Self-Titled

Produced by Chris von Sneidern

Vocals, acoustic guitar: Wesley Stace
Electric guitars, keyboards: David Nagler
Bass: Eddie Carlson
Drums, percussion: Patrick Berkery

with

Violin: Andie Springer
Violin: Katie Kresek
Viola: Andi Hemmenway
Cello: Rose Bellini

Strings on The Dealer’s Daughter, Goodbye Jane, We Will Always Have New York, Pieces of the Past and The Bedroom You Grew Up arranged and conducted by Daniel Felsenfeld

Strings on When I Knew, Letting Go, Lydia, Stare at the Sun, Excalibur and Only Thing Missing arranged and conducted by David Nagler

Voices on Ride Your Camel and Excalibur: The Silver Ages (Robbie Bennett, Rick Flom, Charlie Hall, Heyward Howkins, Nick Krill, James Lavino, Dan Matz, Zach Miller, Todd Starlin and Severin Tucker) under the direction of Charlie Hall, and arranged by David Nagler

Recorded at Milkboy, Philadelphia by Karl Peterson (Jan 2013)
Mixed at Ordophon-upon-Hyde, San Francisco by Chris von Sneidern (Feb 2013)
Mastered by Joe Lambert at Joe Lambert Mastering (April 2013)

Cover Design by Sheila Sachs
Photography by Ebet Roberts

All songs written by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions/ASCAP), except When I Knew and Stare At The Sun by Eleanor Friedberger and Wesley Stace (EF Debris/Plangent Visions (ASCAP))


Wesley Stace

Management: Jeroen van der Meer at Sonic Panda
Agency: Mike Leahy at Concerted Efforts
Press: Carla Sacks and Joe Cohen at Sacks & Co

Thanks to: Glenn Dicker, Billy Maupin and everyone at Yep Roc, Peter Barnes, Jake Riviera and all at Plangent Visions, Adam Gold, Tommy Joyner and all at Milkboy, Larry Gold, Chas Cronk, Diana Zinni, Paul Muldoon and all of the Princeton class, Carla Sacks, Mike Leahy, Shlomo Lipetz and all at City Winery, Eugene Mirman, Bruce Warren and all at XRT, Mark Krotov at Overlook Press.

The Dealer’s Daughter

I loved the dealer's daughter
But there was a price attached
I thought that she was beautiful
I knew there'd be a catch
She was so secretive
She served her father well
But I loved the dealer's daughter
So I joined her clientele

I loved the dealer's daughter
But I knew I couldn't win
Giving up that girl
Was just like kicking heroin
When I thought that I was done
I’d be running back for more
But I loved the dealer's daughter
She taught me how to score

I loved the dealer's daughter
I smoked her cigarettes
Overstayed my welcome
And I couldn't clear my debts
There was no future left
Where both of us were safe
But I loved the dealer's daughter
And she wrote that on my grave

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

When I Knew

I could see the tops of her white socks
Just beneath the desk
Her pants didn't reach
All the way down her legs
And you know what happened next
I said hi politely
And we went out for coffee
That was when I knew
That was when I knew
I was wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong
That was when I knew, that was when I knew

They said we liked weird music
And she played me Soft Machine
And lent me a record that badly warped
Which screwed up everything
I was broke, just fifteen
I scoured London for a replacement
Found one cheap in an Oxford Street basement
That was when I knew…

I met her in my bedroom
At a party, Halloween
She was wearing a pair of dungarees
So I sang "Come on Eileen"
(I was being slightly mean)
And it just made her smile
Which made me feel childish
That was when I knew…

We played her song from scratch that night
And when she'd done with singing
She just took off stage right
Left us winging it
The band went down swinging
As she made her exit, arms in the air
I caught her eye, I was unprepared
That was when I knew…

She picked me up at the hotel
In an old red Mustang
And took me to a demonstration
Of Strumm and Drang
She listened, I sang
And we drove to Dallas rather than flying
Because we didn't feel like dying
And I couldn't get her out of my head
So I got her out of hers instead
I couldn't get her out of my head
So I got her out of hers instead
I couldn't get her out of my head
And we ended up in bed

She glided by on antique roller skates
Overtook our car
I watched her disappear
From where we parked
It was just south of Market
In the Castro sun, she glistened
And when she spoke, I listened
That was when I knew…

I said I'd cook a curry
Which got me in her kitchen
But her friend turned up by chance
And my spice seemed less bewitching
(Which left me feeling itchy)
She stayed for one whole bottle of wine
But we played it cool, we’d bide our time
That was when I knew
That was when I knew

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

Goodbye Jane

You saw me, I saw you
We thought "I'll have one of those"
We played our very best hands
Wore our finest clothes
Needing you, you were feeding me
The sun, the moon and the stars
With a song on your guitar
You said “Goodbye Mr Stace”
You didn't need to explain
So I said“Goodbye Jane”

