Fall Awake - Mermaid - Jonah - Only Changing Drugs - Swim - I Need - Universe Communion - Medley - Kid Mystic - Someone Else's Ears - It's All Just Because - Practice Dying - Disciple - Asshole World Renown - Narcoleptic Mary

Buy this album or any track on it (physically or in mp3 form) from the Shop at stuartdavis.com!

Oh, and here's some of Stu's comments on the live album that we call 16 Nudes!

The Maintenence Shop in Ames, Iowa. It's a special music club, the kind of club that has stained glass windows as a stage backdrop, the kind of club that strings little chili pepper lights around the sound booth, the kind of club where the staff is so kind you want to give up a life of crime, the kind of club where the audiences are bright, bubbly, intelligent, attentive, sexy, open, confident, and giving. The kind of club that any songwriter with half a brain (that's me) would choose for making a live album.

Sixteen nudes was recorded mostly at the M-Shop (as we lovingly know it) and somewhat at the Brewhouse in Minneapolis (a studio we converted into a concert place for one night). If you can tell which songs were done where, you're one step ahead of me. Rob Genedek, who engineered the album, pretty much took care of that. He's like a Jedi with those lasers on computer-thing console board-knob working-gadget slider dials.

Now, I can't remember what exactly is on this album, but I can say a few things about it. First, lemme start with the bad. I wish I hadn't put that damm medley on there. It seemed funny at the time, and it was certainly funny at the show, but it's not funny the 3rd, 4th, 5th, (etc) times, nor any of the times after that. It's the part where I play Lynyrd Skynyrd covers, and some Rick Springfield stuff.

Now, Rick Springfield I respect. He had that dog-on-the-cover-of-rock-album attitude, and dammit, success STILL hasn't spoiled him yet. Rick knew how to condense an entire range of experience into tiny pop nuggets:

"You better love somebody
It's late
You better love somebody
don't wait
You better love somebody
(line?)
You're gonna push it just a little too far
one night
Oh, one nignt"

Read that again, and tell me it doesn't resonate TRUTH. You know, I think the character he's addressing in that song (he expertly uses the pronoun "You" right away, to snag our attention) is each and every one of us. Every one of us needs to love somebody, and it is late, and we shouldn't wait, and if we don't wake up, we're gonna push it just a little too far (one night and night represents darkness, the darkness of our choice to push it just a little too far). Anyway, I was right to cover Rick Springfield. He's good. But Lynyrd Skynyrd?! Ugh. I wish I'd buried that idea with my last dog. Admit it, even if you love the live album, you always skip over that medley after the 3rd listen. It's too..........Andrew Dice Clay, it's too.......Garth Brooks.

I know there are a lot of songs people wanted on the live album that aren't on there, but hey, same for me, you know? I wanted "We Are The World" on there, and "Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald", but Ifound out I didn't write those songs, and then my lawyer started yapping "copyright, blah blah, royalty yadda yadda" and I drifted off to a daydream of me licking yogurt of a statue of Julie Christy. So it goes. We settled on (and this, I thought, was very narrow) using songs I had written and performed (save Lynyrd and Rick). And, I put that Mermaid song on there, which, I really appreciate people liking, but I'm getting sick of. "Swim" made it on too, which hasn't yet been on a studio album, but will be, and I do rather like that number. Also, the hits "Only Changing Drugs" and "Jonah", and "Fall Awake" were included. There's fifteen songs total (not counting medley).

Why did I call it 16 Nudes if there's only15 tracks? Voices. I must obey the voices.

All I can say is, if your favorite song didn't make it on, call me up, and I'll come over and play it in your living room. I won't bring my PA system, I'll just play unplugged, and we'll all just be real quiet and tune into the song, cause hey, it's your favorite song, and when it's done, we'll talk about the song, and hey, do you have any beer? I need beer to talk. Let's wake up your kids, I bet they're ticklish. Bed wetters, probably...how'd I guess? Takes one to know one. I'll sing your favorite song while I tickle the piss out of your sleepwalking toddlers, til the foul odor of beer and urine wafts through the house like the fart of some incorporeal jester. So don't worry if it's not on the live album.

So, 16 Nudes is my sixth album. There's a new studio album coming out in '99. It will be full of songs with lyrics which I'll record over music, a technique I invented, and simply call "Karolhaohea". It's widely immitated. Just turn on your radio.

