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Enter the name for this tabbed section: DEMONS DANCE ALONE
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First Release
CD - 2002 - Ralph America - RA13 - US
Caught Between Confusion And The Need To Know We Are Alive (Demons Dance Alone)
August 13, 2002

When Pearl Harbor was hit I was a young boy.  My natural feelings were confusion and fear.  My unnatural feelings – the ones I was told to have – were anger and bloodlust.  Everyone was expected to despise any friends or neighbors who originally came from Japan.  We didn’t have any Japanese descendants in my school, so the Chinese kids would have to do.  Racism back then was all-inclusive.
Now I’m an old man living in a modern, more accepting society.  The attacks last year left everyone confused and fearful.  But very quickly we were told to hate.  In my town, a friendly, hard-working Pakistani gentleman found the windows of his small business smashed in and “terrist” [sic] spray painted on his walls, because he looked close enough.  I’m sure somebody is happy that we’ve held on to the values from the good old days.
Music, the most popular medium through which we express our feelings, is not a whole lot better.  While we’re not hearing songs of violent revenge, we’ve been inundated with overly patriotic messages that are just bland as entertainment.  Neil Young’s “Let’s Roll” is the only one with any substance or humanity in it, particularly when he sings “I hope that we’re forgiven” – otherwise it’s another call to arms.
But a few weeks ago The Residents released their latest,
Demons Dance Alone, which embraces the true feelings so many want to hide away.  It is divided into sections, the first being “Loss” and the second “Denial.”  Obviously referencing the stages of grief, the group adroitly folds anger, bargaining and depression into “Three Metaphors,” on the one hand avoiding the popular rage and at the same time reinforcing the idea that we don’t have to treat those stages literally.
As for acceptance, that may be the hardest for many because, at least as I interpret it, The Residents are saying that which should be obvious but seldom is: demons dance alone.  Demons are the ones who let base emotion overrule their thinking (made visually obvious by the image of the heart protruding from the demon’s brain).  They are small in number, and it is not a worldwide conspiracy.  Your neighbor is probably not a demon.  But that sentiment is highly unpopular in this country; if he looks like he might be a demon, then you should assume he is and attack, just to be safe.
And that may be a reason that nearly all of the vocals on this album are subdued.  More sung than spoken, but just barely so.  Tentative voices, like they want to be heard but are either afraid of how they will be received or just respectful of the silence their message necessarily breaks.  These are the vocals of caution, confusion, and worry.
Musically, The Residents are at their most approachable, which is another way of being subdued.  It has the core musicality – the sonic fingerprints – of the group,  but forgoes their usual topcoat of broad experimentation.  But this is not an attempt to widen their fan base by changing their sound, nor is it laziness (it’s tempting to believe every Residents composition starts out completely “normal” and is run through various filters of oddity, but that’s just not the case).  Just like the vocals, the music is deliberate in its low profile; it’s “in your face” by being the complete opposite.
Whether the controlling reason was time (The Residents wanted to capture a moment with purity) or expression (The Residents wanted to change up their sound enough that listeners simply had to take notice), the effect is the same:
Demons Dance Alone is an album that is outside anything The Residents have ever done, but fits squarely within the experience of every person who has ever dealt with extreme loss.
In a country that every day becomes more chest-thumpingly jingoistic and overconfident, a simple message of what is at the heart of our national mindset – confusion, fear, and weakness – seems to be the boldest statement that can possibly be made.

This is a post from Gio's blog.
Enter the name for this tabbed section: credits - tracks
with guests:
M. Harvey
C. Fabrizio
N. Cook
I. Barbier
D. Shea

• Tongue
• Life would be Wonderful
• The Weatherman
• Ghost Child
• Caring
• Honey Bear
• The Car Thief
• Neediness
• Thundering Skies
• Mickey Macaroni
• Betty's Body
• My Brother Paul
• Baja
Three Metaphors
• Beekeeper's Daughter
• Wolverines
• Make Me Moo
• Demons Dance Alone
Enter the name for this tabbed section: additional notes

