A Knife in the Back

by James Nrml

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about

Ten Songs about Murder and Madness

credits

released October 29, 2012

Written by James Nrml
Drums recorded at Mark Phelan's house in Afton
Other instruments recorded in various basements and studios
Songs 1-5 Mixed by Jeff Covert @ Wally Cleaver's
Songs 6-10 Mixed by James Noll
Mastered by James Noll

James Noll: drums, percussion, bass, guitar, keys, vocals.
Keith McConnell: trumpet on "The Hired Gun"
Jeff Covert: lead guitar and bass on "Will Be Mine"
Kent Ippolito: mandolin, charanga, soprano guitar, etc . . . on "Phil"
Tim Bray: lead guitar on "You'll Wish We Never Met"

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about

James Noll Virginia

James Noll has worked at a sub shop, a yogurt store, a day care, a video store, a day care, a summer camp, a restaurant, a kitchen, a night school, a restaurant, a library, and a high school. Somewhere in there he played drums in punk rock bands, recorded several albums, and wrote dozens of short stories and a handful of novels. ... more

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Track Name: The Hired Gun
Well you know I shoulda been a dancer
That’s what my mama says
Or I coulda been a doctor, a lawyer, a preacher, a martyr instead
But I became a hired killer
that’s where my talent lies
And if you tell me any different
I’ll damn your eyes

Give yourself to me
I will damn your eyes
Lest you give yourself to me
I’ll go easy you see.

Well a hired killer’s favorite weapons
Are his hands and his ears
and he’ll play upon your deepest most darkest
most terrible inner-most fears
Well I really like the latter
Yes it leaves me quite erect
And if you know of any different
Well I haven’t seen it yet.
Track Name: Scratch a Tombstone, Call the Devil
Someone thought they saw his shadow at the cellar door
Someone thought they heard him scraping up the hardwood floor
He’s got a mouth full of razors, and fists full of what he needs
To run a languid finger across your lips while you’re asleep.

There’s a pause in the rushin’ wind
Then you hear it creak again
And it’s one step closer to your door.

He’s the icy shiver running down your spine at night.
He’s the sharpened shank in the middle of a prison fight.
He’s the burning rush at the bottom of a blackened spoon
He’s the one standing just outside your darkened room.

Someone felt his breath whispered in her naked ear
Someone caught his face frozen in a knowing lear
Is that a creaking shudder right out in the hall outside?
No time to even try to think to find a place to hide.
Track Name: Will Be Mine
Alarm clock woke her up at 6 AM
Got outta bed and stretched and yawned
Made her coffee and
Ate her breakfast then
Showered and dressed and out the door.

Watched her eat her lunch out at the park
She didn’t see me see at all.
Back to work till five, she’s in bed by nine
Yeah, she’s my girl.

Well she’s so fine
She will be mine.

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words
Well I have a thousand pictures of her
Pasted on my wall
Spreading down the hall
Spilling out onto the floor

She went out drinkin to a bar last night
Hanging out with all her friends
She danced with some strange guy
So I followed him home and I . . .
Let’s just say he won’t be dancing again,
No.

The time has come for me to meet my love
I filled the van’s tank up with gas
Put on my brand new shoes,
Brought my raincoat, too
And jammed the duct tape into my bag
Yeah!
Track Name: Phil
Mr. Fitzsimmons he drops off
his linens,
he's so dirty.
He doesn't even try to
attempt to
remember my name.
The thunder and lightening
preceded the sheets of the
cold rain.
The steam off the streets
wove in white vales like a
lion's mane

The children are playing
on equipment in my back yard.
I bring them cold drinks in mugs
packed with ice.
I like it when they play with me
in my back yard.
They all adore me,
they think I'm so nice.

I work so hard pressing
laundry and drawers for
de lady.
She doesn't even try to
attempt to
remember my name.
She wear the perfume
so thickly and sweet that it
chokes me.
At night I have the nightmares
that to here I will do
the same

Policeman he come and he
ask me the question bout
de lady.
I smile and say that I haven't
seen her in a month.
I tell him sincerely that
I hope that he finds
de lady.
He asks me for the keys
to my car so he can
check the trunk.
Track Name: Wasted Youth
The clocks are a ticking the radio’s running the water is boiling sending up steam in a plume.
Knives in the butcher block scalpels brand knewly bought hammers are glowing reflecting the light of the moon.
Apron has just been bleached rubber mat sickly sweet smell of galoshes I’m just about ready for you.
Last minute preparate take a deep breath and wait remember to put out the first round of finger food.

All I’m saying is,
“Ah,
wasted youth!”

When I was younger my daddy found bones of some small animals that had crawled under my house and died.
When I was younger they bought me a puppy but within two weeks it had gotten real sick and it died.
When I was younger my mother had cancer we took her to treatments but she didn’t make it she died.
What’s more disturbing is when all this happened not once single time can I say that I actually cried.

