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Arthur #1

The Black and White Years

 
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the black and white years

 

Founded in 2008 by Scott J Butler, Landon Thompson and John Aldridge, The Black and White Years won numerous Austin Music Awards for their Jerry Harrison-produced first album. The single “Power to Change” was voted Best Local Song of 2008 by Austin360 and was one of the most requested songs of 2009 on local 101x. The band has played extensively at home in the US and abroad.  During recent years, the band has primarily become the solo vehicle for singer/songwriter Scott J Butler. 

Their newest release, an EP titled Arthur #1, is the first in a planned series of EPs. The Black and White Years are at work on an album (produced by Danny Reisch) and video game (yes, both) titled Less Awful, which has been ‘nearly ready’ since mid 2017. Stay tuned.

Multi-instrumentalist and founding member John Aldridge, guitarist/songwriter/producer Joe Gardner and the Constant Calm Guy and drummer Billy Potts can be seen on stage anywhere THE BLACK AND WHITE YEARS can be found.  

 
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Arthur #1

by The Black and White Years

The name Arthur #1 is an inside joke and I don't expect anyone to get it. Let me try to explain.

Back in the 80's, my brother Greg (who drew the cover art) would make mix tapes on cassette and would label them silly things. One of those names stuck in my head: Arthur #1. I don't remember what was on the tape. Probably a ton of Pet Shop Boys and Madonna. Or it was just Christopher Cross. But the name stuck and I've been labeling my mix tapes Arthur ever since.

When John and I recently decided to release a series of EPs in an attempt to clear out the backlog of tracks I've recorded over the last 4 years, somehow it just seemed appropriate to name them Arthur. This EP was recorded and mixed between 2014 and 2018 at various locations in the Austin, TX area. -Scott-

All songs written, produced, performed by Scott J Butler.

Too Many Walls was co-produced by Danny Reisch at Good Danny's studios in Lockhart, TX. It was mastered by Max Lorenzen.

Too Many Walls

Too many walls, halls, contents.

Too many miles, smiles, nonsense.

Too many dazed, crazed good friends.

Too many in the way. Too many in the maze - still lost.

Everyone of them killed a little bit.

‘Don’t take your eyes off of his hands,’ the little voice says.

And then the voice is gone.

‘Don’t take your eyes off of the ball, goddamn it!

You have to swing if you’ll ever hit it!’

Too many lies, ties, contents.

Too many ends, friends, nonsense.

Too many Years, tears, contents.

Too many afternoons. Too many, too soon - still lost.

Everyone of them shook a little, took a little bit - still lost.

Everyone of them took a little bit with them.


I Honor you deeply

I honor you deeply. It isn’t your smile.

It isn’t your dancing. It can’t be your so-so style.

Nothing pedantic I can find.

I love you completely. That isn’t a line.

It isn’t poetic or likely to make you mine.

I know I’m pathetic. That is fine.

You’re alive, I’m alive. We are beautiful.

The lease on our dream, let’s break it.

We try every night to be super cool,

but the beast underneath can’t fake it.

You’re alive, I’m alive. That is beautiful.

It seems incomplete, sort of basic.

Every life will abide. It’s immutable.

The beast is asleep. Let’s wake it.

I love that you notice. It isn’t my smile.

It isn’t my singing. It can’t be my writing style.

Whatever you cling to, I say fine. I shouldn’t admit it - I’ll never be right.

I struggle to make sense, to see things in black and white.

I hope you have patience and some time.

In the light, i was typical:

a stereotype of the too-hip-to-live with the trendy mustache.

I’m surprised I’m still alive.

In the light there was honesty.

I was a bit overweight for the deep V tee -

last season’s must-have.

I’m surprised I’m still alive.


scotch rocks #3

she said ‘do you remember me?’

my mind was as empty as the cup from which i was drinking.

i am not so good with faces. i am not so good with names

those things aren't of interest usually.

there is a whooshing sound thundering inside my head.

i can't answer yet. i am still thinking about me.

and her face, like a desolate sketch of the sea.

she asked, ‘do you remember me?’

well, way to put me on the spot, after scotch rocks #3.

i am not so good with people, especially the dames.

these things aren't of interest, usually.

there is an echoing filling the cave of my head.

i am near fainting now. i hope this made you happy.

her face is as blissful and blank as the sea.

and i thought that i was really self-absorbed,

you make me feel so genteel, so completely polite.

i guess that i am doing one thing right.

i don't expect people to recall every moment they spent with me,

really, it's not like we're friends, are we?

i can't remember your name.

when i tell her so, she says 'the same.'


I’m not so good with faces. I’m not so good with names. These things aren’t of interest usually.

gorgeous. your data left me touched.

the content touches parts of me i thought were all dried up.

hometown warriors - they strut around so tough.

fearing a spirit's verdict, hoping it all pays off.

the future is history.

through constant redesign, maybe we'll laugh from time to time.

i get emotional. you get emotional. that's fine.

destroy to create. erase the parts of me you hate.

i get impersonal. you get impersonal. that’s great.

the future is history

hideous. the data makes me sick.

the contents of our histories. ten million flies unzipped.

it's gorgeous the way the false front fits.

the world is shifting quickly, but can we shift with it?

who'll be here when you close your eyes?

everyone here is an expert at dying. we do it all the time

postscript. stop. rewind.

these days i mostly feel like crying.

i get anxious sometimes. you get anxious sometimes.

a lot.

destroy to create. there is no one tending the gate.

we'll be a memory, and then a memory forgot.

HOMETOWN WARRIORS


to learn to lose

i smoke in the morning.

it’s bad for my health, like everything else for sale.

still, it’s my moment.

i like taking it in, savoring each exhale.

i don’t claim to know what impulse will grow out of control, baby.

there’s no way to know but that’s learning to live,

learning to lose grip gracefully.

you knew i was hurting but you had no clue what you should do for me.

i do not deserve you.

you look at me like a book you are determined to keep reading.

i don’t claim to know why these impulses grow out of control lately.

there’s no way to know but that’s learning to live,

learning to be wrong gracefully.

i guess i’ve come a long way.

we’ve been down this road before.

this dead dream looks familiar.

these days, there’s always something more to learn to lose.

we’ll be back this way again,

walking in our fresh impressions.

these days, there’s always something more to learn to lose.

i smoke in the morning.

i know it’s bad for my health, like everything else i do.

i sound like i’m fourteen, all ‘you’re not my mom! i do what i want!’

blah blah blah blah

there’s no way to know what impulse will grow out of control,

monster-like.

we’ll see when we see, right?

i guess that’s learning to live - learning i don’t know my own mind.

i woke with a feeling, like a channel was flipped -

something’s a bit different.

i knew you could leave me. and then you did. what a surprise ending.

i just never knew what my actions would do.

everyday was a doomsday.

no one ever offered but i’m learning to ask - learning to get help anyway.

is that cheesy?

i guess I’ve come a long way.



I don’t want to die.

I want extra lives (and to never have to eat a mushroom.)

Poor adventurer, what’s become of you?

Ragged wanderer, you’re not the hero I knew.

You knew too much to ever leave

You saw too much to be happy, or so you said.

Our hero lost his soul. Adventure takes its toll.

One more life. Into the night.

Is this what you want to see?

Turn my eyes. Climb right up inside,

brightly lit as a pharmacy.

You knew too much to ever leave, didn’t you?

You saw too much to believe in anything.

You took your chances - and consequences.

I don’t want to die. I want extra lives.

and when I die, I wanna rise like three times.

extra lives