Around The World Liner Notes

All About Around the World -

The idea behind this album is that all of the songs are tunes that I wrote on tour, in that town, about that town.. Some I wrote in the van or on the train on the way to the show, but most of them I scribbled down while another band was sound checking, usually about an hour before I went on stage.  I would tape the lyrics to the top of my guitar and sing the song that night.  

There's three reasons why I chose to write the album this way. First, I love music, and don't get to play enough of it on tour. You would think, "Oh I'm going on tour, I'm going to get to play loads of music,"  but the reality is that you may only have an instrument in your hands for about 20 min a day.  I get to play so much more when I'm at home than when I'm on tour.  Writing songs on the road like this was a way to force myself to have the guitar in my hands for longer each day.

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Second, there's so many distractions and ways of being non productive when you're on tour.  Writing songs each day helped me to stay plugged in, and in the NOW.  Backstage is a funny place these days.  Every roadie, tour manager, and band member is constantly plugged into their phone, computer, or video game.  There's so many easy ways to distract yourself from the moment and put your brain somewhere else for the time being.  When you think about it though, that's a crazy thing to do on tour.  It's really easy to let an entire tour slip past and miss it all because you've been staring at a laptop.  I've done it!  There's so many amazing places that want to be seen, and so many amazing tastes that want to be tasted.   When I would sit down to write about a town, it was an exercise in being present.  At the most basic level, I had to think about where I was at in that moment.  In a lot of cases, I would interview people about their town to gather information for lyrics.  What is your town famous for?   What celebrities are from here?  What's the best thing to eat while I'm here?  

The third reason I wrote the album this way was that it made for better shows.  Have you ever seen a big show like Bruce Springsteen where any time the Boss just mentions the name of the town the whole stadium goes nuts?  Well it was just like that.. well not really, but if I came out and sang a song about whatever town I was in, I did feel like more of the crowd was drawn in and more into the show.  Most nights the song was not that well rehearsed, but it didn't seem to matter much, and people seemed psyched to hear a song about their town and weren't too worried about the flubbing of lyrics or wandering melodies.

Some of the songs were silly throw-away songs that were good for a laugh that night, but as I wrote more and more, I got a few
keepers.  Eventually I knew I had enough for a full album and started recording late nights after work or after band practice.  I'd then take that original seed and try to build on it a bit, and flesh it out into a full song as I recorded.  I've probably written about 40 or so songs about cities, but for this album I narrowed it down to 20.  Some just needed to be cut, and some I just lost the little piece of paper that I wrote the lyrics on.  

E-TownUltraplantDP @Teddy's

One cool thing about compiling a bunch of songs that I wrote under pressure each night is that the "genre editor" is definitely turned OFF.  Usually when I write, I have a feel in mind, or a song will naturally fall into a category.  This one is a rock song, I'll use it for the Stitch Up.. this is a mellow acoustic song, it will go with my solo stuff.. this one is ska, it will work great with the Bricks or for MU330.  All that thinking is out the window on this album, and the tunes are all thrown together in a Dan P. solo album stew.  I hope you find it delicious.

I see this album as an ongoing project, and I will occasionally post more new songs about cities on this site and just have them available
to download for free.  I'll eventually post the ones I recorded for this session, but didn't make the cut.. Exeter, Santa Cruz, Antioch, Birmingham.. you all might get finished at some point and see the light of day.  

Anyway, that's the gist of my most concept oriented album to date.
Big thank you to Lance for the great mastering job, to Gilbert for the amazing artwork, and to Shannon for letting me borrow her computer for countless nights for recording. Also big thank you to Greg, A.J. and Josh for rocking the drums and percussion.  OK, let's go Around The World. We'll start in Australia, mate!

Melbourne- When I started writing this one I was thinking, "How the hell did I get here?"  This is insane that I'm all the way around the world in Australia playing music by myself.  What a crazy trip it's been to wind up here.  It just got me thinking about why I got into music, and so much of that comes from my older brother, Tom.  He has always been super supportive all the way back to the time when all of us in MU330 were only 15 and couldn't drive.  He would drive us to gigs and help set up and run the PA.  Thanks T.P.!!!

