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Knockout to Dispense

by Revolutionary Hydra

Buzz Cut 04:02
The job it's all about the roots and recognizing cowlicks, and knowing when to stop. I'm going to a party tonight, thought I should write—I won't, maybe never will again. I haven't written for weeks. At first I was scared, thought "I'm a writer, not a stylist." Last June to May I haven't written a word. So now my favorite's the buzz cut, a fresh start! It's not always what they want, but you know what? It'll grow. I might cut my own hair, dye the rest blue. I can start over too. Not what I want, too. Terrible at what I want to do.
Weekdays an intern building new printers plays with the PC screen. Stocks and benefits, set up for retirement and Ashley makes his lunches. She's an early morning substitute, part time to make payments on the red Volkswagen they named "Little Satan." Together five years and one night it goes like, "Maybe we should get married?" "First pay off the college debt." "I'm afraid of losing you." "I've got to go to sleep." Weeknight classes trying to get the B.S. "Is this seat taken?" "Would you like to go to the Decadence?" Break the news to you, the other night at school I met somebody who's going to change my life. Going to move out west, clear my head with desert air, scared to move out of here, scared to move in with her. "Scared, you should be Jake. You're messing up your life. You've known this girl a week—like what's her middle name?" "I honestly don't know. She's more fun than you though. Like yesterday she said she loves Klimt." Later, Jake's eating a sandwich Astrid made for him. It's not quite, though, not enough ham. Lunch at sunny bus stop, a red car passes by and remembers Little Satan, remembers he was happy. Ashley, I'll miss you.
In the movies they can sing out of tune. And their whole lives are spent practicing moods. Almost always prepared to hide from the rain. In the movies they can keep a straight face. And their whole life is 18th-century champagne. Almost always building mountains of air. Almost always marching down spiral stairs. I don't mind if you're leaving me behind. I'm already there with my friends up on the screen.
This fellow with a happy laugh, he plays longs songs on his bionic guitar. All about the swinging' Rubicon. He maintains that history is full of people. He runs a modest little joint where the kids can go see the local bands playing. It's called Der Humdinger Haus. God bless and preserve Robert Blake. And he's planning to eschew his microphone. He's thinking of doing without his mic.
Knockout to dispense, that's what we say about this Norwegian presence. You're full of secret suspense. Don't you know that you're a knockout—a knockout to dispense…
The Estuary 04:00
At one time I new I would always love you… We were on a vacation down to the ocean, where it was agreeable. Growing old with you has been so easy to do. Like that sing-song morning with your left hand in my right hand, at the confluence of the estuary.
Winifred, emergency! Inger gulped down Demerol. Not sure how much—enough to frighten me. "Enough for four of me, could be," spoken as her volume rose. Shouting now as I asked, "Sit still for a photograph?" The light is low and I don't have a flash, sit still your face'll blur. Light from Christmas strands is beautiful. When we got here you were beautiful, but now your eyes can't focus. Please not another drink. I think the picture's wrecked. She's in the living room playing guitar. Can't see her through the crowd, that's her voice though, singing in a key, higher than this noise. "What do you think, Winifred?" "I had a friend who did the same thing. He took too many pills, and he turned out fine. Just couldn't sign his name for three weeks—his hands shook. I can't watch you through another round. I can't take another photograph. This moment's not supposed to last past this night. This party is showing me something that I didn't want to see.
You could stay for a while or you could stay even longer. Your house is a wreck, you should come over. "I'm quite alright." You're not okay, you're coming over. My dad isn't here, crash on the couch. You wanna live like in a dream, sleep straight through afternoon. Tom Petty playing and I want your ears covered up by comforters. And I love you. I can just see your eyes moving around, way too much make-up. Time, time will move, and each of us too, sometime next year. School, school is through and we are too. Later this spring I'll miss you. I'll make you a tape and decorate the cover with pics from Geographics. Sent through the mail to your home, if you still live there. If you don't live there, just give me the number where you're going to be.
All those bombs and sound effects are stealing hours from architects. Kings need crowns to be a king. They claim they don't need anything. I was thinking about how I hadn't thought of you in years. Saw you as you were approaching the canvas for the last time. I haven't painted in so long. Back when we were going to school together. It was the end to a lonely time in my life. I came upon you while you were reading a book on art. It was a start.
I swear your hair is such a perfect mess. And I confess it's a guess. But you're broken hearted more or less. Here you are without a car, walking through the rain. Waxing poetic, but all in vain. You wane you wane you wane you wane you wane… Nine times out of ten—he'll come running back again. Six times out of eight—you tell yourself it's not too late. Three times out of four—keeping your eye on the front door. One time out of two—he loves you. Oooh, and the rain won't stop… The world would be lost without raincoats. There, there, don't despair. There's plenty of fish in the sea. One for you and two for me. Let's go inside and make some tea.


