the interest kills

I was asked by a friend to write about, among other things, my old band for a literary journal's website when I lived in New York in 2010 and in the end it didn't end up happening, so here is what I wrote.

      from 2003 to early 2007 i wrote songs for a band, "the interest kills", which was a revolving door of musicians composed of friends and my brothers, and was based deep in the heart of austin, texas.  

the following are the words of a handful of songs off our second album "capital flight" that came out in the summer of 2005 and what i was thinking when I was writing them.  

though in retrospect i might have missed in some of my attempts, i'm still proud of my intent and hopefully they give others something to think about.  



the in between is ending 

a song about when i lived in venezuela in late 2004 and was working for the state department.  bush vs kerry was that november and the embassy had a huge party in a fancy hotel in caracas.  like a yuppie pastel prom from an 80s movie though with a mock election where foreign dignitaries and personnel could drink and vote anonymously on who they wanted to win.  kerry lost the mock election which kind of shocked me cause i figured nobody outside the states was going for bush, but these guys voting were diplomats who knew not to vote against incumbents or war time presidents.  Then the real numbers started coming in, and it looked close, but as the night progressed and i saw how things were turning out, i started to get very depressed and drank.  i was surrounded by old suits who seemed oblivious to how awful a moment we were witnessing.  i wrote this that night as i couldn't sleep.    

We are alone and now I’ll admit, the judgment day kids are breaking my spirit. The god fearing ones, they’ll scare us to death. They’ll take what’s yours is mine is yours until nothings left. 

I never felt so alone as when I saw him win. Live poor, vote rich, praise god, don’t think, it’s un-American. I wish we were all gay Muslim illegal immigrants.  lesbian Jewish black single parents.  And my words came alive. 

The top 1 percent, they got 30 percent. The bottom half, they cut them off, they call it compassion. They redistrict with ease, these partisans aim to please. With sunshine laws, the NRA takes care of us all. 

I got all shocked and awed and red-striped out. My head ache aches as the ground shakes under everyone. I wish we had born homeless and hungry to start. We know not how to empathize to save our own lives. 

We talk big but stand aside.  I sat down and watched my home descend.  Through my glass the s-t-a-t-e seemed bleak. The chit chat seemed to go un-scathed. They say don’t yell rape, Yell fire.

all these alternatives 

a song about when i visited buenos aires in dec 2004, and was about to profess my feelings to a female family friend of a long time, and in the end didn't.  in spanish run-ons are encouraged.

I took the train from Retiro down to your house.  Martines at night held a chance that I let go of. I’d found something worth a fight and I just up and left it. 

I searched for a phone to talk my way to your thoughts, to trick you I guess, into falling for a yankee. I sat and waited for your Fiat when along you came with your boyfriend and I planned a coup d’etat in your coupe. 

You drove that car down to his house and as we started to get out I felt empty. I tried real hard to play it off. I tried real hard to read your thoughts from the back seat. 

I shut the door as I began to see if I could understand when my knees gave in. I closed my eyes as we walked in. I closed my eyes as you kissed him. I felt empty. 

Words I could not mention as we said goodbye to him passed by my eyes on the driver’s side windshield on the way to the bar to meet up with your friends. Kept my eyes straight.  Read the words.


a song about myself.  i tend to fall asleep early when i go out because i stay out too late, wake up too early, and repeat that until i can't.  i still wish i had spent more time writing the words to the chorus.

pseudo-narcoleptic day sleepers don’t write good children’s bedtime stories. They tend to skip large parts and focus on small things like people caught in themselves. 

With rhyme and reason, they articulate well, but forget that the sentiment is what sells it. Their big crime is they sacrifice all beauty for bad ideas and advice. They all write. 

He’ll break your heart, you’ll hope he dies, because he lacks all feeling. He’s dead inside, so you say, the truth is he cares not for you. 

hyper-tense slackers hopped up on day planners don’t make for good listeners. They’re cynic romantics who gave up on plans they once wished upon in their teens. 

They call themselves responsible artists well I fail to see the logic of a sell out. Passive aggressives who mumble their presence make up the lions share now He says no to all commitments.

we kill time

a song about feeling that you're not doing enough with the time allotted to you.  i think i had just read a short story by italo calvino.

