JVA - JEROAN VAN AICHEN: Today Was Different

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about

I have two vivid memories of making this record;
One is me slowly dragging a huge iron boat anchor across the driveway outside to get a sound effect for one of the songs.
Two is of the studio toilet, which only flushed sometimes.

credits

released May 21, 1997

Produced and recorded by CB Rock at Poundhouse on Sauvie Island, with Toki Wolf on bass and Rick Dallman (RIP) on drums. Also had some of my other favorite folks in town playing on it; Tim Ellis, Craig Carothers, Nancy Hess, Gregg Williams, Mike Braun, Eric Hill, and Steve Hale. Toki did the artwork and design. I

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about

jva Portland, Oregon

Hi. I’m Jim Walker
I make music.

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Track Name: I Fry A Saxophone
I FRY A SAXOPHONE

‘Scuse me bro. Do you got any after shave?
I can’t get this perfume off my hands.
Have a pretzel...go ahead, take one while they’re free.
I’m on my way home. Love is a beautiful thing.
love is a beautiful thing

I’m off the streets. Dad bought my ticket back.
My hamster’s running loose in the baggage rack.
I can’t smoke. I should’ve just stayed in the bar.
It’s cold on my face. It’s cold everyplace.
It’s cold everyplace

A house of bricks falls down all around me.
A man’s thrown off the train.
He’ll wake up wondering why he’s not in Tacoma.

I fry a saxophone.
I fry a saxophone.
I fry a saxophone.
This is the cause of the effect.

I act natural when my heart’s brimming with fear.
I’ll knock you down if I hear one more peep.
They dogged my heels. Ran bullets right up my sleeve.
Looks like it. I won’t darken this doorstep again.
darken this doorstep again.

A house of bricks falls down all around me.
A man’s thrown off the train.
He’ll wake up wondering why he’s not in Tacoma.

I fry a saxophone.
I fry a saxophone.
I fry a saxophone.
This is the cause of the effect.
Track Name: Breathe
BREATHE

He walks downtown, all grace and style.
He doffs his hat and takes his pipe out to smile.
Smoke is curling all around him now.

The headlines come, all blood and fear.
A small boy’s gone, a woman’s disappeared.
It’s never what it’s all cracked up to be.

Breathe the body down.

The smoke is in his jacket. The smell is in the air.
He fries, dries and grinds the teeth, flesh and hair.
Lighter to the rim, now as he packs it with his thumb.

It goes down smoothe. Such a perfect blend.
He waves hello and lights the pipe again.
Spirits rising gray into the sky.

Breathe the body down.
Track Name: Soft Spot
SOFT SPOT

It’s not as if I haven’t tried. I’ve been your bright idea, I’ve been your private joke.
And somehow, now I feel I’ve lied. Although to do so, I would sooner choke.

I’ve got one sad shanty with a broken verse. I say ‘that’s alright’ when I fear the worst.
It’s not your love that I want to feel. No, it’s not your kiss that I want to steal.
I want to hit your...

Soft spot. I want to make you feel like me.
Soft spot. It’s the last ace that’s up my sleeve.
Soft spot. These things happen to a desperate mind.
Soft spot.

Just keep laughing like you are. When everything goes black, you’ve gone too far.
It’s just the kiss before the bite. Another scream that echos in the night.

Oh, bones will mend and cuts will heal. But, words put on the final seal.
You’re the one that gives me purpose. Still, here I am underneath the surface.
Digging in your...

Soft spot. I want to make you feel like me.
Soft spot. It’s the last ace that’s up my sleeve.
Soft spot. These things happen to a desperate mind.
Soft spot.

Oh, the mirror and I have nothing to say.
I’m waving my fist ‘round. I want you to stay.
I’m pointing my finger and screaming till I’m blue.
I remember when these hands promised you they’d never touch your...

