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The Jazz Butcher Conspiracy : Mailing List : 1995
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Date: Sun, 7 May 1995 23:27:46 -0700
From: philos[at] (John Dylan Cooper)
Subject: Truck of Fear - lyrics! and introduction

I've been on this list for several months, but I've never written to
introduce myself. Partly this was due to ignorance -- I thought a typical
mailing list consisted of hundreds of members, not under one hundred -- and
partly stage fright. But here goes.

I first heard the Jazz Butcher on a Rough Trade U.S. promotional cassette
set for 1990, which included "She's On Drugs." I liked that song more than
anything else on the two-cassette set, so I hunted down "Cult of the
Basement" and took the first eager steps on the road to fanaticism. Since
then I've managed to find:

"The Jazz Butcher in Bath of Bacon" (vinyl LP)
"A Scandal in Bohemia / Sex and Travel" (cassette only, kindly taped for me
by Brian at Case Western, Ohio)
"Bloody Nonsense" (extremely worn cassette only)
"Distressed Gentlefolk" (cassette and vinyl LP)
"Fishcotecque" (LP and CD)
"Big Planet, Scarey Planet" (LP, CD opportunities turned down)
"Cult of the Basement" (LP and CD)
"Condition Blue" (CD)
"Waiting for the Love Bus" (CD, UK import)
"Western Family" (CD, UK import)
The Western Family Pre-master tape (graciously made available by David)
"Illuminate" (CD, UK import)

I'm still missing "The Gift of Music," "Hamburg," the "Hard" EP, "Big
Questions" (does this contain anything not found elsewhere?), anything by
Max Eider and the "Conspiracy" EP. (If you want to earn my undying
gratitude, or perhaps some money...)

My favorite album remains "Cult of the Basement." I'm a true sucker for the
"Basement" theme and will insist on its inclusion on the soundtrack of any
movie made about my life!

I saw the Jazz Butcher Conspiracy at Seattle's Backstage during the
Condition Blue tour. I remember being surprised that Pat was such a young
and good-looking guy. Somehow I'd gotten the idea that he was plain and
balding (this was before I'd found any of the records packaged with his
True Visage on them). What else could explain his lack of worldwide fame
after so many years of top-flight work except perhaps simple physical
homeliness? I was also surprised at what a bunch of crazy rock-out party
animals Pat and the band were. I had expected a mix of a few uptempo
numbers between all the introspective, sensitive bits like "Sister Death"
and "Rachelland". Not that night! The band was way too loud for the small
venue (capacity a couple of hundred).

At one point between songs someone in the crowd shouted "You tell 'em, Butch!"
Pat took off his sunglasses and looked quizzically in his general
direction. "My name's Pat," he said, gently but firmly. From over the head
of the shouter I saw float a fluffy cloud with a big question mark in it.
"It's Pat. I mean, look at me," Pat continued. "Do I
look...well...'butch'?" I just about died laughing.

I hope someday to see the JBC again. Meanwhile I put their songs on every
tape I make for friends.

I also subscribe to the Billy Bragg, Nick Cave, Lloyd Cole, Phil Ochs and
Posies mailing lists. This list and the Cave list definitely get most of my

Now, as promised, here are the lyrics to "Truck of Fear" as best as I can
make out:


Rollin' on to the dark and stormy night
We was hypnotized by the river of light
You never saw him until he passed us by
On a giant metal wagon that was open to the sky

No cab to protect him, no trailer for his load
He sat up there upon his chair alone against the road
With just a helmet on his head and a tiny piece of horn against the winds
Lord, he drove that empty chassis like a man being hounded by his sins

And he was singing
"I drive a ..... [?]
And I know the paths of the lonesome highway too
Saw my boss kill his dog, left his children in the street
And now I ride, ride, ride the truck of fear
When the doomed go shopping, boy, there ain't no stopping
We're just happy to be here"

The wolves were howling as he drove up to our side
I felt a chill of terror, a fear I could not hide
I smelled the diesel on his breath as he whispered right into my ear
"Son, you'll never feel so doomed as when you ride the truck of fear
Boy, you'll never feel so doomed as when you ride the truck of fear"
We're headed for the rubber room upon the truck of fear

Nice song. Makes me laugh. Is it true the word "truck" is making its way
into standard British usage? Or is its use here just part of the rollicking
Americanism of the tune? I have to admit "Lorry of Fear" just doesn't have
the same ring.

John Cooper

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