New Video – Pythagoras Switch

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“Pythagoras Switch” was inspired by and created for the newly completed sci-fi epic Project London, an utterly unique, globally crowd-sourced movie that will – so it is said – eat your planet. Check out their Kickstarter and nab your copy, along with the graphic novel, prequel novella, movie art and of course the soundtrack album, which contains a whole bunch of HAD tunes, including this exclusive track.

Pythagoras Switch is also now available at iTunes, Amazon and other fine retailers.

Lyrics:

A twist of the dial, a turn of the screw
For traveling through time, for lacing up your shoe
For crunching all these numbers and triggering a nuclear reaction

A pull of the lever, a turn of the key
It starts whistling Ulysses just as sweet as you please
putting all the little microprocessors to sleep yeah
This contraption

10,000 fireflies gave their tiny little lives
To illuminate the great revolution
21 guns in the Arizona sun gonna shine

Is it gonna play us like a video game?
Gonna run us over like a southbound train?
Don’t know what to make of it can’t explain
Can’t explain it

Are they using it for measuring the weather in space?
Removing all the bothersome portions of your face?
Or to devastate the nation yeah lay it all to waste
In half a second?

An American invention built with Japanese parts
It works underwater, it glows in the dark
You can put it all together but you can’t take it apart yeah
This contraption

10,000 fireflies gave their tiny little lives
To illuminate the great revolution
21 guns in the Arizona sun gonna shine

Is it gonna play us like a video game?
Gonna run us over like a southbound train?
Don’t know what to make of it can’t explain
Can’t explain it

Busking in Ballard

Today we went to the Ballard Market to do a little street performancin’. A gas, that was. The rain stayed pretty much away and we played for as long as my voice held out. I think my lymph nodes are swollen. Do these look swollen to you guys? [picture removed by administrator]

Anyway, we in HAD love the Busk. We just strip everything down to the minimum. Marty and I have our flat-tops and capos, MC has his acoustic bass, Paul carries his mandolin, a flute, a saw and the one clamp-on tuner we all pass around. We all have built-in vocal cords.

It’s Dusty, however, who has the real thing going on. Just a hi hat, snare, a small crash cymbal and various little clinks and clunks. He carries some of this in a beige suitcase, which he uses for the kick drum. He plays the whole thing with brushes. It sounds perfect and looks perfect. In fact, today Dusty proudly displayed the initials “HAD” on the front of the suitcase, carefully applied using strips of electrical tape, giving the letters this Irony Maiden aura. He said he was up all night doing this, but MC and I didn’t believe him.

We’re thinking about taking this busking thing up a notch. With basically a full acoustic band going, if you want anyone to hear you, you gotta sing really loud. Since none of us is a particularly loud singer, but we kind of like the idea of remaining truly unplugged, we’re thinking some kind megaphone-based vocal amplification system. We’ve been talking this over, and the image forming in my head is ridiculously awesome. Like Dr. Seuss meets Dr. Who.

So we played all the HAD tunes we could pull from our heads (we forgot the list in the car, wouldn’t you know it). Amazingly, we collectively remembered everything in our current live rotation. Everything, that is, except for our old paranoia anthem “Alias,” which we always forget for some reason – probably some kind of memory-erasing experiment by the CIA.

Still, it turned out real good, all in all. CDs went away, people were kind and generous and we made a whole bunch of super cool new friends.

Typical of us, we didn’t take a single picture. But there was a generous fellow with really expensive-looking camera taking some snaps… I didn’t catch his name, but if you’re out there, my friend, and you’d care to share some of those shots with us, please let us know!

Show Recap – Bombs Away Cafe in Corvallis, OR

Things didn’t look good when we rolled up to the venue last night. For starters, looks like Bombs Away is in the middle of a major rebranding. As a result, the cool, edgy look of their website was belied by signage that looks like it was conceived in the coke-fueled throes of 1984. But hey, baby steps. The tagline on the sign said “A Funky Tacqueria.” We all agreed that Bombs Away is not the best name for a cafe serving this type of cuisine, though it’s worth pointing out that the food was sublime, and even with my rather sensitive digestive system, there was no call to arm the emergency torpedoes. I’m sure you’re all relieved. Would’ve added a level of morbid interest to the show, though.

Sign in CorvallisQuick tangent: signage in general in Corvallis is lacking. I’m not sure how you miss a typo like the one on the left, but this one must’ve been made around quitting time, what with that inexplicable capital “O” in “COrvallis.”

