Amanda Palmer & Jason Webley – Sketches for the Musical JIB

— AN OFFICIAL PATRON-SUPPORTED RELEASE, SEPTEMBER 13, 2016  —

-THE STORY-

to begin with, a thanks to the patrons. this is EXACTLY the kind of weird little side project that i can now undertake AND GET PAID! AND PAY MY FRIENDS! instead of having to skip it because it’s too odd (or find alternate impossible funding). your patronage is our creative rocket fuel, even if you’re only backing at a dollar…so THANK YOU. if you haven’t joined the patreon, it’s really easy, and it’s awesome. here’s a link: https://www.patreon.com/amandapalmer. the proceeds from this project will be split 50/50 with jason webley. it means the world to us. thank you.

JIB is a new rock musical and “live film” made by our friend michael mcquilken. michael’s been a longtime collaborator of mine and jason webley’s – and for those of you who are unfamiliar with jason, he’s one of my very best friends. back in 2010 we created a bizarre conceptual musical/album called “Evelyn Evelyn” (in which we play conjoined twins….it’s still one of my favorite records, you can listen to it on bandcamp HERE.) we’ve also toured together a lot, and we love writing songs as a team, it’s one of our ways to bond as friends. he’s also – more recently – ash’s godfather.

the threads go way back…jason and i originally met while street performing in australia in 2001, and we bonded over our love of weird theater. jason tipped me off to michael’s work (they knew each other from the seattle scene, where michael was also a touring drummer in jason’s band) in around 2006, when I was performing at the Edinburgh fringe festival. in a tiny blackbox theater, i witnessed michael’s one-man production called “A Day In Dig Nation”. he’d written it, directed it, scored it, and was basically a one-man box of insane theater tricks. I felt a massive resonance with his work – it was dark and funny, a scathing commentary about social isolation and the synchronicities of life, and love and time.

if you wanna dig deep, you can watch it HERE on vimeo with a different actor in the starring role.

time rolled along. michael and i fell in love and dated for a while (before i was with neil), while he was in a three-year program for directing at Yale School of Drama.

our relationship ended, and soon after that michael went on to create JIB as his next giant opus and last-year directing project for Yale.

like “dig nation”, JIB deals with the interconnectedness of life and people and music. it isn’t a straight play or musical by any means – it swirls around several different plots (including the career catapult of a character named “Jib”, who bears a passing resemblance to another rock star i know – but enough about that) and uses music and movement in a sci-fi/fantasy way that’s absolutely captivating. the original production had five or six songs that michael penned himself, and when he decided to relaunch the show in philly/NYC this coming year, he called and asked if i’d contribute a new song. i told him i’d rather write all of them, with jason as a partner, in the voice of Jib. it didn’t make sense to me that you’d have five different writers trying to pen the voice of one songwriter. plus, i figured, it would be an amazing excuse to hang out with jason.

so about a month ago, jason came to upstate new york, we locked ourselves in a room for about a week (taking occasional breaks to feed a baby and ourselves), and we created this music from scratch. it’s all composed on piano and guitar, and for the recordings (we used a local studio – the distortion room, with engineer kevin salem) we added a little bass, drums and overdubbed vocals. (i also am proud to say i play “drill bit sounds” on the wolf song). working with jason, especially after my long break away from real songwriting and studio time, was a perfect antidote. we push each other to be better lyricists. someone once told me that something like 90% of the #1 hits in America were co-written (lennon-mccartney, etc). it makes sense when you think about it. two heads are often better than one, when the heads match.

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amanda & jason at the distortion room – photo by kevin salem

 

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DRUMS! photo by jason

 

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i suffer for my art. my hand after playing “drill bits” on The Wolf Song.

 

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piano

 

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jason, working on guitar

 

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ash, working on guitar.

these recordings are, as the title suggests, only “sketches”. we have handed them over to michael and he’ll now go on to do whatever he wants with them for the musical – rearrange them, de-arrange them, put them in the voices of the actors and the band on stage. we’re done. he’s on. he’s going to take this project to it’s non-sketch existence under his own moniker, THE FEW MOMENTS. (you guys may remember that we did a song of his, magicfuturebox, while on the Theatre is Evil tour…it’s a gorgeous recording featuring me and jherek: https://thefewmoments.bandcamp.com/track/magicfuturebox-feat-amanda-palmer-jherek-bischoff)

and if any of you are lucky enough to be around philly in november, you’ll get to see the full stage production of JIB, with this music all arranged and deranged into a new format with a full band.

we’re both incredibly proud of this music, and i hope you guys love it.

as usual – there’s no record label here, so if you like anything, PLEASE SHARE IT.
that’s the only way the music will spread.

