical, I tell you.

  
Finally broke out, I've got to burn the bridges back
I need to build myself a life 'cos I was slipping through the cracks
And I'm tired of the talking, tired of all the endless whining
I was hanging out at Kopi but I had to get away
Because the band were really bad and I was feeling out of place
So I pushed through the crowd and headed for the empty street
I was alone
 
And the moonlight spilled like beer on Berlin Town
It's isolated, set aside
It builds you up, it knocks you down
Another night on the Divide
 
Pass a punk rock couple, well, they hold each other tight
And gaze at me with curiosity- a weirdo in the night
So I stand on the bridge, yeah
And watch the TV Tower for a while
East Side Gallery, not a sound except my boots scuffing the tar
I hear a voice, I turn around, it's just a passing car
And man I feel like I'm the only being on the earth tonight
 
As the moonlight spills like beer on Berlin Town
I'm isolated, set aside
It builds me up, it knocks me down
Another night on the Divide
 

JENNY KISSED ME

 

These lyrics come from the poem 'Rondeau', written by the the English essayist and poet James Leigh Hunt (1784-1859). I had this cheap book of Romantic poetry (as in The Romantics, the literary movement, not as in "Valentine's Day ideas for lazy sods") and in the days when I hid in the corner of the Backyard 23 restaurant in Berlin I sat around reading it and thinking how they sounded uncannily like pop-punk lyrics. He was quite a peripheral figure and he's remembered these days more for being mates with other, more famous, writers like Keats, Shelley and Byron. But this poem has survived with good reason. I like his cheerful resignation and the idea of focussing on one pleasant thing which outweighs ageing, bad health, having no money and all those other things which aren't as nice as being kissed by a girl called Jenny. Leigh himself was apparently quite a ditzy bastard, with his head in the clouds and avoiding the real world and financial matters at all costs. I can relate to that. As it says in our album notes, I changed two words slightly. "Jumping"" becomes "Jumped up" and "sweets into your list" turns into "sweets on your list". It's just easier to sing like that, and I don't think Leigh would have cared much either way.  

 

QUALITY FOOTWEAR

What can I say? Hardly a philosophical tract, this one, and I'd be lying if I said it was about anything of dramatic personal significance. Standard rock n' roll format, but it was fun trying to pour my obsession with Berlin into that kind of song. Spider corrected my French... originally it was "mon cherie", which I believe is the masculine form so technically that would be singing about a man. Whoops. I wrote it in Greece on holiday. Lovely country.

 
Said goodbye to my woman, she said, "You'll sink, boy, you ain't gonna swim"
I said goodbye to that woman, she said, "You'll sink, boy, you ain't gonna swim"
That's a nice pair of shoes, but will they walk you all the way to Berlin?
 
Got a girl down in Rotterdam, she's damn rotten to the core
Got a girl down in Rotterdam, damn rotten to the core
I'm gonna walk my way out, Lord, I ain't coming back there no more
 
Man, I nearly went crazy for them girls down in gay Paris
Yeah, I thought I could charm them with, "Je t'adore, ma cherie"
One hand in my pocket, the other on the waitress' knee
 
Said goodbye to my woman, she said, "You'll sink, boy, you ain't gonna swim"
I said goodbye to that woman, she said, "You'll sink, boy, you ain't gonna swim"
This is quality footwear and it walked me all the way to Berlin
 

TURN TO GOLD BLUES

 

This song is a profound and moving statement about _______________. Help me out here. I'm not entirely sure. House prices or something.

My heart grows cold and turns to stone

I sit and I watch the sun sink, the city turns to gold
It tears my soul in two, I'm leaving here
I'm sick of all these words
She was 16 and chasing dreams
Took a trip to London Town where she found out what self-preservation means
Yeah she's old somehow, she's wiser now
Than the people on the street
Where the rain pours down in streams just to wash away the dreams
 
Things turning sour, four quid an hour
Working down South Ealing, yeah, she's stacking shelves all day
She's not the kind to shout, man, she's breaking out
With the minimum of fuss she's jumped the nearest bus
Just a V-Sign for the rest of us
 
I got your letter yesterday, the only words it said: "My heart grows cold..."
 
SOPHIE SCHOLL

I wrote an essay on the White Rose movement a couple of years ago and completely fell in love with Sophie Scholl. I had the group's pictures on my walls and one day instead of writing the essay I wrote this song instead. Miss Monroe is, of course, Marilyn Monroe, the traditional crush of people who want to fancy someone who died a long time ago. St. Thomas Aquinas was the White Rose's intellectual hero. They dropped a load of anti-Hitler leaflets at Munich University, the caretaker reported them and they were arrested and executed. Even when she was walked to her death she was calm and philosophical about it. The shouted part at the end is taken from a White Rose pamphlet.

 
I've been thinking about a girl
And she's a million miles away from my cosy little world
 
Oh this song's for Sophie Scholl but I know it's not rational
Though you died 60 years ago, Miss Monroe step aside
I've found my girl
 
A white rose in her hand and Aquinas by her side
 
Forever 21, how I see you still tonight
It's true the best die young, but that doesn't make it right
 
Oh no, oh yeah
This song's for Sophie Scholl...
 
Aquinas in her hand and the White Rose by her side
 
"We will not be silent
We are your bad consience
We will not leave you in peace"
 
The White Rose will not leave you in peace
This song's for Sophie Scholl
But I know it's impossible
Though you died 60 years ago, Miss Monroe step aside
I've found my girl
 
DENIRO COME ON

A celebration of my own ego. Sometimes I wonder if I should have been a little nicer to Jimmy after his attempts to reconcile the two gangs. Fear and distrust are not admirable qualities in any human being. But it's fun sending him off the edge of a cliff and, let's face it, he'll be back.

 
Sat in a booth watching the ice melt on my Cherry Coke
Sad songs on the jukebox, I opened up a pack of smokes
I heard a voice, well it was Jimmy of the Viper gang
Said, "I wanna discuss something, this feud's been going on too long"
 
"DeNiro come on
Don't you know that we don't have to fight
Hey man, you know we only get one life, DeNiro, come on"
 
I smelled a rat, and man I know that Jimmy packs a blade
These Vipers live for drinking, fighting, baby, getting laid
Jimmy boy, oh well I think that we should step outside
Drag race at Rebel Point and Jimmy, be there or you die
 
"DeNiro come on..."
 
 
AT THE DIVE

The Dive was the punk house I lived in for a year with Pete Sematary, Davey Hunchback, Jo Mangled and Paul. It was in the Selly Oak section of Birmingham. The place had a long, proud and unhygienic tradition before I got there, however, and Spider lived in the slightly cleaner place next door. I only slept there half the time, so you really wouldn't find me there very often. To that extent, the song is true.

 
When the clock strikes one
Darling bow your head, 'cos I'll be gone
I was wrong, you know, but it's alright
Won't find me at the Dive tonight
 
When the clock strikes two
I'll no longer be in love with you
Out the door and, darling out of sight
Won't find me at the Dive tonight
 
When the clock strikes three
Darling hang your head and think of me
You were the one, you were the two, the three
Oh gee!
Won't find me at the Dive tonight
 
Out of the drive-in and into my dreams
Thought we had something, it seems I was wrong
I was wrong, I was wrong...
 
When the clock strikes four
Don't come hanging round here anymore
Where the roaches crawl upon the floor
Won't find me at the Dive tonight

 

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