Once we were born, we ignored storm warnings
As long as we could
Did we think it might work out fine?
Did we just hope it would?
Forgive me, it’s like we played out the movie
Just seeing the preview
Did it seem that short to you?
You said “Goodbye Mr Stace”
You didn't need to explain
So I said “Goodbye Jane, Goodbye Jane”

“I'm not really going away”
You say it kindly
Never mind it sounds like a threat
It's a moment I'd rather forget
Or better yet, not regret
No hope of that

I guess it’s fair to say
I could have taken you away from all of this
Your house, your handsome husband
With just a kiss
What we had was perfect
So, despite the prize
That was a power I chose not to exercise
You said “Goodbye Mr Stace”
You didn't need to explain
And I said “Goodbye Jane, Goodbye Jane”

Now I am alone with you again at last
Just me on my own, alone
You and me
In my memory

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

Letting Go

The trick is holding on and I forgot
I'm flying through the sky: forget-me-not

The trick is getting back on straightaway
It's harder when you’re just a click away

Letting go

Getting up

Letting go

The trick is keeping breathing through it all
The panic makes it seem improbable

Letting go

Getting up

Letting go

Holding on

Getting up

Letting go

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

We Will Always Have New York

Walking down Fifth Avenue in 1988
A glimpse through the buildings of the Empire State
From a listed interior of uncertain date
To the wrong address, of course
And it’s Union and Washington and Madison Square
It's a long way back but a short way there
We fell in love, I got scared
I kissed you on West Fourth
We will always have New York

Homeless in the Library, washing in the stalls
Meet me at the Strand where hand in hand we will recall
All the books from many years ago that no one reads at all
Steal but don't get caught
And the F train wait for the G train slow
And the C won't move until the A train goes
September ghosts never say hello
Now they want to talk
They will always have New York

Oh, your blazing lights and your flaming lips
And your full moon shining on my lunar eclipse
And the sound of vinyl when the needle skips
The scratches on my back
A twice-told tale and an ice skating rink
I couldn't keep my food down but I held my drink
And I might as well write in invisible ink
Rain on sidewalk chalk
We will always have New York

A Woody Allen movie played beneath the stars
To 7,000 people who laughed one laugh
I wasn't even there, but I got his autograph
Memories have walked
From the dead dog park where the sick dogs go
Nipping at your ankles from the undergrowth
Thank you for inviting me, enjoy the show
It's my last resort
And your Pink Teacup and your Bottom Line
And Mercer Books on a glass of wine
My piano has a broken spine
Needs your tuning fork
But we will always have New York

I'm on one hell of an Acela ride on someone else's dime
One day, they'll put your picture in the New York Times
Now you call me Mr Stace, and I'm running out of rhymes
I do what I ought
Now I live in a different town
I'll put on one hundred pounds
But I won't write another song, no I won't make a sound
I won't talk at all
Now you never write to me, now you never call
I’m in Philadelphia, it's no distance at all
And you still hold the fort
But we will always have New York

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

A Canterbury Kiss

We went down to the Westgate Gardens
Which is where we did our smoking
We'd gone there from the Smiths in town
Where I’d spent my record token

We sat down beyond the bridge
Where we imagined ourselves hidden
A place where we could get away
With things otherwise forbidden
And we flipped through her box of records in our mind
It was the music and the summer sun combined
And I resigned myself
To sitting by the river Stour
To while away an hour with her, and me
Listening to the coolest girl in Canterbury

And she told me about Tim Buckley
And a band called Television
I didn't want to say a word
Invite any suspicion
That the limits of my knowledge had been reached
So I satquietlybeside her, the riverbank my beach
Then, distance breached,
My head resting on her knee
I felt myself go drifting out to sea
Floating on the coolest girl in Canterbury

And she was a little older
At school, we only nodded greeting
So no one ever knew
That later we'd be meeting
In the record store
She wore a leather jacket, zips galore
A long black skirt

She was talking about Talking Heads
As idly she was stroking
My hair as I lay on her knee
There was no thought of smoking
And that's when she asked (I'll never forget)
"Do you like Hendrix?" and I hadn't heard him yet
So I said "yes", untruthfully
I was rewarded just for this
With a kiss from the coolest girl in Canterbury
A moment’s bliss with the coolest girl in Canterbury

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

Lydia

You think I smell like an ashtray
Smoke like a chimney
Yeah, maybe I do
But Lydia, it's all because of you

You think I drink like a fish
Never clean up my dish
And I wish that wasn’t all true
But Lydia, it's all because of you

You think that I’m always ill
That I’m writing my will
Thanks for the review
Lydia, it's all because of you

When we first met
I was happy and healthy
Strapping and wealthy and wise
One lick of you
And I had found my parasite

