* songs for a caustic guitar
  1. the saboteur in me...3:59
  2. born with hate...2:46
  3. the consummate under-achiever...4:11
  4. teen angst revisited (or) the generation of whine...3:24
  5. land-locked...3:15
  6. absent-friended mind  (for mary)...4:09
  7. martyr...2:27
  8. the big apology...3:23
  9. (o)edipus mess (a  complex situation)...3:31
10. (the ridiculous analogy of) adam & steve...3:16
11. mr. cryptic...3:29
12. dream only of you...2:22
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all songs copyright © 1999 fiendish musical thingys.  all rights reserved.
'songs for a caustic guitar' copyright © 2000 fiendish musical thingys.  all rights reserved.

* the saboteur in me
i have a confession: i handle words like weapons.
i keep them concealed to keep you guessing.
i'm not spouting nonsense.
i practice non-verbal violence.
i can do more harm with my silence,
because i have seen the damage words can do
and i don't want mine to injure you;
so i will give you this clue:
    between these two cracked, dry lips;
    between the wry, cynical quips;
    you will find the key to the saboteur in me.
i'm being brutally honest.
i'm a blind pessimist.
temptation to doubt is hard for me to resist.
i'm not trying to be clever
when i say "i would never
say anything will last forever,"
because i have seen the damage time can do
and i don't want to break promises to you;
but i will vow one thing is true:
    between these two cracked, dry lips;
    between the wry, cynical quips;
    you will find the key to the saboteur in me.
        i'm a cloak and dagger lover
        trying not to blow my cover.
        i'm a spy out in the cold
        trying to find some peace before i'm too old.
        i'm working behind the lines
        planting emotional land-mines.
        i'm too swept up in the risk to see
        the real enemy is me.
it's coming from my soul
when i say "i don't want remotest control."
cause i don't want to possess you whole;
because i have seen what strings can do
and i don't want to entangle you so here's
one less knot to undo:
    between these two cracked, dry lips;
    between the wry, cynical quips;
    you will find the key
    to the saboteur in me.
    between these two cracked, dry lips,
    between the wry, cynical quips,
    you will find the key
    to put away the saboteur in me.
i have a confession: i handle words like weapons.

* born with hate
how're you gonna tell him?
what're you gonna say?
how will you make him
believe what you say?
how're you gonna show her?
what trick will it be?
how will you make her
see the darkness you see?
    'Cause i don't think anyone is born with hate.
how're you gonna teach them?
which version of the truth will you use?
how will you twist it
to convince them it's true?
how're you gonna reach them?
how will you explain?
how can you justify
hate in love's name?
    'Cause i don't think anyone is born with hate.
what're you gonna tell them?
what're you gonna do,
the day they finally realize
the twisted one is you?

* the consummate under-achiever
    i tried to be the consummate under-achiever
    but i could not stay motivated to see it through.
    i tried to be the ultimate non-believer
    but i lost my faith in that when I met you.
you saw right through me
like superman with x-ray eyes.
You saw the shoeshine boy
behind the underdog disguise.
    i tried to be the consummate under-achiever
    but i could not stay motivated to see it through.
    i tried to be the ultimate non-believer
    but i lost my faith in that when I met you.
your love cut right through
the ice surrounding me.
you thawed my frozen veins
with your open-hearted surgery.
    i tried to be the consummate under-achiever
    but i could not stay motivated to see it through.
    i tried to be the ultimate non-believer
    but i lost my faith in that when I met you.
        i can never find the words
        to tell you what your
        love is worth to a pauper like me.
        i can never write the lines
        that clearly define
        what I feel inside.
    i tried to be the consummate under-achiever
    but i could not stay motivated to see it through.
    i tried to be the ultimate non-believer
    but i lost my faith in that when I met you.

