Blue Pill

by Annie Lanzillotto Band

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about

Blue Pill
Annie Lanzillotto Band

Produced by Annie Lanzillotto and StreetCry Productions
Recorded at The Loft, Bronxville, New York, 2010
Recorded, Mixed, Engineered by Roy Matthews
Cello tracks engineered in Seattle by Julian Martlew

Special Thanks to Al Hemburger and The Loft, and Rachel Lanzillotto YoHo Studios.

Vocals by Annie Lanzillotto
Guitars, Bass, Backup Vocals, Music Direction, Arrangements, by Adeel Salman
Sax by Rose Imperato
Drums by Erik Van Batavia
Cello by Lori Goldston
CD cover art by Annie Lanzillotto
Performance Photography by Audrey Kindred
Promotional Photography by Margo Lanzillotto

Tracks:
1. WOP: Without Papers
2. Bustopen
3. Red Sky
4. Shelter
5. Down The Line
6. Blue Pill
7. Git On Me
8. Latte
9. Anything But Love


1. WOP: Without Papers
© Lyrics and Music by Annie Lanzillotto and Adeel Salman, 2010, Yonkers, New York
Vocals, Annie Lanzillotto
Guitars, Bass, Backup Vocals, Adeel Salman
Drums, Erik Van Batavia

This song is about citizenship and immigrant rights. WOP was one of the many denigrating terms for Italian immigrants in the USA. WOP stands for With Out Papers.
Annie wrote these verses and the bridge for her friend Simba who came as a refugee to The United States, and who taught Annie about the predatory practices of lawyers who prowl the INS lobby, making refugees sign blank papers on which they later fabricate stories for the courts. This song is for Simba. Adeel wrote the chorus.


WOP: Without Papers

Show me your papers. I see your skin.
What are you doing? Who are your kin?
I’m without papers. I bust my ass.
I got a hammer. I arch my back.

Why do you hate me?
Don’t despise me.
Don’t criticize me.
Without papers.

I need papers. To proove I’m born.
To work. To die. To love the one.
C’mere, I’ll show you, all of my scars.
But don’t ask me. For no more papers!

Why do you hate me?
Don’t recognize me?
Don’t genocide me.
Without papers.

Manumission. Cittadinanza. Declaration. Intention.
Renunciation. Patria mia.
Sign at the bottom of each blank page.
I’ll fill the details in later.

I breathe free.
‘Til you stop me.
Askin’ for my papers. x2

Why do you hate me?
Don’t recognize me?
Don’t genocide me!
Without papers!

Why do you hate me?
Don’t despise me.
Don’t criticize me.

Without Papers x5


2. Bust Open
© Lyrics and Music by Annie Lanzillotto 2004
Guitars, Bass, Adeel Salman
Drums, Erik Van Batavia
Lanzillotto wrote this song, lyrics and melody, for Lexie Honiotes, after they sat together on the banks of Boulder Creek in 2004, Colorado. Bust Open contains the one line that best expresses Lanzillotto’s lyrical oeuvre: “All will be forgotten ‘xcept this gold light we made together.” This lyric found its place as an extended bridge due to the vocal and feminist diligence of Rosa Goldensohn in rehearsal, who stood up for slowing the line down so it could get express all it had to say.

Bust Open

s’Gonna bust open on a rock by a creek
Lovewater all around
s’Gonna bust open on a rock by a creek
Eyes kissing upside down x2

Waters gonna catch us, when we fall.
Trampoline hearts, give it all.
Rest of my night, singing of you
Say blame it all on the altitude!

Bust Open. x4

s’Gonna bust open on a rock by a creek
Lovewater all around
s’Gonna bust open on a rock by a creek
Eyes kissing upside down x2

Strut toward the car. Plug into my soul.
Electric Socket. Yo, waterfall!
Red rock canyon, listen to this,
Her nose bone rubbing my clitoris.

