To Shear Sheep By, To Lose Sleep By, To Go Nuts By, To kick Butts By, To Wash Brains By, To Catch Trains By, To Scare Squirrels By, To Chase Girls By, To Print Bucks By, To Fuck Ducks By

Carnival Romance

From blues mutilations through hints of rockabilly to sometimes rousing, sometimes moody, electronically tinged rock, Carnival Romance takes a stroll down the midway at the traveling amusement show of human (and inhuman) relationships. You'll find bright lights and low-lifes, creaky rides and rigged games of chance, the Spiderwoman and an ether rider. Hit play on Carnival Romance, and you enter a weird funhouse whose every room tells a strange and wild story.

Relationship: the way in which two or more people or things are connected

Romance: A fictitiously embellished account or explanation

Carnival Romance: A fanciful sideshow of relational exchanges, excuses and excesses.

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State of the World

STATE OF THE WORLD is a rocking serving of songs about the rich stew of questionable meats that is the world of today. Ingredients include a pinch of sarcasm, a portion of resistance to authority, a couple of jiggers of cheap shots and more, served up as refreshment for the lusty, drugged-up aliens who use our world as their playground. What do those alien taste buds say? Mmmmm, tastes like chicken...but also has the flavor of British rock and pop and more than a dash of many other fine musical ingredients.

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Who's Joe Ray?

AS HE TURNS, the sleeve of his robe knocks over not one, not two, but three large stacks of CDs, DVDs and video cassettes. Crash. Discs skitter across the floor. Small shards of plastic scatter and glint in a stray ray of sunlight that edges through tightly drawn curtains. A few jewel case inserts escape and slide about. He curses and kicks at the pile of crap, then sighs, and kneels to pick up the debris.

There among the music and movies and such are bits and pieces of his own tattered past. He has had three life-long passions: rock and roll, drugs and offbeat, out-of-control, Extremely Disturbed women, but over the years he occasionally took time out from those pursuits to make a few stabs at having a career. Of sorts.

One piece of evidence, a video transfer of some ancient 8mm movie footage, now rests on top of a sprung-open Farscape DVD case. It harbors a few scratchy, faded scenes from a youth (mis-?)spent working as a sideshow geek. That was a job he embraced with as much youthful enthusiasm as he did his co-worker The Spider Woman, even as the sideshow was dying (as was the Spider Woman, he later discovered).

Nearby, half buried in naked, now-defenseless CDs, are a few video cassettes from his one brief brush with success. It was the late 70's. He was actually a well-regarded (in a cultish "I've either seen that guy's face in a ratty fanzine or half-buried in a puddle in some back alley" sort of way) director of horror-porn movies.

Next to his right big toe (he really should cut those nails), under some bits of plastic and the jewel case insert to Goo, is a VHS copy of his masterwork from that time — the barrier-breaking Deep Goat. It tells the strangely touching story of interspecies love in a world too narrow-minded to accept such a thing. It was a story that, of course, could come to no good end. He's still vaguely proud of that final scene showing the christian mob dispensing their own bloody version of their god's justice. The last shot, a closeup of a chewing mouth, lips and chin greasy with small chunks of goatmeat, is considered, by some, a classic.

He's heard that for about 6 months sometime in the 90's, Deep Goat had been big in Japan. Some bootlegger made, probably, thousands of yen (is that a lot of money?) selling pirated copies there. Takashi Miike was a fan. So he's heard. But that's all over now.

He tosses the cassette of Deep Goat back on the pile of rubble, stands, gives the whole mess another halfhearted kick and walks away. He'll clean it up later. Maybe.

He can be cranky and ill-tempered, these days, and he swears a lot. There's an anger there, always seething just under the surface, tempered by an odd, forward-looking optimism, in between the moments of quiet desperation. Perhaps it's simply what occurs when you find yourself careening past the middle of life, sliding down the other side of the hill, wondering where all the time went, wanting it to be worth something, to someone, sometime.

So he sits in a dark, cluttered little room, and in between playing computer games, surfing the web, reading about anarchy and transcendence, watching movies and getting high, he beats his brain cells to hell trying to coax songs out of the neurons and electrons, mutating his experience of the world, then throwing the results out into the ether, to be re-inserted into the eternal feedback loop. As the cycle of life continues...

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