(c) 1987 by Kirk Madison and Lewis D'Aubin
Like a crazed archer scattering deadly arrows is the man who lies, then says, "I was only kidding."
Those were the words I read on the wall of Archbishop Phillip Hannan High School in Chalmette one afternoon in 1987, while I was out on a job wiring up smoke detectors (I was taking a semester off from college, working at a small electronics company). It was summer; there were no students around but their final projects were still taped up to the hall walls. Apparently, the students had been assigned the unenviable task of making up their own parables. Some kid thought his words would have a more biblical ring by throwing in a 'crazed archer'. Crazed Archer. The words stuck with me; in fact they struck me as utterly hilarious. Why was this guy scattering deadly arrows? What actually made him become crazed? As soon as I got home I scrawled these delightful lyrics, written of course from the POV of the archer.
Kirk came up with the riff that this song is based around (one riff, over and over for 4 minutes!) and I played the drums as loud as possible. I couldn't shout and drum at the same time yet, so Kirk would generally yell this one. We enjoyed rehearsing this around the time that Kirk and I were home from school and work, around 6:00pm, while my dad was trying to watch TV. When Ken joined the band, he played guitar while Kirk took care of bass duties and vocals. In retrospect, I can't understand why my parents didn't evict me from their house!
This was a pretty epic song, so it became the second song I recorded in 1989 on my new TOA MR-8T multitrack, and in retrospect, it shows that I still hadn't learned anything about proper recording at the time. In fact, it's worse than the first one I tried to make! (Lovekill)
The basis of the recording is a highly compressed bass drum and snare drum loop from my old Roland TR-505 drum machine. I played drum kit over that to get some cymbals and tom action going. The toms were fed through a reverb and a flanger. The guitar was played through a Rockman and EQ'd heavily. Solo guitar was achieved by Kirk fretting Ken's guitar and me hitting on the strings at high speeds with drumsticks! I originally performed the lead vocals, but ended up erasing that track when I had the sudden brainstorm that this song might be perfect for a friend of mine, Charlie Tumminello, who was the drummer in a, shall we say, primarily visual band I was performing in called The Anonymous. Backing vocals were improv'd by me, Kirk, Tyson Vaughan, and James Parrish (who contributed the unforgettable line, "for God's sake, Harold, do something!" Sounds of battle at the end of the piece were laid in from several movies we had lying around, including 'Excalibur' and Kenneth Branagh's 'Henry V.'
The opening skit bears some explanation too... this part was complex enough to merit multitracking it on its own separate tape. I recorded several sound FX for this, including a heavy door creaking (the office chair I was sitting on) and slamming (my parent's front door closing, miked close up). The scene described in the song involving a King's courtroom suddenly filled with moshing knights was my original intent for the stage version of the band. I was going to enter a science fiction con's costume contest under the name 'Consortium of Genius', and enlist the help of some friends in the SCA to show up in full armor, wearing guitars. Tyson, Kirk, and I would have reprised our roles as the King, the knights, and the king's Squire. The idea was eventually dropped in favor of what eventually became the first stage version of C.O.G.
I think we can all breathe a sigh of relief at that decision...
Lead vocal......Charlie Tumminello
Backing vocals..Lewis D'Aubin, Kirk Madison, James Parrish, Tyson Vaughan
Recorded and mixed 1989 at Lewis's parents' living room, Harahan LA