* teen angst revisited (or) the generation of whine
so is it uncommon for each generation
to think they're the last ones with an ounce of hope
and do i blame you for looking at us
like we've strung up your hanging rope?
    'cause each time i start to say "you kids"
    and talk about all the cool things we did,
    i realize we inherited little of value.
    we used most of it up and left the rest for you.
so is it really our fault
or should we accuse those who failed before us
and do we have the right to blame them
'cause we betrayed them as much as they betrayed us?
    and when i start to say they blew it
    and talk about how all the time we knew it,
    i realize we let them take the fall
    so we could shake our caffienated fingers at them all.
is it natural to feel frustrated
that we've spent our lifetimes treading water
and can i fault us for trying
to make it better with sons and daughters?
    'cause when i start to ask "why do it?"
    and talk about not putting them through it,
    i realize we can teach nothing better than lessons from mistakes,
    'cause each fuck-up we made is one less they'll have to make.
but am I really so old or just feeling sorry for myself?

* land-locked
i'm standing alone in the heat.
it wraps itself ‘round me like a thick woolen blanket.
i want to admit defeat,
find some place else and pull up my anchor.
somewhere cool and serene,
where the weather agrees with my emotions.
instead i'm stuck here between
east and west coasts in this
    midwestern ocean.
me and all the other beached fish
wait for autumns' cool breezes to blow,
but no matter how hard we wish
there're still months to wait
for the ice and the snow;
so we wade through the wet salty air,
cover our bodies in sun-block and lotion;
try to pretend we don't care
as we drown on dry land in this
    midwestern ocean.
        land-locked in every direction.
        dry-docked with no protection.
        mother natures' unwilling slaves,
        riding the crest of the crashing heatwave.
i close my eyes and dive under,
possessed by some demented sense of devotion.
on days like this wonder
why i stay drifting here in this
    midwestern ocean.

* absent-friended mind (for mary)
i never was good at saying “goodbye.”
i never was worse at it than with you.
i let you go without batting an eye
because I didn't want to face what i knew i'd go through.
i could have sent you a letter.
i could have called on the phone.
i could have handled it so much better.
i could have shown you i have grown,
    but it was my choice not to deal with it.
    i stupidly pushed you aside.
    now it's my choice to live with it;
    to break down & cry or keep it inside.
in my trials i turned to you.
you pulled me through some bad ones,
but once i learned to get by without you
i denied that you, yourself might have some.
i could have said “i'm here for you.”
i could have offered a hand.
i could have stayed near for you.
i could have tried to understand.
    but it was my choice not to deal with it.
    i stupidly pushed you aside.
    now it's my choice to live with it;
    to break down & cry or keep it inside.
        i know it sounds like self-pity but
        it'll do no good to beat myself up.
        if you were here now with me
        i'd say “i love you. i'm sorry.”
i never was good at saying “goodbye.”
i never was worse at it than with you.
    ‘cause it was my choice not to deal with it.
    i stupidly pushed you aside.
    now it's my choice to live with it;
    because despite my choice you still died.
    now it's my choice to deal with it
    because i stupidly pushed you aside.
    it's my choice to live with it
    because i can no longer keep it inside.
i'm sorry.  i love you.

* martyr
    i will not be your martyr.
    i will not suffer for you.
    i will not be your whipping boy.
    i won't beg for mercy.
    i won't let you hurt me.
    i will not be your martyr.
you think i should sacrifice for art
but i have and you still tear me apart.
you know it's that very fear
that's kept me quiet all these years.
you talk about me when i'm not around.
you're trashing me all over town,
but i'm stronger than you think.
    i will not be your martyr.
    i will not suffer for you.
    i will not be your whipping boy.
    i won't beg for mercy.
    i won't let you hurt me.
    i will not be your martyr.
you tell everyone i'm selling out
but you don't know what you're talking about.
i'm just trying to find some happiness
and yes, maybe a little success.
i don't need approval from you.
i'm doing what I have to do.
i'm not as clueless as you think.
    i will not be your martyr.
    i will not suffer for you.
    i will not be your whipping boy.
    i won't beg for mercy.
    i won't let you hurt me.
    i will not be your martyr.

