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Grass Is Greener

by Neighborly

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noidea87
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noidea87 This album is satisfying as hell to hear front to back - including all the bonus stuff - and the write-up in the description really shed a light on the situation! I've had these riffs & melodies haunting my head for the past week and they ain't lettin go... Favorite track: Golden, Disposable....
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1.
The image was so stunning: You on 16th Street running with your pants down. Your drunken knees so bloody from your New Year’s concrete tumbling. You kept shouting out, “Who’s your boy now?!?” You made me laugh when things weren’t funny. Guess I should have seen it coming: Another friend goes down. I’m no fucking dummy. I can see that we’re all stumbling. I missed your point, but now... I can see the point now. I concede the point now. “Don’t laugh this is not...” “Don’t laugh this is not funny.”(2x) I concede the point now. Who’s your boy now? Do you think it’s about money? Did you think I was that cunning? Then you missed the point. It’s just that I’m no fucking dummy. “Don’t laugh this is not...” “Don’t laugh this is not funny.”(2x) Now I see - looking back - should have helped when I laughed. Did it take me too long to admit I was wrong?
2.
I close my eyes, I can see her lips. She turns her mouth into a fist (I seek the bully’s bliss). You think the violence is just a trend? It could have been the only friend she had on hand... You think that it doesn’t show? I think that it’s so obvious... Wipe clean the evidence, they dust for fingerprints! Thief he takes what he thinks is his and let’s vandals smash the rest. With sickles and hammers I must insist: G-d is a socialist. It could have been the only plan He had on hand... You think that it doesn’t show? I think that it’s so obvious... You think that it doesn’t show but it does...
3.
Dude drinks until he pukes. So I throw his shoes up on the roof, stole his car and gas card, spun a “brodie” in his yard... Just to wake the father! Stacked the car at Griffith Park. Then spinning and drunk and counting stars I tell myself, “This is so obvious, out here there is no subtle proof or simple truth...” Why do I even bother? By the way... (4x) 1992, the 16th day of June... You listened to me croon (having finished off the Boone’s) “They Always Come in Twos,” my favorite Mascis tune. Clothes spread around the room, these endings come too soon... By the way, I walked home and found out I am old now. (4x) Never is it “right” or is it “wrong,” only how you dressed on the occasion... I know what I should do: Leave it up to you...
4.
Feel the pulling south? Flee the Cloud Town. This vandal built a house, then burned it down... Do you really need the cold? Well, do you? All the friends have drowned: figure it out. Dessert in the mouth, the sun is south... Do you really need the cold? Do you? Do you really want to know? Well, do you? Here it's always clear. Just so you know... Here it's always clear. Just so you know... Feel the pulling south? Flee the Cloud Town. No one is around to burn it down... Do you really need the cold? Do you? Do you really want to know? Do you? Here it's always clear. Just so you know... Here it's always clear. Just so you know... (2x)
5.
Cut to Chase 02:57
Let's cut to chase: with all their expectations on me I pulled up lame. So now who'll finish up what is started? Cut to chase... Thought opportunity had knocked me off my feet? Well here I stand still smiling, sparkling... If they need to place blame now, it's me they can blame. Let's cut to chase: you didn't think I had it in me. I'll make that change. My shadow, a comet's tail: bright, Cut to chase... With all their expectations on me I pulled up lame. So now I'll finish up what is started. If they need to place blame now, it's me they can blame. I am always wide awake. Unafraid to drop dead weight... I am always wide awake. Unafraid to cut to chase.
6.
Lisp 03:35
I remember every word unsaid. All blurry lips and slurring lisp, the angry scent of short breaths. I break this movie into frames, then I close my eyes and make you go away... The noise it drowns the pain out. Immersed in static's buzz and howl, the noise it drowns the names out. They’re only fading faces to me now... I remember every word untrue Poison arrows fired at the son They will come back to pierce you You will get yours someday. Can you close your eyes and make me go away? The noise it drowns the pain out. Immersed in static's buzz and howl, the noise it drowns the names out. They’re only fading faces to me now... So where are you now? Pages torn skillfully... Heads turned so not to see... Someday these hates may rest. Some things I won’t ever forget. All blurry lips and slurring lisp, the angry scent of short breaths... So where are you now?
7.
