Veneer - Sandbag demos
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Sitting on the Top of the World Again c1998 by Wishnefsky COMMENTS In 1998, after Jabberwock broke up, I wanted to stay the increasingly melodic course upon which my writing had veered and simultaneously do something that avoided sounding too much like Jabberwock. So I conceived the idea of a band in which my primary instrument would be my first love, the piano. As such, Veneer came into existence. In 1998, I recorded some demos on the Akai 12 track, which had been moved from Jabberwock's studio in Dev's garage to my home studio. This was the last recording I ever did on the old analog stalwart. Though the sound and approach were new, I was joined by some of my old Jabberwock colleagues. Michael James, the Jabberwock producer/mixer, helped with some of the engineering and production, and mixed the tracks. Dave played drums; Archie Frugoni played bass on four songs; and Stephen Bock played guitar and sang back vocals on a few tracks. My old friend Keith Wechsler, an incredible engineer who played in a band with Dave and me back in the day (The Earthlings), came in and quickly got a drum sound for us. In recent times, Keith has been part of the Emerson, Lake & Palmer team. Sandbag tackles the subject of religion. It would have been the next Jabberwock album. It was quite controversial privately in the band. Todd and Dave are religious and regularly attend church and temple, respectively. I, on the other hand, while a spiritual person, avoid organized religion and its pompous rituals like Donald Trump avoids modesty. Within the band, Sandbag inspired a number of temperamental tiffs and shouting matches. Out of respect and love for my fellow band mates, I agreed to modify some lyrics, especially after Todd come up with some lines vastly superior to my original efforts. I wrote the chorus and music to Sitting during a creative spurt shortly after the birth of the my first daughter in 1995. I struggled for ages to complete the song. Finally, towards the end of Jabberwock in 1997, the words for the verse came to me and they fit perfectly in the Sandbag concept. A few years ago, I recorded a completely different version of Sitting with no piano at all for my Wishnefsky solo record, Use Your Words. (While I strongly support the protection of copyrights and intellectual property interest, I observe no limits with respect to stealing from myself. They're my songs and I'll do what I please with them, thank you very much.) I plan to record final versions of the Sandbag songs after I finish On That Note. I will likely toss out a few songs and add some new ones. I'm very excited about finally doing Sandbag properly and in all its glory. Wishnefsky
Veneer - Sandbag Demos
0000-00-00

Lyrics

Our Blessed Isabella c1996 by Wishnefsky COMMENTS Yes, it's true. I confess. This song is about my lovely mother-in-law. Please don't tell her though. Ignorance is bliss. I love this song and not just because of who serves as an imaginary dart board for my pointed protectile words. There's something about the melody and chord structure, especially on the choruses, that makes me feel like my song writing ascended to a new level. Those finicky muses finally relented and gave me a gift with this tune. The original seed grew from a phrase about Our Blessed Isabella in a brilliantly bizarre narrative called the Jabberwock Manifesto that was penned by Todd Jameson in 1996. He drafted it in his wonderful calligraphy. I have a copy and if anyone is interested I can scan it and upload it to the site. During a 1996 Jabberwock showcase gig, Todd surprised the audience (and the rest of the band) by running off the stage and passing out the Manifesto. No one in the audience or band knew quite what to think. Todd had that effect on people. The Veneer version is fairly close to the Jabberwock version – with piano substituted for acoustic guitar. Todd wrote a beautiful melody for the keyboard solo, which I faithfully reproduced. I hope you enjoy Our Blessed Isabella. If you're my mother-in-law, please skip to the next song. Wishnefsky.

Skin

03:18
Veneer - Sandbag Demos
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Lyrics

Skin c1996 by Wishnefsky COMMENTS Skin is an old song that dates back to the early 90s. I originally wrote it on acoustic guitar. In Jabberwock, we recorded different versions. One version, sung by Todd, ended up on Letterbomb. Another version, also sung by Todd, is in the Jabberwock unreleased songs. The Veneer interpretation features a rare pseudo reggae feel on the chorus. This song has a very personal meaning to me. In fact, I'm not brave enough to tell you anymore. Wishnefsky.
Veneer - Sandbag Demos
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Grounded Nun c1998 by Wishnefsky COMMENTS This is a dusty relic, dug up from ancient times before Jabberwock came into being. I've always been partial to the chorus and patiently awaited a sensible opportunity to bring this tune into the light of day. Being light and somewhat silly, Grounded Nun never fit in with the morbid sadness and intensity of Jabberwock. Veneer, though, is a different can of worms altogether and welcomed the eccentricity of this song with open arms. Though written on acoustic guitar, I think it works well on piano. As for the lyric, you may recall a TV show back in the day called the Flying Nun, which starred Sally Fields as a remarkably aerodynamic sister who constantly found herself in mildly troubling situations that somehow magically resolved themselves within half an hour, including commercial breaks. Picture the polar opposite of the good-doing, big-hearted, gravity-defying vestal and you're looking at the protagonist of my song. Wishnefsky
Veneer - Sandbag Demos
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Lyrics

