[Outer Space]…..12/31/99…..11:35.P.M…..Enter Electric Man…..Moving at speeds beyond our comprehension, he nears our solar system.[Los Angeles, Von Beck Observatory]…..11.55.P.M……Leopold Von Beck, ancient astronomer broadcasts The Beacon, a signal he has been transmitting to the stars for nearly 25 years, in the hopes of contacting alien life.[Near Earth]…..11:58.P.M……Electric Man receives the signal, at first only faintly. As he moves towards it , it grows stronger.
[In Orbit]…..12:00.A.M……Electric Man decides to answer the beacon. Instantly he enters the circuitry of the main transmitter, flowing through wires until he reaches Leopold in the control room. He enters INTO Leopold’s nervous system and mind. He explains telepathically that he is Electric Man.
Scanning the airwaves, moving at the speed of light…..I am electric….I am electric….Could you imagine a visionary man not of our ilk…..I am electric…..I am electric…..You don’t know what it does to me. You don’t see the spectrum I see. You cannot possibly be electric…..electric……..
[The Von Beck Observatory]…..12.05.A.M……In his wheelchair, Leopold goes into shock, overwhelmed by the suddenness of having made first contact with an alien life-form. Electric Man scans through Leopold’s thoughts and memories, extracting knowledge of all things “human”. What he discovers astonishes him.
[Transmission Control Room]…..12:12.A.M……Leopold’s assistant discovers him motionless and in shock, and rushes to call an ambulance. Electric Man ignores her and continues accessing data. Soon he is understanding complex and abstract thought processes. The assistant holds Leopold’s hand until the paramedics arrive.
It’s a crazy world we live in it’s got crack smokin’ idiots, it’s got knife wielding maniacs, it is crazy yes it’s crazy-o….it is crazy….It’s a crazy world we live in it’s got Marilyn Monroe, she’s been dead for 20 years I still see her everywhere I go it’s crazy….oooh it’s crazy….I wouldn’t have it….I wouldn’t have it…I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s a crazy world we live in it’s got whales with fucked up radar it’s got alien invaders it is crazy yes it’s crazy-0. It’s a crazy world we live in it’s got radiation sickness it’s got people in Nirvana watching fellow human beings die – that’s crazy…oh oh it’s crazy. Maybe I’d have this… Maybe I’d have this …Maybe I’d have this some other way. Maybe I’m crazy to feel the way I do…..but maybe you’re crazy , too. Maybe you’re crazy , too. It’s got AIDS and G.I.Joe, and Edgar Allen Poe, and things that even I, I don’t wanna know. It’s got Pavlov’s dog a droolin’, and children with no schoolin’, it’s got evil tyrants ruling and that is crazy. It’s got bloody revolutions, toxic waste pollution, state electrocution, it is crazy. Rock-stars diggin’ ditches, good and wicked witches, starvation riddled wretches- oh that’s crazy. Jimmy Hoffa stiffin’ and the F.B.I. a sniffin’ with Bob Marley just a spliffin’ smokin’ reggae be-bop jazz well you know maybe I’d have this some other way…Let’s try and get this some other way.
[St. John's Hospital, L.A.]…..8:15.A.M…..After running a series of tests, the baffled doctors conclude that Leopold’s condition has stabilized, and he appears to be fine. This is because during the night Electric Man has repaired all of the malfunctions in Leopold’s aging body. When Leopold awakens he feels so good that he gets up and actually walks for the first time in years. Leopold is ecstatic about this, but Electric Man thinks this mode of transportation rather slow.
What do you want to see….What do you want to do….Do you mean to me ….What I mean to you? I was walking on the ground…You were walking on the ground….It’s walking on the ground…. That gets to me…. Walking on the ground…… Walking on the ground……Sometimes it seems to me…..All the times are bad…..D’you think it’s wrong of me….To think of what we had? I was walking on the ground….You were walking on the ground….It’s walking on the ground….That gets to me….Walking on the ground…..Walking on the ground.
[Von Beck Observatory]….11:53.A.M….Leopold checks out of St. John’s and takes a taxi home. Electric Man and Leopold telepathically converse freely now, and a certain feeling of friendship grows between them. Leopold walks to his garage and shows Electric Man a surprise: His old Ferrari carefully stored away years ago. He suggests they go for a spin, and soon they are driving to the ocean. Electric Man likes this mode of transportation.
Take me on a journey….Take me to the sea…I don’t ever want to come back…. Dark shades on low key…Sounds like a real good time…. sounds like a …. Car program….So sinister I thought I died….It sounded like thunder….It blew my mind……When I cast my gaze….Across a moonlit sea…. A hard wind blows my hair back…. A feeling comes over me…. Sounds like a real good time….Sounds like a … Car program……I like the grass….And I like the wine…And I’ve been staying high…Nearly all the time….Day-o…And the rain has gone away….And the clouds have left the sky….And the sun’s been shining down…. Nearly all the time….Day-o.