Disc 2 Tracks

• Sleepwalker
• Hidden Hand (instrumental)
• Black Cats

Early scratch recordings from Demons Dance Alone
• Weatherman
• Make Me Moo
• The Car Thief
• My Brother Paul
• Caring
• Honey Bear
• Wolverines
• Mickey Macaroni
• Demons Dance Alone

• Happy Thanksgiving
• Hidden Hand (vocal)
• Vampire
• Tortured

Note: this album was officially unreleased in May 2002 and made available to a select number of fans for preview in a special "party pack" to be played in small congregations. This pack contained a covering letter, playing instructions, a poem and the CD itself. The CD contains 28 tracks but only 17 are listed as songs, the others being "incidental".
The first official release of Demons Dance Alone was the "Deluxe Edition", a limited edition of 3000 numbered copies with a bonus CD. The CDs are contained in a hardback book with lyrics and a velvet-effect outer sleeve.
"Life would be wonderful" is renamed "Mr. Wonderful" in the Deluxe Edition.

Enter the name for this tabbed section: lyrics

I. Tongue
Everybody just called him tongue.
Everybody just called him tongue.
Hell, I knew what his real name was...
Everybody just called him tongue.
Of course, he had this giant tongue...
It was so goddamn big
He could clean his ears with it
Yeah, Tongue was quite the ladies' man.
He fell in lov
And she was something.
He wanted, uh,
"Over here, Bob!"
A. Loss

Life would be Wonderful
Life would be wonderful

Life would be wonderful
If I was a little taller
If I was not quite so old
If my raincoat had a collar
To help me keep away the cold

If my little mouse named Norman
Was still alive inside the sock
He used to keep himself so cozy
Inside his little cardboard box

If I had a nice location
To sit where people passing by
Looked like they were on vacation
And helped me buy some pecan pie

If I could afford a breakfast
Of bacon, toast and scrambled eggs
If I hadn't been so reckless
When I lost my other leg

If there was an open doorway
Where I could be warm and dry
And visit with some memories
I made once upon a time

Life would be wonderful

The Weatherman
I was watching Ivanhoe
When they said the tornado
Blew your big old house apart
Robert Taylor was the star

You never knew why I was blue
So I went to a movie after you
Spread out on your feather bed
With weather maps you never read

You said the east was freezing but
The clouds were insignificant
I never knew what made you speak
Of sleet between your satin sheets

You're always calling me
But I'm never needed
I'm needy
I'm needy
I'm needing a new home

A fall in Philadelphia
When you were much healthier
Obstructed your recovery
As yellow leaves fell from the trees

Ghost Child
We're comin' Help me
We're comin' I'm alone
We're comin' It's dark
We're comin' So dark
We're comin' I'm alone
We're comin' Help me

No blood is spilled in
The land of lost children
But it is friendless
Empty and endless

She was neglected
But no one expected
She'd hold her breath for
Ever and ever

We're comin' Help me
We're comin' I'm alone
We're comin' It's dark
We're comin' So dark
We're comin' I'm alone
We're comin' I'm Lost

Once there were brothers who said that they loved her
Once there were brothers who worked at the zoo
Once there were brothers who said that they loved her
Once they petted her poodle named Pooh

Once there were two With claws unretracted
A lion reacted
Once there were two With claws unretracted
A lion reacted
Once there were two Because she was bothered
Together at the zoo While feeding her daughter
Because she was bothered
Petting her Pooh We buried my father

Then there was one With my mother aching
His brother replaced him
Then there was one With my mother aching
His brother replaced him

Now there is nothing Until he was bitten
Until he was bitten
Now there is nothing Until he was bitten
By an infected kitten
Now there is nothing So Mother retreated
From a life that repeated
Sound of nothing And said she was sorry
And more nothing But the night is so starry

Honey Bear
Tell me Why I Am so Scared

Tell me, tell me, tell me that you love me
Tell me, tell me, I'm your honey bear
Tell me, tell me, I can be your cubby
Tell me, I am, your chocolate eclair
Tell me, that you, are somewhere above me
Tell me, tell me, and I won't be scared

