Leftoverwhelming

by vonHummer

/
  • Streaming + Download

     

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
04:22
6.
03:49
7.
8.
04:11
9.
10.
11.
12.
04:23

about

So here's how "Leftoverwhelming" came to be. Short story. It's Summer of 2002. I'm out of songs for "The vonHummer Hour," my bi-weekly cable access series, and so I reached back to the tunes that were leftovers from my first record, 2000's "That Which Does Not Smash." I re-did the vocals, mixed it, burned it, done.

So the story of "Leftoverwhelming" is really the story of "That Which Does Not Smash," which, again, I'll tell you in short order, (as the cook said.) I had 24 swell songs written. I'd invented a drum guitar. I'd converted an acoustic Applause bass into a drone bass, to play alongside a matching high drone guitar. This would come to be my "Classic vonHummer Sound:" three guitars that take equal share in the rhythm and melody.

All 24 songs were recorded in a large orange Volkswagen camper tent that I had set up in the garage of the apartment on Barnes Road, from Fall 1999 through Spring of 2000. A single Vornado space heater ran nonstop to heat the tent, on the dime of the unwitting management company. These twelve "leftover" songs were passed over by Ann Hammer, who I considered to have a "golden ear" for music at the time, in favor of the twelve that went on "That Which Does Not Smash."

For a couple of years I considered these twelve complete catastrophes and banished them to the box of dusty cassette masters until the first few seasons of the show aired and "Flip a BItch" became a favorite among fans. This was significant because it was a song Ann Hammer didn't like. I included that one on the first album over her good judgement because I thought it was a masterpiece.

The popularity of "Flip a Bitch" had me realizing that—duh—even a golden ear can miss a good song. Sometimes a song will just speak to some people and leave everyone else cold. So if there's a beauty to releasing an album with too many tracks, that's it: more chances for the idiosyncrats to find a rare gem.

If memory serves, three of the songs in this collection became top twenty downloads from the website: "Time to Discover," "Prove That Child," and "Crunchy Lil' Numbers." The rest have been more or less ignored, although that's a very anecdotal judgement. It just means nobody has written in or told me personally, "Hey, 'Humidity' is my favorite song!"

This was my first solo recording on the trusty Tascam 420 4-track cassette recorder. I did my best all around to get a good sound and a good performance. I think I got very entranced doing so, because I have memories of recording and re-recording under the little white Xmas lights I strung along the roof of the tent. I can still see that peculiar orange atmosphere inside, an eternal night no matter what time of day it was outside. I remember having to turn off the heater during a take in the winter and feeling the temperature drop as I played. But when I hear these back, it's like somebody else played the whole album.

This sound, the classic vonHummer sound, was exactly the music I'd always dreamed of making: folky and rhythmic with rock sensibility. "Solisbury Hill" by Peter Gabriel and "Cecelia" by Simon & Garfunkel were my guiding lights. To this day, I'd still be happy make song after song trying to sound like those two songs.

On "Leftoverwhelming," I feel like that's what I've done. To my own ears these songs sound like Solisbury Cecelia songs. If you don't hear that, then I've succeeded in more than I'd dreamed. The sweetest success for an artist is when others mistake your stolen style for an original one. It's like inheriting a fortune.

A note about the cover art: the photos are by Jason Kaplan (jekphoto.com), taken at Newspace Photography. Jason was a fan who contacted me one fine day and offered to take a boatload of photos, free, and I've reaped the benefits of his talent and hard work for years now. He's a true mensch, that Jason, and I thank him for helping crystallize my visual stylistics or something quite like it.

credits

released July 31, 2002

Songs by vonHummer. Vocals, high drone guitar, bass drone guitar and drum guitar by vonHummer. Produced and Mixed by Clark Kent for Therisno Records. Cover design by Clark Kent. Photos by Jason Kaplan.

tags

license

about

vonHummer Portland, Oregon

vonHummer is a Portland music/cable access legend whose career spanned from Fall of 2001 to Fall of 2011, during which he recorded a hundred or so songs for use in his absurdist show (and feature film) and played only a handful of concerts. Currently retired, his work shines on for the ages. Or will he someday return...? ... more

contact / help

Contact vonHummer

Streaming and
Download help

Track Name: Time to Discover
"Time to Discover"
(vonHummer)

