The Big Picture

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The Big Picture rounds out the Bachelors Anonymous catalog, with the 2021 single “What’s This Feeling?” followed by seven more never-before-released songs.

  • “In Another Time” was written for our dear friend Andrea Carney on the occasion of her fiftieth birthday in 1991. (Andrea and Bachelor David Hughes would wed three years later.)
  • “Our Creation” had an earlier incarnation as “Jimmy Carter’s Bomb,” which will be explained on our blog along with all the new songs.
  • “Seriously” was an unwitting homage to L.A. music critic Craig Lee.
  • “Laissez-Faire” also had a past life as Rob’s instrumental “Big City Latte.”
  • “Father’s Day” was resurrected from lines of a poem David wrote in college.
  • “On, On, On, On…” is a cover from Tom Tom Club’s 1981 debut LP, reimagined from the grooves to the streets.
  • “Exercise in Revolution” is the reworking of a sequence from the Bachelors’ 1987 collaboration with theater director Zack.

The album is available via
HearNow and Bandcamp

The album is released on the occasion of Holy Thursday, the Hindu Calendar New Year, and Julie Christie’s 82nd birthday. A collection of soundtracks, alternative versions, and outtakes is planned for future release.

The Recordings

While these tracks were recorded between 1987 through 1991, they have one thing in common: all the original instrumental and vocal tracks were laid down in our Pasadena home studio, The Men’s Dept. And on this album, the Bachelors were a two-man band, but for tracks contributed by our first and last drummers, Del Mar Richardson (“What’s This Feeling?”) and John Lacques (“In Another Time”), respectively.

Bachelor Rob wielded his digital scalpel to tighten these recordings while embellishing them with additional instrumentation. Three songs had no vocals whatsoever and a fourth required replacement for audibility.

Berg and Hughes in the Studio 28 Jan 2022
The Rig Picture: Bachelors Rob Berg and David Hughes recording vocals into a Neumann TLM 49 in Scott Fraser’s Architecture studio, Los Angeles, January 28, 2022. (Photo: Scott Fraser)

We should mention here that we began digital distribution of our catalog in 2020 after having dusted off music we created for dancer-choreographer Rudy Perez in 1991. In the course of becoming reacquainted with Rudy, David became reacquainted with Scott Fraser, who had engineered Rudy’s live sound and whom David had featured in a downtown music series in 1981. Since 1992, Scott has designed sound for the Kronos Quartet and, happily for us, agreed to mix six of our songs and record three missing vocals in his Architecture studio. Degrees of separation being what they are, Scott Jennings, who mastered these tunes, performed in the marching band at the 1984 Summer Olympics opening ceremony—while Rob and David sang in the same event’s honor chorus (see Our Biggest Crowd).

As always, we’ll tell the stories behind each song on the BachelorBlogSubscribe to stay in the loop.

Track List

These links lead to “story behind the song” items

  1. What’s This Feeling?
  2. In Another Time
  3. Our Creation
  4. Seriously
  5. Laissez-faire
  6. Father’s Day
  7. On, On, On, On…
  8. Exercise in Revolution

Credits

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

All songs written and arranged by
Rob Berg & David Hughes
except “On, On, On, On…”
written by Belew, Frantz & Weymouth
vocal arrangement by Rob Berg
and “Exercise in Revolution”
text by Julian Beck, curated by Zack

Produced by
Bachelors Anonymous

All instruments by Bachelors Anonymous, recorded at
The Men’s Dept (¼” 4-track), Pasadena, 1987–1991
The Men’s Dept (GarageBand), Los Angeles & Denver, 2021–2022
except for “What’s This Feeling?”
drums by Del Mar Richardson, The Men’s Dept, 1991
and “In Another Time”
tabla by John Lacques, Drumtime, 2021

Vocals recorded at
The Men’s Dept, Pasadena, 1987–1991
(“What’s This Feeling?,” “In Another Time,” “Our Creation,” “Seriously”)
The Men’s Dept, Denver, 2021
(“Exercise in Revolution”)
Architecture, Los Angeles, Scott Fraser, 2022
(“Laissez-Faire,” “Father’s Day,” “On, On, On, On…”)

Digital transfers by
Tal Miller
Next Generation Audio, 2020

Mixed by
Bachelors Anonymous
The Men’s Dept, Pasadena, 1990
(“Our Creation”)
Adrian Alvarado
Alpha Sound, 2021
(“What’s This Feeling?”)
Scott Fraser
Architecture, 2021, 2022
(all others)

Mastered by
Scott A. Jennings
Artistry in Sound, 2021, 2022

Thanks to
Bob Keane for vocal coaching
Jeff Rolka for vocal exercises

Album cover
Design by Rob Berg
Layout by David Hughes
Photographer unknown
New Year’s Eve 1990

© ℗ 2022 Berg & Hughes
Celibataire Music (ASCAP)
except “On, On, On, On…”
© Belew, Frantz & Weymouth
Metered Music Inc. (ASCAP)
and “Exercise in Revolution”
text © Beck, Limelight Editions

Lyrics

What’s This Feeling?

