Got to Fly Lyrics & Liner Notes

The Album Project

This record was commissioned by Quantum Mechanix, to whom I am very grateful for giving a total unknown carte blanche to record a very strange niche record.

This page is in progress, but as I finish adding details I’ll tell you all about how surprised I was when I got the phone call!!!  And how very, VERY quickly this project came together.  Below you can find lyrics and credits now; more notes will come in time..

Album Art

I shot most of the photos for Got to Fly with Brian Adams on a sunny September morning at the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum.  They have a hangar full of wrecked and mangled planes that have seen more than their share of abuse — Alaskan aviation is a fascinating world full of astounding stories straight from the Outer Rim.  I did my own graphic design but I find working with Brian makes that a very, very easy proposition.

I included photos of some of my session musicians/bandmates, too, which I shot myself.  These albums are always group projects, and the musicians who worked with me on Got to Fly deserve all the credit and money that adoring fans could ever offer.  They put up with a breakneck pace (two months from inception to completion!), low pay, and ridiculous recording conditions (sheds, portable outbuildings, walk-in closets), and they gave their best at all times.

Tracks in Order

Note: some of these lyrics may differ slightly from what you hear on the album. The text below is how I perform them and think of them now.  I’m constantly revising.

1. I’ll Still Be a Geek After Nobody Thinks It’s Chic (The Nerd Anthem)

Being a nerd is not about a look, a gender, a social circle, a skin color, an age, or a demographic, and it’s certainly not going to dictate how I dress or talk or which sci-fi franchises I follow.  Sometimes I don’t “present” as a nerd, because I don’t dress a certain way.  Sometimes people say I’m not nerdy enough if I haven’t seen this or that movie or followed this or that franchise.  Me, I’m not eager to exclude people — I’d rather get on with the business of my particular obsessions without fretting too much about who’s “in” and who’s “out.”  Being a nerd is about what’s in your heart, which is passion, along with a touch of obsession, a little too much enthusiasm, and a dose of awkwardness.

Guitars: Kyle Harrington / Drums: Dennis Smith / Keyboards, bass, vocals, typewriter, percussion: Marian Call

All the cool kids keep enthusiasm rationed
Right down to the last explosive ounce
But I’d rather indulge my many passions
Even if my squaritude is overly pronounced

Perhaps I do not strike you as a geek
Without the horn-rimmed glasses or knee-high argyle socks
But nerdery is more than wardrobe-deep
And I’m a nerd down in my heart, and that’s where nerdhood rocks

Oh, I’m better acquainted than a good girl ought to be
With Aragorn and Yo-Saff-Bridge and Worf and HAL and Han
But you don’t really know me and my culture don’t control me
So don’t you pigeonhole me, cuz my phaser’s set to stun

Oh, I have been a nerd since long before I could have heard that
Bookish girls should look and act a certain way
And I’ll still be a geek when I am utterly antique
Because I do not care what normal people say

My superpower’s draining fun from parties
But if I am a misfit then I’m in good company
With Auden, Austen, Hawking, Galileo, and Van Gogh
And countless other weirdos whom you really ought to know

So stow your expectations — no — I won’t fix your PC
And I don’t mind being underrated or ignored
The world is much too interesting to entertain ennui
So I will never play it cool, and I will never once be bored

Oh, I have been a nerd since long before anyone heard that
Pale and scrawny was the latest fashion trend
And I’ll still be a geek after nobody thinks it’s chic
Because I don’t require approval in the end

In aught-four, D-Kwon’s Dance Grooves swept the country
And suddenly old moon boots were Italian haute couture
Time Magazine reported that our hour had finally come
I guess they didn’t know that we already run the world

Oh, I have been a nerd since my first (five-syllable) word
And no TV series or movie changes that
And I’ll still be a geek now Vote for Pedro’s so last week
I do not care whether Milan endorses plaid

Oh, I have been a nerd since long before anyone heard
That pale and scrawny was the latest fashion trend
And I’ll still be a geek after nobody thinks it’s chic
You will find that I have nothing to defend
Oh, I don’t need your approval in the end

2. Good Old Girl

Guitars: Kyle Harrington / Drums, Auxiliary Percussion: Colter Lemons / Bass, Auxiliary Percussion, Vocals: Marian Call