I took a Greyhound when I was six
to see my mother stationed at Fort Dix,
She took a kleenex and wiped my face, she said,
"You come a long way to be put in your place,
"It takes time to discover, It takes time to discover,
It takes time to discover what a mediocre lover you are...
Lover you are..."
I took the Metro when I was eight
to see the men who manufacture hate,
They took my money, they took my name,
They told me, "Deep inside, we're all the same,
"It takes time to discover, It takes time to discover,
It takes time to discover what a mediocre lover you are...
Lover you are..."
I took a taxi when I was ten
to see the boys who circle circular men,
I got a rule book, a baseball hat,
They said, "You'll never do any better than that,*
I took my mini-bike to Suicide Hill,
(way back when, when I still had time to kill,)
I was twelve or maybe thirteen, I thought,
"I still have no clue as to what they mean:
"It takes time to discover, It takes time to discover,
It takes time to discover what a mediocre lover you are...
Lover you are..."
Track Name: Odds Are Against Me
"Odds Are Against Me"
(vonHummer)

Every day when I wake up, Lord I just wanna give up
cos the odds are against me, everybody tells me so, ah no,

Every skill that I master speeds my path to disaster
cos the odds are against me, everybody tells me so, oh no,
now the odds are against me, everybody,
everybody tells me so...

What I read in the paper every morning only serves to further convince me, Hopelessness is the topic on every TV,
It always seems to be me and me against the world and the world,
but statistics don't lie in my plane of reality...

But I'll risk losing my shirt for the taste of some pay dirt,
though the odds are against me, everybody tells me so, ah, no,
now the odds are against me, everybody, everybody tells me so...

Everybody tells me so, not in so many words, not by brand name but all the same I know they've given up on living their dream come true, come true,
cos the odds were against them, and if I could I would, too...

But they can't hold a candle to the joy of one vandal,
though the odds are against me, everybody tells me so, oh no,
yes the odds are against me, everybody, everybody tells me so...
Track Name: Some Women in Love
"Some Women in Love"
(vonHummer)

Some women in love look positively vivacious,
Some women in love just have a vacant stare,
Some women in love look like the cat who just
called the canary flirtatious,
Some women in love in need of repair,

But, lady, how you look at me, I don't know and
I don't wanna see but it feels like morning glories
waking on a rusty gate, like a rainy autumn
monday morning sleeping late, like a hot cup of
Blue Mountain coffee on New Years Day...

Some women in love look like their doom is impending,
Some women in love look cocksure,
Some women in love like they're on an errand that's neverending,
Some women in love look just short of demure,

But, lady, how you look at me, I don't know and
I don't wanna see but it feels like morning glories
waking on a rusty gate, like a rainy autumn
monday morning sleeping late, like a hot cup of
Blue Mountain coffee on New Years Day...

Don't tell me the way the one I love really looks at me,
If I kid myself about her total admiration, I'll know soon enough,
Like most members of the 3-legged race, it's hard enough
to to face the gaze without wondering
how far through me she's been willing to see to glimpse the finer stuff...

Some women in love look like the lava looks back from the lamp,
Some women in love look like a postmaster looks at a stamp,
Some women in love look like a freight train watchmen would
look at the bum forever jumping on for a free ride,
if for some reason they let the bum come...

Don't tell me...No no don't tell me..
Track Name: Still Not Lonely Enough
"Still Not Lonely Enough"
(vonHummer)

I'm lonely as a WASP on a greyhound bus, I’m lonely as a stay-at-home mom, lonely as an energetic government worker, lonely as a ghost town peeping tom, lonely as I am deep and wide, lonely as a man can be for my size,

but I'm still not lonely enough yet, still not lonely enough yet, still not lonely enough yet, still not lonely enough yet...to compromise...

I'm lonely as a lawyer with a conscience clean, lonely as a bagpipe beginner, lonely as a salesman in a heart-to-heart talk, lonely as a lottery winner, lonely as I am paralyzed, lonely as a cynic who can feel surprise,

but I'm still not lonely enough yet, still not lonely enough yet, still not lonely enough yet, still not lonely enough yet...to compromise...

I'm lonely as a Republican in Hollywood, lonely as a whore with a heart of gold, lonely as a supermodel in a spelling bee, lonely, lonely, lonely, but I'm determined to see,


And I'm still not lonely enough yet, still not lonely enough yet, still not lonely enough yet, still not lonely enough yet...to compromise...
Track Name: Humidity
"Humidity"
(vonHummer)

It's not the heat, amazing. crazing us crazy, driving hostility,
it's not the heat, not friction, writing love's fiction, wrecking utility,
there's a place in France where ladies do a dance for my
mind's eye, voulez-vous, and every lady kicking in the line's
an evil twin to you,

Sweat, heartbreak and romantic stupidity: it's not the heat,
it's the humidity, faint flashes of lightning lucidity allow me to
see between you and me, it's not the heat, oh no, not the heat:
it's the humidity...

