The Malthusian Clown

Today, you can digitally purchase my split 7” with Dan Andriano in the Emergency Room. The record is called European Vacation. It has one Wandering Birds song and one Emergency Room song and it’s coming out in conjunction with our upcoming European tour. In keeping with the tradition of wanting you all to be able to get the absolute most out of these songs, I’m gonna post the lyrics below.

Firstly, though, this song was inspired by two things: the philosopher Thomas Malthus and his entire program, which is as simple as it is dead-on accurate. Essentially (and this is the extreme Cliff’s Notes) every problem that we’re ever gonna face on this earth is going to boil down to overpopulation. That is the one, the only and the most crucial problem that we face as a planet and the problem that will ultimately usher in our demise. Malthus’s philosophy has inspired lots of different things, from city planning philosophies to apocalyptic doomsayers, but the best thing that ever came from his philosophy is the phrase “malthusianism” which is, hands down, the best euphemism for beating off ever coined.

I was tossing around the phrase ‘The Malthusian Clown’ in my head, thinking it was a pretty accurate description of not only myself, but any aimless male who’s ever experienced puberty, when I came across a bit on the Howard Stern show where he discussed how back in the day he put the wheels in motion to do a comic/cartoon called “I was a Teenaged Howard Stern” (I think…I could be wrong about the title) about his life as a kid living in Roosevelt, eating Quaaludes, whacking off and listening to Cream and shit like that. The whole project sounded awesome, but it never saw the light of day due to budgetary restrictions and Howard’s insistence that the way it was turning out was not up to the standards of his vision.

The notion of this cartoon, to me, encapsulated everything I was thinking about in regards to the phrase ‘malthusian clown’ and the song came pretty quickly after that.

The crazy, Paul McCartney bass/guitar riff thing is entirely the brainchild of fellow Wandering Bird Nick Martin. This song was conceived as a kind of a dirty garage song, but by the time we finished, it turned out, well, really circusy and weird.

I dunno. Hope you guys enjoy it. I like it, but in the end, it was a little too weird for the full length. Here’s the words:

Malthusian Clown

Ain’t nothing like the waves radiating from the basement.

Ain’t nothing like that sticky black wave of isolation.

This intimidation on these Roosevelt streets ain’t nothing like Sweathogs or Warriors to me.

But you tell me you wanna go down.

I’m just getting by. I’m pale and I’m quiet. I’m just killing time in the eye of the riot.

Kiss your boy good night as he descends to the bottom.

Stretching out with some Quaaludes and some cotton.

And the next few years ain’t getting no better than this

And the burning’s gonna spread down

These thighs and up to these hips.

I’m just getting by. I’m pale and I’m quiet. I’m just killing time in the eye of the riot.

And I never really wanted much to win.

I just wanted some peace and quiet now and then.

But they’re climbing in my walls, scratching overhead

Waiting for me at the bus stop and underneath my bed.

And now I feel like a goddamn ragdoll, holding my insides in.

I feel like a goddamned pinball. Boy, I ain’t no kind of man.

I feel like pulling the chain and spiraling down.

I feel like I’m suffocating here in this town.

I am the Malthusian clown.

I’m just getting by. I’m pale and I’m quiet. I’m just killing time in the eye of the riot.

I’m just getting by. I’m pale and I’m quiet. I’m just killing time in the eye of the riot.

So if you wanna go down, down, down, down, down, I am the Malthusian clown.

But if you’re already down let me show you around.


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8 Responses to The Malthusian Clown

  1. Neil says:

    Nice one, Mr. Kelly.

  2. QueenBee says:

    “Just killing time in the eye of the riot”. Love that.

    Aside from the intro, though, not a weird song… at least I didn’t think so. Well done.

    Also, so fucking pumped to see you with TLA in Toronto. We’ve been waiting.

  3. KKKanada's Most Wanted says:

    Bullshit. Know who’s problem overpopulation is? My 22 kids.

    If this is all some Illuminati ploy to get people to wear rubbers, I’m not buying it.

  4. Penny says:

    radicool dude &-)

  5. ericky says:

    love the name. I’m pretty sure Mars One will take care of overpopulation woes. Butt in the meantime I’m just gonna keep my head down and skank to ‘Bill Murray’s Techno Dance Mix’.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Recently you said we were going to hear some news that would make us think the Lawrence Arms are going to break up. Then the first bit of new news I hear is that you guys are finally coming to Toronto for the first time since I found out about the band… Those two shows at Pouzza made for the best day of my life easily, can’t wait to do it again.

    This may be a super early request but if you guys could play Are You There Margeret, It’s Me God when you come, that would complete my existence.

  7. Yourmom says:

    You fully believe that overpopulation will ruin life as we know it and then you have kids. So puzzling.

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