You think that I never sleep
But it’s you who’s been keeping me
Up the whole night through
Lydia, all because of you

You think my timing is bad
That I like to be sad
And my sense of myself is askew
But Lydia, it’s all because of you

You think I smoke lots of pot
But I guess you forgot
Who you’re dealing it to
Lydia, it’s all because of you

When we first met
I was set in my ways
Till you changed all the rules of the game
And tomorrow, for sure,
I hope that it's more of the same

You think all I do is write songs
And that isn’t wrong
But I’m not afraid of the truth
Lydia, it’s all because of you

I was once in my prime
Now I cry all the time
You were my Waterloo
Lydia, it’s all because of you

But you still like my eyes
It’s kinda surprising
They're tired and they’re bloodshot too
Oh Lydia… Lydia…

When we first met
I was high as a kite
On my flight to the top of the charts
The next time I see you
I’m worried I might fall apart

Well we made it through spring
My beautiful thing
I know you’re just passing through
Lydia, I did it all for you
Lydia, all because of you

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

Stare At The Sun

In the back of the taxi, you turned off the TV
And read me a book on your phone
Here's the return of your skeleton key
Oh, Baby, the places we've gone
If that was goodbye
Then I must be high
You know I'll be seeing you soon
If that was goodbye
It’ll snow in July
As it hailed in the middle of June

Give me your toothpaste, give me your ointment
Give me your body in bed
Keep this in amber, keep our appointment
Remember the things that we said
If that was goodbye
Then I must be high
You must be the sugar I need
If that was goodbye
Then I am a fly
The future is guaranteed

Because when I am with you, everything's treasure
I forget what it's like to be gone
Far from the town in the suburbs of your pleasure
I’ve been in exile so long
Trying not to stare at the sun
Trying not to stare at the sun
Trying not to stare at the sun

Co-operative coffee and synchronized showers
Try not to look at the clock
Goodbye to your castle, wave from the tower
Then drop me a line from the dock
If that was goodbye
You must be high
And maybe I'm losing the thread
If that was goodbye
The sea has run dry
So fill it with tears instead

Because when I am with you, everything's treasure
I forget what it's like to be gone
Far from the town in the suburbs of your pleasure
I’ve been in exile so long
Trying not to stare at the sun
Trying not to stare at the sun
Trying not to stare at the sun

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

Only Thing Missing

Walking on the porch
Smoking a cigarette
Looking at the red light on the minarets
Listening to the woods
Drinking up the moon
Watching the kids run round the sitting room
From outside
This is my home, this is my life
Those are my kids, that is my wife
And I'm standing in the shadows
When I see
The only thing missing is me

Put out my cigarette
Flick it away
Go inside and join the fray
It's all mayhem
The tickling of feet
The picture is complete
There’s no-one'soutside
Left to see, except you,
Looking in at me and my family
And you're standing in the shadows
In my shoes
The only thing missing is you

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

Ride Your Camel

Bump Bump Bump
Oh and your tailbone's broken
Give up now?
You must be joking
Ditch the airfare
And the subway token
I'm gonna ride your camel all the way to the tomb

Bounce Bounce Bounce
All the way to Madrid
We’ll eat forbidden rice
And inky squid
Won't keep us going
Till the pyramids
I'm gonna ride your camel all the way to the tomb
I'm gonna ride your camel all the way to the tomb
Shift over baby, make room
I'm gonna ride your camel all the way to the tomb

Thud Thud Thud
And I can't write with this biro
Hold tight till Athens
And we'll share a gyro
The beast won't drink
Until we get to Cairo
I'm gonna ride your camel all the way to the tomb

Bash Bash Bash
Oh now you've hit your head
Who put a brick wall
At the end of this bed?
Are you concussed
Or merely playing Dead?

Hut-hut, naga

Hold on Tight
Until we get to Giza
I'll stop you falling if you
Give me a squeeze
You're Cleopatra
And I'm Julius Caesar
I'm gonna ride your camel all the way to the tomb
I'm gonna ride your camel all the way to the tomb
Even to our certain doom
I'm gonna ride your camel all the way to the tomb

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

Wrong For The Part

You're the director
Here's my audition
Both of us already
Know your decision
Yeah, I look fine
And my accent's so natural
But there's no way we're ever
Escaping the fact that
I'm wrong for the part
I'm wrong for the part
I wanna be in your art
With the whole of my heart
But you know that I'm wrong for the part

Our revels are ended
The Dream is forgotten
I’ll never be Romeo
Or Puck to your Bottom
Stage right I enter
You didn't expect me
I exit stage left
Only hoping you'll text me
I'm wrong for the part
I'm wrong for the part
I wanna be in your heart
With the whole of my art
But you know that I'm wrong for the part

I go to my wardrobe the moment I wake
Think about you as Iput on my make-up
I look in the mirror and hope to see you
Sometimes I don't, but often I do

It's certain, there's far
Better actors than I
They'll stay till the curtain
There won’t be a dry eye
They're well qualified
But I promise you this:
You know all their lines
And they only stage kiss
I'm wrong for the part
I'm wrong for the part
I wanna be in your art
With the whole of my heart
But you know that I'm wrong for the part

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

Pieces of the Past

I am just the sum
Of the pieces of the past
Performances and plays
With their overwhelming casts
Who said that it would never end?
Who said it wouldn't last?
I am just the sum
Of the pieces of the past.