It's not the cold, frost-biting, cold war infighting, inviting divorce,
it's not the cold, chill kisses, preserving love this is
refrigeration of course,

There's a place in Greece where wonders never cease, and
Eros floats an arrow or two and every shaft splits my better half,
my target-come-true, you,

Frozen hearts on the sleeve of cupidity, it's not the heat,
it's the humidity, Fingertips briefly losing frigidity allow me to feel
Love's slippery eel,

Vanna's spinning our fortune's wheel, temperatures rise and fall,
oh no not at all by our free-wheeling will, it's not the chill in the air,
not death we're trying to cheat, it's not the cold, not the heat,
oh no not the heat: it's the humidity...

It's not the heat, amazing crazing us crazy, driving hostility,
it's not the heat, not friction, writing love's fiction, wrecking utility,
there's a place in France where ladies do a dance...
There's a place in Greece where wonders never cease...
Sweat, heartbreak and romantic stupidity...
Frozen hearts on the sleeve of cupidity...
Track Name: Typical You
"Typical You"
(vonHummer)

You wait up for me though I show up late, unworried, and you climb on top of me and beg to have your way, we come at the same time, I tell you I don't know why you're so nice as you get dressed to buy more ice,

Typical you, why can't I find myself someone atypical? Typical you, typical you...

You build your body like a Penthouse Pet, you only think of me,
laugh at my jokes which you don't really get, you dress so scantily,
I tell you you're starting to bore me stiff and you just giggle and reply, "As if."

Typical you, why can't I find myself someone atypical? Typical you, typical you...

I will not stand to be treated like a king til I find a queen who wants to share my reign, Is there a woman for me somewhere on this earth
who can shower me with a little disgust and disdain?

You came to me with independent wealth, you love to cook and clean,
bring by your girlfriends saying, "Enjoy yourself..." and that's exactly what you mean, I tell you I don't see how you don't mind
and you reply to me, "Love's like blind."

Typical you, why can't I find myself someone atypical? Typical you, typical you...
Track Name: ...And Shinola
"...And Shinola"
(vonHummer)

I can burp in a microphone and call it a symphony, Put some cash in a paper bag, call it diplomacy, I can fortify a cardboard box and call it architecture, Talk about how I was toilet trained and call it a history lecture,

Ah but once upon a time, the line wasn't so fine between shit and Shinola...

I can trip fall flat on my face and call it modern dance,
I can paint a so called masterpiece by soiling my underpants,
I can hold my breath until I pass out, call it philosophy,
Scatter garbage all over your street and call it charity,

Ah but once upon a time, the line wasn't so fine between shit and Shinola...

I wrote "Mary had a little lamb" fifty times and won a Pulitzer Prize in the category of Journalistic Twaddle, Here's my Olympic gold medal for swimming the butterfly which to the untrained eye very closely resembles the dog paddle...

I can do anything I like and you can too, We can all agree to disagree while we look for somebody new to sue,Love means never having to say anything to anyone, And so I love everybody everywhere just for fun,

Ah but once upon a time, the line wasn't so fine between shit and Shinola...
Track Name: See It
"See It"
(vonHummer)

You can tell me you see it, when you don't see it,
You can parrot descriptions second-hand,
You can tell me you see it, but you don't see it,
does it take oversight to understand?

When you see it, you're not the same,
You're different in a similar way to the others
before you who came to see truth's tortoise triumph
as the hare brain goes lame, Maybe you still can't
let it be yet because you don't see it?

You can tell me you see it, when you don't see it,
You can parrot descriptions second-hand,
You can tell me you see it, but you don't see it,
does it take oversight to understand?

When you see it some days you see it everywhere,
other days, oh, you only see it here or there,
When you can't you tend to insist that it simply doesn't exist,
Shout and twist in your sleep til you wake up and realize
why God gave you eyes,

You can tell me you see it, when you don't see it,
You can parrot descriptions second-hand,
You can tell me you see it, but you don't see it,
does it take oversight to understand?

Some who see it only saw it as a kid,
Some who see it soon struggle to forget they ever did,
Some who see it can’t see for trying to look,
Some see right away, glancing up from a book...
Track Name: We Don't Mean It
"We Don't Mean It"
(vonHummer)

The thing I love about you is that you know I don't mean it,

I talk a lot like politicians do, fact-finding phrases when I don't have a clue, Some people say 2 and 2 is 4, and I say, "Yes, and possibly more," just to be a bore, but you know I don't mean it,

I don't mean to be unkind, I don't mean to be untrue, I don't mean to convey any meaning at all but "I love you," and isn't that the last thing I manage to do?

The thing I love about you is that I know you don't mean it,

You talk like medics at my fatal crash who say to soothe me "Oh, it's just a scratch," Some people say the truth will set you free, and you say, "Yeah, thanks for warning me," Just devil's advocacy, cos I know you don't mean it,

You don't mean to be unkind, you don't mean to be untrue, You don't mean to convey any meaning at all but "I love you," and isn't that the last thing you manage to do?

