Bachelors Anonymous (The Album)

Click to play the album. Above is an adaptation of the original cassette cover, which featured the above photograph by Rocky Schenck and the B.A. logo on a white background.

In 1985 Bachelors Anonymous released a six-song eponymous audiocassette. It was recorded for the most part on David’s TEAC reel-to-reel four-track.

The album is available via
HearNow and Bandcamp

Rob laid down tracks using his versatile Yamaha DX7 digital synthesizer. It was a chamber orchestra in a keyboard. The DX7 came packaged with an array of default sounds, but over time that became limiting. Because programming the unit was akin to rocket science, we shopped for sounds at music stores and subscribed to keyboard magazines that published DX7 “patches” (a holdover from analog synthesizers that used telephone switchboard-type patch cords). Musicians, like cultural workers today, had no money, and so “sounds” became a veritable black-trading market. (Years later Napster would do the same with the final merchandise—music itself.)

David programmed drums on a tiny Roland TR-606 (cousin to the famous 808), which he eventually traded away for a reverb pedal or something after upgrading to a Yamaha RX7. The 606 was a sleek, silver machine. It marked the transition between David’s old band Age of Consent and the new Bachelors Anonymous when Rob contributed DX7 embellishments to a stripped-down version of AOC’s “Fight Back” originally recorded for a spoken word compilation.1

Vocals were recorded at Control Center, a Hollywood mainstay owned and operated by Rick Novak, who co-produced our six tracks. Rick sold the studio in the 1990s to Eric Erlandson of Hole “just before the collapse of the music business.”2 During remastering we commented on Rick’s talent, especially the vocals on “Ritual Life.”

The Bachelors have now remastered the tracks from this six-song album and added a couple of bonus tracks. They have officially released this on the occasion of Virginia Woolf’s 139th birthday. Subscribe to stay in the loop.

Track List

Links lead to “the story behind the song” items

  1. Grand Illusion
  2. Ritual Life
  3. Sarasponda
  4. A Stranger’s Bed
  5. Nick
  6. Zigfreed
  7. Inscription3
  8. A Stranger’s Bed ’90

Credits

BACHELORS ANONYMOUS is
Rob Berg: Synth, Vocals
David Hughes: Drum Box, Vocals

All songs written and arranged by
Rob Berg & David Hughes
except “Grand Illusion” and “Zigfreed”
written by Rob Berg

Produced by
Bachelors Anonymous and Rick Novak

Instruments recorded at
The Men’s Dept. (4-track), 1985
Del Mar Richardson, drums on “A Stranger’s Bed ’90”

Vocals recorded at
Control Center, 1985

Engineered and mixed by
Rick Novak
Control Center, 1985

Mastered by
Scott A. Jennings
Artistry in Sound, 2020

Photograph by
Rocky Schenck
Cover by
David Hughes

© ℗ 1985, 2021 Berg & Hughes
Celibataire Music (ASCAP)

Lyrics

Grand Illusion

I hear your name and see you walk away
And it pricks me just enough to ruin my day
A worn-out image that grows increasingly vague
But remains opaque

I can’t believe I ever called you wise
When you didn’t see the fire in my eyes
Secret and divine signs lost deep inside you
Told me that you knew

Chorus
People come and people go and leave their mark upon your soul
You know that’s the way of the world
I don’t love you now as I loved you then
But still somehow I can’t comprehend that it was all…
Grand illusion

So drift along your flimsy raft of dreams
And forget about commitment: end and means
I’ve been there before and just can’t drift anymore
See you back on shore

Chorus

What is life like through your eyes?
Is it cloudy or blue skies?
I don’t have the time to wait and see
Your version of reality
It’s all…
Grand illusion

I hear your name and slowly walk away
And don’t allow that word to spoil my day
Those threadbare images appear to melt like the snow
Tell me where do they go?

Chorus

Lyrics Reprinted by Permission

Ritual Life

I dream tonight a litany by rote beneath a veil
I dream of muscled angels to wrestle and prevail
A dream of God’s accomplice who executes the Plan
There’s definitely something about an Aqua Velva man

Oh, in my ritual life I cross myself at will
In my ritual life, love’s a poison that doesn’t kill
In my ritual life I keep a vigil until…

I wake the same way on my back, a mumble on my tongue
To news of delinquent cherubim and how the West was won
With aching limbs I rise, my foe still on the bed
We each have occupations; he’s an angel, I give head

Oh, in my ritual life success is not my aim
In my ritual life we will not use first names
In my ritual life nothing is the same

I dream tonight a parlor game this wrestler has devised
A Ouija that’s consulted on occasions when I cry
This mesmerist is well rehearsed in all the acts of God
The pocket watch begins to swing as I begin to nod…

You’re at the sink, I remember
You’re at the mirror, I recall
You’re changing clothes, I’m distracted
You’re in the shower stall

We check the mail, discuss the weather
We spend all our time alone together

The burning book, the way you look
The cigarette, the silhouette
An open door, the barroom floor
The second glance, a mindless trance

A smoking gun, the purple sun
A silver shroud, the mushroom cloud…

Lyrics Reprinted by Permission

Sarasponda

The rustling of a dervish
Calls flies from the darkroom.
Striking a redundant chord,
The grapevine booms
With an obsolete language.
As the Minotaur croons, “Sarasponda…,”
The camera zooms.