She’s a good old girl, a good old girl
She’s lived too long and seen too much, all over scabs and scars and such but —
She’s a pretty girl, kinda pretty girl
If you cock your head and squint, if you recognize the prints of space and time

Doin’ what they do, shepherding her through
Space will slow her stride, time will turn her tide
It’s far too much to take, but my girl don’t know when to break
So she’ll make she’ll make a way; she’s a good old girl, she’ll fly true

Her structure’s sound, her clock is wound
Through mistreatment and neglect, she’ll give whatever she’s got left
And she’s run aground, she’s run aground
But on the weakest breath of wind she’ll up and navigate the din of love and lies

Doin’ what they do, shepherding her through
Truth will stem her pride, lies will turn her tide
It’s far too much to take, but this girl don’t know how to break
So she’ll make she’ll make a way; she’s a good old girl, she’ll fly true

She’s a good old girl, a good old girl
She’s lived too long and seen too much, but still responds to the right touch
She’s a pretty girl, a pretty girl
In the presence of her pain, can’t hear nothing but the rain of space and time

Doin’ what they do, shepherding her through
Space will steal her stride, time will tell she tried…
Her row’s too tough to rake, and she don’t yet know what she can take
But she’ll make a way; she’s a good old girl, she’ll fly true

3. Don’t Try

Happy Apple, Bells: Colter Lemons / Keyboards, Vocals: Marian Call

Don’t try to charm me — don’t put that silly face on
The last of my resistance is already long gone, long gone

You won me when you let the last guard off the watch
You won me when you dropped the ball
You won me when you stumbled as you got up to dance
You won me when you fumbled that call
Perfection’s overrated after all

You had me when you drew the curtain back and let me see
That there was no one else behind the veil but you
And though I know you would secure me if you could
with sorcery — it’s unwise to love a wizard — I’d rather just love you

You don’t have to explain — and you don’t have to confess
You  can keep on hearing no — but all I’ve ever said is yes
I’m long gone

You won me when you let the last guard off the watch
When you started big and finished feeling small
You won me when you stumbled as you got up to dance
When you tried to fly and instead you took that fall
I want to love a human, after all

So don’t try to charm me — just trust that you belong
Just trust that my resistance is already long gone

4. Dark Dark Eyes

Guitar: Eugene Black / Clarinet: David Salge / Piano: Paul Pew / Accordion: David Pew

You don’t know how lovely you are
Sweet sweet soul
With dark dark eyes
Head to heel beautifully marred
Sweet sweet soul
Forgive my surprise

I know you see right through me
But please don’t look away
I’ll comfort you if you’ll cling to me
We’ll cry and we’ll wait for the day
Oh, I wish you could see what I see
Sweet sweet soul
Dark dark eyes

You don’t know how dangerous you are
Sweet sweet soul
With small small hands
I’d tell you the truth, but it’s hard
Sweet sweet soul
You don’t comprehend

But I’ll sing you every known love song
Until you can sleep through the night
I’ll stay by your side if you’ll have me, love
I’ll hold you until you don’t fight
Oh, I wish you could see what I see
Sweet sweet soul
Dark dark eyes

5. Vera Flew the Coop

Guitars: Paul Pew

Vera flew the coop when she was only soft sixteen
She hopped the first and fastest train with some lousy libertine
He’d spun a pretty story and he’d stole away her youth
And everyone was shocked, ‘cuz Vera always told the truth
Oh, her slip surprised ‘em all, ‘cuz Vera always told the truth

Oh, but Vera dumped that lyin’ lout in the dust behind the train
He’d angled for a child, but caught a heartless hurricane
He wasn’t worth a bullet, so she just pushed him off the side
And she thanked him for her freedom — she was eternally polite
Oh, Vera thanked him for his trouble, cuz she was nothin’ but polite

Li li li li…

Vera ran with lawless men who trembled when she talked
She never flinched, she never smiled, and her gun was always cocked
By twenty-one she’d terrorized the whole of the frontier
They feared her fateful justice, for they knew Vera was sincere
Oh, they ran from Vera’s posse cuz she was perfectly sincere

