Works in Progress #13: Release The Bats!

Many moons ago, when you were still at your mother’s teat, we played an outdoor show somewhere in Iowa. It was at a college and like all outdoor shows at colleges in Iowa this outdoor show also featured a pig roast.  Normally, this would slide under the radar as an inconsequential detail, but at this time in 3 Minute Hero history, we had a member of a non-Christian monotheistic religion in our retinue. He was (and probably still is) of the Jewish persuasion. This was fascinating to us, for some reason. We would lurk about wagering whether or not he would take part in the ursine feast before him. This particular instance came after a handful of other pig roasts. Had he not taken part, he would have been reduced to the non-existent 3 Minute Hero per diem or, even worse, an emergency sandwich from my cooler consisting of a bread-like substance and off-brand apple butter. He ate the pig. One of our number yelled out, “Release the bats!” and it was hilarious, because, as everybody knows, the releasing of the bats is one of the best parts of the whole entire Pentateuch.

An interesting part of this story that has no relation to what I’m trying to get at is that earlier in the day, Eric Johnson made a heroic frisbee catch, but when he landed, he crushed a baby bunny. Explain THAT to God, Eric.

So, bats. That’s where I was. “Release the bats,” became, over time, a battle cry in the face of the absurd. That’s what this song is to me. We head out on these fool’s errands, we get side-tracked, the side-tracks become the main spurs, we go to Iowa, we eat pigs, we defy our Maker, we crush bunnies.

“With his cape made of wind

And a crown fashioned from junk

He joins the cattle,

Their romance for battle

He is an antique marching band steam punk.

He’s drowning in sweat

From a nightmare more crushing than debt:

He wants a future

All stitched and sutured,

The past on his feet

And the future on his

Head, shoulders, knees, and toes,

Shoulders, knees, and toes,

You know how it goes

So we say it again.

I can.



Release the bats! Flip the switch!

Release the bats! Ring the bell!

Release the bats! Upon my signal…

Unleash hell!

Release the bats, the kind that live beneath our hats,

Won’t somebody please think of the children?


And when he comes home

He is broke, but not broken or alone:

He has stories,

A chest pinned with glories,

And a shell shock fear of the telephone

Ring Ring Ring Ring

Don’t touch that thing!

It’s a relay station

For echolocation

Evasive maneuvers: one and a two and a

Sing. Sing a song. Make it last. Your whole life long.

Sing. Sing a song. ”

What’s that? You think this song should have clarinets and accordions in it? Consider it done, but only because you asked and you read all the way to the bottom.

All of this particular material is copyrighted ©2015 Jeff Nelson.


Works in Progress #12: Kill a Unicorn

Do you know what’s hard? Go ahead, smart-ass — I’ll throw in a caesura here for you to formulate an ultra-perverse answer.

[Excellent work.]

Some people think coal-mining is hard. Some people think landing on and subsequently destroying an earthbound comet is difficult. Child’s play. Writing lyrics to songs? Now we’re getting somewhere. Some of the songs on our forthcoming album have been lodged in my head — like an iron spike — for well over a decade. I thought I knew the words to them. Guess what? I don’t! That’s because the lyrics in my head, which have fit so nicely in these songs for so long, don’t actually fit in the space allotted. I have apparently been given the remarkably frustrating gift of being able to conjure up a 5-gallon music pail and then fill it with 22 gallons of lyrics (most of which are about monkeys, pies, or rage). Do you know how badly those lyrics stain my priceless Oriental rugs?

Enough of my completely valid first-world problems, here are some lyrics that do fit.

“It’s way to late to do us any good —

I should have started earlier: I know.

Now an opportunity has been missed

And everybody’s pissed

Off, and rightfully so.

When you’re young life can go by so slow:

At a glacial pace, at the speed of tree

And waiting on the sideline is me

Waiting for a silver bullet — waiting for a god to fall from the sky

Saying, “Me oh my, get to the front of the line.”

But it’s too late today, it’s too late tonight, it’s too late for me to put up a fight.

It’s too late today, it’s to late tonight I know.

I should have planned ahead

Or even even just planned,

Nothing I do is even in demand.

I could’ve worked harder,

I could’ve done more,

Now all that’s left is to go fight the war.

“The war is over, son.”

I don’t even care who won.


It’s time to grab life by the horn

It’s time for you to get on board:

It’s time to kill a unicorn.


It’s way too late and the sun has come up.

I need something inside this cup.

Do they have coffee at the God-I’m Awesome-Cafe?


This moment shall pass,

It’s just that life goes by so fast

When it’s too damn hot

And you’re down to your last shot.


Run my unicorn, run free,

Over the mountains majestically.

Run my unicorn run —

Over the rainbow and under the sun.”


All of this particular material is copyrighted 2014 by Jeff Nelson. So no writing your own songs about unicorn slaying — at least with these lyrics.


Works in Progress #11: Okoboji Volcano [Parts 2 & 3]

What is the price of living in paradise? I’m not talking about dollars or rubles. I’m talking about the trade-offs. Some live in the shadow of volcanoes. Others live on active fault lines. Some of us even live in St. Paul. Regardless, Fate’s drunk ass invariably shows up at our door demanding that which we thought was ours and when she does, you best have your New Balances laced up, a full tank of gas, and a week’s worth of canned goods and bottled water because she is as relentless as she is capricious. This song, “Okoboji Volcano [Parts 2 & 3]” are about living in the shadow of the volcano and about how everything somehow comes together when you need it to. It is to be the first song of the second section of our forthcoming double-album titled “Jumbo Jet Whispers & Thunder Lizard Serenades: The Journey of 3 Minute Hero.”