Bust Open. x4

All will be forgotton ‘xcept this gold light we made together. x4

Bust Open. x9


3. Red Sky
© Lyrics by Annie Lanzillotto 2006
© Music by Annie Lanzillotto and Adeel Salman 2010

Vocals, Annie Lanzillotto
Guitars, Bass, Adeel Salman
Drums, Erik Van Batavia

2006, Angel’s Rest, Retreat Center, Massachusetts
Lanzillotto was at a retreat run by Claudia Horwitz, founder of Stone Circles, a spiritual activism center out of Durham, North Carolina. Horwitz instructed the workshop participants to take time to draw and collage from magazine pictures. Lanzillotto pasted a magazine cut-out eye in the middle of the paper, and drew with pastels long rays coming out of the eye, with hands on the end of each ray, an ancient Egyptian motif that stayed with her since her college days in Egypt. She drew tears from the eye, and the line “A cathedral of tears.” In a thin vertical strip of clear paper, Lanzillotto wrote a vertical column of three letter words:

“did you see her eye red sky did you sky red eye sad run did you see sun her sun.”

2010, YoHo Studio, Yonkers
Lanzillotto found this paper and did a phrasewalk; her signature walking in circles in recitation of a line until a melody comes to her. She recorded the melody on her iPhone and emailed it to Audrey Kindred, Adeel Salman, Lori Goldston, Rose Imperato, and Rosa Goldensohn.
Then, sitting in her mother’s living room, Adeel brought a 4/4 rock beat to the composition and created the chord progression.

As a performer, when it came time to sing the song to an audience, Lanzillotto found meaning beyond the abstract lyrics. She tuned into the feelings and images the lyrics evoked in her. As an eight year old, her father, a soldier, gave her a Japanese flag that he captured in Okinawa from a soldier he killed named Toshiharu Kotani. The flag has the red sun, the rising sun, and the family history written in Japanese. Blood stains, knife and bullet holes fill the flag. Lanzillotto’s vocalization of the chorus “sad run” evokes her feeling about her father running with the captured Rising Sun flag away from the body of the soldier he killed.
When she sings, “did you see her eye, red sky” she thinks of the pain in the sky, and in the eye and heart. The red sun is the heart. Lanzillotto also sees the image of the photo of the girl running naked from Hiroshima after the atom bomb.


Red Sky

Red sky. Red sky.
Red sky. Red sky.

Did you see her eye, red sky?
Did you see sky, red eye? x2

Sad Run
Sad Run

Cry red sky.
Cry red sky.

Did you see sun? Her sun.
Did you see the red sun cry? Red sky. x2

Sad Run
Sad Run

Did you see her eye, red sky.
Did you sky? Red eye.
Did you see her eye, red sky.
Did you sky? Red eye.

Sad Run
Sad Run

Cry red sky.
Cry red sky.
Cry red sky.
Cry red sky.

Did you see sun? Her sun.
Did you see the red sun?
Did you see sun? Her sun.
Did you see the red sun?

Cry red sky.
Cry red sky.
Cry red sky.
Cry red sky.

Cry. Sky.
Cry. Sky.
Cry. Sky.