Count your friends on your good hand. This fistful of “almost, maybes” are on the way out. Over and played out... I’ve hung with those golden babies-- All fire, smoke and hair--you know, about to flame out. Over and played out I’m not afraid to say it: They’ve reached their peak Disposable... Count the punks on your bad hand “Chump of the month club...” Babies getting paid now! Over and played out! I’ve heard all the golden, maybes... The latest haircut is getting played out. Over and played out! AndI’m not afraid to say it: I say my peace. Disposable next week... You weren’t to say that to me, You weren’t afraid to say that you don’t care... So grab on tight with both hands, Golden, disposable you’re on the way out. Over and played out.
8.
Vandalized 03:53
Eyes fixed and dilated... Punch drunk with thoughts serrated... A turn into twist, a twist into spin so tight, I stripped it out. I’m so spun I can taste it. Idon’tknow whybutIstilcaryaroundme to this day the list of confused hearts that I have vandalized. Don’tneedthedatesandplaces. C a n ’t th in k o f h o w I’d c h a n g e it. A turn into twist, a twist into spin too tight, like tourniquet. Maybe I should have waited? Idon’tknow whybutIstilcaryaroundme to this day the list of confused hearts that I have vandalized. Idon’twanttoknow. Did I just waste their time? Idon’twanttoknow. Al lIknow iscrim e... In dreams, I break the balls of my feet. Tapped some phone calls made with cans and a string. Reconciled with the Philistine. Pleasedon’ttelmewhatitmeans. Idon’twanttoknow. Did I just waste their time? Idon’twanttoknow. Al lIknow iscrim e... Idon’tknow why but I do care. The truth is a bullet in the face. It is my own heart that I have vandalized.
9.
Driving, windows down with our arms out... Winding forearm sine waves on the 5 South... Cold as last chance, wish I didn’t feel so empty-handed. Four backs to back, gladly taking everything for granted. Freelance band hacks, man we could really clear a room out. Try to think back: there was nothing stopping you from leaving. Making it up as we’re going along , the shaking of hands and the breaking of falls. The shittiest fish in the smallest of ponds bites down with his tongue out... Sad like slow dance, wish it didn’t feel so heavy-handed. Fucked at first glance: splashes are ripples from a distance. Was it so bad? Still saving the box of stupid candids? Try to think back: there was nothing stopping you from leaving. Making it up as we’re going along , the shaking of hands and the breaking of falls. The shittiest fish in the smallest of ponds bites down with his tongue out... Driving, windows down with our arms out... Winding forearm sine waves on the 5 South... Never thought I ache for those moments. Never thought I’d escape your performance.
10.
SomewhereI’m drunkandtoasting, soon to slip into fuzzy regret. Somewherethere’sakiss that tastes likeacigareteandaBeck’s. Sometimes I beg for reminders. Som ething Iknow I’l lneverforget. In the dark of my heart I long for spark and flash ofacarcrash... We should have known better than to shine. We stare straight into the sun and burn ourselves blind. Somewherethere’satouchthat flirts between a slap and a pet. SomewhereI’vesparedandfalen, knuckles painting red the cement. Sometimes I beg for reminders. Som ething Iknow I’l lneverforget. As real as the scars on my arm, Ilongforsparkandflashofacarcrash... We should have known better than to shine. (the glare will blind) We stare straight into the sun and burn ourselves blind. So far, so lame. Too much, too late. We should have known better than to shine. (the glare will blind) We stare straight into the sun and burn ourselves blind.
11.
I bet he hated to say that his words landing like left jab. I'll meet a hundred more like him: thin lips twisted in smug grin... I bet she hated to say that her voice piercing like pin stabs. Stung by a hundred more like her: always getting the "last word..." Is that all I have to know? If you're done, I'd like to go... (2x) I bet you let it just "slip out..." Roman candle of your mouth. Fireworks unconvincing, I just smile and feign listening... Is that all I have to know? If you're done, I'd like to go... (2x) If it's the last thing I do, I'm going to make them tell the truth: "Everyone sings the same tune..." Is that all I have to know? If you're done, I'd like to go... (2x) If you're done, I'd like to go...
12.
There was a time that I felt strong, head down and crushing everything. Now I feel like starting gun: fired up, flash, noise, smoke and blank... Ambition is gone... There was a time that I longed for the sky: young, thirsty satellite. I see how far I've fallen short. I’ve pencil marks inside my doorframe. I know you hate the way I'm leaving things-- in pieces, incomplete. But you can't change the way I feel these things: nothing's good enough to keep... It's like we're children and we're all chasing trash across this windy beach... I know you hate the way I'm leaving things-- in pieces, incomplete. But you can't change the way I feel these things: nothing's good enough to keep... We behave like children and we chase trash...
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about