You always knew / What was best.

I took care of today / You took care of the rest.

All our worries: so petty and small —

It’s so clear now after the fall,

But how can you know when she’s going to blow?

You always knew / What was best about me.

That’s why we’re here / under the coconut trees.

All our worries: so petty and small —

So clear now after the fall,

But how can you know when she’s going to blow?

Breeze blowing in off the ocean — all right.

Breeze blowing in from the sea — oh yeah.

Breeze blowing in through the valley and over the darkness of the water.

Breeze blowing in from the mountain — all right.

Breeze blowing in off the the mountain — oh yeah.

Hey man, that’s not a mountain.

I know that’s not a mountain.

We all know that’s not a mountain.

All right.


Little baby puff of smoke / Everything is okie-doke.

Grab a bag of avocados then we go home.

Chop an onion, squeeze a lime / Guacamole just in time

for beer, chips, and Apocalypse Now.

Good thing we kept the Vespa and not the goats.

Good thing you took that course on how to fly helicopters.

Bingo-bango: sugar in the gas tank.

Bingo-bango: failure can be so sweet.

Bingo-bango: Okoboji volcano.

Driving here, driving there / Driving with no underwear

Lava lava everywhere / That’s a bad poem.

Through the jungle / Through the trees,

Through the ancient idol’s knees.

Pretty, pretty, pretty please: let me go home.

Don’t stop the carnival but do not look back.

Good thing T.C. showed you how to fly his Island Hopper.

Good thing we built our shack up on high land

Upon the packed down sand

You think we’d understand, but you’d be wrong.


You always knew / What was best.

You took car of today. / I took care of the rest.

Our daily worries so petty and small —

It’s so clear now after the fall,

But how can you know when she’s going to blow?


All of this particular material is copyrighted ©2014 Jeff Nelson.



Works in Progress #8: Crazy Uncle


He’s mixing margaritas (it’s not even noon)

It’s not even eleven (but it will be soon)

He’s not your dad — he’s your crazy uncle.

He asks, “Hey, what’s the matter?” (“The pool’s closed, man.”)

He waves you and your friends (to his Econoline van)

With the moon-shaped windows — he’s your crazy uncle.

Shake and bake, yeah.

To the lake, yeah.

They’re calling him “Presidente” (and fetching him beer)

The girls in bikinis (are whispering in his ear)

He’s a golden god — he’s your crazy uncle.

He’s holding court like a pagan priest behind a wall of flame.

His sunburnt congregation sings when he starts to play…

The you-ka-lay-lay.

Oooo La-di-da (Oh hi-di-hey) Carry forth (Lay-lady-lay) My wayward son (My crazy uncle)

Oooo La-di-da (Oh hi-di-hey) Carry forth (Lay-lady-lay) My wayward son (My crazy uncle)

When you’re out there feeling so all alone,

You probably are, so remember the things that you were shown.

Crazy is the one thing that you can own.

Travel light and don’t carry dead weight:

Bring only what you need.

Sharpen your wits, don’t you dare be late,

Because nothing is guaranteed.


Hold my calls…

I’m much too busy polishing the balls on an equestrian statue of Andrew Jackson’s horse.

If you know what I mean.

Things aren’t always quite as they seem,

and so we say, “Thank God.”


Oooo La-di-da (Oh hi-di-hey) Carry forth (Lay-lady-lay) My wayward son (My crazy uncle)

Oooo La-di-da (Oh hi-di-hey) Carry forth (Lay-lady-lay) My wayward son (My crazy uncle)

Oooo La-di-da (Oh hi-di-hey) Carry forth (Lay-lady-lay) My wayward son (My crazy uncle)

All of this particular material is copyrighted ©2013 Jeff Nelson.


Works in Progress #7: La Piscina

We debuted three new songs last week at the Bunker’s show: “La Piscina,” “Crazy Uncle,” and “Brown Flamingos.” Following “Ice Cream,” they will be songs two, three, and four of the forthcoming concept double album tentatively titled “The Journey of the Hero: Jumbo-Jet Whispers & Thunder-Lizard Serenades.” Snippets of lyrics have appeared here before, but here’s all of “La Piscina.”  Close one eye and imagine me singing this to you from the next room. Creepy, isn’t it?

“These trunks from Pic n’ Save won’t make it ’til Labor day;

There’s enough chlorine in there to dissolve the Saratoga.

Drive over your CRV to our little pool party.

Kick off your Docs, slip on your suit. You’re pretty hot but not that cute.

We’re taking a break from bowties, drive-by shootings, and butter-flavored topping.

We just want to get wet.

And forget.

Watch your head and your toes. Sawgrass and palmettos

Will carve you up like an Easter ham and let you bleed out on the sand.

Redneck in his cut-off jeans stirs beneath the evergreens.

He flicks a beercan full of ash — we hear a ‘clink’ when we should hear a splash.


I’m not asking for a sign of good faith from the cosmos:

no burning bushes or bosso profundos from the depths of the whirl wind.

Oooh-la-la-la piscina (the pool is closed)

La-la-la piscina (the pool is closed)

La-la-la piscina (the pool is closed)

La-la-la Piscina

And everybody knows

That the pool’s closed.

Everybody knows

That the pool’s closed for the summer time.


(We move ahead) nearly at the speed of light.

(We pass you by) like a lonely satellite.

You know that there’s no other way.

(We’ve got the will) and we’ve got velocity.

We need a (hint) a (clue) a (key)

We need a guide to show the way (We need a guide to show the way)”


All of this particular material is copyrighted ©2013 Jeff Nelson.