Knack for Negligence released 1995

PERFORMERS
Eric Dahl – Lead Vocals and Acoustic Guitar
John Hawk – Electric Guitar
Terry Martin – Backup Vocals (Ordinary Computer)
Kasandra Woodring – Backup Vocals (Up on the Block)
Greg Hauth – Drums
Bill Hawk – Bass Guitar

PRODUCTION
Produced by Eric Dahl and John Hawk
Engineered by John Hawk
Recorded and Mixed at Post Valley Studies – Seattle
Mastered by Doug Seipp at Martin Audio – Seattle
Photography by Michael Fajans
Graphic Design by Leslie Hoge
Printed in USA © 1995 All Rights Reserved
All songs © 1995 by Eric Dahl except
“Millicent” and “Buzzin” by Eric Dahl and John Hawk
Published by Yew Lane Music (BMI)

Album Backstory

This album is Eric Dahl’s first recording in a professional studio, produced after he wrote 10 songs over 10 days, culminating with an elegy for Kurt Cobain written the day after Cobain’s death was announced. The songs are tales about the Pacific Northwest, ranging from the disaffection of a Boeing engineer (“Ordinary Computer”) to a love story set in the wheatlands of the Palouse (“Up on the Block”). The performances feature bandmates Terry Martin (Vocals) and John Hawk (Electric Guitar).

Chris Nickson of The Rocket wrote: “Eric Dahl has turned in one of the best CDs by a local singer/songwriter that I have heard in a long time.” Gene Stout of the Seattle PI wrote: “Eric Dahl, a native of Colville, explores the rural and urban sides of Northwest life with the keen eye of a poet-psychologist. On this CD, his debut, Dahl’s striking voice, slightly raspy and heavy with melancholy, maneuvers through 12 story-songs of troubled lives.” Sharron Wooton of The Herald wrote, “If it sounds vaguely familiar, there is a good reason. Dahl relies heavily on Northwest images from the wheat fields to Kurt Cobain and the Sonics. But his songs aren’t parochial in a limiting sense. There are the broader themes of relationships, the complexities of life, and childhood. In fact, one of the best lines on the introspection scale is: “Strange how childhood’s never over when it’s done, shades each promise like background noise, up on the block.”


 

Lyrics

 

Shot to the Head

© 1995 by Eric Dahl

The days add up if I have it right
the days add up to hours
one hour of light after midnight tears our
shrouds and brings the showers

I could go a week without eating
take a pretty good shot to the head
but I know you're thinking of leaving
guess I'll go back to the dead

Taxi coming filled with doubt
headlights shinin blue flame
call my name drag me out
pull out your love and take aim

I could go a week without eating
take a pretty good shot to the head
but I know you're thinking of leaving
guess I'll go back to the dead
guess I'll go back to the dead

Howled at the sky like up through a funnel
barked at the traffic all day
chased the blame down a dead-end tunnel
trying to keep it away

I could go a week without eating
take a pretty good shot to the head
but I know you're thinking of leaving
guess I'll go back to the dead
guess I'll go back to the dead
guess I'll go back to the dead


 

Ordinary Computer

© 1995 by Eric Dahl

Drivin through the city 4:30 on Tuesday
Everybody’s down here with the same thing in mind
Swimming in circles tryin to find a tear in the net
Sometimes I give up and I park her by the railyards
Walk down to the water leave it all behind
Try to think about something that I want
Something I gotta have something I might not get

I’m just an ordinary computer.
Never been programmed for a broken heart.
Wouldn’t know if I had one,
give me some data, tell me how does it start?
Is it like all systems down,
melt through the table into the ground?

I work the Lazy B and right now it’s real borin
If I gotta be bored I want this breeze in my face
Lookin at the water shine watchin a train come down the line
Nothing better to do.

Somewhere in the sky there’s three years of my best thinking
Part of a machine they shot into space
Next time I’m gonna go I wanna see that window
Where we all glide through

I’m just an ordinary computer.
Never been programmed for a broken heart.
Wouldn’t know if I had one,
give me some data, tell me how does it start?
Is it like all systems down?

Guess it all got started when I missed that time last winter,
Came back after ten days they said, "Fill out this form."
When I got the part that said "reason" I just stared at it
Wrote down "unknown".