A long time ago my brother joined the united states army they sent him overseas to be a cook and he made some money and with the check that he earned from doing push-ups and learning how to kill he went to a music store and bought his first guitar and not long after that they had him pick up weights and run they fucked his back up pretty good to this day his foot is numb they set him up with bureaucratic impossibles and a mess of VA hospitals and he walks with a limp to this day and every time he'd leave the house I'd sneak into his room and strum on that guitar that he paid so dearly for so as I stand on stage in Melbourne at club DV8 half way aound the world from where we grew up together oh I sing this song for him I sing this song for him I bet he never thought I'd do it, a zit faced kid from St. Louis but I sing this song for him I sing this song for him


Hot Springs-
One of the absolute greatest bands of all time was the great Blue Meanies, fronted by the unstoppable Billy Spunke.  Billy now runs a community center called Low Key Arts in Hot Springs.  It is of course, awesome.  He also does a yearly music festival called the Valley of the Vapors that draws bands from all over the world.  YES.. in HOT SPRINGS ARKANSAS!  If you ever find yourself thinking "I'm bored." or "This town sucks." then you need to plan a trip to go to the Valley of the Vapors festival and see how it's done. 

When I sent the album to Lance to get mastered in Chicago, I was telling him about how I didn't feel so good about the programmed garage band drums on this one.
 I was too late to start over on it, especially if I wanted to get the album out in time for tour, so I had kind of given up on Hot Springs, and buried it in the album order around track #14.  The next day Lance went and pounded out some real live drums and I was so psyched on it I had to bump this up from track 14 to track 2, which meant last minute changes to the artwork on the back and alterations to the inside credits, but I think it was totally worth it. 

All of the kids say this town is boring this town is boring and one day I'm going to move to the city and my life will become interesting there was this guy who started a rock band they bought a van and toured the world and every town that they rolled up into all of the kids were saying the same thing this town is boring this town is boring then this guy he had an idea that you can build your own scene with sweat and work and creativity you can shape your surroundings and if you want music make it if you want art go make it and if you want oxygen to breathe than dig a hole and plant the seed and watch it grow into a tree and watch it grow into Low Key and if you want music make it if you want art go make it and if you want oxygen to breathe than dig a hole and plant the seed and watch the preconceptions fall yeah this is Hot Springs Arkansas

The last time I toured Japan, I couldn't believe how many people smoked.  It was impossible to get away from.  They would pack unreasonable amounts of people into the smallest possible clubs, and then 8 out of 10 people would start lighting up. There was one place we played where I couldn't handle sitting back by the t-shirts.   I had to get up and go outside.  I walked down to a convenience store to make a phone call, and four people were smoking next to the phone booth.  Arrrgh!  I actually have a pretty high tolerance for that sort of thing. When I grew up, both my parents were smokers, but Japan was over the top.  DON'T SMOKE!

Tokyo don't you know that it's not good for you to smoke Tokyo hacking cough and lung cancer are no joke in the club backstage and everywhere in between clouds of smoke people huffing getting their fix of nicotine don't smoke Tokyo please don't smoke Tokyo I really care about you and I think you need to quit Tokyo give it up the whole world is doing it there's better ways of looking cool there's no doubt I think you all look great without that cigarette in your mouth don't smoke

Hearst pooldan montereywhere's the squirrel

Grand Rapids- Fish Ladders rock, as does the mighty MUSTARD PLUG!  Sorry about the questionable lyric, but they DO rock that hard.

I hear there's a dam that makes the Rapids less grand but it doesn't matter cause the fish ladder lets the fish swim upstream where they can do their business yeah they do their business and that makes this town a better place to be this town is famous for celebrities like Gerald R. Ford and Anthony Kiedis oh we'd like for him to meet us but the real rock stars are right here in your back yard they're the kind of people that you want to hug oh that's right I'm talking about Mustard Plug and they rock so hard they'll make you jump and dance, oh they rock so hard you'll drop a load in your pants oh that's right Grand Rapids you've got Mustard Plug keep your chin up Grand Rapids you've got Mustard Plug

 The lyrics pretty much tell the story of this one.  Playing in England is always a trip for me.  It still feels exciting for me to play in the country where the Two-Tone movement got started.   I've toured England maybe 13 times, and every time I get a rush of that teenage buzz of being crazy excited about The Specials, and Madness, and music, and life.  It feels funny to be in my late thirties and still feel that rush of nerdy excitement, especially in the big city backdrop of London, where everyone seems cooler than cool and they've seen everything there is to see five years ago.