-Stuart Davis, Palo Alto California, 1998

fall awake

I was acurious boy with a wandering mind
on a hungry search undefined
in a rigid school full of concrete thought,
a structured day and all that brought
Logic ground in repeatable facts
my big energy faded back
They gave me far less than they stole
they packed my head and they drained my soul
So I learned to sleep in a distant stare
out beyond, unaware
of a clear internal path I'd take
if I'd close my eyes and fall awake
It was an instant lift, my mind grew light
a lucid dream of a graceful flight
Just one push and I learned to fall
into the arms of the energy that voiced my call
Now each dream is an epitome
a beautiful dream of a permanent home
I'm a timeless entity cloaked in skin,
the eye of the universe turning in
And it's all between my ears
I know my way to a magic sphere
A clear internal path I take
when I close my eyes and fall awake
It's a world too dense with material toys
and signals laced with a lot of white noise
But there's a place in me that scientists
can't explain so they just dismiss

All Songs © Copyright 1998 Stuart Davis

Afterword...
Have you read The Dreaming Universe by Fred Allen Wolf? This song should be used as a forward to the next edition. I always suffered from insomnia, but at the time I wrote this, it was starting to sink in that sometimes the highest state of consciousness is the dream state. These lyrics are about giving ourselves over to the dream state, and allowing for some mystical input. This song has one hell of a groove.

mermaid

It was a costume party where we first met
and you were some kinda mermaid fish
"What a set of gills," I said, "Man, what a seafood dish,"
I dropped my line, i cast my hook, with a "What say later on
we run upstream, baby, mingle fins or just dig right in and spawn,"
the mermaid suits giving me the urge to blow this joint and get submerged with you

Come on baby now nature knows it's a blue lagoon and we don't need clothes
'cause I'm feelin a lot like Jacques Cousteau and you look to me just like Aquaman's
daughter, let's take off our clothes, baby, jump in the water
Let's immerse ourselves in H-2-O, but baby let's do it al fresco
that means naked

So piece by piece and thread by thread we get to birthday suits at last
The only thing brighter than the moon tonight is my skinny little ass
When two nude bodies take the plunge in one mood inducing dive,
it's a fat aphrodisiac when those endorphins come alive
So let's use these naked dorsal fins to commence some aqua sin tonight, yeah

Deep six your inhibitions, baby, set sail for some sexual fission
And now your pardon I must beg, but that's not my snorkel rubbing against your leg
Come on under cause I know you wanna, it's a feeding frenzy and we're love piranhas
We're like two big horny wet crustaceans trying to get a liquid copulation
that means the f-word

It was a tidal wave of craving, a hurricane with a sweet refrain
Quakes and thunder three feet under, a white monsoon beneath the libido moon
I know I've never seen a wake that large, it could've swamped a river barge

It's three years later and I'm a seaweed head, well I can't make love unless I'm in a waterbed
I mope around in my scuba suit by the stream or just suck the air tanks and daydream
'Cause every time I'm at that riverbed there's a part of me that just stands on end
'Cause you ain't never been laid unless you had a romp with a mermaid...
...or a walleye or a brown trout or a dolphin...

To hear a sample, click the ear (must have RealPlayer).

jonah

The dogs are still expecting
your father is a general
Benjamin's a murderer
your sister is a sponge
your mother is a worker

Jonah, I ran into your mom, she isn't aging very well
sometimes I think her face is gonna burst
cause hiding pain is work, and your mother is a worker

Jonah, some thoughts about your sister -- her eyes are always closed
ever since that day she's held a certain pose
it's not a coma, she's the opposite of numb
some people soak pain up, and your sister is a sponge
and your mother is a worker

Jonah, I still see Ben, but if i bring your name up the conversation ends
cause he loaned you the shotgun you took up to the cabin
whatever people say, he only hears the words 'Benjamin's a murderer'
your sister is a sponge, your mother is a worker

Jonah, Jonah, news about your dad -- you thought he drank before
now he drinks, his body is at war and his stomach's never full
cause your father is a general, Benjamin's a murderer
your sister is a sponge, your mother is a worker

Jonah they gave me your goddamn dogs and I'm sick of what they do
they bark at everything until they see it isn't you
cause the dogs are still expecting, your father is a general
Benjamin's a murderer, your sister is a sponge, your mother is a worker

