Dead Drunks

Stormy Sea

Deloris – ‘Dead Drunks’ (from Fake Our Deaths) mp3

The hardest to play, biggest, angriest, most ungainly song in the Deloris catalogue. And also one of the ones I think we were most proud of, if not the most.

There are a lot of reasons why this shouldn’t have worked. There’s no bass guitar at all. It goes for 7 minutes. I had to sit at a shitty Yamaha PSR-78 keyboard to play it. It took several days to record, raised some demons and nearly broke the band up in the process. Embracing every childhood recording studio fantasy we ever dreamed of probably didn’t help. We prodded it to within and inch of its life but…in the end somehow we got away with it.

We tried to play it live a few times and it just never, ever worked. Which was frustrating; this big, epic song that should be glorious live became a bulging, ugly monster. We weren’t equipped; we didn’t know what we were doing; we should’ve hired someone to play it for us. We were so worried that we wouldn’t get it right in the studio – because songs like this so very easily go brutally wrong – that we created something we could never perform again. Oh well.

Deloris – ‘Dead Drunks’ (acoustic version) mp3

A few years later I wrote a solo version for guitar. (Since it was nearly impossible to play as a band, which I only played keyboard and piano on, no guitars etc.) I completely forgot that I recorded this, and found it again only recently. It still doesn’t quite do it justice, but…I like it. And I don’t think anything ever will. Maybe we can get Arcade Fire or the MSO or…someone else, on the case someday.

Deloris – Dead Drunks (Sassafras Demo) mp3

Here’s a demo of it that we did out in the foothills of the Dandenongs, at Sassafrass, a few months before recording the album. Pretty sweet and airy guitar tones on this one (different lines from Leigh too), and if we could’ve lugged the ancient wind organ that was planted against a wall there to Sing Sing with us we would’ve. Probably should’ve.

And here’s a fan-only slightly (long) cringe-worthy live version on RRR with a Casio, just after we wrote it in 2001 (!).

Deloris – Dead Drunks (Live on RRR) mp3

Dead Drunks

limousines and polished cars
flee the bars
and steal their way south
to the broken river mouth
where wives are moved to tears
by the clubhouse chandeliers
where men swap tales and boast
of brushes with their ghosts
and the birds with no voice-boxes
were all asleep
and the night just rolled in thick
like black vaseline
fires that burn and bleed
and flicker on the beach
sends word to the captain’s post
there’s parties on the coast

I saw them from the boat
lose their minds on chardonnay
saw them stumble on the earth
saw them screaming at the surf

is this to be our end
am I to be your final friend
are we promising ourselves
out of having anything
to remind us we’re alive
to overthrow our enemies and spies
to love and in return
burst into cinders and burn

hands like broken china mugs
steer this fleet
of loser part time thugs
onto a moonless bay
onto a jet-black wave
a single lamp hangs from the mast
like an icon in our wake
though it’s much too cold for stars
we crane our necks as far
as we can to see this mess
hanging over us like death
so we raise our glasses
and button up our coats
and we think about the good times
in the belly of the boat

I saw them from the house
first jack-knife and then capsize
saw them leave this little earth
saw them swallowed by the surf

is this to be our end
am I to be your final friend
are we promising ourselves
out of having anything
to remind us we’re alive
to overthrow our enemies and spies
to love and in return
burst into cinders and burn

in cold silence
we’ll make our way
to the great windows
that frame our bay
and we feel she’s sick
cause we know her soul
and we’ll save the men
whose lives she stole
and we’ll lift our heads
above our hearts
and find some more
drinking cups

cause tonight
we’ll pull

the drunks out from the sea
they’ll be pale and dead but free
and we’ll line the balconies
searching for our friends
and we brave what fortune brings
but we wont give up our things
for kilometres along the coast
we’ll be toasting dead men’s ghosts

raise your glasses
raise your glasses
raise your glasses
and set their spirits free
evoking the dead drunks of the sea



Filed under Fake Our Deaths

2 responses to “Dead Drunks

  1. Simon

    could have sworn you played this on your first trip up the hume in 2000. one of my favourites nonetheless.

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