the High-Steppin' Nickel Kids
Now We Are Twenty-Two (Coe)
She said, "do anything you wanna do." But I always thought it was your mother's job to say stuff like that to you. Some things take so much time and Mom, I don't wanna wait in line. He said, "there's gotta be a better way. Bide your time, don't take your chances, and wait another day." But Dad, I'm not like you and I'm not gonna wait to do what I wanna do, oh yeah. But it's not that simple anymore: there's just too many bands, and do we really need just one more? Look how many there already are; stop and think before you pick up that guitar. So call me a hypocrite, call me lazy but I'm poisoned by these Sour Grapes (!) and it's driving me crazy, oh yeah. Just look around: "punk rock" may be here to stay, but I'm not sure about the kids today.

Open Letter (Coe)
"A lack of confidence." You've got a lot of common sense, so why should I have to be telling you this? Go ahead, go for broke: believe in yourself without making it into a joke. Sometimes you're so under the weather, and other times you've got it all together. But you don't see it that way, you just believe the worst. When you think you can't take anymore, I'll be there to remind you you can do it on your own. You've done the same for me a lot of times before, and I think you worry too much.

White Hat, Black Heart (Coe)
I believe in evolution, and I believe in fratboys fighting in the street. Is that a contradiction, or just a good solution, and does it even matter at all? We lost the human race, they won another bar crawl but I believe we were meant for better things than happy hour chicken wings and girls we meet at bars, and fighting over football teams and muscle cars. Or is that just a kinder word for "thinning out the herd?" Six words will take you far: don't go where the whitehats are...cause there's a football game tonight: what better place to get stinking drunk and maybe get in a couple of fights. And then they'll walk the streets looking for brains to eat. I think I need a jarhead holiday, but there's nowhere I can get away. [2.2MB mp3]

Obligatory Avail Patch (Ziegelbauer, Coe)
Well there's this patch you see on backpacks everywhere that all the boys and girls all seem to wear, but I don't have one...not yet. This is a note, a letter I wrote for you tonight about that summer, the summer when we ran out of time. I cared too much, way too much not to sit down and write but I carried too much to just sit down and write. Remember our date, before we left for opposite ends? You hated the food; I think I hated your cigarettes. Remember our kiss? the one we both wanted to give--we wanted to get--from each other and only each other? This is the question I was always afraid to ask. Off somewhere in my car, I think I caught you looking at me. We'd get comfortable, a little warmer, and turn the tables on each other...and then turn the tables on ourselves. The summer's over, away we go, still too afraid to let you go. I didn't pay attention, I know: all your friends told me so. I didn't say--couldn't say--the words I thought would be right; we hesitated, yes we waited and we ran out of time. You called me the other week, five years too late, and we thought that we'd meet for old times' sake. In the pub, in the worst of light, with everyone standing off to the side, I finally told you what I'd carried that night and you told me what I'd already known.

Nosebleed Seats At the End Of the World (Coe)
I can't see anything from here, we should've paid a little more to get a little nearer. We're up here freezing in our mittens, but down below I can hear the cheers of the fat cats and their kittens and I wonder: is this how it ends? I can't remember what we came here to stare at: a ring or a stage? A sculpture or an iron cage? Winners and losers, or just us and them? And when the clock runs out, what happens then? And I wonder: is this how it ends...sitting here and watching while the fix just keeps rolling on in, and is there anything when all this is through besides post-game parties that I'm not invited to? The mascots laughing at me know that this game was won and lost even before the first throw. So turn my back and go, get out with dignity? But then I'll never see how it ends...But maybe I could do something, maybe I should do something, maybe if I had the guts I would do anything. Do it now.

the Line (Graham, Coe)
You don't want to know what I tell myself to make it seem all right. Because we both know that it's not worth my time to say it, or yours to hear it. So raise your glass and drink my health and be glad that I'm not here with you tonight, because we both know that your job just takes your time but they haven't got your spirit. And I tie that noose around my neck, give my shoes their brightest shine, kiss my mother on the cheek, and head off to join the line...but one day I'll be there, sitting on that cushy chair. One day I'll be there, yeah. One day I'll be the one who makes all the rules, one day, because I believe it's fair and I'm in the line. When I was young my father worked until seven every night; sometimes I heard him cry. But I don't know what else to do, I just can't be as brave as you so I gave it that good old college try. One day I'll be there, standing on that cushy chair. One day, I'll be there, yeah. One day I'll be the one they find all alone, one day, with no note explaining why...just hanging from the line.