Once I, was a, linebacker in college
Once they, put my, picture on the wall
Once I ate much more than I could swallow
Once I had so very far to fall
Once I had a father I could follow
Once he hardly hated me at all

Now I, am an, unemployed policeman
Now my, pickup, needs to be repaired
Now I wait for you to gag and grease me
Now I hope you'll hold me by the hair
Now I live in shadows of my dreams and
Hope to be your humble honey bear

The Car Thief
I once
I once
I once
Was part of you

You hoped that the
Hands choking me
Had broken me apart

Now I don't
Now I don't
Now I don't
Believe in you

Could be
Could be
Could be that leaving you
Is overdue

My open end
Your only friend
Was always in the dark
'til I took a shoe
That belonged to you
Then took a torch to your new car

I can't
I can't
I can't
Be black and blue

And now that car
Looks like a star
That's fallen far from the dark

And as my pain
Turns into flames
No one blames my heart

Please, please, oh please
Won't you help me
Please help me
Won't you help me
There's something that I need

I once made friends
With an other
A brother
And a rudder
A lover of my needs

We found the beauty
Of darkness
And the heartless
Arabesque of need

I know no thing
Is ever lying
Or crying
Or denying
If it's needs are pleased

Please, please oh please
Let me help you
I'll help you
Can I help you
I know just what you need
B. Denial

Thundering Skies

Mickey Macaroni
MIckey Macaroni hardly ever eats meat
MIckey Macaroni doesn't even eat sweets
MIckey Macaroni never never eats beets
MIckey Macaroni knows exactly what to eat
My hospital room is
Smelling bad but soon he's
Gonna take me home and
Play his saxaphone and
Tell me if they broke up
When his girlfriend woke up
Screaming how she hated
Every guy she dated
I knew that he had slipped the
Minute Daddy hit me
Now I'm sad and lonely
And want my maca---RONI

Betty's Body
I could be the lover
Of anybody but her

I see her every morning
And watch her fingers forming
Shapes that are as graceful
As a baby's face full
Of hope until it turns to
A neediness that burns through
Your heart like it was butter
In the mouth of someone's mother

A certain scent of perfume
Makes me think of her room
And how I've never been there
Lightly touching her bare
Back and gently soaking
In the sweet unspoken
I could be her lover
If it weren't for Mother

If you met me, you'd forget me

I am so shy, every day I
Secretly cry since my mom died
I could be the lover
Of anybody but her
I could be her lover
If it weren't for Mother

My Brother Paul
I still remember that day in December
When you pretended to fall on the stairs
You said you were scared that the top of your head
Was open and bared itself to the air

I can cry
If I try
But I lie
Awake at night

You said that you tripped on a box that he shipped
Before he committed himself to the war
I was at work and believed you were hurt
'til I saw that dirt from a hole in the yard

I was still crying and you were still lying
The following morning out there in the hall
Where it was painful to watch you arrange
Those portraits you painted of my brother Paul

I can't believe that
I was deceived that
Day we received that
Present from Paul

C. Three Metaphors

The Beekeeper's Daughter
Leave me alone
I'm on the phone
I wish you'd only
Leave me alone

Tripping over Rover, he landed in clover
With bees stinging his face and his hands
Running back inside, he attempted to hide
But they saw the direction he ran

Alone in a closet he noticed some droplets
That were begining to cover his clothes
Worse than the bleeding, he started beating
Bees that were stinging his eyes and his nose

Running outside he tripped as he tried
To lure the bees back into the hive
His leg was broken but he started hoping
Bees would respond to a melody so
He started whistling a tune making mistle-
toe reminisce in the back in his mind
Then suddenly there was nothing to see
The bees had blended into summertime

Jingle Bells made a minute from hell
Dissipate as my daddy cried

I didn't do it, so
You'll let me leave, won't you?