Afterword...
Here, the Kid takes a snapshot of the circle of people affected by his friend Jonahs' suicide. He gets a good idea of what happens when a person lets the fear win out, when a teetering life chooses devolution. Where did all that pain and awful energy go? Jonah becomes a demon, simultaneously creates and goes to hell (his own fear). It's all laid out, if Jonah is even listening (he's not). This oddly helps build the heros' resolve to heal and transcend himself.

only changing drugs

I had my stomach pumped two times my senior year
which earned the approbation of all my plastered peers
Now I do my weekly bleeding at trendy AA meetings
I was a social monster, but now I serve my sponsor

I choke out cliche confessions, I suck down coffee black
I chain smoke cigarettes between handfuls of Prozac
Man, am I one sober stallion - I just got my first medallion
My higher power drugged me, I'm letting strangers hug me

Now I really crave a meeting, all those soothing empty greetings
The Big Book is omniscient and I'm not self-sufficient
Dependency's still coursing through my blood, I'm only changing drugs

Self help study, twelve step program, which hollow slogan was it?
"We Found Serenity" in "Day by Day" or "Easy Does IT"?
Plant that affirmation seed, our license plates should read
"Ten thousand lakes and treatment centers,
Betty Ford's our statewide mentor"

They say the devil's in the details of this cunning, baffling habit
I poured out all my Nyquil, I flushed my Sine-Aid tablets
'Don't take others inventory', 'Thanks for sharing' your sick story
If I bluff I know they'll call it, cause 'I'm Stuart, I'm an alcoholic'

Dysfunction builds the strangest sages, quoting pointless daily phrases
The Big Book is omniscient, and I'm not self-sufficient
Dependency's still coursing through my blood, I'm only changing drugs

It's self perpetuating business, you can't cure a lifelong sickness
Hazeldon cleaned out my parents, but my stay was fourteen carat
Inner peace is what we seek at fifteen hundred bucks a week

Treatment's just a new psychosis, need and weakness through hypnosis
The Big Book is omniscient, and I'm not self-sufficient
Dependency's still coursing through my blood, I'm only changing drugs

Afterword...
I have spent a great deal of time in the treatment facilities of Minnesota, and attended plenty of AA meetings throughout that process. I'll be the first person to admit that those programs have saved innumerable lives since their inception, but they are not beyond reproach. A whole new realm of dependency exists inside that world, and I could never shake the feeling that I wasn't liberated from my addictions, I was just trading devices.

swim

The only reason that itís scary getting old
is people treat you like youíre too big to hold
and you still feel just like a kid

You call my bluff when I pretend to be at peace
You take the water that I finally release
Close your mouth, open your arms

That is why I reach for you so much
I think Iím drowning
until we touch
Life is an ocean we fall in
when you hold me I can swim

In this hospital the beds are made of steel
and metal instruments are all some people feel
but what you need is something soft against your skin

So you donít have to pretend to be at peace
Iíll take the water that you finally release
Close your mouth, open your arms

That is why you reach for me so much
You think youíre drowning
until we touch
Death is an ocean we fall in
I will hold you while you swim

i need

I need a mother and a nurse
I need a girlfriend with a shotgun in her purse
I need a rug that doesn't stain
I need a muffler for my brain

I need Geraldo for some hope
and Oprah Winfrey's show
can teach me how to cope
I need a country that's not sick
I need emotions hard as a brick

I need a peephole in my door
I need a leader that won't sleep
with common whores
I need to put my faith in God
I need a brand new fishing rod

I need a castle and a sword
or just a room inside the clinic's mental ward
I need some focus or a dream
I need to justify my inflated self esteem

I need a sink that doesn't drip
or a bag of chips that won't
explode if they are ripped
I need a personality enhancer
I need a cure for cancer

I need to stop the way I drink
I need to know that wolves
won't soon become extinct
I need a savior that forgives
I need to change the way I live

I need a freezer full of juice
I need to find a way so I don't reproduce
I need a pony and a boat
I need to think before I vote

I need the press to feed me lies
I need a pet that never dies
I knead the dough to make the bread
I kneed my dog upside the head

universe communion

There was a star that was hidden in space - an undiscovered gem
until it's denizens decided they had chosen
the Dagon to give the gift to them
So with the shocking revelations,
of a primitive people, our knowledge was redefined
Enlightened and wise, the simple African tribe
has educated the modern minds

Our potential was choked under the scientific yoke
Afraid that if we open our eyes, we'll have to realize

If the message from a distant sun can reach us
There is a magic that is waiting and is willing to teach us
how to suture every soul into one concentric whole
Earth can find the perfect union
in the universe communion

In this area of Western thought, the spirit is in a vise
we are driven to seek in a futile pursuit
with a means that won't suffice

It is a science with a limited scope
where the heart and head collide
resigned to the laws of only tangible proof
to which the truth does not abide

We stifle and smother the mystic wonder
Is our arrogance a deafening fear of what we'll have to hear?