Because as a teenager I was convicted of stealing a much smaller green street-corner sign (a great embarrassing story I should tell you sometime), I have an estimated figure in mind as to the cost of a sign like this. Suffice to say it’s enough for the city to decide that remaking the sign would be an unpopular burden on taxpayers.

"SORRY" signBut I digress. Actually, I’m not quite done digressing.This was the prominent welcome on the door of the place next door to Bombs Away. I think if you’re going to establish a business relationship with foot traffic, you should always start the conversation with an all-caps, meticulously applied and permanent apology. Clearly they have no intention of accepting cards in the near future. And they’re probably not really sorry. Then again, Corvallis is a college town. I guess I might not accept their cards, either.

Oddly enough, the apologetic welcome was repeated when we arrived at the venue. The absent owner, who booked us the show and currently resides in New Mexico, sent his apologies for booking us on a night that was ostensibly doomed from the start. It didn’t sound good: a lot of kids skipped town that day to go home and see Mom, and the venue had had a huge blowout the night before, historically a harbinger of a slow night after. All this and the fact that Corvallis had no idea who we are, save for a few months in rotation on the college station – at least a year ago.

So there it was… We were to be the proverbial tree falling in the forest for the evening. When we started the first set, the room was peopled only with the staff and the band. But hey, HAD are pros, man. We came to do a job and had an agreed-upon guarantee to earn. We launched it like we were playing for a roomful of adoring fans.

Amazingly, it paid off… or something did. We slowly gained a respectable audience throughout the evening until the dance floor was jumpin’, everyone jitterbuggin’ like the dickens (isn’t that how the kids say it nowadays?), and all of us having a damn good time. All in all, a successful gig when we least expected it.

Unfortunately, by the time we got back to the KOA, designated kampfire time had expired, seriously crippling our man-bonding for the evening. After a well-earned, lentern-lit beer, we turned in.

Now, our whirlwind 30-hour tour over, we’re back home where the babies are cryin’, and that’s just fine.

Road Trippin’!

Tomorrow AM we hit it for Corvallis, OR! Playing a two-hour set at Bombs Away Cafe on Saturday night. We hear tell this is a great venue. Looking forward to some seriously unstoppable juggernautin’!

The weather is supposed to be B-U-T-full! We’re stopping off in Portland to busk at the market. That’s where the real dough is. When the weather is good we move tons more CDs and get more bread than we ever see at a club show, where people tend to blow all their cash on booze, hookers and/or French fries.

After the show we’re retiring to our KOA digs a few miles away. Kamping is kool. We cook meat and swap stories and play music ’round the fire and toast marshmallows and cry together. We synchronize our manstrual periods and thus strengthen the bonds that bind us lo these many years.

I’m bringing a camera and I’m bloody well gonna use it. We’ll document our Van Adventure as it happens, at least as much as internet access will allow.

Till then!

RIP, MCA

I’m dismayed. As you may have heard, Adam Yauch of the Beasties is no longer with us. The world has lost a massive talent far too soon.

This was a hell of a guy. By all accounts, he was a kind, gentle spirit – a practicing Buddhist who devoted himself to helping others. He was an amazing songwriter, MC, director, philanthropist, producer and father – a truly exceptional human being who will be sorely missed.

Goodbye, Nathanial Hörnblowér. See you when you come back as whatever you come back as…?

Fell From an Airplane – Video Reboot


If I fell from an airplane
With no parachute or anything
Would I say, oh well, that’s it
And try to make the best
of a hopeless situation?

Flying free till I hit the ground
If there was nobody else around
Would it even make a sound?
Buddy I don’t know
I just don’t know

But it’s not such a long way to fall
When you’re holding onto someone’s hand
I hope you and I can go down together
Like a lullabye

Would I go down swinging with wild abandon
Screaming in tongues till I crash land in a field
Of flowers, sending up showers
Of petals around me?

Or accept my fate with stoic grace
A saintly smile upon my face
Knowing that some things cannot be changed
‘Cause I fell from an airplane

What was that baby doing up there?
Up in a tree fifty feet in the air?
What did you mean when you said
Rock-a-bye, rock-a-bye?
Did he survive or did he die?
Did he die?

Did he did he die did he did he die, die

Show Recap – Creedence Tribute at the Sunset

Fantastic time last night! A bevy of visionary local bands gathered together in a great venue, working with unimpeachable source material for a good cause, all in front of a large, loving crowd.

