Throw the Lions to the Christians

by Larry O. Dean

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about

Singer-songwriter Larry O. Dean's fifth solo release, Throw the Lions to the Christians, was his first twenty-four track studio recording, following a quartet of cassette-only releases from the early '90s (Cruel & Unusual Punishment; Prince Charming; The Age of Anxiety; and Centrifugal Farce) created at home on his trusty Fostex four-track recorder, as well as releases by his band at the time, The Fussbudgets, and four collections of poems (Rate of Exchange and Other Poems; Barking up the Wrong Tree; QWERTYUIOP; and Eyes, Ears, Nose & Throat).

TTLTTC was recorded in the mid-90s in San Francisco at Olde West, where The Fussbudgets had recorded their work to date. It features Larry, backed up by such Bay Area luminaries as Lee Bloom (keyboards), Don Cunningham (clarinet), Ned Doherty (bass), Christine (Wall) Freeman (vocals), Kash Killion (cello), Chris Lehmann (vocals), Tony Maxwell (guitar), Ken Richards (vocals), Gabriel Sandino (guitar & vocals), James Schaefer (drums & vocals), and Mark Thomas (vocals). However, its release was delayed due to various circumstances, including the breakup of The Fussbudgets, and Larry's subsequent work with the band that followed in their wake, Malcontent.

In 1995, Larry relocated to Chicago and founded power-pop band, Post Office, whose debut, Public Displays of Affection came out in 1996. Finally released in 1997, TTLTTC was re-sequenced and appended with selected Fussbudgets cuts and Malcontent's sole EP, since that extra material had itself never received a proper release. It received terrific reviews and radio airplay, after which Larry focused attention back on Post Office.

In honor of its fifteenth anniversary, TTLTTC has been restored to its previous sequence, including two never-before-heard tracks, and remastered (by original mastering engineer, Mike Hagler at Kingsize Soundlabs). It kicks off a full-scale remastering/re-issuing campaign by Zenith Beast Records!

credits

released March 6, 2012

Recorded at Olde West, San Francisco, CA 1993. Engineered by James Schaefer. Remastered at Kingsize Sound Labs, Chicago, IL October 2011 with Mike Hagler.

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about

Larry O. Dean Chicago, Illinois

Larry O. Dean was born and raised in Flint, Michigan. His numerous chapbooks include I Am Spam (2004), a series of poems “inspired” by junk email, abbrev (2011), and About the Author (2011). A full-length collection, Brief Nudity is forthcoming in 2013. He is also an acclaimed songwriter whose most recent CD release is Fun with a Purpose (2009) with The Injured Parties. ... more

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Track Name: Dearly Beloved
Dearly beloved
your eyes are black with spite
& I see your fingernails
are chewed down to the whites

I might have heard the story
of your big divide
another way on another day
with you on the victor's side

but then, dearly beloved
with whom could you confide?

Dearly beloved
sleep now with the truth
it follows at your heel
like a dog running loose

the friends who gave you shoulders
don't answer their locked doors
what they can't blindly justify
is easier ignored

what then, dearly beloved
can you be hoping for?

Dearly beloved
the pieces of the past
are broken at your feet
& piling up fast

I've given all of my advice
now I'm peeled down to the nerves
but somehow you think cruelty
is all that you deserve

but, dearly beloved
you know that is absurd
Track Name: Well-Ordered Day
I put myself together
got my act in gear
sometimes things look tough
but I persevere
it's the only way to get
things done around here

What a well-ordered day
I have constructed
nothing stands in my way
I'm unobstructed
what a wonderfully
well-ordered day

Made all the right decisions
everything's going OK
now I can sit back, relax
& enjoy the day
I haven't got a bad thing to say

People say my head's in the clouds
people say I'm dreaming
but I say that's alright
'cause I'm not scheming
look at me, my face is beaming
Track Name: Trinkets
The things you hold a candle to
all the items you value
don't add up to a hill of beans
that's me I'm here caught between

You & your trinkets
nickknacks & this & thats
high school yearbooks & locks of hair
just bits & pieces of past affairs
trinkets

Try to trade your useless nostalgia
for all the items I gave ya
as legal tender it's counterfeit
you won't get past point "A" with it

I'm not worth all the treasures you seek
& I'm beginning to feel just like an antique
old & worn & torn at the seams
that's me I'm here caught between

High school yearbooks & locks of hair
bits & pieces of past affairs...
Track Name: Nose Job
My best friend had a nose job, now
he's not the same anymore
they say that he's more handsome
& he no longer snores
well, I don't care if I'm ugly
I'll make do with what I've been given
but my best friend paid the doctor
to change his way of living

They call it a miracle of science
to take a face apart
& put it back together
using a medical chart
but I call it bloody murder
to rearrange a look
idealize & stylize it
'til it resembles something
out of a book

My best friend is a stranger
that face I do not know
he moves in different circles
with a brand new nose

my best friend had a nose job, now
he's not the same anymore...
Track Name: What's With You?
Hey, what's with you?
You're face is so long
it looks like a landing strip
or a vessel whose captain
& crew just abandoned ship
now you're giving me
that look that says
"What am I gonna do?"
Hey, what's with you?

What's with you?
Yesterday you said you
felt like doing somersaults
now you're whining about
it's so & so's fault
if he don't care then don't
wind up playing the fool
hey, what's with you?

I've been down, I know what it's like
when up seems so far away
but here's a noun I'm offering you
to dutifully say ...