Vera rode alone the whole of her ferocious life
She never met a boy she didn’t think deserved the knife
Not a one of them was worthy in her steady steely eyes
Cuz they all fronted for their flaws, and Vera always sneered at lies
Yes, she found all men were liars, and Vera couldn’t live with lies

Li li li li…

It was not till Vera’s dying day her hard heart met desire
The man who shot her through was the only man she could admire
That mortal wound awoke in her a fire no balm could soothe —
She said, “I think I love you,” and Vera always told the truth
As she died, she said, “I love you,” and Vera always told the truth

Li li li li…

6. It’s Good to Have Jayne on Your Side

Adapted from “Shaner” written by Justin Boot.  Guitar: Jordan Shindle / Fiddle: Adam Stewart

Well he’s dumb but he’s tough and he likes to shoot stuff
and he won’t give a damn what you think
Spends his days turnin wrenches, his nights chasin’ wenches
And he’ll happily kick in yer teeth
Oh, he’ll happily kick in yer teeth

Well he comes from Saint Jo where he grew up with his Ma,
Lotsa fish and this drunk Mexican
He hopped a few trains just to ride off his pains
Now he’s doin’ the best that he can
Yeah, he’s doin’ the best that he can

He’s too proud to live and too dumb to die
Lord knows that his Momma tryd
He’s always meant well while he’s going to hell
But it’s good to have Jayne on your side — oh,
It’s good to have Jayne on your side

He drinks beer from Milwaukee, he don’t wear no cock ring
he don’t fight for honor nor fame
A night out with a gun is his idear of fun
And he thinks all you [mudders] are lame
Oh, he thinks all you [mudders] are lame

He steals what he needs from the big companies
And returns it so he can get paid
First son of Spenard, he’s always lived hard
Escapin’ the messes he’s made
Escapin’ the messes he’s made


Now he’s livin’ his dreams, he fixes up things
he’s got him a rusty shotgun
A three legged dog and a shack on the hill
And that’s his retirement fund
Yeah, that’s Jayne’s retirement fund

He rolls with the satans, but he don’t do much hatin’
He don’t need a lot from this world
Just a little more clutch, some vittles and such
And just one night with some purty girl
Yeah, some trim from some fine-lookin’ girl


7. In the Black

Guitar: Kyle Harrington / Piano: Paul Pew / Violin: Adam Stewart

You’re in the black – in the black – in the black — ain’t it lovely baby
Not coming back, in the black – ain’t you free
No more debts – no more threats – you’re in the black, baby
Left it all behind – must feel fine – must feel fine

But we  —-    wish we could see  you
We thought you might find time to write us now and then
You’re free —  now and you’re lonely
I love you, but please do not ask me to pretend
Come home if you want a friend

I’m right on task – since you asked – I’m doing great, really I am
I don’t blink, I don’t think, I just press on, press on
I’m doing fine – I’m not inclined to crack anytime soon baby
Left us all behind but we’re still fine – swear we’re fine

But we cry for no reason
Late at night when we run out of thoughtless things to do
You’re free now and you’re lonely
Please come home so we can cry with you
I hear that you cry too

We cannot bring you back when home’s not home
We can’t make you pay debts you will not own
We cannot reason with the unforeseen
We can’t compromise when there’s no in-between


8. Got to Fly

I needed a song to sum up why a record like this was even worth making, why music about and from imaginary worlds is relevant.  So this was written in response to the questions: “Why stories? Why art? Why fantasy and sci-fi?” as well as “Why Space Exploration? Why NASA?” So this is a song in defense of fiction as well as science.  It’s also very much about Battlestar Galactica and Lieutenant Kara Thrace.

Guitar: Kyle Harrington / Drums: Colter Lemons / Bass, Vocals: Marian Call

Thank you for calling, leamme a message please
Tell me what day and what month and what year it is
‘Cause I’m not here, no baby, I’m not home
The lights are on for sure but maybe the occupants have
flown.  I’ll catch you later, love — uh-oh, goodbye.

I don’t know how you got the stomach for reality when
You could go circle the stars, you wouldn’t be-lieve where I’ve been
Just this week, I’ve made some freakishly fabulous finds
My corpse has been here, but my mind’s covered miles
I’m cravin’ altitude, so kindly step aside — I got to fly.