Highlights were too numerous to mention, but I gotta say I haven’t seen that much guitar skill in one place, like, ever. Fogerty is a formidable axe-man, and justice was more than done as guitarist after guitarist pulled out all the double-stops with jaw dropping lixx at every turn. It was a joy to behold.

Tribute shows happen all the time in Seattle. Over the years we’ve participated in tributes to everybody from U2 to Beatles to Bowie (twice), and they consistently stand out as some of my favorite shows. Last night was no exception.

Typically, immediately after you’re invited to play a cover night, you pick the songs you want to do, usually on a first-come, first-served basis. The first ones to go – the signature crowd-pleasers – get snapped up at light speed, forcing the relative late comers to dig deeper and find the sleepers that make the show transcend a greatest-hits compilation.

The unwritten rule is to keep your choices a secret till you play. It adds an air of mystery to the proceedings. For last night’s show, this practice made for an interesting post from Megan Seling on Slog:

“…Half Acre Day play lush pop music with a vintage twist—they’ll no doubt bring out the sunny side of CCR, while alt-country singer Kim Virant’s deeper, dramatic voice would sound perfect on something like “Have You Ever Seen the Rain.” Of course, we don’t know who’s singing what—the only way to find out is to show up.”

Megan’s educated guess was solid – I might’ve made the same one if I didn’t have the inside scoop. But it turns out we did “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” along with “I Put a Spell On You” (itself a CCR cover of an awesomely disturbing Screamin’ Jay Hawkins tune) and “Ramble Tamble,” an epic stomper about getting the fuck out cause this place sucks. Kim, on the other hand, kicked particular ass with “Proud Mary,” one of CCR’s more joyous tunes. So yeah… you never know, indeed.

Kudos are due to Gary Reynolds of Electrokitty Studios for putting this show together in spectacular fashion. All this was a benefit for MusiCares, an organization that provides financial assistance for musicians without health insurance.

Stellar work all around, and we’re thrilled to have been a part of it.

Process, Part II – Proceeding

I’ve been going on about my creative process as it pertains to the band lately, and where ideas come from and how they evolve. I harbor no delusions that hordes of HAD fans are clamoring to know where our ideas come from and where they’re going (though perhaps I should check my email again), but I know I sure as hell find it fascinating.

Anyway, we’ve recently been featuring the new video (an awesome piece of found-art storytelling from our own Dusty Haze) for our 2011 single “Maribelle.” This song serves as a good example of all this idea generation stuff. One night last spring, I picked up a guitar and, after the requisite, absent noodling, spontaneously sang a chorus I’d never heard before, much less sung. In that somewhat eerie moment, it came out pretty much the same as it is now.

"Maribelle" by Matt K.That same night, I got this image in my head, and over the next few weeks, obsessed over the song and drawing this monstrosity on a six-foot tall piece of heavy paper duct taped to the wall of my garage, titling it (what else?) “Maribelle.”

Mind you, I’m not trying to say that I somehow became a magical conduit for some kind of multimedia masterpiece here. I’m actually lousy at gauging how my efforts might hit others’ eyes/ears, and every day I see and hear things that make me envious and incredulous of their creators (often my bandmates). I guess it’s that I look at the Maribelle thing as artistically successful because it reveals something significant to me – something of which I was previously unaware – all without the application of deadly force (which has killed more than one infant idea for me over the years). Of course, it sure don’t hurt that those aforementioned bandmates are so integral to bringing every song to life.

I suppose I’m saying that, for all my talk about process, I still don’t know where a lot of my ideas come from. I know where my shitty ideas come from, i.e. usually laboriously pried from my own stubborn cerebral cortex. But the ideas I like – the all-too-rare ones that seem to cut to the jelly-filled center of things – I don’t really know. Like I said, they’re all scribbled in these battered sketchbooks, but I rarely seem to remember the circumstances under which they were scribbled, and often don’t remember scribbling them at all.

I have to wonder if, like matter and energy, art and ideas can be neither created nor destroyed… if every idea, good or bad, has always existed and always will… if they’re just floating there for the taking, provided you’re open to them. My favorite (and rarest) moments as a songwriter have been the times I’m playing something and listening to it – doing both for the first time, as though I was someone else saying to me, “hey, tell me what you think of this…”

I guess all this is hardly a revolutionary notion, but – as a friend of mine is fond of saying – I like to think about stuff sometimes.