Well this is ridiculous how did it come to this how does it feel so right to be rockin London tonight when I was just a kid well Two Tone Records just blew my lid I couldn't believe the sounds that were coming out of London town and now here I am about to rock it with Random Hand how else could I explain to you how a dream could come true hey hey hey hey I'm rocking London and you might be jaded but I don't care hey hey hey hey I'm rockin London and you might be too cool for school but I think it's something rocking London

Gainesville-  Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, 3 of the Eagles, Hot Water Music, Against Me!, the Know How, Less Than Jake.. See what I mean!?!?

Oh the great state of FL is lined with beaches and sand and that could be a distraction if you're trying to start a band but there's a town called Gainesville in the middle towards the top, oh there's a town called Gainesville that knows how to rock turn it up to 11 turn it up don't stop that's why they call it Gainesville turn it up come on let's rock Gainesville Rock oh the great state of FL is known for many things like strip malls Gatorade and methamphetamins but if you're in the state that's shaped like a flaccid prick oh you've got to get to Gainesville to get your rock n roll fix this state can shoot a shuttle to outer space and this state can make a glass of Orange juice taste great and this state is where the nation's old people go to die but I want to know oh you've got to tell me man oh I want to know where they manufacture bands that the whole world loves that the whole world loves oh is it any shock they love the Gainesville rock

Odisgreen valleydan deck

Geelong is a city in Victoria, Australia that has all these creepy wooden statues of cartoony looking people all over town.  At the wharf, at the beach, downtown.. they're everywhere.  As we drove through town looking for the club, I imagined them all coming to life at night, and this turned into a monster song.  My buddy A.J. played all the percussion on this one.  The clickity-clack percussion at the end is actually these little wooden stick people whose heads are shaped like eggs.  They have a hinge in the middle on the back, and their mouths clack when you shake them.  I think they sound like dancing skeletons.  

Oh the wooden stick people come to life at night and you've never seen such a horrible sight when the sun slips away and the daylight's gone is when the wooden stick people come to life in Geelong They move slow but run in packs don't be alone and watch your back they'll surround you in some dark alleyway and before you know it there's no way to escape they'll crush the air right from your lungs and you'll become one of them a stick person in Geelong

This one is just recorded live with one mic in my living room.  The guitar is out of tune in the beginning, and you can hear the birds in my neighborhood at the end, but I felt like it all kind of fit for the song.

Tonight we're gonna get personal yeah we're gonna get intimate I'll tell you all my secrets and you're going to love it and this may seem forward but Adelaide I like the way you look I like the way you swing your hips well it's about to make me lose my grip Adelaide this could be love and I can see you're warming up to me move in closer and you'll surly see that my aim is pure and true oh Adelaide I think I love you Adelaide this could be love put away your inhibitions put away your doubts tonight's the night that your puttin out tonight's the night and we've got it made tonight's the night I'm getting Adelaide and tomorrow morning I'll be back in the van with the Resignators and the One Night Band but I won't forget all the friends I made getting hot and heavy getting Adelaide Adelaide I think I'm in love

Austin- I always think of Austin as an Oasis in the middle of the crazy expanse that is Texas.  The "Tacos for Breakfast" line is a direct lift and a fist pumping nod to my buddy Jerm Pollet.  Austin is a really, REALLY fun place, filled with great mom and pop stores.  You've not had breakfast until you've eaten breakfast tacos in Austin!

where do they send the freaks and the rockers where does Texas send it's mom and poppers if you live in Texas and you don't fit in well you pack your bags and go to Austin and if you've got a tattoo in the middle of your face in Austin they won't laugh at you and you won't be a disgrace oh that's how they roll in Texas where they write their own set list they're eating tacos for breakfast in Texas if you live in Texas and you don't fit in well you pack your bags and go to Austin

dan random roo bite whale

Carnegie- Carnegie is a suburb of Melbourne Australia.  I've spent a lot of time there, because my friend Francis (who is a promoter and the lead singer of the Resignators) lives there, and he's nice enough to let me stay at his place when I go to Australia.  Last year the tour ended in Melbourne on Cup Day, and he threw a big BBQ in his backyard and had all the bands play.  It was a really fun way to end the tour.   I wrote this one and played it at the BBQ.  I use the word "heaps" here specifically for Ellen Resignator.  It's one of her favorites.  This is another 1 mic, live recording.  You can hear Jessie, my neighbor's dog, come in while I'm recording and start barking.  She shakes a couple times and has a jangly collar.  She does it at a really good spot right near the end, then when the last chord dies out, you can hear more of my neighborhood birds.

