Kid Mystic, 1997

Album Notes

Kid Mystic is my fifth full length album. Previous recordings have been characterized by a lot of brain power, with Spirit surfacing from time to time. This project is a departure from that IQ/funny bone combination, and exists in many dimensions. Dimensions that frustrate positivistic scientists, realms that don't respond well to a solar powered pocket calculator (like the one I used to write Nomen Est Numen). The staunch materialists will no doubt announce that much of Kid Mystic is "not real". No matter, the point is: to deliver twelve catchy pop nuggets about our Hero's' birth into a paranormally gifted family, his uneasy slide into Earth's matrix of suicide, sex abuse, alien abduction, pathological cultures, sick/brilliant relatives, and eventual understanding of the divinity dwelling in him and all things...the direct apprehension of God, do it all in twelve pop songs required me to write in a manner I had shunned before. I used poetry. Some similes and metaphors ($4.15 for a half dozen at the Homestead Pickin' Parlor in south Minneapolis). I blurred the eyepiece on a few tunes- sometimes I looked at what I had written and thought "what the hell does that mean, oh spooky thing that I am now a mouthpiece for?!". The answer was something like "I am only scary because you view me through your own fear, and that is precisely what the song is about." Then I would get really scared and read a chapter or two on multiple personality disorder while chanting some "go away" variety of mantra. Then I would chew gum for six hours til I got lock-jaw, then I would see how long I could hold my pee in, then I would put pennies on a railroad, then I would make up words that rhyme with no other words (til I made up one that did rhyme, then I would invert them or create their equivalent in Latin, or substitute digits for consonants and predict the date of my death by singing "Jonah" backward {don't bother trying this, it doesn't work-if it did I would have been dead before I was conceived, although come to think of it,..... I WAS} then I would try to conceive of a nonlinear language that could also predict......), then I would have to stop the trickle of blood from the corner of my eye. Where were we? Kid Mystic is above all the story of one person remembering that he is God. Consider what follows to be truncated foot notes. If you want to figure the album out on your own, I fully support that. What I will outline is just my version, one interpretation. You go ahead and kick some intuitive ass, and stop reading now.

Kid Mystic- 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.

Kaleidoscope- The antagonist arrives. Kid Mystic is more than a little disturbed by the shadow monkey on his back, he is constantly spooked and stalked by an intangible other that he can only describe as a haunting Dream (a nightmare). Let's just say his Third eyepiece is blurry at this stage. This may be the finest song I've written, whatever the hell would decide that (me).

Untitled- A death in the family. The feeling of absence is enormous, but he is also able to realize that this is more a problem of perception than anything. Absence is perception. An important template early on.

The World Learns English- The Kids' young cultural survey. More death, abstract imperialism.

Practice Dying- Early on it is clear death has a monopoly 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.

Shades of Grey- These episodes of testing the boundaries jar loose memories. Some hideous scenes from childhood bubble up, and it turns out the hero did not suffer an uneventful youth. He vividly relives time spent with distant (in more than one way) relatives, and recovering the trauma helps him realize that his fear is like a big black flashlight that he points at everything. He has developed the habit of passing out with fear at his own projections. Death and altered states, he allows, may be yucky because he makes them that way.

Jonah- 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 hero's' resolve to heal and transcend himself.

Ani I Adore- Another demon takes the stage. Ani is somehow related to Kid Mystic, and so is the man who abuses her. Again, this is literally hell: fear, pathology.

Uncle Seth's False Gospel- It's getting interesting. Kid Mystic is home for the holidays or something, and wondering around the acreage surrounding his boyhood home, he runs across a curious artifact. Some sort of scroll, we learn later, planted there by his long deceased uncle Seth. In his unmistakably sloppy Hebrew, Seth had forged the bizarre and wicked Gospel, containing a simple directive ostensibly straight from God to Kid Mystic. It states clearly that all God expects from the Kid is that he continually masturbate with three chords and self indulgent frivolity. Kind of a "Hey- you are a pretty swan aren't you?!, now just keep staring at your own reflection for the next seventy years" commandment. Well, the Kid spots this as bullshit from a mile away, and lets fly with an effigy. Nuf' said.

Rerum Natura- I wish I hadn't written this song in Latin, but oh well. Here we are, our hero has made a decisive move. In Uncle Seth's, he basically flipped the bird to the notion of staying stuck in his own ego, he has always felt something bigger on the horizon. At this point, he has concluded that walking face first into a fucking horrible Nightmare (God-the DREAM) is better than staying stuck where he is, afraid (literally) of his own shadow and lonely for something he can't articulate. He makes his move. In sleep, he confronts the evil beast that has hounded him since birth, the dark ubiquitous force with endless faces, and it is none other than..... himself. He finds another soul, but it is himself. The Demon/Nightmare was actually the God/Dream cast in the shadow of his black flashlight. His Third eye has come into focus, and the Demon turns into an Angel, the Nightmare a Dream.

The Dream Usher- In fact everything looks different. He is now part of and witness to an ecstatic poem. He becomes a co-creator, and spills with the joy of being reunited (with what he was never separated from).

Markers- Death no longer looms like a threat, it is a sacred promise. Fear has been transformed into knowing. The Kid-hero boy now invites all he previously resisted. He dances with all that is, was, or will be.

Notes: I highly recommend reading anything by Ken Wilber, Pierre Teilhard De Chardin, Henri Bergson. Wilber in particular has some of the most gratifying articulations of evolution I've ever read.

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We were blown away by Stuart’s pure genius. Finally a songwriter with something to say. We booked him on the show, calls started coming in “Who was that? Who was that you had on World Cafe?”

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