I’ve seen such things —
I’ve been tasting lights and touching voices
You can’t wet my wings —
I’ll be back to pay the bills, but practicality may poison
My joy — so let me go love, recognize — I got to fly

Thank you for calling, leamme a detailed message please
Tell me what day and what month and what year it is
I’m gonna bring you back the goblet and the sword and the flower
I’m gonna mount a rescue, love, I’m gonna lay siege to the tower
I need adventure, love, so let me off this rock —

Because I fully understand
the minute that I land —
I gotta trip I gotta take I gotta call
I gotta make I gotta run I gotta do I gotta follow up
I gotta clean I gotta send I gotta file
I gotta get I gotta give I gotta go through that pile
I got a list, I got a note, I got a job, I gotta vote
I gotta read I gotta write I gotta get more sleep tonight
I gotta go, I got a goal, I gotta trim,
I gotta be, I gotta buy, I gotta try and hit the gym

I gotta pray, I gotta think, I gotta God I need a drink
I gotta learn, I gotta plan, I gotta squeeze you in
I gotta million miles to go, I got an endless row to hoe,
So when I got time to blow I gotta gotta got to fly.

I’ve seen such things — you wouldn’t believe it —
I’ve been hearing shadows and smelling noises
And you can’t clip my wings — the metaphor says, cuz
I can i-magine a reality where all my choices

Are meaningful, beautiful and bold
And it makes the waking world look so dead cold
Where consequences really proceed from our acts
Where the truth might just once line up with the facts
What a world, what a world, if I can imagine it so
Then imagining must matter — and that’s why I gotta go

Thank you for calling, I’ll get back to you soon
If you should get a message from the dark side of the moon
You’ll know that’s me, baby, you’ll know I’m there
The reception’s lousy, baby, but the view’s beyond compare so
If you wanna call shotgun on my rocket well you oughta, let’s — fly — got to fly.

We gotta ditch the sad cynics saying we’re all the same
They say we’ve got no really real adventures left to our names
And no love and no truth and no spark no mystery
But I’ve got a ticket off this rock, and I’m history

9. It was Good for You Too

Piano: Rama Ishaya / Bass: Nathan Levine / Drums: Colter Lemons / Violin: Adam Stewart

Don’t you cry now, sweetie, just you put that gun away
All I did was play the part you wanted me to play
You thought that you were handsome and strong and good in bed
I just agreed with you and you swallowed every word I said —

Oh, honey, did you really think you were special, dear, unique?
Did you really think I was so needy and so weak?
I robbed you blind, I left you cryin’, I played you for a fool
But you’re the one who let me — admit it, it was good for you too.

You’ll have quite the story ’bout the one that got away.
It’s a cruel game, but just the same it’s one we all must play
I’ve seen you force your hand before — you’re no angel either, dear
So put your hands where I can see them — and let’s get one thing clear:

You’re pathetic.  Did you really have to spring for that new tattoo?
Did you really think that I would choose to stay with you?
I gave you what you wanted — you returned the favor, too —
We’ve both made out quite nicely.  Admit it, it was good for you too.

I won’t apologize, my dear, I won’t apologize,
Because I know that it was good for you, too



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  1. I feel like I’m six years old again, it’s Christmas Eve, and I’m about to wet my pants with anticipation.

  2. Speaking of the anticipation of the new release, of course.

  3. […] Lyrics dal suo blog. […]

  4. A friend of mine has this CD and I love it! I listened to it almost nonstop for a week.

    I was wondering, though, if all of the songs applied to a specific person / ‘verse or if some were just abstract? I picked out River, Jayne (easy), and Saffron, and I think of Good Old Girl as equally apt for both Serenity and the TARDIS, but the rest I can’t really place.

    I’m especially wondering about Vera and Don’t Try. I thought Don’t Try was Inara until I came to the mention of sorcery and wizards. Coming right next to Jayne I assumed Vera might be a fictional tale of his gun, but as I’m not read up on every ‘verse, I was interested in learning more about her if not.

    And while it doesn’t quite fit, I have a lovely idea for a “Dollhouse” music video to “In the black”

    Thanks for the wonderful music!

  5. Hey there! Quick question that’s entirely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My weblog looks weird when browsing from my iphone. I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to fix this problem.
    If you have any suggestions, please share. Thank

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