Bellingham in the summer of '97 was crazy with short skirts and longer hair. Into this maelstrom of free love and counter-culture happenings came The Revolutionary Hydra, with their original mix of college geek skronking and adult contemporary punk. "Where did these guys come from?" everyone kept asking. And I kept telling them, "Ladies, these boys come to us from the skinned-knuckle Birchwood and High Street districts. They've had learn to fight off the drunken architecture students at wild college dormitory lounge shows. They've had to play sports bars with really bad hair-metal bands. They wear thrift store Toughskins and they've developed requisite tough skins to go with 'em" But nobody wanted to listen to me, they just wanted a piece of the boys. So did I, in a way, because I became their lawyer. But that's another story.

Flash forward to 2001. Over the past couple of years the boys had put out some respectable platters but all along I'd been hounding them to come up with something a little cleaner sounding, something they could play for their mommas without getting red-faced. Then, after a couple of shady real-estate deals, their friend Chris wound up with a choice new studio space for his hitherto traveling-circus recording institution known as the Hall of Justice. At first the boys were reluctant to go 2-inch 24-track. I can still remember having a band breakfast meeting at the Blue Star when Jay Hydra suddenly scraped back his chair and stood up, yelling "So this is what we're coming to? Do you guys remember when we used to be, like, abrupt and cryptic an lo-fi and shit?" Jay took off out of town for a few weeks but I had an investigator friend of mine track him down over in Forks, WA where he was holed up in a little motel with his PowerBook and several bags of Funyuns.

But eventually everything got smoothed over and what you're holding now is the hi-fi result. I know the boys are a little nervous about it, but I think they've put together something that is, to borrow a phrase, "more than a commodity for Friday night thrill-seekers in provincial discotheques." Here's to another summer of free love, Hydra style. —Anton Filigree

P.s., "That Swingin' Rubicon" is about our friend Robert Blake, the hyper folk singer that we knew back in the day in Bellingham. Not the other guy.


released March 1, 2002

Jay Chilcote
Joseph Chilcote
Barton Sharp
Nathan Good
Robbie Skrocki
Allisyn Levy
Chris Walla
Tim Kelly (trumpets)
Terry Picknell (bass on "Raincoats")
Brian Willett (background vox on "Rubicon")
Danny Hidden and Bart co-wrote "Little Satan"

Design & Layout by Brian Willett.

This album was recorded in April and in June of 2001 at the Hall of Justice. Chris Walla served as principal recordist and producer, as well as audio and burrito engineer. Bart was in charge of comic book procurement while Robbie did a find job furnishing beer and Tim's Cascade chips (jalepeño and salt & vinegar varieties). Joe endeavored to relieve the pressure-cooker scene by reading us highlights from the Onion flip calendar. Jay spent most of the sessions trying to remember how to play Bart's songs (and ultimate failing). Tim went through the torture-chamber process of retakes in order to hit the high notes. Allisyn ponied up some exquisite vocal tracks. At various points Brian and Terry showed up and, minutes later, had headphones on and were told to sing and/or play bass. Finally, last but not least, Nathan drove up all the way from California to add his gifted percussion and personality to the album. At heart this album is about the studio alchemy that sparked between Chris, Nathan and Robbie during the drum sessions.

Knockout to Dispense was originally released by Elsinor Records (ELS033) in 2002.


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Revolutionary Hydra Seattle, Washington

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