The first decent song I ever wrote was titled "The Ballad of Pee-wee Herman" (fall of 1991). It was also my first song that ever made it onto a CD (or cassette for that matter) when The Evergreen State College released it on their 1994 compilation: THE EVERGROWING STATE PROBLEM.
I was a 20-yr-old anti-establishment "punk" when I wrote it and angry at authority figures, conformists, cultural gatekeepers, etc. I really point fingers at parents in this song which I don't love. By "parents" I meant adults. I guess I was just trying to stick up for the kids who'd lost a fun TV show, in particular my little cousin Ben. His two favorite cartoons were Pee-wee's Playhouse and GI JOE. When Pee-wee's Playhouse was taken off of the air, all he had left was GI JOE.
Here are the lyrics:
THE BALLAD OF PEE-WEE HERMAN
I'm gonna sing about a man we all know, who parents preferred to ignore A man who got jailed for touching his penis, touching nothing much more The verdict was lewdness-indecent exposure. The pious all gave their sermons “He was caught in the act!” Well, the parents attacked, and they crucified poor Pee-wee Herman
CHORUS They crucified Pee-wee, they crucified Christ They crucified Dylan twiiiiice Pee-wee was free but now he's nailed to a tree Sometimes free ain't a very good price No it ain't, but who's to blame Now that cartoons aren't the same, children? Who? Tell me who's to blame?
Pee-wee’s name was really Paul and acting was his lot And with his flair for comedy, his future had a shot He took a couple lesser jobs but finally found his niche And in the role of an overgrown kid, Paul Reubens soon was rich
Now Paul, he cared for children and children loved him back His show had chairs and globes that talked and people white and black He opened minds throughout the land and it was sad to see That moms and dads were scared of Paul because his mind was free Yes they were, they were scared of Paul, because his mind was free
Paul was just like me and you, except for how he looked And just for being who he was, the police force got him booked If he was framed we may not learn for most adults don't care But still I wonder what it was that the cops was doin' there
Now people do what they gotta do to get them through the day Some stay home and drink a beer while others go and play Some go driving in there trucks, while some go huntin' quail But when Paul Reubens played that day they threw his butt in jail
Pee-wee’s Playhouse was a show they played every Saturday morn But with its Latin hunks and transvestite queens it quickly gathered scorn Integration was a goal that scared the status quo The Smurfs they'd say, at least they ain't gay--we'd better let Paul go
Now Pee-wee’s name's become a joke and something's funny true But surely all our grins would fade if it happened to me or you So sorry children of the States, cartoons won't be the same The freedoms Pee-wee gave are gone and your parents are to blame That's what I said, I said your parents . . . Your parents are to blame
Final Chorus: Well, they crucified Pee-wee, they crucified Christ They crucified Sinéad three times* They'd crucify me if they thought I was free Sometimes free ain't a very good price No it ain't, and they'd crucify you, too, if they only knew
Long live the oddballs. The rebels. The loners.
RIP Paul Reubens who died yesterday. May you cross over that Great Divide in style.
It's been since before Covid that I've toured, and to be honest I'm a little nervous. Fortunately, this tour will entail four or five easy-going shows spread over three island--San Juan, Orcas & Fidalgo. 🌈 🐳
Here's the first one, on San Juan Island (Friday Harbor):
Here's the last one, on Fidalgo Island (Anacortes):
The middle shows are private since I'm being hired to play two or three times at a family reunion on Orcas Island. On Thursday, June 22nd, though, I'll be playing an open mic (6:30pm - 9pm) at Doe Bay Resort, so anyone can attend that.
Here's an old poem and song that I forgot about recording with Markly Morrison for this very unique Carter Family tribute cassette (2011).
Liner notes: “Chris Sand is a cowboy poet and truck driver who tours extensively in his off seasons. He has roots in Olympia and was in town promoting a documentary that had recently been made about him. I managed to get in touch with him and when I got to the house where he was staying, I took off my shoes and followed him to the guest room. He had found a cowboy poem by Badger Clark that seemed a fitting introduction to this unique song of brotherly love.”
Just returned from four days in beautiful Penticton, BC, Canada, where I played three shows at a the Ignite the Arts! festival. It had been five years since I'd last visited Canada, due mostly to Covid, and it felt like a homecoming. British Columbia is my birth place, which is a story I'll save for another time, but, also, my last two albums were recorded in Cumberland, BC, and it was sweet to reunite with my producer-friend, Corwin Fox, who recorded and played multiple instruments on MAGIC BEANS.
I'd broken a couple ribs six days before driving up there, so I was in deep pain, but the prescribed medications did their job and I was able to hold my guitar, strum, and get the words out. Big thanks to my lovely girlfriend Kirsten for joining me on this trans-national journey and helping me pack my crap around. I'm also deeply grateful to fest organizers Paul Crawford and Julie Fowler who invited us up there. Before leaving, Paul invited me to return this summer for a show at Penticton's Dream Cafe. Can't wait!
Tomorrow morning I'll cross into Canada for the first time since about 2018 to play three shows in three days the Ignite the Arts Festival in Penticton, BC!There will be a lot of great bands, art, and food there. You may buy tickets here: https://www.pentictonartgallery.com/register-online/p/ignite-the-arts-late-bird-tickets