Out-of-towners and their chlldren
Watched us when we went to kill some
Wolverines who tried to hide
Their babies but the puppies cried

No one succeeds if they
Scatter their seeds where the
Wind and the weeds
Are pleased

Then the children went to pet
The baby animals who bit
Their fingers causing blood to blow
Around like rosebuds in the snow

Make Me Moo
Their eyes are big and sweet
When they eat
I don't know why

Why can't I
be a cow
Cows never cry

My heart was broken, broken
Cows are so open, open
Bro-ken, Bro-ken, Bro-ken
It was bro-ken
Open, Open, Open
Cows are open

Every heart that's been broken
Is a heart with a hole
Every heart that's still open
Is the seed of a soul

Make me moo, Make me moo
Make me moo, Make me moo
Who can truly make me moo?
Make me moo, Make me moo

Make me moo, Make me moo
Make me moo, Make me moo
Hava a heart and make me moo
Make me moo, Make me moo

II. Demons Dance Alone
You can know a needle's eye
Or a hungry baby's cry
But no one knows that demons dance alone

Silver linings came and went
When I was an innocent
Never knowing demons dance alone

But somehow I was seduced
And my innocence reduced
By a demon that became my own

Knowingly I followed it
Took the hook and swallowed it
But then I found it dancing in my home

Terrified I tried to quit
But now I need the taste of shit
Like a dancing demon needs a home

I had hoped to fill my years with
More than melancholy tears
But the demon makes me dance alone
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Liner Notes
An ancient saga tells us how
In the beginning the First Cow
(For nothing living yet had birth
But Elemental Cow on earth)
Began to lick cold stones and mud:
Under her warm tongue flesh and blood
Blossomed, a miracle to believe:
And so was Adam born, and Eve.
Here now is chaos once again,
Primeval mud, cold stones and rain.
Here flesh decays and blood drips red,
And the Cow’s dead, the old Cow’s dead.

Robert Graves (1895–1985)

When Bob was asked whether he held his tongue because he was a fool or for want of words, he replied "A fool cannot hold his tongue". (Plutarch A.D.46 - A.D.c.120)

Demons Dance Alone (2002) Bach is Dead Notes

The bulk of these songs were written and recorded after Sept. 11 2001. The Plutarch quote - "A fool cannot hold his tongue" - which they use on the cover acts on several levels. To write a straightforward song about that day would be foolish to say the least (though several egomaniac popular singers are doubtlessly doing so right now). The Residents have not done this. Neither are the songs on DDA discipherable metaphors for loss of life on that day. Despite artistic acclaim from those who understand and appreciate their art The Residents have held their tongues throughout their career. They also use a quote from Robert Graves, the First World War veteran and poet. Many artists who witnessed the horror of that conflict found themselves unable to talk about it using the usual methods. Indeed our very language (or tongue?) was deemed inadequate to describe such mechanised slaughter. I'm going to hold my own tongue now..

What does clearly come across is a sad weariness with the follies of human nature. This melancholy has always been present in their work but never before this tangible. Instead of being lost to anger though they have created some of the most bittersweet and melodic music of their career. The songs they have placed under the heading of 'Loss' are their finest yet. There seems to be a French influence (must have been that Polnareff tribute album) evident on songs like 'The Car Thief' and 'My Brother Paul'. There's a real musical economy at work, tasteful and well judged, like the way the stately chords of 'Honey Bear' are underpinned by skittering, almost drum and bass percussion. My current favourite track is 'Caring', a perfectly formed pop song with fantastic psychedelic/gothic guitar and sax breaks. Great story too if you listen to the words. DDA is a lot more varied than I am making it sound though. The ghost of Snakefinger (or a guitarist doing a damn good impression) is drafted in for 'Mickey Macaroni'. Two songs are carried by what appears to be a child (of a Resident?). 'Wolverines' is half Wormwood, half 80s funk nightmare while 'Betty's Body' and the title track seem to playfully drop 60s pop guitar riffs into the mixture (is that 'Needles and Pins' on 'Demons Dance Alone'?). There is anger, but it's a resigned anger. WHY do we fuck it up every time? Who makes us commit these atrocities large and small? If there are demons we have invited them, because it's all US.

The various members of the Residents stand out more as individuals. Much of the Residents' output since the late eighties has seemed very characteristic (?) and attributable to a core creative unit, but this album (more than any for a long time) sounds like the joint effort of a "band". Of course this much has been admitted, but since when has anyone believed anything they tell us?