After School Special front coverAfter School Special back cover

After School Special is a collection of musical ephemera from the early- to mid-2000s, recorded by me and my friends; notably my girlfriend (now wife) Sumana Harihareswara, Adam Kaplan, and Kristofer Straub. It includes passionately worked songs, painstakingly written songs recorded under primitive conditions, and crappy improvised songs that happened to make it into an MP3 file.

For mass downloads, see MP3 and OGG directories.

Quick note on cover art. Front cover is a painting I did in high school, based on a random shape from my sketchbook. Back cover is the traditional musician's embarrassing photo of himself when he was a kid.

Track List

  1. After School Special: The original Adam/Leonard/Kris collaboration. Puts us on the map as children of the 80s. Full of ridiculous goings-on.

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  2. Frog/Antifrog: The earliest recording on this album tells the story of love and loss in video games. Thanks to Andy Holloway for keeping a copy of this recording after I unaccountably lost mine. I'm almost certain to re-record this for a future album, because it's beautiful.

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  3. Hard Like Steel Pk5 (not classy): The first of two collaboratively written songs where the lyrics come from spam in Adam's inbox. Music mostly by me and Adam. Also includes Kris, Kim, and a spam-maddened Sumana. My ending rant where I accuse others of ruining my classy penis enlargement song has become a minor classic of our household.

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  4. Viagra Pro has become available since 1998 and: This spam was actually written as a song. My favorite part is Kris's New Wave "let's go!" at the beginning. Everyone in the room joins in on the classic line "2".

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  5. Attack of the Good Ol' Boys from Planet Honky-Tonk: The title of this song was inspired by the only funny joke in a science fiction novel I wrote when I was 12. Just thinking about it right now I can come up with all kinds of SF riffs that are funnier than what I originally wrote. That's experience!

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  6. The Whiskey Rebellion Activity Zone: Inspired by a page on the IRS's website for kids. Sumana tells the story. According to me-of-the-past it is "the only song ever written in the Cory Doctorow/George Saunders/Ken MacLeod mode," and I stand by that, though now I'd say Charlie Stross instead of Ken MacLeod. The original Whiskey Rebellion Activity Zone can be found via the Wayback Machine.

    Sumana made a music video for this song.

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  7. Sand Bar: In 2002 Jake Berendes decided he would do a compilation of ten-second songs. I sent him two songs; "Sand Bar" and "Android Assassin From Vega XV, The". I don't think he ever actually did the compilation. "Sand Bar" is interesting because it's actually a twenty-second song, but I cram it down to ten seconds by playing both verses simultaneously.

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  8. Android Assassin From Vega XV, The: My second ten-second song. Mainly my tribute to indexes that move articles in noun phrases to the end of the noun phrase. I remember being a little kid and looking through some collection of Disney songs or something, and being really creeped out at index entries like (let's say) "Bear Necessities, The". Actually has kind of the same meter as "Sand Bar".

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  9. House, M.D.: Jake Berendes was extremely disappointed when I told him this was a song about a TV show; he thought I had invented the character, I guess. Originally improvised for Sumana, and the first song I ever did a drum track for with Hydrogen.

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  10. Cowboy: Another improvised song.

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  11. Pirate: Mike Popovic filked "Cowboy" for his daughter, and I recorded it. There was a brief vogue for filking "Cowboy", as I was thinking of doing a whole album of these songs about people pretending to buy into various professions/lifestyles and defensively making it part of their identity. Some of the filks were pretty good but I didn't feel like recording them all.

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  12. Doob-Doob: An a capella tribute to the "vain, stupid, but loveable" crocodile from India's Amar Chitra Katha comic books. Probably unlistenable. Might be slightly more listenable if all four voices in the a capella weren't me.

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  13. Superstar: I saved the best for last. An epic Adam/Leonard/Kris collaboration with guitar solo and proper mixing and everything. Where "After School Special" explores the television aspect of the 80s kid-oriented media environment, "Superstar" explores an aspect found in music videos and teen movies: the idea that rock 'n' roll itself has totemic power that thwarts adult plans and absolves teenagers of responsibility. As with "Viagra Pro has become available since 1998 and", Kris has a great interjected line that has no meaning but is funny in context.

    Funny story about the last two lines. Adam wrote them in the text editor while Kris and I were away, and then tried to convince us that someone else had written them. This might have worked if there were hundreds of people working on the song, and if Adam had been able to pick a scapegoat and quickly turn everyone else against the scapegoat. But Adam's ruse was quickly discovered, and to punish him Kris and I made those lines part of the actual song. They're my favorite lines in the song.

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  14. Put Meat On The Online Bone: Bonus track. I forgot all about this song until I saw an old weblog entry just before releasing the album, and quickly recorded it. It was inspired by a press release in which Omaha Steaks was hailed for putting said meat on said online bone. For a while I would sing this song to myself, wondering if the mysterious "online bone" was something out of a Pound Puppies relaunch or what. Then I forgot about it for seven years. Now, it's your turn.

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This document (source) is part of Crummy, the webspace of Leonard Richardson (contact information). It was last modified on Tuesday, August 21 2007, 20:08:16 Nowhere Standard Time and last built on Thursday, October 23 2014, 02:00:04 Nowhere Standard Time.

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