Chorus

We have a tendency think that it's our practical senses
that get these questions solved
but those are tenuous tools and the more we employ them, the slower
we evolve

Denied by suppression the deeper lessons

Afterword...
This was inspired by John E. Mack's wonderful book "Abduction", which I recommend to anyone open to new possibilities of what we perceive as reality. For me, the rewards lie beyond the conventional, constraining boundaries of western thought. I also suggest reading "The Universe Story" by Swimme and Berry, and "The Coming of the Cosmic Christ".

medley

It's a medley...

kid mystic

Mother spoke in tongues of ancient texts
while I was suckiling from her breasts
Dad's vision said the end was soon
one time when I was in the room

I'd give on of my twin sisters a pinch
and both of them would flinch
Cousin Steve was really great
tried to teach me how to levitate

Angels spoke to Grandma everywhere
not to me, but I was there
angels spoke to Grandma
not to me, but I was there
not to me, but I was there

Afterword...
Our hero is born. A volcanic sense of inadequacy characterizes much of his youth, this is understandable when you meet the cast. They did a lot of metaphysical camping, this clan.

someone else's ears

For three months in '92 when I was such a wreck
I spent endless evenings with my face draped against your neck
It hurt when I was empty and friends just turned away
It was you who chose to stay

And help me heal, pieced me back into a whole
Now it's you who is aching and needs to be consoled
But can't you see I'm happy now?
I don't want to sit and watch you cry
I wish you'd keep it all inside

Yes you're anguish, do you think that you're the first?
Since when am I indentured to be your private nurse?
Maybe this callousness is a form of love that I extend
Because I know if you face the hurt alone you'll be stronger in the end
So don't play off my concience like I should wipe away your tears
Just let your burdens fall on someone else's ears

I don't know how long I can sit with you this time
The sufferings in your life shrouds the joy in mine
So maybe you should just call me when this sadness finally ends
and you're ready to laugh again

Spare me the drama, do you think that you're the first
Since when am I indentured to be your private nurse?
Sometimes detachment is the thing we need most
And if you'd consider me you'd veil this pain you host
So don't play off my concience like
I should help you through your fears
Just let your burdens fall on someone else's ears

Because tonight a hundred pretty people were waiting in line to wash
away the guilt you gave me, they said the concert was sublime
While you were shaking in some corner
with your spirit ripped in half
I was backstage fielding praise and signing autographs

So if you want my attention, you'd better join the crowd and cheer
And let your burdens fall on someone else's ears
For three months in '92 when I was such a wreck
I spent endless evenings with my face draped against your neck

Afterword...
This is a very personal apology to someone who helped me through an immensely difficult time in my life. Later, when this person reached out to me for support I didn't want any part of their suffering because I was too consumed with the superficial gratifications of my career. I consider this a felicitous precursor to "Feeding My Ego".

it's all just because

The sun causes cancer and lust causes sin
fashion causes people to fail to fit in
sex causes babies and sleep causes dreams
and chicks cause confusion and low self esteem

Six cause seven and life causes death
smoke causes asthma and shortness of breath
air causes bubbles and leaders cause war
and the truth about after is it cause before

Race cause hate, burgers cause fries
a million dead Iraqis causes national pride
bureaucrats cause poverty and clams causes pearls
and humans cause extinction in the animal world

Beauty causes envy, money causes greed
nature causes everyone to want what they don't need
deforestation causes deserts to occur
and vanity causes the murder of small endangered animals
so you can wear their fur

We all should try to change it, but nobody does
there isn't any reason it's all just because

Schools cause education, and children cause us joy
history causes knowledge than none of us employ
our culture causes apathy and vineyards cause grapes
a country's intervention causes nations to be raped

We all could make a difference but nobody does
there isn't any reason it's all just because

We all should try to change it, but nobody does
there isn't any reason it's all just because

practice dying

Get high on ether when there's no one in the house
pretend it's the big one at the moment you pass out
It's just rehearsal, but it's comforting somehow
to practice dying now

