Offramp Rodeo

2013 - Glitterhouse Records

Offramp Rodeo


LAST CALL was the first song ready for this album, written just six months after our first album was released. It was the second term of the 43rd American president, and for the first time in our adult life, a seemingly sensible guy you could relate to had announced his candidacy. Many of us held our breaths and crossed our fingers. Ever since the re-election of 43 in 2004, it seemed like a new world order had finally beat democracy. All cloak and dagger, hidden agendas, and oil above everything. The fact that Denmark had become a belligerent nation for the first time since 1864 just made it all the more depressing. The sense of a new guy who appeared to be our last chance and not only the lesser of two evils, thoughts of the dead Kennedys, fear of people like 43 and his bunch and the power of big business is what was on our minds.
The initial arrangement of the song was very straight forward slow rock, something we had a hard time playing in an interesting way. We stumbled on the idea of laying down a basic track consisting of just the kpanloko-drum and hushed cue vocals in order to avoid vocal bleed onto the drum track. That instantly inspired an acoustic guitar part meant to sound like it wasn’t really made for the song, but just almost happened to fit. When Thøger sang and laid down a bass track that sounds almost like a solo on the upright, it all just made so much sense to us. We hope it does to you too.

POLARIS was the second song written for the album. An article in Vanity Fair about Sarah Palin’s campaign and how they had started marketing her as ’the North Star’ made it clear that nothing’s sacred anymore. Peter's initial response to the song was: “Ok, that’s a beginning. At least we now have the ending track for the album”. The recording was one of those good days at the office; all the important parts were recorded live together in one of the first takes. I wasn’t too proud of what I'd played in the instrumental part, but Nikolaj insisted it was super cool, and since he’s my favorite guitar player in the world, his flattery won out, and now I tend to agree.

FULL MOON Sometimes the full moon just seems to affect you more than you’re ready to admit. It may sound pretentious, but the song is based on dream I had. It was the first song we recorded, and the dreaminess made it obvious that it needed a more subtle approach than the usual rock band recording. That's when we discovered the magic of the kpanloko drum.

HERE’S ONE Maybe it sounds strange, but straight forward rock songs are not always that easy for us. This story, however, needed a solid beat and a no nonsense approach. Writing it felt almost like doing a sequel to the song ‘Long Way From Home’ from Marie Frank’s album Pop Your Wheeze that we co-wrote and the Caucus played on.

LIVE IN THE STREAM I was getting into a pretty good songwriting flow. Trying to finish OCB and having stumbled on the idea for Odessa, this nonsense song introduced itself. When someone thought it was really catchy and all, we went for it. It turned into this thing about a life better off under water or something. When we got the opportunity to do a music video only a few songs were anywhere near being finished, so this was chosen for its direct nature. Interestingly enough, as Nikolaj noted, the pictures turned the silly lyrics into something slightly scary.

OCB An attempt to write a political song advocating rebellion. Or an uprising, at least. Somehow the take we ended up loving just turned out to have the sound of a weedy kicking-back-with-your-buddies feel. Not very rebellious or outgoing at all. So be it; it’s all still very much from the heart, and every word of it is dead serious. But feel free to kick back and feel good. Maybe that’s as important sometimes as having a strong opinion about things and speaking it.

LEAVING ODESSA With so many friends & bandmates in the US, and this financial crisis seemingly unending, you start noticing circumstances you hadn’t really paid attention to earlier. A book emphasizing some rather intimidating power structures added to that. Maybe it was a morning flight sitting next to the nicest Texan businessman keeping conversation on a domestic flight headed east that set off the lyrics, but the groove would definitely have been different if hadn’t been for some recordings Peter had done at his underground rehearsal space known as the Hole. Writing the song, playing along with the beat set a clear direction for the track, and we ended up using that very same recording Peter’d done to play on top of at the studio, hence the double drum kit.

OFFRAMP RODEO We started another session at Stablesounds to record Odessa and try a different approach to a song that never made it called Pickets & Pearls. Something else entirely was going on when this melody line appeared. We had spent the summer touring and went directly from the road back to do the Medium Rare Sessions during the Aarhus Festival backing M.Ward, Charlie Sexton, Jason Lytle and Mark Lanegan at three different shows in four days, so everybody felt worn out and pretty much ready to retire. Personally, I felt like a rodeo clown parked at the off ramp looking for a way out, while also fully aware that regardless I’d be ready to go out again whenever duty called. And then that crazy thing happened; the fishing that Arlo Guthrie talked about when he said “we all throw the line out, but Bob Dylan is always standing upstream to catch the big fish.” Wherever I was, I landed this one.
One of the things we liked the most about our first record was the discovery of the twin singing that we began to feel was a sort of a signature sound. Writing new songs we'd kept that in mind, trying to put a “we” where the “I” would usually be, and such. When we had laid down a good take of this one, though, there was no way Thøger would sing on it. Didn’t think it would do any good. So we ended up sticking to the cue vocal that had a good tired feel to it, and when Nikolaj played that pedal steel the track was obviously done.