Well this is not CA this isn't Santa Cruz in case you might be confused people talking with crazy accents and cooking up kangaroos well this is not CA in case you might be confused how did I get down under at a Carnegie BBQ and what do you do on cup day when you're not really into the horse race well you drink heaps of beer and shove food in your face and you set up bands in the back yard like it's a national holiday hey hey so maybe we could find some common ground maybe we could see eye to eye cause we all love rock n roll the taste of BBQ and sunny skies well this is not CA this isn't Santa Cruz people talking with crazy accents..

New Orleans- This is the one song on the album that I actually didn't write on tour in the city.  Concepts and parameters are made to be bent.. especially if I make them myself.  Anyway, I was supposed to play at a big festival in New Orleans that Community Records was putting on, and they had booked me a plane ticket and everything, and the day I was supposed to fly out I got the flu and totally lost my voice, so I wound up not going.  Sorry guys!  This song was a shout out to them.  I have crazy respect for all the bands and small labels in New Orleans who are still fighting back and growing in New Orleans after the devastation of hurricane Katrina. So many members of the New Orleans music and arts community were forced to move to different places all around the US, but there's a handful of people like the folks at Community Records that are doing more than their part to dig in and keep New Orleans such a vibrant interesting city.

They're doing good things at Community Records putting out records in New Orleans they're trying to rebuild community and reconstruct the scene yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

owldan b & wJessie

Detroit- Detroit is tough.  The first time MU330 went there on tour, we really did see trash just blowing in funnel clouds in the street.  I couldn't believe all the vacant buildings downtown.  It was like a war zone, and the bands we played with had tough names like Gangster Fun and the Suicide Machines.  But.. the people of Detroit have a real-ness to them that you don't find anywhere else.  There's an honesty and a toughness there that stems from weathering generations of factory closing hardships.  The Joe Lewis fist is a 24 foot, 8000 lb bronze statue that hangs in downtown Detroit.  Amazing.

There's something about Detroit that keeps you on your toes with all the vacant buildings and the way the trash just blows there's something about Detroit that keeps you on your toes the way the Joe Lewis fist threatens to punch you in the nose there's something about Detroit that makes you want to watch your back but I've decided I'm OK with that because there's something about Detroit that keeps me coming back something about Detroit

Brisbane- Before a show in Brisbane, I was walking around downtown and I got a falafel, and was walking back to my hotel.  I was waiting for the crosswalk light to change, and a pickup truck sped by and the driver yelled out (insert thick Aussie accent) "Hey Mate, WHERE'S ALL YOUR FRIENDS!!!" The driver and the person in the passenger seat exploded into laughter, "AHHH HA HA HA!"  I smiled and ate the rest of my falafel, and wrote this song on the walk back to the hotel.

HEY HEY HEY HEY where's all your friends HA HA HA HA where's all your friends just look around look around they're in every city in every town around the world you can't bring me down I strum and sing and they hear the sounds where's all my friends well just look around

Southampton- I sound like the biggest jerk in this song, but TRUST ME.. she had it coming.

Well that's cool if you want to heckle and yell at me during my set you can scream and abuse me but you better not forget that I have a microphone and you do not and I might make you sorry for opening your mouth last night I played a show there was a girl in the crowd she was a whole lot crazy and the wine didn't help she shouted in between the songs and in the middle of them too I was nice at first and then there was nothing I could do I made her cry and it felt good so it's cool if you want to heckle and turn the attention to you but I could turn things around and get the crowd to turn on you I could say on the microphone that you said something racist how does it feel to be stared down by 300 faces I made her cry and it felt good


It took me five tours to figure out how to spell the name of this town.  I even double checked it right now to make sure it's correct.

Leicester Leicester I'm glad I met you oh so many years ago when my band MU330 came to Leicester to play a ska punk show not many people came to that show the next tour there weren't too many more there's not all that many here tonight but that's how shows in Leicester go Leicester Leicester it's got extra letters

 I wrote this one while on tour with Streetlight Manifesto and Zox.  Contrary to how I make it sound in the song, everyone was there to see Streetlight.. and not me or Zox.
 Plus, the guys in Zox are truly lovely people, but their name does, in fact, rhyme with Cox.  My buddy Greg (Huxtables) is rocking the drums, and A.J. from Slow Gherkin/Huxtables is shredding the tambourine on this one.  After recording this tune, I have promised myself to add tambourine to all future recordings.