Hang out in funeral homes and make an honest bid
lay in your casket and let them close the lid
abra cadaver, roll your eyes back in your head
practice being dead

Don't feel stupid, we're all scared
no one wants to burn in hell
There's still time to get prepared
start out now and finish well

Try painting tunnels on the ceiling in your room
imagine your birth backwards with a bigger, better womb

Tale little trips out of your body now and then
and if the rapture comes maybe you'll ascend
You know the saying 'once you learn to ride a bike'
well, that's what dying's like

Refrain Get high on ether when there's no one in the house
pretend it's the big one at the moment you pass out
It's just rehearsal, cause that's all that life allows
but you practice dying
because you're almost dead
practice dying now

Afterword...
Early on it is clear death has a monoply going. The Kid decides to try and make some peace with the inevitable, clearly not being able to "beat em' ", he makes some half hearted (but important) attempts to get ready to "join em' ". A how-to manual for familiarizing yourself with the big shift. Despite these efforts, he is unable to truly dismantle the fear and get some joy going in the You're Gonna Die department. Strangely, there is a deep yearning for something that requires death, the way to the Dream is through the Nightmare.

disciple

This goodness in my heart
this evil in my head
Do not exist in equal parts
for only one is fed
A growing dark veneer
a conscience in repose
tonight as I was sleeping here
both of them arose
I saw a demon stare into my face
and an angel touch my breast
Each one softly called my name
the demon scares me less
Something gentle tries to guide
and occupies my soul
but I never let it override
the mind that I control
If I turn toward the light
it's beauty cannot last
for I think that it must be destroyed
when I see how we contrast
This wickedness in my reflection
is familiar to my eyes
it's the image of this love before me
that I do not recognize
Two opposing forces
are measuring in me
the distance of my spirit to
the disciple I will be

CHORUS

asshole world renown

Bored stiff with my wallet fat, I ordained myself a diplomat
bought a plane and some aerosol, sprayed my name on China's Wall
Then I pissed all over the Kremlin steps, ounched a monk in Tibet
got drunk and disordered in the old Big Apple, passed gas in the Cistine Chapel
I've thrown darts at the Mona Lisa, tied lead weights to the tower of Pisa
sold salt water in the big Sahara, then I tool a shit in the Riviera
Asshole World Renown
Went to Rome and spread V.D., robbed the homeless in Tahiti
was slapped by a woman in the great Euphrates, kidnapped kids in the slums of Haiti
Poisoned livestock in Korea, tainted foodshelves in Tanzania
torched Saigon like a Buddhist pyro, slashed tires in the streets of Cairo
I chucked eggs at Castro's doorway, I once puked on the king of Norway
for eighteen days I roamed Japan, choking little kittens with my bare hands
Stuck my gum on Venus De Milo, did Zimbabwe shooting rhinos
ran nude straight through Nepal, spit my chew in the Taj Mahal
Asshole World Renown

All Songs © Copyright 1998 Stuart Davis

Afterword...
The count off intro to this song kills me every time I hear it. It is greatest count-off since NASA sent that first thing to the moon. A crowd favorite, and a lot of people have mooned me at concerts becauseÖ.because I asked them to. Hey, this guy described in the lyrics, heís a real jerk, huh?

narcoleptic mary

Narcoleptic Mary drops her head in sudden jerks
at the table in the mansion's old estate
her face in the soup and as she wakes
she hears the laughter bouncing off her plate

And when the china breaks - she awakes
Narcoleptic Mary is careening down the hallway
the dents into the sheet rock match her skull
She's taken so much speed to kill the soporific weeds
but still she feels their pull

So she collapses in a pile on the kitchen tile
and her husband's an insomniac
who doesn't understand
hold her head up with his hands
if she'd only stayed awake, she'd have heard
him when he said "Mary what the Hell's
wrong in your head!?"

Narcoleptic Mary feeds the dog in the garage,
so proud to fill her one domestic role
But the waves of sleep descend and as her
spine begins to bend she falls into the water bowl
Narcoleptic Mary

Afterword...
A day in a life riddled with brief attacks of deep sleep. One can't say for certain, but I think this is the only song solely devoted to the condition. My intention is not to mock; I was genuinely fascinated and perplexed by this peculiar ailment. I don't know how accurate my descriptions are; I could only guess what it's like.

All Songs © Copyright 1992-2004 Stuart Davis