Soft spot. I want to make you feel like me.
Soft spot. It’s the last ace that’s up my sleeve.
Soft spot. These things happen to a desperate mind.
Soft spot. I want to make you feel like me.
Soft spot. It’s the last ace that’s up my sleeve.
Soft spot. These things happen to a desperate mind.
Soft spot.
Track Name: Protection
PROTECTION

Stretch out my wrists and fingers.
My teeth, white as a blank page.
I am making impressions.
My voice, starting to network.
It’s nice to see you again.
Lampshade, life of the party.

And if you hear a distant sound, a teardrop in the sea.
It’s probably nothing, but it might be me. Needing...

Protection.
I need protection.

I see beauty in profile.
Just like some feathered angel,
floating through on a warm wind.
My hands move to her body.
Soft skin is turning to ice.
I chose just the wrong moment, again.

And if I say my prayers tonight with you in my bed.
Help me to believe those words aren’t dead. Give me...

Protection.
I need protection.

Give me, give me protection.

And if I’ve saved a seat for me somewhere underground
let me hear the tiniest of sounds. I need...

Protection.
I need protection.
Track Name: Microcosm
MICROCOSM

She shudders and crosses herself. Yes, she’s made her choices.
She drums her blood red fingernails. Haunted by the voices.
They turn thoughts to fire, diamonds to glass, and I believe the shoe fits.
“Our Father”, she says, wheezing one last deep breath in through her curled lips.

The sound rings down as I wait in the station.
Luxury. Cold air blowing through the tube.
A wise idea, watch it fall. Like a germ, we’re so small...fading.

I wait deep inside the storm drain, drinking rusty water.
So this is the thanks I get for all of my toil and bother.
The hawk now stands for peace, and good equals bad, and Jesus fell from Graceland.
In his thorns and his gown, he was still kneeling down to hear what the King said.

The sound rings down as I wait in the station.
Luxury. Cold air blowing through the tube.
A wise idea, watch it fall. Like a germ, we’re so small...fading.
Fading. Fading.
Track Name: If You Want That Coat
F YOU WANT THAT COAT

Remove your sandals before you enter.
This is holy ground. He walked here.
More compelling than the shroud. Who’ll start the bidding?
If it’s the last thing I ever do, I’ll wear it around me.

Roll the bones - Hold your breath.
Ante up, boys...if you want that coat.

It’s been my one desire for too many years.
I want to have and to hold, to cage and to covet.
But how can my soul keep the peace with you?
My body-my spirit know that truer words were never spoken.

Roll the bones-Hold your breath.
Ante up, boys...if you want that coat.

Breathe in the smoke from a church bell,
and you will see the vicious eyes.
With a golden axe cut the locust wood,
and you will see the vicious eyes.

Roll the bones-Hold your breath.
Ante up, boys...if you want that coat.
Ante up, boys...if you want that coat.
Track Name: Back When I Was Old
BACK WHEN I WAS OLD

Back when I was old,
I could not say what was on my mind from day to day.
Oh, my blood ran thick, my skin turned grey.
All the doors were locked, keys tossed away.

I will be watchful of your lips. That crafty smile you crack.
I will keep watching mirrors. I don’t want a bullet in the back.
I will not break the hand of Fate. I will not build a wall of hate.
I will not speak. I will not breathe. You have my word...

Back when I was old,
I could not say what was on my mind from day to day.
Oh, my blood ran thick, my skin turned grey.
All the doors were locked, keys tossed away.

I will be pure in thought and deed. I would not dream of money.
I will be Jesus if I bleed. The red flows out like honey.
I will not ever change my name. I will not play a sucker’s game.
I will not rip. I will not tear. I’m perfect just like you.

On the edge of appetite. I’m frozen to the spot.
My mind plays funny tricks on you. I’m running cold and hot. Yeah.

Back when I was old,
I could not say what was on my mind from day to day.
Oh, my blood ran thick, my skin turned grey.
All the doors were locked, keys tossed away.
Back when I was old.
Track Name: Love You Still
LOVE YOU STILL

When the world moves like machines,
in this ancient rust and blood.
You know I love you still, love you still.

Hanging there. You’re upside down.
Floating in the dust and sun.
You know I love you still, love you still.

I see you in every salty tear.
And throughout the years.