The thing we love about we is that we know we don't mean it,

but you and I have got this dotted line inside we try to get each other to sign, but once we sign, there'll be hell to pay and then we'll both be less likely to say,
"That's okay, I know you don't mean it,"

We don't mean to be unkind, we don't mean to be untrue, we don't mean to convey any meaning at all but "I love you," and isn't that the last thing we manage to do?
Track Name: Prove That Child
"Prove That Child"
(vonHummer)

Nine months back we were naked in the act and our
passion play knew no pause, but can you prove that child, prove that child is mine?

And so you swear that there never was another but I know there's no Santa Claus, you gotta prove that child, prove that child is mine...

Prove that child deserves to call an end to my ride on the freedom range, Prove that child has authority to clap me into irons and make me exchange my swinging bachelorhood for fatherhood's confines, you gotta prove that child, prove that child is mine...

My eyes maybe, maybe my nose, but who knows, as he grows, the similarity to me will end and expose some other boyfriend?

Twas an all-girls dorm and you smiled so warm, I climbed up the ivy unseen, but can you prove that child, prove that child is mine?

And "I Get Around" by the Beach Boys was your favorite song which
can only mean you gotta prove that child, prove that child is mine...

Prove that child deserves to hold my finger in his little pink hand so tight, Prove that child can turn me into something like a man overnight,
Then again, I might be a willing pawn in your grand design if you can prove that child, prove that child is mine...

My blood type O Neg, okay, to my dismay, my DNA, Sure paternity looks like a sure bet, but there's a lot that science doesn't know yet,

Now we've shared the same name for two short years and you tell me you're expecting again? But can you prove this child, prove this child is mine? You gotta prove that child, prove that child is mine...
Track Name: Crunchy Lil' Numbers
"Crunchy Lil' Numbers"
(vonHummer)

When the day gets long and I've finished my second cup, crunchy lil' numbers, I'll knock down will pick me up, when all hell breaks loose and the situation is tight, crunchy lil' numbers I'll write wrong til things look right,

Crunchy lil' numbers make the darkness bright, crunchy lil' numbers can turn a black man white, crunchy lil' numbers lend me credence and insight into problems that would make King Solomon scratch his head, crunchy lil' numbers put the pink in Code Red...

When the load gets heavy and I feel my stride has no bounce, crunchy lil' numbers make my ton seem like an ounce, When the heat comes down and the public wants action now, crunchy lil' numbers prove that sweat was on my brow,

Crunchy lil' numbers make one half a whole, crunchy lil' numbers can make one song a show, crunchy lil' numbers lift me deep into the know into mysteries that would make Sherlock Holmes scratch his head, crunchy lil' numbers bleed from turnips rivers red...

There's no end to what my crunchy lil' numbers can seem to do, statistics don't lie, at heart they're more like silver-tongued devils, everything's relative, after all: it's perspective and point of view that make "on the level" truly level...

When my life is done and these chicken bones rotting lie, crunchy lil' numbers on my tomb won't let me die, and when old Saint Pete dons his eyeshade to count my sins, crunchy lil' numbers will make his eyeballs spin,

Crunchy lil' numbers can make Heaven like Hell, crunchy lil' numbers, convince me all is well, crunchy lil' numbers can make Hell like Heaven, crunchy lil' numbers can make snake eyes seven, crunchy lil' numbers can make the can-nots cans, crunchy lil' numbers make dead men vote again, crunchy lil' numbers give me something to do with my hands, which helps me to avoid the temptation to scratch my head, crunchy lil' numbers go where angels fear to tread...
Track Name: Karmalita
"Karmalita"
(vonHummer)

Tiptoe in the morning, fumble for my clothing in the dark, Tiptoe in the morning, fumble for my clothing in the dark, don’t dare wanna wake Karmalita, her powder keg don’t need my spark,

Oh Karmalita, the coffee table has rings from my drink, oh Karmalita, my dishes sit forever in the sink, oh Karmalita, it only hurts when I laugh, it only hurts when I think of the time gone by, spent as her majesty’s yo-yo, oh, Karmalita!

Gotta walk thru a minefield, walk on a tightrope, walk on eggs,
Gotta walk thru a minefield, walk on a tightrope, walk on eggs,
Gotta walk away, Karmalita: you broke my heart, maybe broke my legs,
Oh Karmalita, my lips move when I try to read your mind, oh Karmalita, have you lost the keys again only I can find? Oh Karmalita, it only helps when I comply, it only helps when I lie in the bed that I made with her majesty so long ago, oh, Karmalita!

Oh Karmalita, I’m too old to change and you’re too old for goodbye, oh Karmalita, god made us for each other, but god knows why, oh Karmalita, what can we do but just try to live til death do us pie in the sky? her majesty wants a-la-mode! oh, Karmalita!