[The Ferrari]……5:04.P.M……Leopold is slightly intoxicated after drinking a bottle of wine at the beach. The alcohol adversely affects Electric Man, and he assumes control of Leopold’s nervous system and motor control. Soon he is pushing the old car to its limits, driving ever faster and more recklessly. Electric Man ignores Leopold’s pleas to slow down, and they speed on. A tire blows out, and they crash into a deep ravine. Leopold is killed instantly, and Electric Man is absorbed into the circuitry of the car, stunned and senseless for several minutes.
Oh you don’t know me but you might…..No you don’t know me but you might…..Syntax error…..Syntax error…..Oh so much darkness shrouds the light …..Oh so much darkness shrouds the light…..Syntax error…..Syntax error……I didn’t mean to take your life…..I didn’t mean to take your life…..Syntax error…..Syntax error…..
[The Wreck]…..5:13.P.M……Electric Man, emerging from the wreck, tries to help Leopold, but Leopold is dead. Electric Man rages into the heavens, weeping electric tears, overcome with guilt and pain. High above L.A., he thinks of the strange friendship and symbiosis he had shared with Leopold Von Beck…..
Dark….In the house….In the house….where we lived….Light….has gone away….gone away….summer’s end….oh you’re high….you’re high….again…..I say hello…..I say goodbye…..I’m high again….So high again….
[In a geostationary orbit]…..5:21.P.M……Electric Man regards L.A. Emotions of sorrow and pain flood his system. A strange euphoria pervades him and he returns to the city. He enters into a vast communications network, linking himself into telephone, radio, and television centers. An idea begins to form…..
I…..I guess I’m tired…..of fooling around….of fooling around….and you …seem farther away….farther each day….farther each day….you want it…..you need it….you take it …. it’s golden…..Try….to visualize….the way I see…the difference to me….and I….will try and show….a different thing…..a different thing….you want it……you need it ….you take it….it’s golden…..
[Within the Communication Centers of L.A.]…..6:00.P.M……Electric Man seizes control of all communication media centers (radios, T.V.’s, phones and fax machines, etc.), and broadcasts this message to the public: “There is someone out there…”
One more thing remained….Synced into the radio….Sent my little signal….Focused on their suspicions….There’s someone out there….There’s someone out there….Underneath the glass…..Lies the root of all evil….Listen to the signal….Focused on your suspicions…..There’s someone out there…. There’s someone out there…..Then they said I was really out there….Made me laugh, but still I had to leave…..Can’t hardly stand what’s going on around me……I’d like to change it, change it if I could……There’s someone out there….There’s someone out there….There’s someone out there…..And if you asked me I would say it’s all around you….And if you reach beneath the glass it’s all around you….When you’re out there on your way it’s all around you….If you live another day it’s all around you…It’s all around you…….
[Outer Space]…..6:30.P.M…….Exit Electric Man
And so there you have it – here is a little bit of info about recording Electric Man:
Electric Man was my first album, recorded on a used 8 track Tascam 38 (which I purchased from a really cool guy named Duke Michalak) with some very weak (sometimes pitiful) equipment. For all that it still sounds pretty damn good, even 14+ years later (it was released in ’94, but some of the songs were recorded in ’92 and ’93. In fact, I did the final mixes during the Great Flood of ’93 in Pacific, Missouri and the house I was renting at the time was completely surrounded by water – the only way in or out was via canoe and the water filled up the basement to 6 inches below the first floor. What I always thought was incredible was that the fuse box was in the basement completely submerged, yet I never lost power. It still doesn’t seem possible. And the album was titled Electric Man? Too freaky).
Here’s a graphic representation of that Tascam 38 I made with Paint Shop Pro, click it to see the full size wallpaper:
(BTW, I still have that tape recorder, but it hasn’t worked for over 12 years – I recorded so much with it, the tape heads wore down to the point that you could see the circuitry underneath).
A few recording notes : Although Chris Rose is credited with drumming on the CD, obviously some of the drums are loops, like the looped drums on Walking on the Ground and Out There. In fact calling them “loops” is far too grand for what we actually did – if I recall, the drum sounds came from a really cheesy casio keyboard, and I simply recorded the beat from the line out directly to a track on the tape.
Wow, that is so primitive it totally reminds me of some of my very first recordings, which consisted of “bouncing” tracks between 2 boomboxes until I reached the point that tape hiss was overwhelming.
Anyway (I know blah blah blah that’s me) I just now turned on the comments so I’d really like your opinion of these songs if you’ve got a minute. Thanks
UPDATE: 4-14-2009 Comments are finally enabled – I love WordPress but sometimes the designers piss me off so bad, it turns out they removed the option for leaving comments from pages in a recent release while still leaving the “allow comments” checkbox on the admin page (WTF guys, was that a 3 martini lunch decision? Fucking hell).