Superego To Id (Coe)
You can't win, no matter what you do. You want me to feel sorry for you? Well I don't. Think of choices you didn't want to make, responsibilities you didn't want to take: you're no victim, you brought it on yourself because I think you're old enough, and I think you're smart enough to take control of your life. And I think you're old enough, and I think you're smart enough to get it right, but you don't know what you want and no-one's gonna care when you find out...they're not going to wait for you. How could you let it go so long? When your timing gets that bad, any choice you make is wrong. You've got your bed all made: it's another night on the floor for you. Do you remember when? Maybe things were better then, I don't know. And I've got no sympathy for you.

Usthemyou (Coe)
No need to make excuses: it isn't any use and it doesn't matter what I think of you. It makes no difference in the end if I'm indifferent or a friend just as long as you get paid doing what you want to do. But think a minute about where you came from and what it meant to you back then: if you think it mattered, I'd bet you're not the only one. Look at who you're working for...does it mean the same thing to them? If you want to bust your ass just to feed the stock exchange, that's your right and nothing I say is going to change that because I could be wrong, maybe a song is just a song...but I don't think it'll be too long before even you realize that good music doesn't come from guys in suits with dollars in their eyes. So ask yourself "Is there somewhere I went wrong, or is this just how it has to be?" Play the game while you're still young, and then try to move beyond...and hope you have better luck on MTV, oh yeah.

Tammy All The Way (Graham)
Every night she takes her eyes out and puts them in a glass of water by the bed; in the morning, she's ready to see another day. One time I asked her why, and she said, "so I can't see my dreams" -- yeah, that's exactly what she said. Well, that's Tammy all the way. Every night she takes her eyes out and puts them in a glass of water by the bed, and in the morning, she can't see me. And sometimes, she'll stop breathing and you'll swear to God that Tammy's really dead (but you don't have to believe me). And she's always up for action: you never see her sitting at a red light. I'm going out with Tammy tonight, and she'll show me her appendectomy scar, and she'll ride on the roof of my car -- she's Tammy all the way. She's Tammy, that's what she does to me. And when I tell her not to go, that's when she kisses me goodbye; and when I ask her what she's thinking, she'll say "ask me no questions, just look in my eyes." Ask Tammy, that's exactly what she'll say. That's exactly what she'll say.

[Girl's Name] Is a [Blank] (Graham, Coe)
Well she does this and that: she ain't too skinny and she ain't too fat. Some days I see her and some I don't, and I tell myself I'll ask her out but I probably won't. I saw her just the other day: she looked at me and winked (looked at me and blinked). I wish I could describe her to you, but she's kind of indistinct. She does the things that other girls do; sometimes I see her at the bank. I don't know what I'm trying to do. She makes me think of lots of things, but nothing much worth sharing. I think I could pick her out of a crowd if I knew what she was wearing. I wish I could meet the kinds of girls you hear about in songs: a punk rocker, a headbanger...I'll just keep on waiting until one comes along. But until then I'll keep my eye on What's Her Name. I don't know what I'm trying to do because that girl's name is a blank and I don't know her at all.

the Jello Shot Heard Round the World (Coe)
To have it all and throw it all away: isn't that romantic? Every night and every day, you get so frantic but take my word: you'll want it back someday. So tell me, when is it enough? Whoa! You thought you could do it all alone with whiskey for a blanket and a playground for a home. There's no-one but you out here and you're passed out drunk on the coldest night of the year. "Forgive and forget" always try to make things right but there's always the fear that I'll pick up the telephone and hear "your brother didn't come home last night." [2.8Mb mp3]

Square Peg Living Comfortably Inside a Gigantic Round Hole (Coe)
If you were a peg, then you'd be square. If you didn't live at home, I'll bet you wouldn't dye your hair. I could watch for hours while you spin and chase your tail round and round to no avail. They say "left!", so you go right and drive the message home by sneaking out that night. You say "rebellion!" and they laugh and turn away because they know it's just a game you play: not fitting in is your way of fitting in with a world you say you don't fit it at all. You walk around so proud, and you shout it out so loud but it's all just empty noise if you can only raise your voice up in rebellion to tell them how much you're rebelling. Another peg for the Man to pound: you're so very square and the world's so very round. You could walk forever and you'd never see the edge, but you can't seem to get it through your head: all the world's your stage, and you're acting out your rage but the only people clapping are the same ones who'll be laughing when you fall.