4. Shelter
©Lyrics and Music by Annie Lanzillotto, 2010, New York City
Guitars, Bass, Adeel Salman
Cello, Lori Goldston
Drums, Erik Van Batavia
The lyrics and melody of the chorus came to Lanzillotto one night when she was sitting with Simba Yangala, drinking Pinot Grigio at 92Y Tribeca, waiting for Sylvie’s Moon Saloon to start. Before going up to the microphone to improvise with the live band, Lanzillotto began to sing, “It’s only good if I got somewhere to sleep tonight.” That night was the first time this chorus was sung, and Simba Yangala joined Lanzillotto in the improv.
Lanzillotto had lost her apartment in Brooklyn due to gentrification. The central thing on her mind was having somewhere to sleep in NYC. Lanzillotto did a performance on the Bowery, where she witnessed Bowery flophouses and shelters turn into high end hotels. The Bowery, historically, was the only place in NYC it was okay to get horizontal. Tens of thousands city residents without shelter slept in traditional flophouses in the early part of the 20th century. As of 2010, The Bowery Mission is the only standing holdout, next to it's fancy neighbors. Lanzillotto wrote the verses about a woman she saw one morning. In her own words,
"Performance artist Anna Bensaud invited me to go to MOMA to see Maria Abramovich “The Artist Is Present” exhibit where Abramovich sits and stares at you. 8:30 a.m., there was a line of international museum goers sitting on the sidewalk. I hung out talking with a man from Japan, and on his advice, left. There was no chance I'd get in, he told me, unless I had ticket in hand and a reservation online. I called Bensaud and told her not to bother coming into the city. I walked into Hell's Kitchen, by the closed down Saint Vincent's Hospital branch there, where people were squatting. The Hospital is being called a "public nuisance" -- but hell, a giant brick hospital, with rooms, showers. All these empty rooms, empty beds, and people with nowhere to go. When there's nowhere to go, where do you go? Hospitals and shelters are closing in New York City, and being replaced by Hotels and High Rise Condos. Hospitals are being called "public nuisances." Outrageous!
I kept walking. Ten to nine a.m., Friday morning. I almost bump into a woman on the sidewalk. I was struck with her station. It was clear to me she carried all her belongings. I can't tell you why this was clear to me, but it was clear. I can tell you she she was a sharp contrast to the expectant museum goers I had just interacted with. Her eyes held no expectation. She lumbered down the sidewalk, barreling through, onto her next destination, lugging her belongings and her body and her daughter. Her belly shook, a giant belly without clean undergarments or any protection from the city. The size of her belly spoke to me of her giant hunger. She passed me by, holding the hand of her small daughter. Church bells rang. I knew there must be a shelter nearby and that she had to vacate for the day. I walked and saw the sign for Saint Paul's Shelter. She had to leave by nine a.m.. The story was all clear to me. Walking alone in the city, her voice and the voice of her daughter filled me. I imagined their dialogue, where they would go for a meal, how they would spend eight hours in the hot city, where would there be refuge?
This song is a prayer for all human beings without shelter. Years ago, while working at Housing Works, I learned people bought HIV infected blood in order to get housing. If you qualified, an NGO like Housing Works could get you out of the shelter and into an apartment. High risk behaviors and HIV status qualified you. And worse, some people were self-infecting.
If you read this, send some food and clothes to the Bowery Mission. The guys there are hungry and have been for decades. New York City, housing for who?"


Shelter

New York is nine million doors,
And I don't got one single key.
Nine million doors locked to me.

It's ten to nine on a Friday morning,
Saint Paul's Shelter is closing for the day.
Church bells ringing says, "Daughter, be on your way."

It's only good if I got somewhere to sleep tonight. x2

You don't know New York 'til you live in her street.
People walk by, not caring, it's you, they never will meet.

It's only good if I got somewhere to sleep tonight. x2

We are human beans the moon spins around. x2

It's only good if I got somewhere to sleep tonight. x2


5. Down The Line
©Lyrics Annie Lanzillotto 2010
©Music Adeel Salman 2010
Drums, Erik Van Batavia
Sax, Rose Imperato
In Lanzillotto's words, "This song is for Jen Miller. I wrote these lyrics in my notebook after hanging at a Karaoke bar with my old workmates Jen Miller, Kerry Scheidt and one of their wild friends who was known for carrying a crockpot of beans on his Vespa to a potluck in Brooklyn. This song started when I was working in the late 90's, at The Kitchen on West 19th St, in NYC as the Literature Curator. At the front desk was a young woman named Jen Miller who was cute, but I didn’t know much about. She left her job. Then, the fateful then, one day on the 2 train, I was struck by the light and beauty of a woman. In the same instant, I realized it was Jen. We were both standing as the train rocked and swayed uptown. Jen was wrapped in pastels. I casually asked where she was headed, and she said, "India," hence the lyrics -- “spiritual adventure.” I was “on my way to work.” I was filled with this leaden feeling that we had missed knowing one another for the year or so we had worked together, but also a lightness, knowing we would have our time one day to know each other, and we did. On the train, our connection was palpable. I felt sure I would see her “down the line.” I don't always have this feeling. With goodbyes, with chance encounters, I often reflect on the frescoes of saints who are saying goodbye in the desert, and the image that impresses me is that their halos join in the goodbye. Not two separate golden circles, but one heart-ish shaped one. When I say goodbye to people, I generally feel this way, that there's a union in the goodbye. After the Karaoke bar, I showed Jen my notebook and sang some version of a melody and told her it was her song.
Then one day Adeel sent me an MP3 of this great music he composed. He asked me to write lyrics for the music. As soon as I heard his music, I sang my Down The Line lyrics to it, and fit it in beautifully. I love the chords he uses in this song. I couldn’t get them out of my head.
The bridge, as all my bridges, came later, inspired by a moment with Rosa Goldensohn."