Beams that move, with chains that pull.
Climbing into your sweet skin.
You know I love you still, love you still.

The hot fire.
Track Name: Not So Far
NOT SO FAR

I’ve never much been dead.
This bulldog on my head sends that boy to the chair.
Makes this space empty air.

Poor fellow with a furrowing brow.
Body bag. Washed out. Pick it up, now.
Be quick about it, I don’t doubt it for a heartbeat.
My friends and neighbors got some action in the same sheets.
Old timer thinks it sounds like a bribe.
Talk about brain damage with a dangerous tribe.
Reassure me, Boneman. Say it’s ok.
But, he’s busy trying to figure out who goes and who stays.

It’s not so far to Hell. Big fire.
Not so far to Hell.

I bought a saxophone. I’m in the lights alone.
I don’t care what they say. I play it anyway.

It’s not so far to Hell. Big fire.
Not so far to Hell.

I am falling.

I tried to move Heaven and Earth for you.
Now, I’m holding my breath till I‘m blue.

As you can plainly see, this lamb runs after me.
Throw off your silence, now. Embrace the blackness, now.

It’s not so far to Hell. Big fire.
Not so far to Hell.

Well, it’s about time to find out where the loyalty lies.
I can’t be swimming with the fishes I fry.
Watch out, this bullet’s got my name on the side.
May God protect you when you fall from his eyes into Hell.

Big fire.
Not so far to Hell.
Track Name: Ivory & Gold
IVORY AND GOLD

How do you do?
This is my crew, and this is the rest of the planet.
I think you and I and this lovely glass eye, might come to some understanding.

Yes, put on those skins. Great, now once again.
I’m sorry, just once more for camera.

Take off your Western clothes. Kink up your fine black hair.
Smile as you strike the pose. This is your cross...
This is your cross of ivory and gold to bear.

Arrows and bows, and bones through the nose.
Mocking to stalk helicopter.
A giraffe in the scene is eating the green,
so someone pumps lead in to stop her.

They won’t soon forget. You don’t mess with the set.
When Hollywood calls, people listen.

Take off your Western clothes. Kink up your fine black hair.
Smile as you strike the pose. This is your cross...
This is your cross of ivory and gold to bear.

Surprise, surprise. As we watch from a safe distance.
Surprise, surprise. Money makes the world go around and around and around.

Take off your Western clothes. Kink up your fine black hair.
Smile as you strike the pose. This is your cross...
This is your cross of ivory and gold to bear.
This is your cross...
I said this is your cross of ivory and gold to bear.
Track Name: Again Again
AGAIN AGAIN

You pried me out of my dreams tonight.
You shook my shoulders, turned on the light.
You were just making sure that your life came true.

And now I look like a different man.
Here in a future I did not plan,
and you want me to smile like it’s alright.

Will you ever come down from the sky?
And see how this looks through my eyes?

I’ve felt it over and over like minutes to hours again. Oh, again.
I’ve felt it over and over just running in place where I stand. Again again.

I got a call from a friend today,
that I hadn’t seen in so long.
So I said, “Do you remember that time?...” And I stopped myself.

It was right in my hands, like this girl.
On the tip of my tongue, like this girl.
I put out my hands and held out my fingers, yeah.

Will you ever come down from the sky?
And see how this looks through my eyes?

I’ve felt it over and over like minutes to hours again. Oh, again.
I’ve felt it over and over just running in place where I stand. Again again.

Again again.
Track Name: New Memories/Today Was Different
NEW MEMORIES

It doesn’t seem real to me.
You did things tonight you never do.
I know it’s not you.
Something’s come and broken us in two.

Time-Time-Time passes.
Leads me to you.
I-I knock gently.
Call your name, too.

Catch my face in the mirror as I run for the keys.
I hear the water forcing new memories on me.

It doesn’t seem real.





TODAY WAS DIFFERENT

May 15th

Once upon a time, a boy named Bicycle Jerry came whooshing and darting down Baker Road on his puce Huffy ten-speed. He grinned and shouted happily, whooping like an Indian and ringing his little bell down that quiet suburban street. The wind was screaming in his ears and his heart pumped like thunder in his throat.

