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Condo Fucks City Rockers

by Karl Ward

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1.
They say we can’t dance, can’t read Don’t listen, can’t speak Can’t hear, can’t sing Yeah but what do they know about anything? So if I wanna dance, fight Sing, scream Dance, scream What if I wanna burn down everything? I’m the sound not the echo (Rock the Grotto) The song not the demo The drugs not the limo The fall not the tiptoe I wanna dance, fight, Sing, scream, Dance, scream I wanna burn down everything! The sound not the echo (Rock the Grotto) The song not the demo The id not the ego The fall not the tiptoe The drugs and the limo The fall and the tiptoe The id and the ego Yeah the very first demo
2.
The phone rings, another intrigue You try to get to me go downtown You can’t trick me into sleeping With the gutter punks on the ground So now why am I out here tonight on the sidewalk Bumming a cigarette off your friends? La la la la New London calling You're a cheapskate in a cheap skirt But Money Don’t Matter 2 Night My White Sport Coat is dirty But I’m Dancing in the Moonlight Let’s find some place to be alone I think your friends will be alright La la la la New London calling Blue and red lights In the daylight You got me running down State Street You can’t trick me into leaving You know you can’t talk that sweet I’ll be by your side if you need me To sweep you off your feet La la la la New London calling
3.
Sometimes it just stops Sometimes it goes slow But I need to know right now How it ends Then you come to me It’s fast forward ‘til the minute you go I need you to stick around And stay with me So where’s the remote control?
4.
I get high I stop thinking about you I get low I stop thinking at all No, don’t take me downtown Oh I need to get all shook down When I’m low (and) I’m faded to the floor Oh you know I just need a little more Oh Here comes the shakedown Fire the guns (The guns of Noank) Shake it down baby Yeah you better shoot me down I forgot you so don't come around I get (so) high I don't dream anymore I get higher So much higher than before Oh
5.
We can’t wait We can’t wait to escape I’ll do whatever you say Do whatever it takes Hey! We won't wait We won't wake from this dream Our dreams an army Our dreams a shield against everything So far away
6.
Everybody wants to be the controller Well I’m sending this one out to all the stop drop and rollers All you posers, you pogos, you pop lockers I'm sending this one out to all the Condo Fucks City Rockers Now you’re broke, out on the street Twisted up inside, still dancing, dead on your feet Yeah you used to go to work, now you don’t even bother Now you’re doing the Condo Fucks City Rockers Rude girls kicking down the Plymouth Rock The kids on the corner can’t stop won’t stop Feel no way by the chaos proper I'm sending this one out to all the Condo Fucks City Rockers Yeah everybody out on the street Dancing so hard you disappear into the beat We used to get up in morning, now we don't even bother Everybody’s doing the Condo Fucks City Rockers
7.
I don’t wanna be a drunk scared of the bottle Or a dream about something awful Yeah Her Majesty might be a pretty nice girl But she doesn’t give a damn about me

about

Seven songs about being a punk rock kid in Connecticut in the nineties.

Way back in 2009 I went to the store-closing sale at Virgin Megastore in Union Square, Manhattan, where some version of the music industry was going out with a discount. An ugly yellow CD called FUCKBOOK by a band called the Condo Fucks caught my eye, I laughed out loud and picked it up. That was my introduction to the Condo Fucks, which is either an obscure punk band from Connecticut or Yo La Tengo in disguise. Anyway I loved the record and loved even more the backstory about the Condo Fucks. See, the Condo Fucks have a whole discography of out-of-print (read: fictional) records. The record covers and song titles show up on the inserts of Yo La Tengo’s 1997 record I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One.

Now that’s funny. I got this crazy idea–what if I wrote one of the fictional Condo Fucks records? The only one of the fictional Condo Fucks records that had all the song titles listed was Condo Fucks City Rockers, so that was the natural choice. This whole thing is either conceptual art, or deeply overwrought fan fiction. I’m not sure there’s much a difference between the two. Apparently I enjoy writing songs from really difficult song titles. But more than that, there were two surprises in this project for me. The first: I really, really enjoyed writing about these characters, particularly in the song “New London Calling.” They are very clear in my mind, I hope some of that comes across.

The second surprise was that while I imagined what Connecticut punk was like in the 90s, I came to realize that maybe growing up on the fringe of the 90s rock scene in Houston like I did wasn’t so different from whatever might have been happening in New London and Noank back then. Or for that matter, what was happening in other scenes like New Orleans or Athens, GA. I spent a lot of time listening to obscure Connecticut bands (like Lost Generation), punk compilations (like Nate K’s GREAT Killed By Mardi Gras) and revisiting the Houston bands I remember from back when I was a punk/metal kid. Bands like 30footFALL, de Schmog, Middlefinger, Sprawl, and some I didn’t know from the 80s like MYDOLLS and Really Red, and then Austin punk bands I never heard of like The Dicks and Big Boys. Thanks to John Allen from WFMU for expanding my mind on some of those bands.

credits

released March 25, 2019

All sounds/instruments/vocals performed by Karl Ward and recorded at the Pink Ark. Mixed with Adam Chimera. Mastered at West West Side Music by Alan Douches. Lathe cut to vinyl by Jon Niess at Austin Signal. Cover watercolor and back cover photo by Jaclyn Ward.

© 2019 Karl Ward
CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

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