* the big apology
apology for every time i've been a jerk.
apology for every time i thought this might not work.
apology for every doubt i ever had.
apology for every time i made you mad.
apology for when i don't say "i love you."
apology for any pain i put you through.
apology for thinking you could not love me.
apology for this big apology.
    this is my big apology
    sent with love to you from me.
    this is my big apology
    to say i love you and i'm glad you love me.
apology for all the stupid things i say.
apology for not being happy every day.
apology for being over-serious.
apology for ever fearing us.
apology for not being honest all the time.
apology for putting our problems into rhyme.
apology for my insecurity.
apology for this big apology.
    this is my big apology
    sent with love to you from me.
    this is my big apology
    to say i love you and i'm glad you love me.
apology for every time that i've been wrong.
apology for when i ramble on too long.
apology for my insanity.
apology for this big apology.

* (o)edipus mess (a complex situation)
there's a hole in my memory
where my anger used to live.
i didn't lose it intentionally.
i just learned to forgive.
i  feel no animosity.
i bare no ill will
because I revived the part of me
i thought had been killed.
    now i can say i'm my mother's son.
    now i can say i'm my father's son.
there's a gap in my history
where my childhood was.
some things remain a mystery.
some things are just fuzz.
i have no regret
for where life's taken me.
i still sometimes forget
you had no faith in me.
    now i can say i'm my mother's son.
    now i can say i'm my father's son.
        there was a point where i stopped naming names.
        there's really no point in pointing the blame.
        i do my best and i know you do too
        but i never confessed it to you.
there's a hole in my conscience
where my shame used to be.
i've purged all the monsters
that once haunted me.
i harbor no demons.
i've shed my rough skin.
i focus my dreams
on the child within.
    now i can say i'm my mother's son.
    now i can say i'm my father's son.
    now i can say i am my own son.
    now i can say i have seen your son.

* (the ridiculous analogy of) adam & steve
adam and steve don't care
whether or not you want them here.
they plan to stay,
they're happy to be gay
and they make that clear.
adam & steve don't care
how their love makes you feel.
they're happy with each other;
happy being lovers,
'cause they know their love is real.
    so you can keep your garden of eden.
    it don't mean a thing to adam & steven.
    you can keep your dogma from above
    'cause adam & steve believe in love.
adam & steve don't want
anything more than you.
no special rights;
just to not have to fight
for the same things you get to do.
adam & steve don't want
anyone to save them.
they don't regret their love,
feel no threat from above.
they don't see it as a problem.
    so you can keep your garden of eden.
    it don't mean a thing to adam & steven.
    you can keep your dogma from above
    'cause adam & steve believe in love.
        how can you see someone as a threat
        when you have never even met?
        how can you deny someone rights
        on the basis of what they do at night?
adam & steve will carry on
whether or not you approve.
love motivates them,
even if you hate them
and that's something they don't have to prove.
    so you can keep your garden of eden.
    it don't mean a thing to adam & steven.
    you can keep your dogma from above
    'cause adam & steve believe in love.

* mr. cryptic
    call me mr. cryptic.
    i'd forgotten to say how i feel anymore.
    i wrote it down and hid it in a drawer.
    didn't you find it?
    i'm mr. cryptic.
i told you i care with semaphore signs.
i displayed my affection with metaphoric pantomimes.
i wrote it all down in between the lines,
had it perfect-bound with the words stuck in the spine.
didn't you read it?
call me mr. cryptic.
    call me mr. cryptic.
    i'd forgotten to say how i feel anymore.
    i'm mr. cryptic.
i exorcised my past through interpretive dance.
expressed my fears through irrational ravings and rants.
i showed my attention as a nervous glance
and bared my soul in muttered words, moans and pants.
didn't you hear it?
call me mr. cryptic.
    call me mr. cryptic.
    i'd forgotten to say how i feel anymore.
    i'm mr. cryptic.
        even though i know it's wrong,
        i put my apology in this song.
i wrote out my confession in invisible ink.
i chained my heart to you with the missing links.
didn't you feel it?
    call me mr. cryptic.
    i'd forgotten to say how i feel anymore.
    i wrote it down and hid it in a drawer.
    didn't you find it?
    i'm mr. cryptic.