I shoulda said: I went to see the Sonics
cause I had a lot of money,
Met a woman in the ticket line.
They were talking bout when Gus
used to take a pass from DJ,
Rippin up the LA Lakers,
headed down court all alone.

Went to see the Sonics cause I had a lotta of money,
We walked out of the ticket line.
She said, “Let’s drive tonight to the ocean.
Don’t you dream about open water?”
Hell no I couldn’t phone.

I’m just an ordinary computer.
Never been programmed for a broken heart.
Wouldn’t know if I had one,
give me some data, tell me how does it start?
Is it like all systems down?


 

Breakfast in Bed

© 1995 by Eric Dahl

I barely knew her but I knew we’d be friends
thinkin maybe more but that all depends
the place was jumpin and the singer could sing
I said I need a drink do you want anything?
I almost fell down when she said what she said,
“You just bring me breakfast in bed.”

Breakfast in bed breakfast in bed
lemon in her coffee just like she said
breakfast in bed breakfast in bed
what that woman loves is breakfast in bed.

Maybe it’s lazy, maybe plain bad
we made breakfast in bed every chance that we had
even in the work week at the crack of dawn
It should be lover’s leave steada this putting on.
She said, “I’m calling in sick but I’m really not.”
They said, “Whatsa matter baby, whattayou got?"

Breakfast in bed I got breakfast in bed
lemon in my coffee just like I said
breakfast in bed I got breakfast in bed
I got a bad case of breakfast in bed.

Sometimes you blow it and you’re not sure how
I said, “What’d I do?” She said, “It’s too late now.
It’s over, you’re way off the track.
I’m goin through this door and I won’t be back.”
She was back in the mornin sayin, “I know what I said,
but I can’t live without your breakfast in bed.”

Breakfast in bed breakfast in bed
lemon in her coffee just like she said
breakfast in bed breakfast in bed
what that woman loves is breakfast in bed.


 

Cadillac Voice

© 1995 by Eric Dahl

She didn’t have no black Rolls Royce,
beat up Buick for a woman of choice,
with a Cadillac voice
that drove the barrooms wild.

She never paid no country club dues,
the holes in her socks,
went straight through our shoes,
but when she sang the blues,
you knew you were a blessed child.

Took me to Memphis when I was seven,
no better music this side of heaven.
Went to Chicago,
listenin from the car as the night got cold.

She said money isn’t everything.
I can live without it as long as I can sing.
Run up the tab let the band play,
middle of the night I’ll just drive away.

She didn’t have no black Rolls Royce,
beat up Buick for a woman of choice,
with a Cadillac voice
that drove the barrooms wild.


 

Steel Love

© 1995 by Eric Dahl

We got the pleasure and excitement of
runnin scared from the start
something in common just as strong as love
fear of dyin like a chisel at your heart

I wanna find out how steel love is made
not just the act of love, dyin to get laid,
talkin bout hard decisions for the long term
is that why you stayed?
I wanna find out how steel love is made.

I climbed down the chain of accidents
there’s no anchor there
I’m not hard-wired for emptiness
Is that what we share?
I wanna find out how steel love is made.

We got the pleasure and excitement of
runnin scared from the start
something in common just as strong as love
fear of dyin like a blowtorch at your heart
I wanna find out how steel love is made.


 

High Voltage Line

© 1995 by Eric Dahl

She says:
If my boss calls could you get his name?
Who's in charge of my boss?
What kinda business has no one to blame
when the profit just adds to the loss?

The life she lives keeps pounding
as the life she envisions plays along
like a pickup band sounding
ready to blow you away
if they ever learn to play
her best song.

Her hand's on the door
but she's not sure
what's on the other side.
She walks through
with eyes that refuse to hide
from a greedy ponce
without an ounce of class
or someone righteous who’s wrong
or some fool trying for a piece of ass,
such geniuses they can't get along.

The life she lives keeps pounding
as the life she envisions plays along
like a pickup band sounding
ready to blow you away
if they ever learn to play
her best song.

Dreaming bout hotels
on a foreign coastline
doesn't help with the rent check at all.
Do you remember that time?
Do you remember the balcony?
Oh wait, I gotta take this call.