-A WORD FROM JASON-

Writing these songs was really a treat – getting to hang out with my friend, steep ourselves in stories, eat good food, drink cheap wine, and play with Ash while we wrote. And it was a fun puzzle. Michael had created an unusual rock star in Jib, and a lot of the arc of her character needs to come across through these songs. Jib is obsessed with a book of fairy tales that her father left her before he died, so each one of the songs center around a different Grimm’s story. Finding the right balance so these songs were fueled but not overwhelmed by these stories was tricky. We worked so fast and furiously that I lost track by the end of up and down – but now that it’s all done, I’m pretty damn proud of what we came up with, and I’m really excited to see the shape they take in the final piece.

It has been a long time since Amanda and I last really wrote together for Evelyn Evelyn, and I had forgotten how awesome of a collaborator she is. She’s such a good songwriter and the hardest working most demanding dance partner I’ve ever had the pleasure of writing with. And, I have to admit, my songwriting chops are a bit rusty these days, and Amanda really did a lot of the heavy lifting on these songs. This is especially the case with “The Box Song”, which I think sits next to some of her best solo work.

Enjoy! Thank you! Wheeeeee!

 

-A WORD FROM MICHAEL-

“Having Jason and Amanda’s songs to complete this project is incredible; their intelligence and artistry have lifted this project, defined the musical voice of the title character, and brought the entire cast to tears more than once — WE FUCKING LOVE THESE SONGS.  I feel like I’ve just been given a box full of adorable baby sloths.”  – Michael McQuilken (writer, director of JIB)

……enough then!!!

here’s the song list:

THE BOX SONG (the musical’s finale. this one is my favorite.)

box
 

THE BOAT SONG (Jib’s “stadium rock” song)

boat
 

THE WOLF SONG (it’s scary as shit, headphones please)

wolf
 

THE FEAR SONG (Jib’s “musical theater” moment)

fear
 

THE STAR SONG (Jib’s early songwriting attempt with her boyfriend)

star

-THE VINYL-

01 final artwork

the artwork you see was made for me & jason, by request, by the incredible vladamir zimakov, who’s done lots of art for both me and jason (including the single art for “trout heart replica” from Theatre is Evil).

we anticipated that some of you might yearn for a physical copy, so just for kicks we’re pressing 1,111 copies of these songs to super-special 10-inch colored vinyl, through jason’s record label, 11 records. it’s $15, which is insanely cheap for limited vinyl.

the shipping is a little pricey internationally, since these are being hand-mailed from jason’s in seattle – sorry about that. BUT,  ordering two copies is the same shipping cost as one if you want to double up on your order.

and once they’re gone they’re gone:

http://www.jasonwebley.com/store.html

-THE KICKSTARTER-

UPDATE: as of september 24th, the jib kickstart has reached its goal with 602 backers pledging $50,831!!

this is a good time to remind you that the play’s production itself has a kickstarter, they’re well on their way to achieving a $50k goal. i know some of you have already backed…for that….i thank you. there is a FILM of the show in the works, as you’ll see, so even if you’re in venezuela, you can see it.

i expect that the film will be beautiful. so help them if you can, they’re holding their breath and we all hope they make it to $50k….. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1047687043/jib-a-new-rock-musical-album-and-film?ref=user_menu

(this is also the point where i tell you that michael’s filmmaking skills are pretty fantastic….(if you remember the video he made for the grand theft orchestra when we covered nirvana’s “polly”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lg0dWANc3mo)

-THE LYRICS-

THE BOX SONG

Box on a desk
Next to a castle of glass
That they bought from the airport
The price on the back

Shelves overflow
With photographs and bones
A museum of someone
That will never be known

Pennies for thoughts
That cost a mountain of debt
Rusting in bottles
They’ll never come to collect
They’ll never come to collect

And you were sure that you could keep it all
Off in a tower where there’d always be space
And you were sure that if you read it all
You would eventually come across your own name

Daffodils hanging off a rearview of lies
You keep your foot on the pedal
And you can’t see outside.