Fair listener,

NEIGHBORLY, sadly, was the apex and end of my time as a primary singer/songwriter. From 1993-1996 I was the drive behind Skiploader, a band fortunate enough to sign with Geffen Records and perform with many of our influences/friends at the time (Foo Fighters, Sunny Day Real Estate, Seaweed, Shudder To Think, Heatmiser, etc). When Skiploader imploded [for which I can also assume responsibility] I moved back to California, got married and continued writing the batch of songs that would become Grass Is Greener. The first 11 songs would have likely represented the follow up to Skiploader's From Can Through String and as I listen back from a quasi-objective distance I see an interesting evolution. The Neighborly songs are more traditionally arranged, allowing the vocals and lyrics to come to the forefront, rather than hide behind the quirky rhythms and dissonant chord voicings that Skiploader preferred. The lyrics, although still a bit angsty, are far more universal and less personal diary/confessional than Skiploader. Although it could probably be effectively argued that those traits are exactly what made Skiploader more unique sonically, I suppose like most creative types I suffer from the disease of preferring my most recent efforts.

From 1996-1999, Bob Penn (Coco B's, The Jealous Sound and Racquet Club) and I rallied several friends - Wes Davis, Val Wolfe, Adam Orth and Rodger Marinelli - to help us write, perform and record these 16 songs. As the primary songwriter and now archivist of this project I guess I get the last word, so I cannot overstate how integral Bob Penn is to any project he plays. If I was the brains of this poorly conceived operation, Bob is most certainly the soul which preserves it's integrity. Not to denigrate any of the other performances or contributions (especially Adam Orth who played a huge role in tightening the LPs final performances) but Bob was there from bittersweet end to end and listening to his drums on these songs always brings a smile to my face.

Songs 2-10, the main bulk of the original Grass Is Greener CD release, were mixed in 1998 or 1999 by Mark Trombino at Big Fish in San Diego. The extra tracks "Is That All?" and "She Watches Columbo" also come from that mix session. "Jarvik 7" was actually a Skiploader demo recorded with Pat Wilson from Weezer on drums and bass that was originally slipped onto the original CD as a hidden track. "Vandalized," "Nibbler" and "Chasing Trash" were the very first Neighborly demoes recorded for Warner Chappell Music Publishing in the Fall of 1996 with Wes Davis (bass) and Val Wolfe (guitar) absolutely crushing it. It's probably for the best that we didn't re-record those tunes, because their rawness is my favorite part of this re-issue. "You and I Against..." was a demo I forgot existed until I found it on an old DAT while trying to curate this reissue. I was tempted to re-record lead vocals because I really love the music, but I'm older now and am somewhat capable of not making an ass of myself from time to time. Finally, the demo version of "Bully's Bliss" had to be added because it too was found on an old DAT and I had absolutely no recollection of its original structure or even which line up is playing it. I may prefer the final LP version as a cohesive song, but I'm amazed at how we went from that demo to the final version.

Finally, it occurs to me that the reason you might be reading this has everything to do with Sunday's Best, which was arguably the most "successful" band I was in despite [or perhaps because of] the fact that I was playing in what seemed like a more diminished/collaborative role. The truth is I was also the primary lyricist in Sunday's Best and co-produced/engineered all the S Best recordings (although Tony Lash performed miracles mixing both records and co-producing The Californian LP). The Sunday's Best song "In Beats Like Trains" and "I Concede The Point" from Grass Is Greener were the last two songs written as Neighborly. S Best needed a 10th song to finish the Poised To Break LP and they helped me rewrite/clean up the chorus. Ed from S Best co-wrote the bridge to "By The Way..." and Ian helped engineer me playing all the instruments on "I Concede The Point" because I guess every rock dude who can play multiple instruments has to record an entire song by himself.

That's about all I can think to say about this project for now. When I listen to these songs today, I get a feeling you might be familiar with: you know when you see an old photo of yourself and you actually look pretty good but then you remember how you saw yourself back then and how you were always plagued with self-doubt? Well I do and when I see old candids from my 20s I want to jump back into those photos and pat that person on the back and say, "take it easy on yourself, kid. You're doing ok..." So when the iTunes shuffle drops a Grass Is Greener track, I smile and think "you were not half bad at the whole songwriting thing, maybe you should have tried to enjoy it more."

And then I turn it up...

Cheers,

Tom Ackerman
Ramona High School, Class of '88

credits

released February 27, 2001

Tom Ackerman: Vocals, Guitar, engineering, all instruments on 1 & 16
Adam Orth: Bass, Back-up vocals, engineering, piano on 4, guitar solo on 3
Bob Penn: Drums, shaker on 2, tambourine on 7 & outro lyrics on 3
Wes Davis: Bass on 5, 9, 12, 13 and 17, intro lyrics on 9
Val Wolfe: Rhythm guitars on 5, 9, 12, 13 and 17
Bob Pyle: co-wrote music for 10
Ed Reyes: wrote bridge music for 3

Recorded by Jim Wirt at 4th Street Recordings, Santa Monica, CA and mixed by Mark Trombino at Big Fish, Encinitas, CA except 1 recorded and mixed by Tom Ackerman and Ian Moreno at LMU Studio L. Mastered by Dave Schultz at Digiprep, Hollywood, CA.

Photography/Art by Billy Wirth

Design and Layout by Kyle La Brache @ International Orange

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Neighborly Los Angeles, California

Neighborly was a band with Tom Ackerman (Skiploader, Sunday's Best & The Kite-Eating Tree) and Bob Penn (Coco B's, The Jealous Sound & Raquet Club) based in LA circa 1998. Sonically it's "emo" Alternative Rock, a la early Foo Fighters meets Jimmy Eat World. ... more

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