I am just the sum of
The books that I have read
The ones I read by torchlight
Under cover in my bed
The ones that I could not put down
The ones I left for dead
I am just the sum of
The books that I have read

I am just the sum of
The records I have heard
It's Yes and Penetration
David Bowie and the Byrds
For many years I only
Paid attention to the words
I am just the sum of
The records I have heard

Sometimes I feel all I am
Is the things you’ve given me
I know I’ve let you down
I hope that you've forgiven me

I am just the sum of
The people I have known
The ones I hung around with
So as not to be alone
And the ones I couldn't live without
Their bodies and their bones
I am just the sum of
The people I have known

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

Excalibur

There you were
Handle glinting bright in the sunlight
You were the thing
That proved me once and future king
Excalibur, Excalibur
I will leave you where you are

"Take me up"
Engraved on one side of your blade
On the other, "Cast me away"
Who was I to disobey?
Excalibur, Excalibur
Excalibur, Excalibur
I should have left you where you were

Your bright light
Scorches enemy eyes like thirty torches
And it's lovely here on your back porch
Where no one else can see
You and me

Throw her in
She's worth more than the Earth can give
Hold your nerve
A decent burial's what she deserves
Excalibur, Excalibur
Excalibur, Excalibur
I will always love you as you were

A hand reaches from the water
And gives you back to me

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

The Wrong Tree

I am just the sum
Of the pieces of the past
Performances and plays
With their overwhelming casts
Who said that it would never end?
Who said it wouldn't last?
I am just the sum
Of the pieces of the past.

I am just the sum of
The books that I have read
The ones I read by torchlight
Under cover in my bed
The ones that I could not put down
The ones I left for dead
I am just the sum of
The books that I have read

I am just the sum of
The records I have heard
It's Yes and Penetration
David Bowie and the Byrds
For many years I only
Paid attention to the words
I am just the sum of
The records I have heard

Sometimes I feel all I am
Is the things you’ve given me
I know I’ve let you down
I hope that you've forgiven me

I am just the sum of
The people I have known
The ones I hung around with
So as not to be alone
And the ones I couldn't live without
Their bodies and their bones
I am just the sum of
The people I have known

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

The Bedroom You Grew Up In

I didn't want to be in
The bedroom you grew up in
The room that you were sent to
And occasionally shut in
But that's where I was put
A prisoner inside
And that is where I slept
That night

Posters on the wall of
The bedroom you grew up in
Some novels by Franz Kafka
And a painting of a coffin
And that is where I browsed
Your bookshelves and LPs
And found some that had
Belonged to me

And your father wanted to talk about your will
And that was chilling
He asked for my opinion
I was unwilling
We watched videos of the news
And motives were confused
In that small sitting room

And so I packed my bags and left
The bedroom you grew up in
With one glance at the photos
A diploma and a cup
From which the two of us drank champagne
Before we both threw up
And you slept with my old girlfriend

And now your father's gone
And someone sold your home
Another boy is growing up there
Maybe buying records, getting stoned
Don't tell him that he's making
A museum of memories
None of them belong
To you and me
Don't tell him that he's making
A museum of memories
And never make me go back
Never make me go back please

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

The Woman

You're vague with information
Your memory's selective
All my tried and tested methods
Rendered ineffective
A detective needs his criminal
A hero needs his villain
To me, you will always be thewoman

You're a well-known adventuress
I needed your corrective
I hadn't been wrong for so long
Till you put things in perspective
A detective needs a case to solve
A hero needs his villain
To me, you will always be thewoman

You're the grit in my instrument
The crack in my lens
Most desired of all my enemies
Mostadmired of all my friends

You eclipse the whole ofyour sex
That's me being objective
I'll sit and practice my guitar
Await your next directive
A detective needs some clues, some signs
A hero needs his villain
To me, you will always be thewoman

A scandal in Bohemia
A Handel retrospective
I gave you gifts for Christmas
You rejected as defective
A detective needs to work out
Who's the hero, who's the villain
To me, you will always be thewoman

You're the grit in my instrument
The crack in my lens
Most desired of all my enemies
Mostadmired of all my friends

Goodnight, goodnight, goodnight Irene
I treasure your invective
Your photo on my mantelpiece
Has also been effective
A detective needs his criminal
A hero needs his villain
To me, you will always be the woman

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)