What's with you?
After a good night's sleep
you'll be feeling fine
you'll wake up to birds
singing on the telephone line
as Mr. Sun comes out
& starts to shine
if you need a smile
well then, here's mine
I'd gladly paste it
over your mouth
with Krazy Glue
hey, what's with you?
Track Name: My Philosophy of Life
Don't count your chickens
before they're hatched
a stitch in time saves nine
thou shalt not covet
thy neighbor's wife
this is my philosophy of life

An ounce of prevention's
worth a pound of cure
nice guys finish last
& every cloud has a silver lining
this is my philosophy of life

Do unto others as you'd have them
do unto you
give & you shall receive
an apple a day keeps the doctor away
this is my philosophy of life

A penny saved is a penny earned
an eye for an eye
what doesn't destroy me
makes me stronger
this is my philosophy of life

Peace through power
only the strong survive
& love is blind
eat, drink & be merry
shit happens
this is my philosophy of life

(cram it down your throat)
I cut out the bad parts with a knife
(hurry up, don't miss your boat)
I accept everything implicitly
(I am the angriest young man)
I live my own life & let others be
(I will survive doing the best I can)

this is my philosophy of life
Track Name: (Just Like) Money In the Bank
If I had a nickel for every problem
a dime for every slight
a quarter of my time would be spent fretting
every little thing that hasn't gone right
still I'm here, no, I'm not there
in my sensory deprivation tank
counting the profits I made off my worries
just like money in the bank

Days go by, I hardly notice
the passage of my heart
jumping through hoops of fiery disdain
after being trained to do its part
I've focused my energies on all the wrong problems
shooting gets easier loaded with blanks
& I'll stoop to count my smoking casings
just like money in the bank

In our youth, we smile & dance
each day heralds something new
the warmth of the sun or the taste of the wind
makes us feel there's nothing we can't do
then one day, you wake up older
& think, "What a dirty prank
led to believe we could add up experience
just like money in the bank"

I'd give anything to know what was right
that feeling's an aphrodisiac
but wrongness somehow always gets a hold
& turns you into an amnesiac
there's safety in forgetting
& for that you know who you can thank
that other self safely tucked away
just like money in the bank
Track Name: Think Fast
When you answered the door
you were in somebody else's shirt
I stood there, amazed
bouquet in my fist
can't say how much I hurt
how afraid I was to squint my eyes
did I want to see who it was
behind you in the darkness
did I want to recognize
some familiar face
from our mutual past?
So I had to think fast.

Remember how I handed
the flowers over to you?
Without a peep, like some shy
little boy would do?
Then as I turned to leave
I felt your hand on my shoulder
if I'd been a little bolder
I would've slapped you on the wrist
made my exit & never looked back
but I wasn't any good at walking outside
the shadow you cast
I had to think fast.

& you know how I hate to think alone
I'd rather sit in resolute silence
& chew through our dilemmas like
two dogs fighting for the same bone.

If you think changing your telephone number
will change anything
you're probably right
I can't waste my time wondering anymore
what you do at night
today in the mail, the papers came
there in boldface type was your name
I tore the damn things up
& flushed 'em down the toilet
I'm so sick of arguing with myself
I'm no good at self-flagellation
let's be honest, it didn't last...

I had to think fast
to survive, I had to think fast.
Track Name: Obligatory Tears
Well I hate to disappoint you
but black coffee won't do any good
when I'm acting this way
it's best to let me feel misunderstood
you know it's only a front
that goes up when it's convenient
I've worked on this face for years
anger that's expedient
& even the occasional
obligatory tears

Don't try to make me feel guilty
I'll only pout & shut up
then you'll apologize for
cutting me down as I cut up
but look the other way sometimes
out the window if you need
when I start parading all my fears
all the emotional swerves
& curves you're keyed to
& even the occasional
obligatory tears
especially the occasional
obligatory tears
Track Name: Throw the Lions to the Christians
"Have a drink on me," she said
"have a drink when I am dead
remember all of the times we had
mostly the good but also the bad"
we tried to be fair
we tried to be just
we tried to depend
on undependable trust
but when tempers flared & our fists flew
it was only anger crying out
"I love you"

So we wore our hats
& we wore our shoes
& we wore out our welcomes
& our how-do-you-do's
by locking ourselves into nasty habits
that predicted the end
as easily as lab rats
"Have a look at me," she said
fabricating a lie while making the bed
self-destructing on
an impossible mission
throw the lions to the Christians

We thought we knew what to expect
young & impressionable yet
full of regret
running on batteries weak
from the start
that weakened with every wild
beat of our hearts
we ran in the snow, we ran in the rain
we ran down hills & then
up them again
hands in our pockets
& feet on the ground
two mutts on the lam
from the dog pound

"Have pity on me," she pitifully cried
with a horrible voice
breaking from inside
that didn't sound like her at all
or the her I'd known
talking late at night on the telephone
her knees were bruised
from crawling on all fours
looking for something once lost
& long since ignored
while I looked for a cup to piss in
throw the lions to the Christians

A story isn't a story
without a beginning & an end
& this a story about old friends
who gave up giving up
too much of themselves
& decided to give up something else
"Have a dance with me"
she smiled & asked
as she removed her raccoon mask
her face was beautiful in the dim light
& the two of them danced all night

In the morning things were different
passion turned into politeness
as the sun came up, flooding
the room with whiteness
they knew each other intimately
they knew each other blind
they knew each other
was one of a kind
but suspicion got the best of them
& off they went
adding up all of the time they spent
worrying over spilt milk in the kitchen
throw the lions to the Christians