So what’s this feeling?    this falling feeling?
Is it love?   that’s got me reeling?
or is it just a sinking feeling?

You’re just someone   someone who broke in
You’re just someone
I don’t know you   don’t even know you
I can’t show you   don’t even know you

Chorus
So what’s this feeling?    this falling feeling?
Is it love?   that keeps me reeling?
or is it just a sinking feeling?

Friends are one thing   please don’t explain it
I won’t believe it   friends are one thing
You’ve got something   you’ve just got something (x 2)

Chorus

Can’t stop falling   won’t stop falling
I like this feeling   need this feeling

What’s the point?  the point of no return?
I can feel it   I can feel it[’s] here
I can’t see you   I can’t see you out there    nowhere

Chorus

Keep the promise   you never made me
Who will save me?  Keep the promise
You say nothing   you promise nothing (x 2)

Chorus

So tell me       what’s this feeling?
Can you tell me     is it love?

[somewhere near the end]

      You’re just someone   someone who broke in
      underneath my skin   you’re just someone
      I don’t know you   don’t even know you
      I don’t know you   don’t even know you

Lyrics Reprinted by Permission

In Another Time

(for Andrea Jean)

In another place,
In another time,
With another face,
With another rhyme
I might have done this so well.
I might have fooled you,
Might have fooled you,
Might’ve fooled myself.
I might have pulled it,
Might have pulled it,
Might have pulled it off.

In an awkward space,
Your body next to mine.
This accident of Grace—
Accident Malign.
O happy Fault, happy Hell,
I keep my cool—
My kind of cruelty—
I cut you with my shell.
Your passion fuels,
Take up your tools
To sculpt a human man.

In another place,
In another time,
I’d welcome your embrace,
I’d give you mine.
We’ve been miscast in this spell
Of glittered gloom,
Bride and groom.
I thought I could not be compelled—
Well, wreck this room!
Start a rumor.
Start by using me.

Every single day…
Every single night…

Lyrics Reprinted by Permission

Our Creation

In the dust of a man I went looking for knowledge
Through the gates of a garden littered with earthly delights
As the embers cooled and our love became clotted
Like the snake sheds its skin the strangers within us rotted

Chorus
We had no future, the future was now
You cry for no reason, I don’t know how
A signal on the screen and a shadow ’cross the sky
I want what you want, does that mean goodbye?

We’d both come from a place where we’d known good and evil
And from a second-rate hell we created our own paradise
If in the end it became just one more obligation
Well then what was the power we held over our creation?

Chorus

We created this thing just to say we had somethin’
And we put it together only to tear it apart
It was our greatest fear, that we’d get what we wanted
So we struck flint to stone and burned down the home that we’d haunted

Chorus x 2

Lyrics Reprinted by Permission

Seriously

I can take you seriously.
The strength in my own arm is enough—
The strength in this frail limb—
To take you seriously, now.

Chorus
Those horns!
It’s a glandular sort of thing.
The people mourn me;
Give them a dirge to sing.
I’m not—ain’t been—not been reborn;
No swaddling bandaging.
The people warn me,
But who’m I slandering?

I can take you seriously,
I want to be disturbed,
I want to eat your food,
And hear what you have heard.
If I can let you help me
Conjugate the verb.

Chorus

With a scarlet tide in one hand,
Redemption in the other,
We could woo our sleeping beauty
Into banding with our brother
And our sister and our father,
Into binding with our mother,
Into sounding with our lover

Chorus
Those horns!
The walls are crumbling.
They mourn me,
But I’m not stumbling.
And I’m not reborn; / These horns!
I hear the people grumbling.
They warn me,
But I’m busy tumbling.

Chorus
Those horns!
It’s a glandular sort of thing.
The people mourn me;
Give them a dirge to sing.
And I’m not reborn / These horns!
I’m busy tumbling.

