Up in the Air (Real Audio)
Wrong Turn
Leper Colony
(Real Audio)
(Warfrat SLS 1082) - 10/82

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The above three were the A, B & C sides of our first indie single since L.A. Explosion. They were culled from the "Red Demo" tape in Fall '82 in a desperate attempt to get something, anything out there. Rodney Bingenheimer played it, but no one else did. Anyway, as parts of the demo tape they naturally ended up on Painting Smiles, so we'll deal with their written history there.

—Joe Nolte

Up in the Air (Vitus Mataré)

The bombs that fell on Kassel Street struck everywhere
You just wandered aimlessly without a care
Your world don't pass you by
A mirror in the corner of your eye

Rambling shock waves, flames and thunder filled the air
Panic struck, I looked to see you standing there
Your world don't pass you by
A mirror in the corner of your eye

There -
Up in the air
Up in the air

A bomb went off - was quite a blast
The pieces flew
Only thing left when the smoke had cleared
Was you

Up in the air - you say it's
Up in the air - for you it's
Up in the air - it's clearer
Up in the air - your mirror
Up in the air - no fair, no
Up in the air - inferno

The bombs that fell on Kassel Street aren't falling now
And you're no longer there - you've vanished into a cloud


Another Vitus song. I like this one 'cause I get to do a bloodcurdling scream halfway through.

As originally written, the riff for this one turned out to be "Rock Lobster," so Vitus went back and came up with a new one.

Another true story – one of Vitus' relatives (grandfather, I believe) was anti-Nazi, but stuck in Germany during World War II. One day, he'd had enough, and so when the next air raid hit he calmly opened the door to his house and walked outside...

—Joe Nolte

Wrong Turn (Joe Nolte, Dec 10, 1980)

It's funny how it seems to go
A trilogy of infamy
The pattern shrieks to those who see
And for the one whose name was washed away
By stars more visible than he
For that misfortune now I weep

For all the ones they left behind
There are no hands, there are no minds

Dead presidents, dead regiments return
To take their rightful place beside
The ones we choose to deify
From pools of water, pools of blood they come
And will not be denied the right
To ask him why they had to fight

Someone took a wrong turn
Someone in the back seat
Someone had a radio
Someone's on the rise now

Come winds, come rain, come seasons, run your course
Erase the anguish of this day
Erase the things the papers say
And for the ones who lost their god today
To stars more prominent than they
In their misfortune they will say

Someone had a letter
Someone had a razor
Someone had a nightmare
Someone took a wrong turn


A very appropriate title, and possibly a good alternate title for this album! We were, in late '80, indeed about to embark on one wrong turn after another, leaving first the hardcore and then the pop scenes behind, eventually sinking into a swamp of our own creation by the mid '80s, unnoticed, unseen, unknown, and unmissed.

We'd just dumped Mike Nolte in the fall of '80 - our second mistake (the first was letting Jack Reynolds get away a year earlier). The Look Again album had, as the year waned, proved itself unmarketable. Our master plan had failed, and we noticed that attendance had been dropping off a bit during the last six months. It was a disturbing time, and I wasn't feeling much like writing.

For some reason, as November turned into December I began to write furiously, not really knowing why. I had about three songs done when I heard the news about John Lennon...

Of course, five minutes after hearing about that I discovered that Darby Crash had also died, and this song wrote itself.

The opening riff is stolen from the Germs' "Gimme Gimme", there's a melodic riff stolen from the Beatles' "Help" (about 1 1/2 measures' worth), and at the end I started singing lines from Lennon's "Starting Over" and the Germs' original fadeout to "Forming" - both of which were left out of the final mix, unfortunately.

Darby is "the one whose name was washed away by stars more visible", and the third member of this "trilogy of infamy" is JFK, whose assassination helped create Beatlemania in America, and whose dabbling in Southeast Asia would unite a generation against an unpopular war. Hence the line about the ghosts of all the dead soldiers who "will not be denied the right to ask him why they had to fight".

My songwriting flurry continued throughout December, though all subsequent songs came out sounding a bit too much like vintage Beatle outtakes from 1963. It seemed appropriate at the time, but this batch was used against me later by fellow band members as proof that I was losing my touch. Hell, by that point, I'd lost everything.

—Joe Nolte

Leper Colony (Vitus Mataré)

oooh I must be dreaming
I'd like to know just where I am
I got lost on a friendly beach
A stranger in a foreign land
Shivers inside and out

Shivers deep in tropic rain storms
It creeps and crawls 'bout everywhere
Shivers and leaches suck my blood
While river rats caress my hair

Got shivers inside in the awesome heat

Hesitate when you touch the ground
Feel so lost when the sun goes down
At night – No light

Hey you there with the funny face
Just wondering could you help me out
I got lost on a friendly beach
A stranger in a some foreign land
Shivers inside and out

Vitus wrote this with Kjehl from the Urinals (aka 100 Flowers, aka the Chairs of Perception). As with "Failing Heart" and others, not my cup of tea, but fine for what it is.

The song is based on a true story. Vitus (in '76 or '77, I believe) was journeying through South America to visit a German uncle. He had to cross a piranha infested river on a rickety raft, vying for space with many peasants. Halfway across, the raft fell apart, leaving Vitus to swim for his life while hearing the cries of the drowning and dying behind him.

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