A list of the good times
we never got back to
would fill an appointment book.
Sometimes she looks at me
like I'm just another phone,
ringing off the hook.

I can take the strain
of any hurricane
in this tropic of fever and shove,
hold her ice cold or warm,
carry her through the storm,
I can even hold back my love.

She says:
Now I wanna play you a song,
keep you dancing all night long,
I know you been waiting
and I heard what you said,
could we start off quiet
with my hands on your head?

One sip of the long-awaited wine
goes straight to my head
like a high voltage line,
straight to her head
like a high voltage line,
head to toe turn me around,
gotta find some way
to get my feet back on the ground.

The days are long and crazy.
The nights are short and strange.
I can make it a week
or to the end of the year,
but somethings gotta change,
somethings gotta change.

Another sip of the long-awaited wine
goes straight to my head
like a high voltage line,
straight to her head
like a high voltage line.

The song gets easy,
we can do no wrong,
singing hold me, hold me,
all night long,
hold me, hold me,
all night long.

The life she lives keeps pounding
as the life she envisions plays along,
like a pickup band sounding
ready to blow you away
if they ever learn to play
her best song,
her best song.


 

Untitled for Kurt Cobain

© 1995 by Eric Dahl

The bag lady's soakin
inside a flowered plastic coat
tryin to sweat away her winter cold
and the Reverend Orca with one clouded eye
is still savin delusional souls
but there's a new orphan ghost
from the rainswept coast
dangles his feet in the air
out past the edge of the Desimone bridge
the one that doesn't go anywhere

Not an emblem
not a symbol
he's just one of our own
it's a little more lonely
with each fallen bloom
you wonder what if this one had grown

They told it on the air
it's folded in the papers
they musta sold another million CDs
but everything I heard they just didn't get it
it's not as simple as a kick in the knees
when the edge of every knife
knows the same question about life
maybe you don't wanna get too clear
so everybody's gay
somethin's in the way
stupid, contagious, and near

Not an emblem
not a symbol
he's just one of our own
it's a little more lonely
with each fallen bloom
you wonder what if this one had grown.

The bag lady's soakin
inside a flowered plastic coat
tryin to sweat away her winter cold
and the Reverend Orca with one clouded eye
is still savin delusional souls
but there's a new orphan ghost
from the rainswept coast
dangles his feet in the air
out past the edge of the Desimone bridge
the one that doesn't go anywhere

Not an emblem
not a symbol
he's just one of our own
it's a little more lonely
with each fallen bloom
what if this one had grown
what if this one could have grown.


 

Crescent Moon

© 1995 by Eric Dahl

Outside my window the usual night is going on
risky sidewalks in the streetlight
you're lookin out with your barefeet on the floor
don't you know the drunks yell like that every night

Ease up darlin don’t think twice
once is enough in a cosmos this small
I don't see why you need to suffer
through each layer of nothin at all

Those two talkin in the tavern last night
are bout as thick as two short planks
maybe you could save them from their dumbest desires
if that was your callin — no thanks.

Ease up darlin don’t think twice
once is enough in a town this small

I empathize when anybody falls down
specially those that don't know where they're goin
I feel compassion for most every kind of creature
compassion is a crescent moon growin
compassion is a crescent moon growin

Ease up darlin don’t think twice
once is enough in a room this small.


 

Knack for Negligence

© 1995 by Eric Dahl

Take back the picture you drew of me
might need to start a fire
take back the fine clothes you threw at me
go build a bridge through the mire

I got a knack for negligence
a few facts from the past
that confuse me still
towering accidents
each accident an act of the will

Two different roads outta the city tonight
I used to think they’re the same
one from the dark goes straight to the light
the other’s an escape called takin the blame

You drew my eyes like I could see through walls
for a while I believed I could
what a bitter surprise when a woman find’s out
her lover’s eyes are made of wood.

If I could be your Jericho
and the walls came tumbling down
would you ignore my window with its scarlet cord
put my dreams all to the sword
and deny the killing ground?

I got a knack for negligence
a few facts from the past
that confuse me still
towering accidents
each accident an act of the will
I got a knack for negligence.


