Stay On My Arm, You Little Charmer

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I remember Joe Katz coming into the Marlin one evening after a Swinging Madisons rehearsal and announcing that Kristian had just written a #1 hit. And then he sang “Belinda” to the rapt little audience assembled in the booth there. Ned and I were probably taking notes.

Of all my songwriting role-models, Kristian was the only one I was actually friends with. And as an impressionable teenager, as I was still putting it all together that “songwriter” was something a person could actually be, Kristian’s example — both in its proximity and its brilliance — helped me find the path that is by far the main source of any strength and resilience I have left, totally the reason why I’m still able to get out of bed (almost) every morning.

This is the Booze Brothers live — always up for playing the #1 hits of the day — from that ghostly Buskers Club tape.

Belinda (Kristian Hoffman)

The Booze Brothers

More Deadly Than the Atom Bomb

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An early glimmering of Devastationalism, this is an example of a song that isn’t quite earned, one that I didn’t have the actual experience to write. I knew the feeling well enough, and the drinking, god knows. But I didn’t know any dead people yet. The details in the second verse are completely made up — I’m faking it, and you can tell. Or I can, anyway.

The fly-like dropping would, of course, commence soon enough afterwards. And one could be charitable, I suppose, and say the whole song’s pregnant with that — callow youth fearfully awaiting (or worse, eagerly on the prowl for) adult life’s impending disasters.

Recorded live at a makeshift Bowery basement operation called The Buskers Club, Me and Ned on acoustics as The Booze Brothers in the days just before The Nightmares. “Ironically” (there’s that word in scare quotes again), the very audible audience banter does include the voice of at least one bona fide dead person.

More Deadly Than The Atom Bomb

The Booze Brothers

Every day they pay their respects
To a bar that’s dark and grey
Even though it’s out of the way

No they don’t know what to expect
But you can see them every day
Even though it’s out of the way

No I don’t know what they’re looking for
But if I did
I wouldn’t look where they were looking
God forbid

It rips through the night
And it rips through the calm
And it’s more deadly than the atom bomb

I don’t understand it
But I know that it’s wrong
And it’s more deadly than the atom bomb

And at night they go to a ward
Where their friend who’s ill must stay
Even though it’s out of the way

Though they don’t know what to expect
She’s got a tumor so they say
She feels better today

No I don’t know what they’re looking for
But if I did
I wouldn’t look where they were looking
But that’s what they did