Cakewalk c1996 by Wishnefsky COMMENTS This is another song whose genesis took place during the creative burst after Sophie was born. It took a year or two to conjure lyrics which coincided with the Sandbag theme. The beginning of this version features the recording debut of my close friend David Michaelson. This unexpected event went down thusly: I was working on the song when Dave called. He asked what I was up to and I eloquently explained, "I'm trying to come up with something that doesn't sound like complete crap for the start of this fucking song." "I can help," he volunteered. "Yeah, right," I responded with an air of disbelief. Still, so as not to trample Dave's fragile sense of self-esteem, I rewound the tape and set up a microphone. I pressed record, held the phone up to the mic, and declared, "Tape is rollin', mothafucka!" Thereupon, some very unusual sounds emerged from the tiny telephone speaker. I played it back, added some serious chorusing effect, and voila! I had my beginning. Wishnefsky
Veneer - Sandbag Demos
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Digging My Grave c1998 by Wishnefsky COMMENTS Who hasn't had this feeling before? If the world is set on burying you, the polite thing to do is grab a shovel and help out. I recognize this song is a bit macacbre, but it's all in good fun, and with melody to boot. I do think I need to tighten up the arrangement somewhat. This is yet another song that I originally wrote on acoustic guitar. It might have one of the best bridges I have ever written. Wishnefsky
Veneer - Sandbag Demos
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Lyrics

Jesus Doesn't Love You Anymore c1998 by Wishnefsky COMMENTS Sometimes it's necessary to take a long hard look in the mirror. Learning how to view one's reflection in an honest and objective manner presents a monumental challenge for most. That's what this song is about. The beginnings of this song appeared in 1994. As we experimented, it evolved significantly over time. Todd and Dave hated the original lyric and made me change some of the lines. One certain line offended Todd so strongly that he must have proposed 25 ridiculous alternatives. So, what you hear is actually the watered down version. I have nothing against Jesus at all as a matter of fact. He had many worthy ideas and, if a small percentage of the stories even vaguely resemble truth, he certainly was an honorable and decent fellow. As for some of his purported followers – well, that's a different case. Get the mirrors. On the Veneer version of this song, I went for an acoustic sound with a John Lennon slap delay on the lead vocal. A harpsichord sample seemed to breathe life into the backing tracks. Wishnefsky.
Veneer - Sandbag Demos
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Lyrics

DEPLETED PLUTONIUM ROD c1996 by Wishnefsky COMMENTS Jabberwock did a completely different version of this song on the Letterbomb album. The immensely talented Chilean superstar lady-killer Archie Frugone played bass on this track. As with every part we ever recorded with him, Archie did it in one take. Perfectly. Formidable songwriter/guitarist /vocalist Stephen Bock sang back up vocals. That's Dave, of course, on drums. Michael James helped mix. Because this song falls roughly in the general category known as "rock music," and as a tribute to Mrs. Stanley, my piano teacher when I was a little kid, I pounded the living hell out of the piano at certain entirely appropriate moments. Wishnefsky
Veneer - Sandbag Demos
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Down Down Below c1998 by Wishnefsky COMMENTS Every worthwhile composer should write at least one pirate song and this is mine. Wishnefsky
Veneer - Sandbag Demos
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Oblivious c1994 by Todd Jameson, Dave Rodgers, and Wishnefsky COMMENTS Yes, this is the same Oblivious from Southland. In Jabberwock, we played Oblivious many times. Over time, I felt my vocal performance improved dramatically over the recorded version on Southland. Sandbag needed another up tempo rocking type of song. So, we gave Oblivious a shot and I had an opportunity to sing it again in a recording. Stephen Bock played the guitar solo and sang back up vocals. I particularly enjoyed banging on the piano at the end and, fortunately, managed not to break any strings or fingers. As much as I like this version of Oblivious, I don't think I'll put it on the final version of Sandbag because the lyrics don't match the theme. This song belongs on Southland and that's where it will stay, even if I know I can sing it a lot better. Wishnefsky
Veneer - Sandbag Demos
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Lyrics

Drinking the Sun with your Eyes c1998 by Wishnefsky COMMENTS This song addresses some of the gut wrenching feelings I experienced while exorcising ghosts of the past during therapy. The title of the song is also a metaphor for the visual aura that precedes a classical migraine headache. Maybe this sounds strange, but it feels good to get this stuff out of me, almost like removing a tumor. Psychologists have long recognized that processing past traumas pulls suppressed memories from the vortex of the hidden psyche, thereby healing the conscious and relieving the sub-conscious of the burden of locking away painful recollections in the seldom visited rooms deep in the house of the mind. Change and growth may be imperceptible in the moment, but they do happen. The glacier may flow slower than a snail's pace, but it still crushes all in its path. Moreover, booties may shake like the San Andreas Fault during up-tempo disco numbers, but hearts only melt into one during the cheek to cheek slow dances. I hurt, therefore, I am. I yearn, therefore, I exist. I write songs that go to the dark places of my soul, therefore, I don't have a record deal with a major label. I did not use a click track while recording this song and I believe it was a wise decision. Some songs require a constant tempo; others, like Drinking the Sun, must waver in time like the moods of the composer. Whilst the lyrical content of this song falls in the "let's probe the dark recesses of the soul" category, I think the music is quite beautiful and powerful. In fact, I think it is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever written. I hope it moves you. Wishnefsky
Veneer - Sandbag Demos
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Lunatic Fringe c1998 by Wishnefsky COMMENTS Songs are like people. They come in all shapes and sizes. Lunatic Fringe is short and thin. And that's exactly how it should be. Wishnefsky

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