Biology textbook
is full of sketches and I’m—
I’m working on my lines,
But you know it just don’t matter,
just don’t matter, just don’t matter,
just don’t matter at all.

Rolling the plastic tarp all over the back yard feels a lot harder than anything legally should.
Crunch on the dead leaves is always reminding me when I was younger and I was afraid of these woods.
Table is set for two so I am propping you up in the chair you keep falling over that ain’t good.
Straighten the linen the dewdrops they glisten on acres and acres and acres and acres of blood.
Track Name: A Gentleman and Scholar of
Watch yourself at every step
Don’t get so full of yourself yet
Leave enough there for the end
And your sorrow will transcend.

Yeah, and the wandering mind
Yeah, will it be alright?

Ticking of the sleepless clock
Dripping water wets the strop
Sweeping shush of swinging shade
Singing pain of parting blade.
Track Name: Springheel Jack
Headlights mirror blanket white of the lovely creeping fog.
I don’t know just where I was last night.
Spring breaks early through the rain I guess we’ll have slog.
Excuses bounce off crossed arms of my wife.

I really don’t know anything.
AOEOEO!

Found the body all sliced up on the lawn outside the dorm.
Sun blinks off the dew in morning light.
They have a man in custody, the radio informs.
And I still don’t know where I was last night.

Springheel Jack is on the loose the local headlines scream.
Police don’t even try to debunk.
I teach my classes normally, but I’m not as I seem.
And I’m afraid to open up my trunk.
Track Name: The Castle of the Bleeding Heart and Plucked Eye
She stands in silhouette against the yellow light.
The castle’s turrets are black against a midnight blue sky.
If she would only speak to me,
or just tell me her will.
“I love you, I love you, and for you I’ll endlessly kill.”

The snow falls in the night And the bodies hang high
In the limbs of the trees like bones twined over me
If you dare try to pass your first step is your last
Draw your blade, say a prayer make a move if you dare

The mem’ry of my past life is naught but a blur.
I know only the path that brought me to her.
I can tell that she wants me--I can tell she approves--
of the way my sword parts your body when I run you through.


The snow falls in the night And the bodies hang high
In the limbs of the trees like bones twined over me
If you dare try to pass your first step is your last
Draw your blade, say a prayer make a move if you dare

And now at long last it seems that my time is nigh.
A horse and rider with a gun meets my pale face this time.
And her bored expressionless face, gazing down on me yet.
“I love you, I love you,” I cry with my dying breath.
Track Name: We Float
On the banks of the Rapphannock,
in the dust and leaves,
past the ridge of the mud flats
churning,
that's where you'll find me.
I have a thirst that is everlasting
it'll never wane.
I have a hunger legendary,
no it won't abate

The water's dark with blackened souls,
within my grasp they writhe.

The pull is strong,
beneath the tides tonight.
So come along,
let yourself glide,
don't fight.

Can't you hear my sweet voice swimming?
Can't you hear my call?
Won't you come down here and join us?
Come and join us all.
Open up your mouth and swallow,
you are ours to own.
Let our bony fingers grab you,
and pull your body down.

The water's dark with blackened souls,
within my grasp they writhe.

The pull is strong,
beneath the tides tonight.
So come along,
let yourself glide,
don't fight.

Water glistens in the night.
Reflecting the moon.
We're all floating in the night.
We will take you soon.

Water glistens in the night. With the rage of a thunderstorm,
Reflecting the moon. I will ruck and twist and moan.
We're all floating in the night. And when my brown washing waves with
We will take you soon. the banks overtumble, and rip the roots
out of the ground.

Ours are cheeks that are hollow, empty
pallid skin will slough
off the bone as the water rushes
gently to and fro.
But our fingers wave like seaweed,
still as strong as steel.
Clutching at your flailing ankles,
take away your will.
Track Name: You'll Wish We Never Met
I'm sorry I met you.
I wish that we were never friends.
If I forget you, will it bring this pain to an end?
I've done nothing wrong.
Nothing to deserve all of this.
I'll turn my back now.
One day I'll make you pay for it.

You say, "Oh well."
Well go to hell,
and take your promises.
And in the end,
you'll grin that grin,
and act like nothing is wrong.

When we were younger,
I thought that our days would never end.
Then you fucked me over,
and acted like nothing happened.
You've done it all wrong,
you've played like the martyr once again.
I'll turn my back now.
Looks like you've lost another friend.

I want to erase you--
I'm having fun.

You say, "Oh well."
Well go to hell,
and take your promises.
And in the end,
you'll grin that grin,
and act like nothing is wrong.
You wanted reaction,
so here's this song.