Wednesday, December 13, 2006

F Posterity, issue 30: "Jack or Jesus"

It's obviously honky-tonk Wednesday, so I'm dropping a honky-tonk anthem this week. A buddy and I wrote this song in 2003, when he was a reporter for the Seattle Times. Years ago he worked in a factory in eastern Washington and the experience spawned the idea. In associating with his co-workers on breaks, he noticed that they divided neatly into alcoholics and Jesus-freaks. The nature of the job was sufficiently bleak to drive everyone to refuge in drink or devotion. Jack or Jesus.

He sent me out some ideas he had for lyrics, and I put together a chorus and some music. The final product didn't quite capture the essence he was looking for, and in particular the line, "Jack or Jesus will pick up the pieces" didn't suit him, as he felt that "picking up the pieces" is something a divorced housewife does, not a hardened factory worker.

One of the strange quandaries of the creative process is the dynamic between one's vision and the actual product. Too many times the product of anyone's vision - art, music, film - matches not what the artist had in mind. And yet, the product becomes its own creature, reaching people in ways not anticipated. Usually the artist thinks, "OMG, this is teh awful!" and the adoring crowds are like, "LOLz it roxxorz my wafflz!"

I've pretty much recorded the song as we left it, though in most of the choruses I sing, "Jack or Jesus will tear you to pieces" instead of "pick up the pieces". Which is probably better.

I think this is the honkiest song I've ever recorded.

Jack or Jesus

When you work in the factory, boy, you better choose:
Who's gonna save your soul?
'Cause everybody in this place has got the blues
With just a couple ways to cope
So when the pain starts in the back of your heart
And it's all too much to handle
There are two men to face who'll take your case:
Jesus or Jack Daniels
Yes Jack or Jesus will pick up the pieces
And show you which way to go
But I'm afraid it ain't part of the game
For you to follow them both

They pay minimum wage to work the pearly gates
That close this factory in
Don't be surprised if it ain't paradise
Or any other place you been
'Cause it's a hell of a time on the factory line
Where your fifteen-minute break
Will only feel like five and the rest of your time
Like eighteen hours a day
But Jack or Jesus will pick up the pieces
And show you which way to go
But I'm afraid it ain't part of the game
For you to follow them both

So at the end of your shift, you can take your pick:
Hit the bottle, or crack the book
There are folks you know doing either of those
And it's probably all just as good
Because in this world it's long been proven
Both of these paths can lead to ruin
There's heaven and hell in each conclusion
Whether you're Jesus or Jack Daniels
But Jack or Jesus will pick up the pieces
And show you which way to go
But I'm afraid it ain't part of the game
For you to follow them both

But try to remember on your three-day bender
Even the man spent some time
With sinners, and lepers, and prostitutes
And turned water into wine
Jack or Jesus will pick up the pieces
And show you which way to go
But I'm afraid it ain't part of the game
For you to follow them both

Download mp3s below by right-clicking on the links.

F Posterity, 2006
52. F Posterity (Getzschman) - May 16, 2007
51. Crazy (Burton/Callaway/Reverberi/Reverberi) - May 9, 2007
50. Persistence of Regret (Getzschman/Ryan/Sahm) - May 2, 2007
49. Breakin' Plates (Getzschman/Ruthsatz) - April 26, 2007
48. Trio for Vocal, Metronome, Wurlitzer (Getzschman) - April 18, 2007
47. She Hates It When I'm Right (Getzschman) - April 11, 2007
46. Beat It (Jackson) - April 4, 2007
45. Mass Ave Strut (Getzschman) - March 28, 2007
44. Let's Fall Asleep Like This (Getzschman) - March 21, 2007
43. 2010 Ain't What They Said It Would Be (Getzschman) - March 14, 2007
42. Three Red Stars (Getzschman) - March 7, 2007
41. Birdhouse In Your Soul (Flansburgh/Linnell) - February 28, 2007
40. Everybody Thinks They're Self-Aware (Getzschman) - February 21, 2007
39. Hysterical Woman (Getzschman) - February 14, 2007
38. Hollaback Savior (Getzschman) - February 7, 2007
37. White Collar (old Philly dollar) (Getzschman) - January 31, 2007
36. Bottle of Blues (B. Hansen) - January 24, 2007
35. Ask Somebody (Getzschman) - January 17, 2007
34. All Time High Score (Getzschman) - January 10, 2007
33. Bury Me In My Jetpack (Getzschman) - January 3, 2007
32. Eggnogg Is The Liquor Of This Household (Getzschman) - December 27, 2006
31. Like Spinning Plates (T.Yorke/J.Greenwood) - December 20, 2006
30. Jack or Jesus (Getzschman/Peterson) - December 13, 2006
29. Runes (Getzschman) - December 6, 2006
28. We Leave Just Like We Come (Getzschman) - November 29, 2006
27. Shampoo! (Getzschman) - November 22, 2006
26. Tomorrow Is A Long Time (Dylan) - November 15, 2006
25. Was That Seriously Your Plan? (Getzschman) - November 8, 2006
24. Understated Explosions (Getzschman) - November 1, 2006
23. Everything Sounds Better On Vinyl (Getzschman) - October 25, 2006
22. Take Heart (Getzschman) - October 18, 2006
21. Pigs (L. Freese, S. Reyes, L. Muggerud) - October 11, 2006
20. Upstart Casualties (Getzschman) - October 4, 2006
19. Troubling (Getzschman) - Sept 27, 2006
18. Tales of Woe (Getzschman/Getzschman/Booth) - Sept 20, 2006
17. Manual Labor Pains (Getzschman) - Sept 13, 2006
16. The District Sleeps Alone Tonight (Gibbard/Tamborello) - September 6, 2006
15. Postmodern Burlesque Review (Getzschman) - August 30, 2006
14. Neverending Love Affair (Getzschman) - August 23, 2006
13. Living On Credit (Getzschman) - August 16, 2006
12. Broke As A Muhfuh (Getzschman) - August 9, 20006
11. Josie (Becker/Fagan) - August 2, 2006
10. Cold Day at the Races (Getzschman) - July 26, 2006
9. Calaveras (Getzschman) - July 19, 2006
8. Narcissist Blues (Getzschman) - July 12, 2006
7. Advice to a Young Jedi (Getzschman) - July 5, 2006
6. God Only Knows (Wilson/Asher) - June 28, 2006
5. Miracle Hubcap (Getzschman) - June 21, 2006
4. A Paycheck Is All I Ask (Getzschman) - June 14, 2006
3. Halfway (Getzschman) - June 7, 2006
2. Summer Crazy (Getzschman) - May 31, 2006
1. Sunday Street (Van Ronk) - May 26, 2006

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