Our big admission of defeat comes in the realization that we kill time.  One by one the hours fall from our hands, lifeless after such carelessness. 

Minute by minute the toll aggregates The temporal genocide goes unnoticed.  One by one how the seconds suffer.  We kill 24 hours a day

idealism for cynics

a song about how i moan the state of things but rarely do much outside of personal choices to affect those things. 

Its self defeating yeah, but its so fun to say “the status quo who quotes your quotes could be no other way.” 

Your talk is cheap, our talk is cheap, but you’ve got style. You play real cool, we play it cool, cause for the while your cultivated jadedness, it drives them wild. I stopped reacting. 

We heard about it all, but we can’t stand to stand. We now collect ourselves because we’ve all learned how to say what matters most makes matters worse and smile, to laugh at loss and write it off as not a problem. 

Enclosed in classy clothes we closed off all that’s worthwhile.  I stopped reacting. 

The quiet kids slant and live in their heads while the timid kids fret and convince themselves that “All sorrow unseen does not affect me”. If we live day dreams, “all sorrow unseen does not”.


a song about immigration from the standpoint of an alien.  un encendedor is a lighter in spanish.

in texas, where the immigrant population is growing to a point where hispanics are now nearing the majority, many quiet hardworking, god fearing immigrant working young and their families go to mega churches 

such as one that takes place in a former basketball stadium of all places because they want so badly to belong even if it means turning their back on people who are now in a situation they themselves where once in.

I’m on want ads though patriots they say I’m the cause of all mass destruction. 

A separatist who seeks your approval. An insecure outgoing new arrival. 

I don’t want your monotone. I don’t mind your monotone, but I don’t need your monotone. I don’t think you’re monotone. 

Is this one on the up and up? I swear I’m on the up and up. This paper says I’m up and up. I see you’re weary. 

I’ll take on all your friends, why not, I’ve withstood bigger things. I’m not one who gives up so soon. 

Your beats per minute will come back to you. 

Lets make this nation first generation and force the good ole boys to take the jobs that 

they say we’ve stolen from good ole boys and pay them with insults and intimidation. 

I don’t think two wrongs make right, but I feel the right wants wrong. I know that this right is wrong. 

And yes, we are the new scapegoats, but I’m stunned that the old scapegoats would do this to the new scapegoats. 

We don’t want more than anything you have. We just want acceptance, not tolerance. 

For we are more than guest worker programs, bilingual children, racial exaggerations. 

We are all the hopes and dreams of families trying to make ends meet. Of those who face the indignity of being deemed illegal. 

And we won’t mind the monotone if you let us call this our home. I don’t think you’re monotone. I see you’re weary. 

I’ll take on all your friends, why not, I’ve withstood bigger things. I’m not one who gives up so soon. 

Your beats per minute will come back to you.

a string of distractions

a song about life.  i wanted to write a song entirely based on different one liners explaining the meaning of life.  i got two deep and kind of gave up and wrote instead about the pursuit of those one liners. 

a turning point, a revelation, a kid who asks far too many questions. 

goes out, not in, to find himself. some time ill spent, keeping to himself how 

you are who you are and that’s nothing so far.  you look far and wide but don’t open yourself .

who knows. oh to live, is this merry arbitrary? 

on what life is he’s heard it all from broken minds in fifteen different languages. 

to stay on track, a good foot forward, a middle class corporate darling’s values. 

a walk in the park on some pills in the dark.  a string of distractions measured all at once

who knows, oh to live, this is merry arbitrary

the pursuit of accumulation 

a song about taking the easy road and the excuses we make.  

its easy to be uneasy, to be excited by fear. 

stress pounds, heart pounds, wait don't be weighed down. we need you. 

move fast slow thoughts cause they’re all waiting, for lips to catch up to the ears. 

if lines show the eyes then we’ve lost you. we need you. 

we all grow to settle real fast down. 

we start to become unamused. 

we wonder how wonder lost was once. 

we start to pattern our abuse. 

they threw out a life, 

for a standard fee, 

for weekend get-a-ways, 

for fenced in lives, 

for matching big screens, 

for petty shit to feel less empty.

you can view the back catalog of the interest kills' recordings here.  

after the first two albums, the band became more of keys based thing and though we never recorded anything from that time period,
i recently found a dvd of a recording someone took of our last show and have placed it here.