Release Date: 6/02
Album: 232 DAYS ON THE ROAD
Writer: ADAM MARSLAND
What words of venom fall from your lips
So adept at poison penmanship
I am not your inferior
Don't tar me with that brush
Every motive is not
There were no means to justify this end
I only wanted to be your friend
Poetic license to abuse
Don't you dare use your art as an excuse
Artists don't prevaricate
And it's your impressionistic portraits that
I don't appreciate
You've got the whole world in your reflective lens
So you bite the hand that extends
The truth that hurts has naught to do
With your vituperation endless
I wish godspeed to you
But I bet you die friendless
I'm a rubber ball, you're a stick of glue
If I'm a social climber then so are you
So don't give me that elitist bit
Unless you're looking in a mirror
Bet you can't spell "hypocrite."
Before KEEP YOURSELF AMUSED I had written about 20 songs for the band that never got used, some of which I really liked. The studio portion of 232 DAYS ON THE ROAD was a way to put a period on the Cockeyed Ghost era by revisiting some very early songs that never got recorded or demoed. My favorite of these was "Friend" (originally titled "I Only Wanted To Be Your Friend") which was considered for every single Cockeyed Ghost album but never quite made the cut. It's long, midtempo, and wordy, but I like the chorus and it's loping midtempo air of quiet and deeply felt hurt. And the little guitar tag at the end sounded so sad and poignant, it was like it was saying goodbye to a whole era of my life. Which it was, kind of.
The other thing about "Friend" that I remember is that in 1994 -- the first year of Cockeyed Ghost -- I was writing so many songs that we actually had a "product testing show" once where we played 10 new songs and then we passed out a little scorecard that the audience then handed in to tell us what they thought of the songs. Yes, we were dorks, and proud of it. Kurt still has one of these stuck up on the wall behind his kit. Anyway, we must not have done too well in the final voting because of all these songs, only "Disappear," "Dogs that Say No" and "Friend" ever got recorded, the last of these eight years later (and in fact despite my liking for the song I think it was only ever played live twice, at that show and at the 232 DAYS release party in '02). So you'll never hear, for example, "Say Now," the endless rumination on the word "now" in pop music ("It says repetitive/it says redundant/it says repetitive/nows are abundant/at the end of a sentence in a hit song you gotta say now/say now/say now, now"). Sorry about that.
It's a natural and not unhealthy human trait when someone first approaches us in friendship to be a little wary...but I refuse to believe that it's impossible for someone to practice kindess without an underlying motive...which was the subject of "Have a Nice Day" on YOU DON'T KNOW ME, too. When you're nice to someone and then they turn around and behave like a complete prick, well, that's taking wariness to what I think is an unnecessary extreme. That's what this song is about.
Severo gets a couple of lines of lead vocal in the bridge (which only happened once during his time with Cockeyed Ghost), which was newly added in 2002. The rest of the song was written in 1994.
"Friend" was written about a particular person, but I'm going to stay mute about who it was.
"vituperation" -- sustained and bitter railing and condemnation.
"prevaricate" -- lie
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