Boxes of novels
Fill all the seats and the trunk
There’s barely room for a driver

In this treasure chest of junk

And the tower is crumbling
And you are thinking of running
From all these years of commitment
To keep this dead garden growing
To keep this dead garden growing

And you were sure that you could learn it all
And if you did than you would always be safe
And you were sure that you could use it all
To build a fortress they could never take

It’s got to be around here somewhere
Maybe you’re really going mad
Maybe it’s buried in the old school
Maybe you never really-

And now you’re starting look
A little like someone in a book
You’ve tucked yourself inside
Your body pressed and dried

Fairies and princes
And the story doesn’t change
He keeps slaying the dragon
She’s still chained to the cage

And it’s time to retire
But you can’t give up the title

As the head of collections
For these dead letter files
As the head of collections
For these dead letter files

And you were sure that you could keep it all locked
And all the nice dark things would never get lit
And you were sure that you could keep them out
And you were sure that you could keep yourself hid

It’s got to be around here somewhere
Maybe it’s under mom and dad
Maybe you wrote it in your diary
Maybe you never really-

It’s got to be around here somewhere
Maybe you have it to your son
Maybe it’s time you just admit that
Maybe you never really had

A past worth passing on.

THE WOLF SONG

Who’s that?
Who’s there?
Who’s that?
Who’s there?
What’s that?
Who’s there?
Who’s that?
Who’s there?

You look nothing like my father
You look nothing like my father
You look nothing like my father
You look nothing like my father

Who’s there?
What’s that sound
Who’s there?
Hello?
Is that you?
Who’s that?
You came back!
Who’s there?
Who’s outside?
Who’s that?
You came back!
Who’s there?

You sound nothing like my father
You sound nothing like my father
You sound nothing like my father
You sound nothing like my father

You said you’d be back in hour
You said you’d be back in hour
You said you’d be back in hour

What’s this?
Those eyes, that mouth, that sound
Who’s that?
Who’s outside?
Pounding the door
What’s that noise?

You look sort of like my father
You look sort of like my father
You look sort of like my father
You look sort of like my father

You said you’d be back in hour
You said you’d be back in hour
You said you’d be back by tomorrow
You said you’d be back by tomorrow
You said you’d be back by tomorrow

Who’s that?
Smashing glass?
Scratching, thrashing, screaming my name
Twitching threatening and shaking the latch
Dad is that you, are you back?
Who’s that? Who’s that?
You look exactly like my father
Exactly like my father
You’re exactly like my father
You’re exactly like my father

You said you’d be back in hour
You said you’d be back in hour
You said you’d be back by tomorrow
You said you’d be back by tomorrow

You said you’d be back by the weekend
You said you’d be back by the weekend
You said you’d be back for my birthday
You said you’d be back for my birthday
You said you’d be back for my birthday

Little girl little girl let me come in
Little girl little girl let me come in
Little girl little girl let me come in.

THE BOAT SONG

My baby doll
Could you just go
Down to the sushi bar and get me what I want I know you know
I want a car
I want a dress

I want a bag that’s big enough to fit
My seven hundred friends

We’re gonna need a miracle
We’re gonna need a plan
We’re gonna have to find a place to go
We’re out here in the water with our pockets full of sand
And the sinking souls around us yelling
No, no, no

We’re gonna need a bigger boat
For all this shit
We can’t just go around pretending
Everyone is gonna fit

I know I told you
I promised it
But I have always been a liar
Sorry, life’s a fucking bitch

I want a castle
In the country
I want a loft downtown
I wanna call you
When I want you
Honey, I don’t want you hanging around

And while you’re out dear
Grab me a church dear
And not some strip mall shit I’m talking real stained glass

And my believers
People with class
I’m gonna hang out on my alter in my golden robe and crown
Professing all my propaganda while they kiss my ass

We’re gonna need a miracle
We’re gonna need a plan
We’re gonna have to find a place to go
We’re stuck here in a lifeboat with our amputated hands
And our automated captain yelling
Row, row, row

We’re gonna need a bigger boat
For all this shit
We can’t just go around pretending
Everyone is gonna fit

I know i told you
I promised it
But I have always been a liar
Sorry, life’s a fucking bitch

We’re gonna need a bigger boat
For all this fish
We’re gonna murder the whole ocean
With our fucked up wish

I know i told you
I promised it
But I was lying when I promised
And I’ve always been a liar

And you’re not getting on this boat
So fucking live with it.