Oh what's the best club in the USA oh it's the Metro I'd have to say and it's right here on Clark Street I'm telling you man it's hard to beat whoa and if you look outside on the marquee and tell me who's name you see well in big black letters it says "Dan P." that's right you all came to see me whoa and who the hell is Streetlight Manifesto and how did they get on the Dan P. show and who the hell is this band called Zox didn't anyone tell them that it rhymes with Cox thanks for coming to the rock n roll show c'mon rock n roll Chicago we're gonna rock it tonight at the metro rock n roll Chicgo I said rock n roll Chicago

Melbourne 2-  Melbourne gets two songs because the first one is more about my brother.  I wrote this one on a day off, just walking around the city.    Melbourne is great because it's so diverse, but still so Australian.

Melbourne is so far away from the rest of the world but the rest of the world just comes to you with wombats cookaburras kangaroos the rest of the world just comes to you from the tourists down in federation square to the punk rockers rocking their spiky hair people of every color every flavor of food oh the rest of the world just comes to you it's a Melbourne day off  from the fancy cafes where rich people eat to Victoria market where I bought some sweets where the trams are rolling through the middle of the street and it all goes down not far from the beach it's a Melbourne day off


Plymouth- I was on tour with the UK band Random hand, and we were headed to Plymouth, and we were running a bit late, so I started writing this one in the van on the way to the show.  I started asking them what they knew about Plymouth, and one of them said, "Nobody there but smugglers, pirates, and marines."  I liked how that sounded.  No Comply was a band from Plymouth that MU330 toured with.  I have no idea if they are really descendants of pirates, smugglers and marines, but it worked for the song.   There really were sirens in the street though, and after the gig, there was nearly a fight in the takeaway place.

Smugglers Pirates and Marines 24 hours of non stop drinking this town's exploding bursting at the seams with smugglers pirates and marines and for me it's easy to see why this town produced the great band no comply they were swashbuckling heroes of the hardcore ska scene descendants of pirates smugglers and marines in the chip shop violence in the streets sirens only music could ease the pain of the wind cold and the rain

Buffalo-  This was one of the first city songs I wrote.  I was on tour with Streetlight Manifesto, and we played a HUGE show in Buffalo.  It was really exciting because for some reason I just hadn't really expected such a huge crowd.  I remember the whole crowd shouting the last chorus with me.. "HEY HO LET'S GO BUFFALO!"  It's fun for me to imagine a whole football stadium shouting the chorus to that song!  This song might have gotten the best reaction of any of the city songs I've written.  People like when you sing a song about them.. and they like it even more when you sing about how tough they are.

Hey Ho let's go Buffalo Well tonight is Buffalo it's a town that's known for snow it's the home of Ani Difranco we're gonna rock it in Buffalo tonight there might be a circle pit and I just might jump in it I might catch an elbow tonight here in Buffalo Hey ho.. well tonight we're gonna do it right because I'm opening up for Streetlight and while they're out on stage I'm going to eat up their deli trays well tonight we're gonna do it right cause I'm opening up for Streetlight I'm going to drink all their beer tonight like I do every night Hey Ho Let's go Buffalo Hey Buffalo Let's GO  Everybody's tough in Buffalo oh everybody's buff in tough-alo everybody's tough in Buffalo because you get so much snow

Phoenix- Some of my best memories of touring solo are of the nice people of Phoenix.  There's a group of people in Phoenix that have always been ridiculously supportive every time I come through.  I can't thank them enough.

Hey Phoenix I'm almost home almost home almost home I've been on the road too long almost home almost home my wife is really cool but I think she's had enough and I think I'm right there with her touring solo can get rough every mile of every drive it's just me behind the wheel I've been talking to myself a lot I guess it's all part of the deal Hey Phoenix I'm almost home almost home almost home I'm been on the road too long almost home almost home hey phoenix I'm almost home almost home almost home but I've got time for one more song and one more night out on the road
 my van has no AC I sweat until I'm soaking wet and the radio won't work and she only plays cassettes but I'm not about to quit or give up in any way no I'll rock it just as hard tonight as I did on the first day been to Seattle San Diego across to Denver south to Texas up and down the east coast Canada but Phoenix you're the bestest  Hey Phoenix I'm almost home almost home almost home I've been on the road too long almost home almost home  this place always feels like home when you come out to the shows oh Phoenix don't you know you've always made me feel at home

dan and ellieduckfishbananadan and odis