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  1. YEAR OF THE RAT

From the recording YEAR OF THE RAT

Lyrics

YEAR OF THE RAT

What’s all the fuss, what’s all the racket?
What do all these letters mean stitched upon your jacket?
What about this gentlemen who can hardly even move?
What’s with the smartass, getting off in his groove?

What about the flames licking up the side?
What’s with the bombers, all wingspan and pride?
What about the noise screaming through the air?
What about the presents you’ve been giving down there?

Fire and blood
In Cadillac tanks
Dayglo messengers
Running through the ranks
Pray or be preyed upon
And get into that
The lord shows no mercy
In the year of the rat

What’s the commotion, what’s all the flak?
What’s with the news lady distorting the facts?
Cofee and tequila spinning someone’s head
Laugh while you still can to cover up the dread

Fire and blood
In Cadillac tanks
Dayglo messengers
Running through the ranks
Pray or be preyed upon
And grapple with that
The lord shows no mercy
In the year of the rat

What about the plastics, what about the knives?
What about the cardboard coffins swallowing up lives?
What about the madmen climbing up that hill
Driving us to madness, to kill for the thrill

What’s with the Buddha?
What about Christ?
What about Heaven?
What a game show door prize
Pray or be preyed upon
By a bloodthirsty cat
No one keeps their promises
In the year of the rat

c 1994 by Wishnefsky, Dave Rodgers, and Todd Jameson, and Rod Clark

Dave – drums, baritone backing vocals, small plastic table
Todd – synthesizer
Wishnefsky – vocals, bass, electric guitar, synthesizer
Michael James – guest backing vocals, guest phase shifter
Irina Irvine – guest backing vocals

COMMENTS
Rod came up with the basic groove for this song; hence the well deserved writing credit. We did simplify the groove a bit when I recorded the bass part, but that was mostly because I could not play Rod’s part. Producer extraordinaire Michael James and his lovely bride Irina assisted by screaming “year of the rat” on the chorus along with the rest of us. The voice in the beginning is one of many video cam recordings I made in Russia in 1991. Dave accomplished the 16th note rapping percussion during the verses by playing a small plastic table in the studio that was originally in my parents’ living room. Mike tweaked a phase shifter effects pedal while I played electric guitar over the instrumental break, a cheap cinematic trick he conjured up in order to remediate my inability to play anything that sounded remotely interesting. Mike knows how to fiddle with knobs. Not that type of knob, you pervert. Well, as far as I know.

I was never happy with this song live and I started to become less than enthralled with the recorded version, (although it became a minor hit on a few college radio stations). So we banished this song from the set. At one point, I tried to rewrite it, but the spirit of the song had already traveled to distant, unreachable parts. Sometimes you have to let go of songs and they never come back. Wishnefsky