Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Modest Mouse -- "Spitting Venom" (2007)

I don't know who kept track
I didn't know there was a score
But it looks like you're the winner
And I ain't gonna play no more
Its over
Game over

Cape Cod Rail Trail mile marker
You may remember that I came down with benign positional vertigo when we were at Cape Cod over Memorial Day weekend.  That kept me from riding the final third of the Cape Cod Rail Trail -- the Orleans-to-Wellfleet leg.  It also kept me from blogging about a third Modest Mouse song, which was my original plan.  Three months later, I'm making up for that.  I rode the final third of the rail trail in August, and while I was listening mostly to System of a Down on my August rides, I figure you may need a break from SOAD.

Modest Mouse CD cover
Just a word about this song before we saddle up and hit the road.  I don't know what it means (assuming it is supposed to mean something in particular), but I like it a lot.  It's long -- 8:27 -- and it could have been tightened up a little.  Live versions of songs are often quite a bit longer and looser than studio versions, and this is a studio recording that has the structure and feel (although not the sound) of a live version.  

The first minute and a half of the song feature a solo singer and an acoustic guitar, and it moves right along -- the singer gets through four verses (or at least three and a half) in short order.  The band suddenly shifts gears, and the next two minutes are much harder and louder -- electric guitars, drums, the whole rock-and-roll thing.  Then we shift gears again, and have a minute or so of the original singer-plus-acoustic-guitar instrumentation.

At this point -- at almost exactly the halfway point of "Spitting Venom" -- a trumpet quietly enters and takes over for the singer for about a minute.  The guitars that accompany the trumpet build in volume, the drums pick up, and the singer reappears.  He repeats the following two lines about a dozen times during the final three minutes of the song:

Cheer up baby, it wasn't always quite so bad
For every bit of venom that came out, the antidote was had

The effect is a little reminiscent of "Hey Jude" or "Closer to Home," two other long songs that seem to drag on forever as the band repeats a couple of lines over and over and over.

Did I ever tell you about the time a friend of mine and I put a dime in the jukebox and played "Hey Jude" just as a Missouri Southern math professor was about to make a speech and hand out trophies at the award dinner for the high-school math league that the college sponsored?  (Wow, that sentence was a mouthful, huh?) I didn't?

My friend and I were a couple of real cut-ups, always ready to instigate hijinks, horseplay, and even shenanigans, and this was one of our better gags -- what a knee-slapper!  You should have been there!  It was worth every penny we invested!  Hahahahahahaha!

You see, "Hey Jude" is seven minutes long.  (If you don't think that's a long time given the circumstances, look at your watch or find a clock on the wall and just sit quietly and watch the second hand go all the way around seven times.)  After a dozen or so repetitions of "nah nah nah nah nah-nah-nah-nahhh, nah-nah-nah-nahhh, hey Jude," the professor finally unplugged the jukebox and got on with it.  

Math Club was NOT the place to go to meet chicks

I'm pretty sure our high school won the math league that year.  At least I'm sure we didn't lose to Carl Junction.

So . . . back to Cape Cod.  I hopped on Route 6 and exited in Orleans, parked, and headed north on the rail trail towards Wellfleet.  This is one of the twistiest, most challenging parts of the CCRT.  Here's a portion known to the locals as "Dead Man's Curve" -- for obvious reasons:

Once you get out of Orleans, you pass a number of small ponds.  This one is in Eastham, and I wouldn't mind living in that house.

House on Depot Pond (Eastham, MA)

Arnold's is one of the larger and more successful clam "shacks" on the Cape.  It's located just where the rail trail tunnel takes you underneath Route 6, the main Cape highway.

Arnold's Lobster and Clam Bar (Eastham, MA)

Marconi antenna (Wellfleet, MA)
Just before reaching the end of the rail trail, you cross Marconi Beach Road, which dead ends at the Cape Cod National Seashore a couple of miles east of Route 6.  Guglielmo Marconi broadcast the first transatlantic radio communication from this spot -- a message from President Theodore Roosevelt to King Edward VII.

I'm pointing to the end of the CCRT (the bold red line) in this picture -- about 22 miles from where the trail starts in Dennis.  As you can see, Cape Cod extends further north, but I don't like to have to share the road with cars.

The end of the Cape Cod Rail Trail 

There is much beauty along the Cape Cod Rail Trail:

A couple of hours later, I was back at our house, enjoying a sunset over Cape Cod Bay.

Here's "Spitting Venom":

Here's a link to use to order the song from iTunes:

Here's a link to use to order the song from Amazon:

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