 

Millicent

© 1995 by Eric Dahl and John Hawk

The streets are goin dark
daylight’s almost gone
thinkin maybe I better not,
but I keep walkin on
down here on my own
finding what I’m looking for.

Millicent, I‘m innocent
but this punishment, it’s heaven sent.
You left me on my own,
findin what I’m looking for.

This guy comes up and says, “You want one a these?”
I said, “I’m so high got my feet up to my knees.”
He says, “What are you on?”
I said, “Brother, I’m on – my own,
down here all alone
findin what I’m lookin for.”

And these two gorgeous tropics
come drifting up the street sayin,
“Honey don’t you wanna get offa your feet?”
I say, “I’m on my way to the office.”
They say, “Ever hear of an office party?”
I say, “That sounds sweet but I’m
down here on my own findin what I’m lookin for.”
They both stick their tongues out at me.

Millicent, I‘m innocent
but this punishment, it’s heaven sent.
You left me on my own,
findin what I’m, looking for.

Came to an open doorway music pourin
on the street
walked right up shuffling my feet
looked in the window a crowd of
blue-lit people churnin
I said: I wanna live forever—
down here on my own
findin what I’m lookin for.

Millicent, I‘m innocent
but this punishment, it’s heaven sent.
You left me all alone, down her on my own
down her on my own
findin what I’m lookin for.


 

Buzzin

© 1995 by Eric Dahl and John Hawk

At the end of the driveway on a run-down farm
flyin with your friends round and round the barn
flew up to my place for a change of scene
crawled through a tear in the window screen
so different inside you’re startin to itch
smells like a house to make a poor fly rich

Buzz, Buzz, Buzzin round my baby
Buzz, Buzz, Buzzin round my baby
Buzz, Buzz, Buzzin round my baby
Buzzin all through this life.

Crawled on the forehead of a day-old child
buzzed in his schoolroom as the kids went wild
tasted his girlfriend smokin in bed
walked on the eyelids of whoever was dead
guess you were there for most everything
I even got to like the way that you sing

Buzz, Buzz, Buzzin round my baby
Buzz, Buzz, Buzzin round my baby
Buzz, Buzz, Buzzin round my baby
Buzzin all through this life.

You don’t have a job like a honey bee
you’re not pretty like a butterfly
just a tiny, greedy, dirty old friend
waitin till the day that I die
waitin on the ceiling as I close my eyes
help me with my wings so I can join the flies

Buzz, Buzz, Buzzin round my baby
Buzz, Buzz, Buzzin round my baby
Buzz, Buzz, Buzzin round my baby
Buzzin till the day that I die.

After Anotonio Machado’s ”Las Moscas”


 

Up on the Block

© 1995 by Eric Dahl

At a time of flat broke privilege
When I lived out in the wheat fields,
You were a friend like I’d never known
from a three-star city, wrong part of town.
I never knew the walls could come down,
till they were lying there on the ground.

You said, “You be my stable one,
as I try to forget the men and boys
waiting in the rain, wherever I walk.
Strange how childhood’s never over when it’s done,
Shades each promise like background noise,
up on the block.”

Why I was reading
the books I was reading I don’t know today.
Can you imagine explaining to your lover
bout Catherine of Sienna when the devil had his way.
He filled her with visions of the worst carnal acts
Like pages and pages from our magazine racks.
Catherine pushed it all away saying,
“A strong heart is blind.”
Now they’d just say she’s losing your mind.

You be my stable one,
as I try to forget the men and boys
waiting in the rain, wherever I walk.
Strange how childhood’s never over when it’s done,
Shades each promise like background noise,
up on the block.

Sometimes you get off easy after a term of delusion,
A year or a month or a day.
But sometimes there’s no illusion, you’re just losing a friend,
We both knew you wouldn’t stay.
He came for you one evening in a shining black car,
One front tooth had a gold inlay star.

We still walk in the wheat fields,
through hills of shimmering brass,
through a million bushel resurrection
of tears like grain, sown here in the pain of the past.

You be my stable one,
waiting in the rain, wherever I walk.
Strange how childhood’s never over when it’s done
Shades each promise like background noise,
up on the block, up on the block, up on the block.

Contact Eric Dahl for interviews.