James Bond Looks at Forty (Coe)
Sometimes I think of all the time I waste in luxury hotels, sipping a drink that I can't taste and wondering who I'm here to kill. The girls all look the same: long legs and a funny name, but I don't know why I bother when they always wind up dead just the same. Roulette balls and femmes fatales and underwater chases: the plot's always the same, but someone keeps changing the faces. Watching life in crosshairs down the barrel of a gun has twisted my perspective...when did this stop being fun? But what about Miss Moneypenny? She was always there for me...Miss Moneypenny walked away one foggy London afternoon. She said, "James, I know you'll understand one day and I hope it's soon but Q and M and all you boys, with all your clever toys: you can make a rifle look just like a tie but in the end life will pass you by." Now I know that I should've listened then, and I know that I'll never have a chance like that again, and I know that it took way too long for me to see what I was missing with Miss Moneypenny. What about Miss Moneypenny? I checked the files the other day, but not a trace: nothing to show she was ever here. In my hollow shoe I keep a picture of her face.

Now We Are Twenty-Five (Coe)
Where do we go, now we've made it here? We'd keep moving on if it wasn't for the fear of something going wrong...we're all afraid of something going wrong, but we don't know what.

Some Days You Can't Make A Nickel (Hoosier Hot Shots)
Oh, the ways of this world are so fickle, you never can tell where it will end. Some days, you can't make a nickel, and some days, you can't make a friend. It's been three years since I left home, down in Arkansas [New Jersey]. I swear this city done me wrong (it's done him wrong, hey hey!). Before I left, my Paw said, "Son, I think it's time you knew the facts and figgers of this world of strife." Since I left home I've sure made tracks (he's seen all the facts!) but I never seen such figures in my life!

Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? (Coe)
They're tearing down the old amusement park where we used to sneak around and trip over ourselves in the dark, and the playground where we'd sit and talk all night and watch the sunrise in the morning...When we're gone, who's gonna care that all this stuff was ever there? Who's gonna love it like we did when we're gone? And does it even matter anyway: you can't go back to yesterday. We know it but we try not to show it: we're moving on. I told myself I'd never go back there, lately though I can't remember why. "It's just a place, it could be anywhere." I can almost make myself believe that if I try. Na na na na na na. [2Mb mp3]

Motors Running, No One Driving (Den, Coe)
You might say I am someone who doesn't think much of my fellow men, but what's thinking good for in this race to capitalize? Everyone is "right", everthing else is "wrong", and god forbid self doubt. But I say forget the notion that all of us have something to say, because most of the babble are one-dimensional and fail to introspect, and I'm just someone who also says some shit. But here's the difference: I challenge my every thought, and I learn from my mistakes...I only wish you'd do the same.

Hello, I Must Be Going (Coe)
Last I heard you'd gone away and were getting married, and I wish I could be there. Without a word, here today but gone tomorrow, and no one quite sure predictably unpredictable. What did I see in the empty space where my friend used to be, and was it really there at all? Or was it me? I couldn't sit through one more curtain call. A disappearing act, with no strings attached. A disappearing act, but you kept coming back. You'd come and go, and to this day I bet you can't remember all the places that you went. But you'd let us know in your own way: a million drunken calls and half a million unmarked dirty postcards that I'm pretty sure you predictably unpredictable. Goodbye. [2.5Mb mp3]