EVEN SO A melody Nikolaj had done but didn’t think was finished. Listening to a dictaphone recording, driving, the words kinda assembled themselves in a couple of days. Maybe love songs are inevitable. Maybe everything's already been said, and said better, and you could ask if we really need another one. But then there's still the music, and Nikolaj’s guitar playing is definitely needed in this world. So sit back and crank it.

FIRESALE Nikolaj was finally gonna erase the stuff on his dictaphone, but knew himself well enough to let the rest of us have a listen first. There was at least eight potential songs there. Even So was written pretty much right on top of his humming. A couple of weeks later we headed north again for more recording, and while driving there this song started to materialize out of a lick on one of the demos. We agreed that it was worth going for and decided to try and do a more ‘epic’ song with a lot of verses, not unlike some of the great Townes Van Zandt songs. Born as the song was, driving, and somewhat aware of the band’s picture of itself as European explorers in the New World, the idea of using the so-called DeSoto Trail as inspiration to set the scene seemed like a good idea. You decide. Apparently a cigar is never just a cigar, but we managed to capture a good one-take of bassdrum, floortom, vocals and guitar one night there close to the North Sea. Needless to say the fireplace and red wine was going, and the family was cuddling up in the sofa. And it was exactly that; good times to remember.


LIVE IN THE STREAM (Pedersen)

Been there before
worn out on the floor
mishap of postwar

Failed to get to the door
can’t really ignore
the sore spots anymore

At the scene, a tape machine
a trampoline, a busted spleen
I’m fixing up a submarine
taking care of quarantine

Should have been foreseen
like some kind of routine
if just we’d kept it clean

What I mean is on the screen
if you were queen in my canteen
a forest green live sardine
high on dance, and caffeine

Dream of an aquatic regime
well into the stream
a life full of gleam

PD: drums, maracas, cowbell, tambourine & additional snare
TT: upright bass, vocals & foam-battered banjo
AP: guitars & vocals
NH: organ & marching band bassdrum


OCB (Pedersen)

Don’t buy in to the thousand scares
they promote to shut you up
on your toes, just keep the powder dry
and stay on top

There’s a spin on every story now
there’s a lie on every tongue
hold your breath, take the time to aim
it'll hit before long

Offbeat circuit breakers
turning up on the grid
all movers and shakers
unite and commit

Going out on fifty thousand watts
through the skywaves at night
we call on you to call the shots
propagate and ignite
you’ll be left, we’ll be right

Offbeat circuit breakers
turning up on the grid
all movers and shakers
unite and commit
time to curb the skid

PD: drums & tambourine
TT: bass, vocal, wurlitzer & backwards banjo harmonics
AP: vocal, guitar & tenor guitar
NH: mellotron & acetone organ


OFFRAMP RODEO (Pedersen)

Another race is run
we’re overdone, but nobody won
you’re still pressing on
the summer’s gone, in a free fall
a marathon without recall

No more roads to go
the shadows grow
and mask the patio
the Offramp Rodeo is all you know
but the stars lost their glow
in the neon undertow

The freakshow stands still
without need or will
hiding its face untill
the next race

Never saw the blind
the left behind
all undefined
tried to stay on top
all in, non stop
but it just goes to show
anytime you drop
you have to let it go

PD: drums, darbuka & Kenyan mgala drum
TT: upright bass & marimba
AP: the guild & vocals
NH: glockenspiel & pedal steel guitar


LEAVING ODESSA (Pedersen)

Set to leave Odessa in the morning
try to clear the mind down at the bar
maybe we ignored the fateful warning
don’t mess with that Lone Star
people here would go far

Gaze down on the oilfields of west Texas
recognize the pumpjacks and their prance
entrepreneurs in Texas simply vex us
they’re not your usual romance
more like an ancient ghost dance
a different stance

Seize the Alamo
pass it high and low
unsteady as she goes

Missing all the Arizona dead ends
low key days around the Desert Inn
sittin’ tight and dealing with the new bends
a place to hide at high tide
safe and cool while inside

Seize the Alamo
pass it high and low
unsteady as she goes

The last thing I remember is a phonecall
something ‘bout blind tigers in the House
the Seven Sisters do not want you ‘round here
get out while you still can
don’t be freakin’ blind, man

PD: double drumkit, tambourines, shakers & wooden box
NH: el. bass, pedalsteel, organ & vibraphone
AP: vocals & guitar
TT: vocals


FULL MOON (Pedersen)

Making a wrong turn I take off
rooftops and glass trees below
dreaming I fly when I’m falling
falling all too slow

I was a sky diving orphan
you were a cannon let loose
caskets and steamboats on rivers
showed how we chose

The brightest lights cast deepest shadows
people like telephone poles
lonely, apart as they witness
black neon holes