Lyrics Reprinted by Permission

Laissez-faire

I know you’re trying
Can’t keep from crying
Lost your soul, lost control
Energy is dying

You’re used to giving
Your impetus for living
Now the dark’s snuffed your spark
Unfastened, unforgiving

Chorus A
And you won’t bother me
No you don’t bother me
Whatever else you do
You don’t bother me

You just can’t cool it
Sit tight and fool it
Comprehend, in the end
You’ll never overrule it

You’re here now being
You’re keenly seeing
I just can’t understand 
What you think you’re fleeing

Chorus A
Chorus B Instrumental

I think you knew it
You almost blew it
Recollect and recognize
Why you have to do it

The door is open
For what you’re hopin’
What’s the hitch, scratch that itch
You’re just myopin’

Chorus A

Chorus B
So you do what you do
And know what you know
And I don’t have a clue
And nothing to show

You dig whenever
Whoever and whatever 
Bon chance, laissez-faire
It’s now or then or never

You have to take it
You cannot fake it
Understand the ampersand
Together we can make it

Chorus A x 2
Chorus B x 1

Lyrics Reprinted by Permission

Father’s Day

Hung up on this guy tonight
No need to make it right
Hung up with no regrets
Like high school cigarettes
Man to man
If I could, well I guess I would
I barely can
Shake your hand, take your hand, barely

No regrets, not tonight
No words, though well we might
No regrets for me these nights
In Bombay Gin, red traffic lights
For who I am
With a shudder and shrug
The son of a man
Who can hold the world in his hand

Chorus
And break it slowly
Bend and break
Ache it slowly
For goodness’s sake
Drawn into the drama (treading the water)
Walk on wire
Drowning in the drama (tread on the water)
Forget that it’s father
Remember, it’s Father’s Day

These things I want to keep
To put this child to sleep
Back talk, lines drawn with sticks
Father’s belt and shaving nicks
And here we stand
If we could, well I guess we would
Man to man
Making plans, shaking hands, shaking

Chorus
Take it slowly
Bend don’t break
Fake it slowly
For pity’s sake
Drawn into the drama (keep treading water)
Walk on fire
Drawn into the drama (into the water)

Exultate
Domino
Make it holy
Make it so
Drawn into the drama (treading the water)
Don’t walk on by
You belong in the drama (tread on the water)
Forget that it’s father
Remember, it’s Father’s Day
Say an “Our Father”
Remember, it’s Father’s Day
Forget that it’s father 
Remember, it’s Father’s Day x3

Lyrics Reprinted by Permission

On, On, On, On…

Lyrics available here

Demo chants:

We’re here, we’re queer,
We’re fabulous, don’t fuck with us

Say it loud, say it clear:
Immigrants are welcome here

No justice, no peace

No pipelines on stolen land

ACT UP, fight back, fight AIDS

I can’t breathe

El pueblo unido jamás será vencido

Exercise in Revolution

The first work of the revolutionary: to keep his own mind free.

after the revolution
there will be wine under the trees
bread will be scarce and everyone will eat it
when the revolution comes
romance will be finished
but what is begun

when the revolution comes
you will be standing at the prow and the salt wind blows in your face
for hundreds of years you dreamt of the ocean
now you are wet

Cocteau has said that the revolutionary artist is first ignored, then scorned, and when these things do not work they try to suppress you by loading you down with honors.

[T]he forces of repression can tolerate changes in lifestyle: the history of art, for instance, is the history of revolutions in style that are first rejected and then accepted.

The fundamental revolution of culture is the liberation of the sexual pattern: the work of freeing ourselves from our enslavement to our masochistic-sadistic character.

Only an alternative that is more effective than violence can achieve what the revolution is really all about.

Violent action, violent revolution, changes things, but people remain what they are.

If, as Gandhi says, capital engenders greediness and competitiveness as character traits, might anarcho-communism engender generosity and cooperation? The theory of the revolution is not based on the idea that human character is “good,” but that if we change the conditions in which we function, our character will change.

Permanent Revolution! The turning of the wheel! The discovery of the wheel being the mechanical conquest of space, and the turning of the wheel, chakra, in the mind, in the spirit, being the psycho-conscious-mechanical conquest of stagnation.

In the work I am doing now I am rebelling even against myself.

Text taken from Julian Beck, The Life of the Theatre: The Relation of the Artist to the Struggle of the People (New York: Limelight Editions, 1986 [San Francisco: City Lights, 1972]), reprinted by permission

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