THE FEAR SONG

I don’t want to scare you but we need to talk
It’s only fair that you know a few things about me before we start
And if you determine after learning of this little issue of mine
That you need to go
I won’t be surprised

You strike me as someone who’s seen quite a lot
But in my honest opinion I doubt this’ll work like you thought
There’s something specific I need you to do if you’re up to the task
(Which you don’t seem to be from the way that
You’re still staring back with no change of expression)
But hey — you can give it a shot

I wish I was I wish I was
I wish I wish I wish i was
I wish I was I wish I was
I wash I was afraid because-

I’ve seen how people work
I’ve watched them all these years
They are not driven by ambition
All their motors run on fear
Each one afraid of aging, dying
Being lonely, getting caught
They’re terrified of moving on
But scared of staying here

I bared my neck to the teeth of a knife
They’ve held my head under the water for minutes — I didn’t mind
I’ve been blind, bound and tied at the mercy of strangers, they beat me, whatever
My heart didn’t race — I was fine

I got them to hang me from terrible heights
They took me to places of poverty, malice, unspeakable war — I have seen people die
They left me at night in the heart of the forest, the air full of noises,
The creatures that eat us just feet from my face,
As their wild cries sounded, and darkness surrounded
And still I did not bat an eye

I wish I was I wish I was
I wish I was afraid because
I wish I was I wish I was
Afraid afraid afraid because
I wish I was I wish because
I wish I was afraid because
I wish I was I wish I was
I wish I was afraid because
I wish I was I wish I was
I wish I was afraid because
I wish I wish I wish because
If you’re not scared, you’re not in love

THE STAR SONG

It’s getting cold, I’m underdressed
I’m still not sold on this whole mess
You told me – give it all away
Just trust, it will come back someday

I gave my voice, I gave my time
Was there a choice, and was it mine?
I leant out every stitch I had

I gave you everything you asked
Now nothing left except this faith
This old idea it’s gonna rain

Do you think that the stars
Are going to spend their light on you?

Do you think that the stars
Give a shit what you might do?

Everybody’s naked in the woods
And everybody’s trying to be good
You say you have nothing left to lose
But I know that’s just the story that you use
what you’ve got you’ve got to give it to your mother what you’ve got you’ve got to give it to your father what you’ve got you’ve got to give to your sister what you’ve got you’ve got to give now hand it over

It’s getting dark, I’m lost and scared I can’t find shelter anywhere
You told me — give it all away
Just trust, it will come back someday I gave my body and my voice

But do you think I had a choice? You know what, baby, I’m in hell Nothing but stories that I tell Myself – I’ve got to keep the faith This sad old lie it’s gonna rain

Do you think that the stars
Are going to spend their light on you? Do you think that the stars
give a shit what you might do?

When there are billions and billions of us all looking for love
With billions of eyes all fixed on something above
And we’re all are waiting for the pyro at the end of the show

But the lights we’re staring up at died out centuries ago

Do you think that the stars
Are going to spend their light on you?
You really think that the stars give a shit what you might do?

Do you think that the stars
Are going to spend the night with you?
You really think that the stars
Give a shit what you’ve been through?

-THE CREDITS-

“Sketches for the Musical JIB”

These recordings are demos of songs written for The Windmill Factory and Old Sound Room’s 2016 production of “JIB, or: The Child Who Went Forth To Learn What Fear Was”. The songs are adapted from original concepts by Michael McQuilken.

All songs written and performed by Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley.

Amanda: vocals, piano, drums, banging on the door
Jason: vocals, guitars, accordion, bass, ukulele, etc

The Wolf Song, The Fear Song and The Star Song recorded by Kevin Salem at The Distortion Tank.
All other tracks recorded in the Viking Hall by Jason Webley.
Mixed and mastered by Jason Webley.

All songs (C) 2016 by Eight Foot Music (ASCAP) and Music That Tears Itself Apart (SESAC).

Thank you:
Kevin Salem, Michael McQuilken, Philip Marshall, Maddy Gaiman, Sid Khalsa, Justine Marzack, David Franklin, Anne Harley, Neil Gaiman, SuperKate Slepicka, Bill Hartman, Nick Rizzuto, Courtney Catagnus and Alex Knight.