Pull out the skylights and sit back
letting the night take you in
reach for the stars as you peel off
that raddled skin

This is the lull revolution
dreamers and drop-outs unite
seep through the cracks and acknowledge
the full moon tonight
just satellite

PD: drum kit, kpanloko drum, wooden boxes, shaker & tambourine
AP: vocal, guitars & piano
NH: glockenspiel, sleighbells & organbass
TT: vocal & upright bass
Sille Krill: vocal
​HERE’S ONE (Pedersen)

All alone in a dense fog when the rain starts
​an old terraplane close to the grounds
across the wetlands into the woods
a trunk full of all your worldly goods
running with the hare, and hunting with the hounds

While the silent drape of nightfall slowly sets
there’s still the ring of a voice that said
in about four weeks or so
you’re only gonna feel half the pain you know
you can't really win a war inside your head

Here is one to tell you
we’re outrun anyway
that trouble comes in all colors
but always leave you in the grey

A cold shimmer of the moonbeams through the naked trees
a goshawk circling high
down the river in the back of his mind
memories of safety and horrors combined
most things then were kept on the sly
Tired eyes don’t tell lies, Granpa used to say
it’s never really lightning that strikes
it all begins when you’re striken by life
then you wind up on the wrong end of a knife
just another guy that no one really likes

This is one
who’ll tell you
we’re outrun every day
that trouble comes in all colors
but always have us running away


PD: drums & percussion
AP: guitars, vocal + clapping
TT: bass & vocals
NH: ACE tone organ, tremolo guitar & piano, glockenspiel + tubular bells
Niels “det’-jo-det” Nørgaard: bass trombone


​FIRESALE (Heyman/Pedersen)

On a soiled and feeble trail
tracing jet streams, facing ill dreams
while it’s all a firesale

lack of sleep and lack of luck
southern hellholes, gloomy poor souls
losing track in pick-up trucks

by the light from kerosene
burning untamed, defiant, unclaimed
I take on the unforeseen

and I dream of rolling streams
wild and clean still, a spirit’s free will
nothing’s ever what it seems

on a hillside drenched in sun
a salient black bear, an endless blunt stare
makes it clear I’ve been outrun

as I stride towards her glow
pads of flax rise, to nearly man size
​and I feel my senses go

bursting spread of firewheel
smiling gently, as it would be
if it wasn’t for the steel

reaching for that world of glass
seems so unfit and we still find it
laying shattered in the grass

pull towards a gentle moon
find a home there, but just beware
not to break it all too soon

all you need along the way
a fabled motel by the Devil’s Inkwell
on the road to Santa Fe

let it go and let me loose
the road’s too run-down for one who’s come round
only asking for a truce

AP: vocal & ac. guitar
PD: drums, maracas, shells, caxixi, additional floor tom
& Kenyan mgala drum
NH: electric bass, chamberlain, piano, tubular bells,
bass drum, harmony vocals & vibraphone
TT: clarinet & tremolo bass solo


EVEN SO (Heyman/Pedersen)

On the shortest day
Sparkle slipped away
but you can't let go
blinded mime
you can run your rhymes
but lovers outgrow
even so

Now some desire
all the streets on fire
and never lay off
what you don't see
all the burned fruit trees
held promises too
now make do
change the view

Tried and true
carry through

AP: vocal & vibraphone
NH: guitar, bass, piano & vocal
PD: drums & maracas


POLARIS (Pedersen)

The North Star is held hostage
but in that he's not alone
everybody's a pawn in
somebody's game
and Polaris is only
a recent sad add-on
to the abundance of captives
being used every day

For every constellation
for every setting sun
for any one rescued
another ten will be gone

PD: drums & glockenspiel
TT: bass & harmony vocals
AP: guitars, pump organ & vocal
NH: piano, chamberlain, mellotron & glockenspiel


​LAST CALL (Pedersen)

Bent out of shape, left behind
not quite the escape we had in mind
hear the engine, feel the heat
last call for candidates for the final seats
beat up and run down on the mystery train
stuck on the platform waiting
for the black rain

Been watching the stormfront from the overpass
while trying to eyeball the snakes in the grass
severely derailed by corporate hell hounds
afraid it’s too late now to turn the ship around
found and lost is closer than you’d think
and they ain’t built a boat yet that cannot sink

Just passing through
faceless mud pit prophets
all we can do
untill we can follow through

A dead certain downpour coming ‘round the bend
could be a new beginning, or the beginning of the end
a fear of drowning in a time of mental drought
a time for believers and no time for doubt
an old-fashioned stakeout, we’re just short of spine
relentless hesitation, yours and mine
a time for achievers and no chance for time outs
reluctant resignation
under heavy clouds

Just passing through
faceless mud pit prophets
all we can do
untill we can follow through

PD: kpanloko drum, caxixi, maracas, drumkit & wood
AP: vocal, ac. guitar & acetone organ
NH: piano, pumporgan & baritone guitar
TT: vocal & double bass