Diving off the high board…
Diving off a high-rise…
Striking a redundant chord,
The bassline booms.
In an obsolete language
The Analyst moons.
Sarasponda:
The song of the loon.

Chorus
Sarasponda, sarasponda,
Sarasponda ret-set-set
Sarasponda, sarasponda,
Sarasponda, ret-set-set
Adoh-ray-o, adoray-boom-day-o
Adoray-boom-day ret-set-set
Hah-say-pah-say-o

Chatter in the garden
As the grapevine’s pruned.
Aluminum magnolias
Heavy with perfume—
A liquor with a shiver
That leaves you in a swoon—
Metallic magnolias
Everywhere strewn.

Diving off a high-rise…
Driving off the highway,
Striking you between your eyes.
Stroking him between his thighs,
A photostat cry
Goes out at high noon,
“Sarasponda…,”
A bit out of tune.

Chorus

Lyrics Reprinted by Permission

A Stranger’s Bed

I’m in a stranger’s room
I know, you’re unimpressed
His arm around me
Pulled to my chest
You ask me what it was I did
How I passed the test
In a night of looking
Did I find my quest?

I’m in a stranger’s arms
I know, you’re unimpressed
You ask, to get this far
How much did I invest
You say I shared my body
Did I share the rest
You say I shared it
But I’m still just a guest

Chorus
“Don’t talk to strangers”
You said, “Don’t talk to strangers”

I’m in a stranger’s bed
I know, you’re unimpressed
You ask me, was it worth it
And did I get some rest?
And you love me, don’t you?
You want nothing less
But I can’t say that word
You know it’s for the best

I like you
I should be impressed
You give me your love
I always settle for less
That stranger’s got something
To which a dozen would attest
I mean, I’d love to love you
But let’s just get dressed

Chorus

Lyrics Reprinted by Permission

Nick

Nick, you goddamn Elvis
I thought I’d got rid of you
But you’re that Elvis
You do your best
To keep yourself at arm’s length
It’s a test
To see which one has the strength
To see this thing through
This thing that I’m through
I’m supposed to be through with you

Nick, you goddamn Elvis
I thought I’d forgotten you
But you’re that Elvis
I don’t care
But do you have to flaunt it?
People stare
But I guess that’s what you want
It’s gone to your head
All my idols are dead
All my idols are dead, you said

Chorus
All black and white
A jaundiced yellow
I convinced myself
I’d stay a cappella a while
It’s not my style

Nick, you lousy Jesus
I thought you’d forgotten too
But you’re that Elvis, you Elvis
You’re so coy
Go try it out on the world
If they boys know
Then there’s always the girls
I know you’ve already tried
Take that thing outside
Let’s settle this thing outside

Chorus

Lyrics Reprinted by Permission

Zigfreed

Golden hair ablaze in the solstice sun
The perfect body built for the chosen one
And those eyes so blue, so electric blue
You are the victor, no one else will do

Chorus
You’re the symbol, you’re the symbol
You’re the symbol of noble truth
You’re the vision, you’re the vision
You’re the vision of heroic youth
O command your forces and lead us on
O take your sword, show us right from wrong
Slay the dragon, slay the dragon

We saw you striding through the crowded mall
They turned and stared at you against the wall
And what are we to do with this vision of art?
Can we be a part of your splendid heart?

Chorus
Zigfreed
Make us free
Free from mediocrity

When I find myself in a negative space
Wish I could manifest your beauty and grace
Just one look in your eyes and I’d know the source
The power to be real, such a positive force

Chorus
Zigfreed
Make us free
Free from mediocrity

Zigfreed
You must be
Be the hero of our dreams

Zigfreed
Slay the beast
Bring the light back to the streets

Lyrics Reprinted by Permission

Inscription

When anyone lives as I have, his life is blessed
What I continuously sought, I have now just found
I was pressured by the world around me
Which promised sweet rest
The golden time of indulgence, vanity, splendor
My eyes full of lights, tried to direct my soul

When anyone lives as I have, his life is blessed
What I continuously sought, I have now just found
I turned away from the hurly-burly of the world
I directed my heart and my senses up to the heavens
I ate the bread of tears and nearly grieved unto death
But alone I would not have found Him

When anyone lives as I have, his life is blessed
What I continuously sought, I have now just found
I am without worry And sit in the lap of Jesus

Daniel Vogel, who wrote this, desires that
whosoever does not believe (in) it, so be it.
—Mainzlar, 23 March 1815

Lyrics Reprinted by Permission

NOTES
  1. Age of Consent’s bassist Paul Eckman programmed the 606 and played bass. But we can’t remember why we did the remix. The original version appeared on the spoken word anthology English as a Second Language.
  2. Rick Novak quoted from his LinkedIn profile.
  3. For background on “Inscription” see How We Met.

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