Release Date: 9/97, 6/02, 9/04





It's the end of a perfect day

I jump in the car and pull away

From where she's standing

Waving from the curb

I did it - I succeeded

I did everything I needed

To survive a date with the princess of the suburbs


Tongue tied and fingers trembling

Gave way to casual dissembling

About the weight and meaning of the world

And even though we talked of God

And other topics just as broad

My world shrunk to the face of this one girl


I could be wrong

I might fall on my face before too long

Tomorrow could be the end

You never can tell

And though I can't deny

That this is the greatest day of my life

I might be out of my mind

But this could be special


I think I'm crusing for a fall

Got a hammer heart and a basketball

Big and empty - where my head should be

Full of air - I don't care

Mother nature wouldn't dare


When I'm already on my knees


One of you will have the nerve

To say I'll get what I deserve

But if I die in the fall

I enjoyed the trip up

Don't knock it -- I highly rate it

Driving while intoxicated

By the vision of the future

I'm in the grip of


I've made a spectacle of myself

Everyone can see me

Standing in the car

Driving down Main Street

with my fist in the air

My cynical friends may kill me


will be the moment that I touched her hand

And kissed her hair

It may be that these days I'll rue

But in the meantime I'm a happier fool than you


Adam - vocals, guitars, organ
Rob Cassell - vocals, bass
James Hazley - drums

Adam sez:

"Special" was one of the most popular and highly praised early Cockeyed Ghost songs and unlike the way things often go, I knew I had something good when I wrote it. It was part of a batch of songs I wrote in 1993 when Eric Carmen (yes, the "Hungry Eyes" guy) was interested in managing me and encouraged me to write more. The original demo was done in my garage with a drum machine and a narrow gauge surf bass, and I immediately went out, all excited, to a show where my friends were at to play them what I thought at that time was the best song I'd ever written. The show was a house party by a band called Daisy Chain and to my horror, about the third song in they played an original song that for the first thirty seconds was nearly identical to "Special" in chord progression, melody, and drum pattern. I'd never heard it before, it was just one of those things where two people had the same basic idea. To say I was crestfallen was an understatement! But I stuck with the song, I never heard Daisy Chain's similar song again (and their guitarist, Morley Bartnof, was a big early supporter of Cockeyed Ghost), so it all worked out. Phew.

The lyrics, obviously, are about the rush you get after you have a first date that goes really well. It's unusually innocent and dewey-eyed coming from me, and I'm not sure exactly what motivated me to write such a sunny, optimistic and uncomplicated song but it probably was excitement over the breeziness of the music. The protagonist of the song is probably about 18, and I was visualizing my first date with my first girlfriend about that time when I wrote it. She later turned out to be a lesbian, so the song's sense of deferred doom was well justified. I didn't figure out I had a thing for lesbian women until about 20 years later, by the way.

There are a number of other versions of this song. The innocence of the lyrics was probably what attracted that eternal Wonderboy, Robbie Rist, to cover the song on his debut solo single a few years back, and he did a fine job with it, giving it a little more zing. He did one record release show and asked me to back him on guitar, which I did, and the only place in the entire show that I screwed up was playing my own song! The chords in the bridge were so convoluted (natch) that I got completely lost and wound up watching Robbie's hands to get through it all. How embarassing.

Probyn Gregory of the Brian Wilson band also recorded a very slow, gurgly version of this song that I don't think he ever released, but it sounded like something off of Todd Rundgren's A Wizard, A True Star. I also did two other versions; the acoustic one on 232 DAYS ON THE ROAD, and my favorite, which was the Japanese version that appeared on the JVC/Victor Japanese release of NEVEREST. Yuko Matsuda, my girlfriend at the time, did an awesome job on the lyrics (imagine translating "I've got a hammer heart and a basketball big and empty where my head should be" into another language and having it work. She did it), and she also helped produced the session to ensure that my pronunciation was as good as it could be. Let me tell you, I have never had a more frustrating vocal session in my life. It lasted 13 hours and I vividly recall heaving the headphones at the wall because I could not get some subtle distinction in a language that I thought up 'til that point tolerably well. I have newfound respect for ABBA after that experience.

Anyway, for the Japanese version we went back to the NEVEREST tapes and peeled away a little of the bombast (earning Rob the nickname of "eight notes in the hole" for a particularly speedy bass riff he crammed into a corner of the chorus that we discovered when we soloed the tracks) and emphasized the acoustic guitar, making for a crisper recording overall. That said, the NEVEREST version is very nice too.

I haven't performed this song in years...it's always very difficult to get the drum groove right (We didn't fully nail it until the Chaos band revived it circa 2012) and the chord progression of the frequently performed "Karma Frog" is so similar that it seems like overkill to do this one too. That said, this is one of the best early Cockeyed Ghost songs.

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