He was on his way back from Farnucci’s bakery.
So, with a twelver of hot fresh donuts in a pink box secured to the back of his bike seat, he headed home to watch some tube and do his Special Ed homework.

Bicycle Jerry didn’t have any friends. He was what a lot of people call...slow. Mildly retarded. Kids can so often be cruel, and he was usually taunted by them at school to shouts of, “Hey-hey, Jerry you idiot!” and “Tardo Fat-Tardo Fat, check for fudge where Jerry sat!”
Usually, this rolled off Jerry’s back, but today was different.

Down the road apiece there was a group of neighborhood nasties who called themselves the Baker Road Stilettos. They were led by the nastiest kid of all, Ronny Backensteel. The rotten boys were busy hammering rusted nails into the tops of fences around the houses of the kids they hated. This was great fun when the unsuspecting kid would sneak out at night and rush out to hop his fence. The next thing he knew he had a hand shredded beyond recognition.

Ronny had just put the finishing touches on a dangerous impaler outside Sammy Splanders’ yard, when he heard a familiar sound. The sound that brought a pang of elation to his dark little ticker. A bicycle bell! And happy shouting!!

“Cool,” thought Ronny. “Now, we’ll see some action.”
“It’s the tard!” he screamed and the boys were on their heels running quickly out to the street where the joyous sounds were coming from.

Bicycle Jerry looked up just in time to see the fist. But, not in time to stop the fist, although the fist stopped him. CRACK! went Bicycle Jerrys’ five favorite teeth and his bicycle went home without him. His back hit the blacktop with a heaving thud, and his thrown back head clipped his own shoulder blades before coming to an scuffing stop at an angle alien to a human body.

Ronny Backensteel laughed and spat out a rope of chocolatey phlegm.
“Heh heh, how was your trip there, donut boy?” He taunted.
Bicycle Jerry didn’t answer.

“I said how was your trip, bananahead? Whattaya deaf?”
He walked toward the crumpled boy and that was when he saw the dark spreading stain seeping out of Jerrys’ left ear.
“Uh oh.” muttered Ronny.
“Oh my God...you killed him, Ronny!” said Pete Whiskett, who up until now had his middle finger shot up and waving in Jerrys’ direction.
“I couldn’t have...I only tapped him,” pleaded Ronny.

The street was too quiet. The birds stopped singing. The dogs stopped barking. All the regular street sounds now broke off as if suddenly sealed behind the world’s biggest door.

Then, little wounded Bicycle Jerry stirred. A groggy peep emitted from his torn and smashed mouth. Ronny ran up and knelt beside him.
“Hey, donut boy. You okay?” he said.
“Come to me,” groaned Jerry spitting out shards of enamel and gravel.
Ronny bent down. “What is it?”
Almost whispering, Bicycle Jerry said, “Eternal thunder. Forever black fire. The shroud of infinity. Coldest death from head to feet.”

Then, Bicycle Jerry died, slipping into the other world.

Ronny’s eyes filled with a thousand tongued fear.
“No! No! You lousy fat pile of crap! Oh, why me?” He looked up at his friends, but they were gone. They’d run away scared.
“Lousy yellow chickens!!” screamed Ronny, and he stood there alone on the street with the corpse of the donut boy.

And that’s when the first real pain hit him.
The feeling that someone was ripping through his intestines with a white hot straight razor. He fell to his knees and as his weight hit the pavement, giant slabs of his skin slid off his bones and hit the road with a wet slap. He tried to scream blood and murder, but his tongue had turned into a clod of maggots that slurped and gurgled in his teeth and down his windpipe. The digits of his fingers and toes caught fire and melted away like burning Crayolas leaving flesh colored drips in the gutter. He shrieked with a madman’s horrors, then his heart burst in his chest, filling his lungs with blood, adrenaline and stomach bile.

Moments later, he lay dead beside Jerry. The birds began to sing again. And somewhere in the other world, Jerry licked the cherry jam from his fingers and dug into a maple bar, and didn’t have to do his homework after all.