Erica Online (Graham, Coe)
One night when I was cruising around on the internet, I met this girl who said she liked Electric Frankenstein. Since then, we've talked for hours, but I haven't even met her, yet: she said her name is Erica, but I like to call her Erica Online. I know she's pretty 'cause she sent me a picture, and I sent her one of my own. Well, actually, I sent a scan of River Phoenix [dead!] but Erica looks just like Alicia Silverstone. And so I chat with Erica, I'm on the net with Erica, upload my heart to Erica, I wanna get with Erica Online. One night when we were chatting, she got kinda flirty, and I started feeling kind of weird. She asked me if I wanted to talk to her dirty, and I tried to picture Erica, but all I could see was a fat guy with a beard. Erica, you rule my world. Erica, I hope you're really a girl. Erica, won't you visit me at home? (Because cybersex is safe, but I think I'm getting carpal tunnel syndrome.) And so I stay up late, with Erica. And I want a date with Erica. I'm sending e-mail to Erica. I hope she's female...she's Erica Online. [3.2Mb live! mp3]

Overnight To Many Distant Cities (Coe)
2am, a Sunday, in an unfamiliar town...the car's packed tight and she knows that she'll never forget this night. All the old familiar places are now a thousand miles away and a kiss goodbye from yesterday. Depending on no one, pretending it was all a dream, she's waking up to four years gone but she's younger than she seems. All these unfamiliar places greet her like an old friend and she's writing postcards in her head. Round and round, I'm staring at the clock and don't you know, I'd really like to think she's thinking about me. Round and round, she's circling the block and don't you know, when she finally stops she'll be anyone she wants to be. If you could do it all again, would you do it the same way? I used to know, but if you asked me now I'm not sure what I'd say. So we beat on, boats against the waves, ceaselessly borne back into the past.

We'll Always Have Indiana (Coe, Graham, Den)
When I eat White Castle I think of you. Counting down the miles through towns with nothing left to do, I drove my van into the ground. Back and forth across the state, we chased each other round and round. We'll always have Indiana, and her amber waves of grain. Next door to your old house, I found you. In your white t-shirt & blue jeans, & your boyfriend in his cowboy boots -- what about the walks home after school, ten years before? In your purple raincoat, holding hands with me in Indiana. We'll always have Indiana, and her amber waves of grain. Hang out the stars in Indiana...

Now We Are Twenty-Seven (Coe)
We wake up at night; our days are bought and sold. Rage against the dawning of the light, and eight more hours of doing what we're told. We watch them driving home and congratulate ourselves: the passing drivers seem so alone--a million prisoners in cellular cells. We're on the shore, watching a river pass us by, and there's no point in asking why: it's just their function, and we're just spitting at the tide. But now we're twenty-seven, when all good rockstars go to heaven, and there's no point in asking why: it's just their function, but we're still alive.

Which Supply Side Are You On? (Coe)
Don't think of it as a paycheck, good things come in small envelopes. It's not just compensation, it's an invitation to a better way of life than we'd ever hoped. I don't deserve this, it must be my lucky day. I don't deserve this, but I'll take it anyway. So put on your best suit and tie, put on your cutest Sunday dress--in Grandma's dusty lace and your sweetest "thank you" face, you'll wait in line like all the rest. A fat man stands and taps his glass: "My friends, a toast to you, the working class. What's good for us is good for you, and what makes us rich is going to make you rich too." The trickle down effect...a tower of champagne glasses, pour another round. Fill them from the top, and watch it trickle down. But what are we drinking? What are they giving us? It's piss.

Scratch And Win (Void Where Prohibited) (Graham, Coe, Ziegelbauer)
Is it wrong to imagine the impossible? No, it's a crime not to demand it!

Alarmclockflashingtwelvetwelvetwelve (Coe)
There's something wrong, but I can't quite put my finger on the problem...something I was supposed to do, so why am I still asleep? It's been how long? Why didn't someone tell me it was morning? There nothing in my head but a million bleating sheep. Something I forgot to remember; it'll have to wait another day. Something I forgot to remember...does it matter anyway? Why can't I wake up? I've got so much to do...

The Matador Contemplates His Position (Graham)
Ricardo Montalban: "Go ahead and watch...she wants you to."

Dear Nickel Kids, High Steppin' Nickel Kids
P.O. Box 440055
Somerville, MA 02144