* dream only of you
    i want to lay under the stars,
    imagine that i am far away
    and dream only of you.
    i want to hold you beneath the moon,
    tell you the reasons why i swoon
    and dream only of you.
it's so hard these days
to keep a smile on my face
when the world tries to pull it into a frown.
it's so hard sometimes
for me to stay upbeat
with so much shit coming down. that's why
    i want to lay under the stars,
    imagine that i am far away
    and dream only of you.
    i want to hold you beneath the moon,
    tell you the reasons why i swoon
    and dream only of you.
it's so hard for me
to think above the noise
of empires collapsing around us.
it's so hard sometimes
for me to face society
so full of greed and mistrust. that's why
    i want to lay under the stars,
    imagine that i am far away
    and dream only of you.
    i want to hold you beneath the moon,
    tell you the reasons why i swoon
    and dream only of you.

* these days (are my own)
    i will own these days.
    i will name every one.
    i will claim them as my own.
    i will hold each one.
    stand by all i've done
    'cause these days are my own.
as time slips through my fingers
i try to hold onto myself.
each day i try to figure out
these cards i have been dealt.
sometimes i have lost,
sometimes i've found fortune
but each bridge i've crossed
has taken me forward, so...
    i will own these days.
    i will name every one.
    i will claim them as my own.
    i will hold each one.
    stand by all i've done
    'cause these days are my own.
now i feel a little older
than i ever thought i would.
i can look over my shoulder
and still see a lot of good.
the years took me places
i never thought i'd go
but through all the faces
it's me i've always tried to know, so...
    i will own these days.
    i will name every one.
    i will claim them as my own.
    i will hold each one.
    stand by all i've done
    'cause these days are my own.

* pop heroes
    my pop heroes taught me,
    told it to me straight:
    the most important thing is love,
    and love, it cannot wait.
    without it life is lonely.
    without it life is sad.
    those pop heroes have been
    some of the best friends i have had.
i never could find anything to satisfy my mind
until I heard the melody of a pop-poet's rhyme.
since that day there's been a place i can always find
a sure-fire way to leave the problems of the world behind;
and when I'm feeling burnt
i know where I can turn because
    my pop heroes taught me,
    told it to me straight:
    the most important thing is love,
    and love, it cannot wait.
    without it life is lonely.
    without it life is sad.
    those pop heroes have been
    some of the best friends i have had.
i've always tried to be the best person that i could.
sometimes i don't do everything quite the way i should,
but everything i've ever learned about how to be good
comes from those songs. that's clearly understood;
and when i lose myself
they're always there to help.
    my pop heroes taught me,
    told it to me straight:
    the most important thing is love,
    and love, it cannot wait.
    without it life is lonely.
    without it life is sad.
    those pop heroes have been
    some of the best friends i have had.
        every melody, every harmony,
        speaks the most honest truth to me.
        every chord and every single word
        makes the most beautiful sound i've heard.
    my pop heroes taught me,
    told it to me straight:
    the most important thing is love,
    and love, it cannot wait.
    without it life is lonely.
    without it life is sad.
    those pop heroes have been
    the best friends i have had.

all lyrics copyright © 1999, fiendish musical thingys.  all rights reserved.
-------------------------
notes:
* all songs written & performed by geoff kessell.
* recorded by gk on 4-track cassette @ the southside sandbox.
* mixed by gk with the invaluable help of mark easter @ at otis primm sounds.
* mastered by todd schnitzer @ undertow, st. louis.
* cover concept & design by gk & john rutledge.
* caustic guitar painted by john rutledge.
* photography by jennifer silverberg and john rutledge.
* thanks to (in no order) gary sudin, mark easter, rick sanford, jennifer silverberg, steve rauner, todd schnitzer, michael kessell, thomas crone, marc moder,
  andy driscoll, kelly doyon, kim starr, steve escoffery, jordan oakes, dan wescovich.
* a tip of the hat to wes and richard for encouragement and being the nicest pop heroes a guy could ask for.

* special thanks to john for patience, understanding and happy thoughts.

this one's for mary.

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