Down The Line

Down the line
Down the line
See ya baby
Down the line

Down the line
Down the line
Hey baby what's goin on
Down the line

So good to be, in your arms, it will be,
In your eyes, your sweet skin,
To let my heart open
And tell you bout the mess I’m in

Down the line
Down down the line
Down down down the line x2

The Red Line brought us together
Divine Randomness is such a jerk.
You on your way to spiritual adventure,
Me on my way to work.

Down the line
Down the line
What can I say baby
Down the line

Down the line
Down the line
Hey baby what's goin on
Down the line

There you are. Here I am.
We could take a thousand years or today, --
Stop time. Right here,
Or keep moving fast down these tracks and say:

Down the line
Down the line
I’ll keep my eye out for you,
down the line.

Down the line
Down the line
My eyes open for you baby
Down the line


6. Blue Pill
© Lyrics and Music Annie Lanzillotto 2010
Guitars, Bass, Arrangement, Music Direction, Adeel Salman
Drums, Erik Van Batavia
Vocals, Annie Lanzillotto

To cope with her war veteran father living in a mental home and not taking his medicine, Lanzillotto sang a revelry about his act of pocketing his anti-psychotic drugs. She sang this to Salman under a tree at Sarah Lawrence College. The rest is rock history.

Blue Pill
Attendant came round with a shot a tap water and a blue pill.
Watched me swallow, turned and walked away, I can see her still.
I spun around, spit onto the ground, walked two flights down.
To the basement mental home boiler room.

Blue Pill
Blue Pill
Blue Pill
Red, white, and blue.

Fifty years the wars been over.
Goodbye and Good Luck, eye to eye I told her.
We fought for peace. I got no peace. Gimme another!
In the basement mental home boiler room.

Blue Pill
Blue Pill
Blue Pill. Red, white, and blue.

Did they ever tell ya, you were so ill,
You had to take the Blue Pill?
Did they ever tell ya, you were so ill,
You had to take the Blue Pill?

Blue Pill
Blue Pill
Blue Pill
Red white and Blue

Blue Pill
Blue Pill Blue Pill
Blue Pill


7. Git On Me
© lyrics Annie Lanzillotto 2010
© music Annie Lanzillotto and Adeel Salman 2010
Vocals, Annie Lanzillotto
Guitars, Bass, Arrangement, Music Direction, Adeel Salman
Sax, Rose Imperato
Drums, Erik Van Batavia

This is a song of pure passion. Lanzillotto wrote the lyrics and melody of the chorus in 1999 after a crush on a straight woman. Then, working with Salman in 2010, they composed on a rainy day at Sarah Lawrence. The Bronxville rain got its own track. Salman slowed the song down into a haunting tone and tempo. Imperato's tenor sax brought sensuous riffs. Salman directed Lanzillotto to bring a howl of longing into the vocal performance. The second and third verse and the bridge Lanzillotto wrote after a night in a bar, lusting after a married gay woman with ripped dungarees. Yes it was 2010. The dykes were married. All bets were off.

Git On Me

Love, git on me
Love, can’t you see
I see you walkin away
I see you behind me all day
Love, git on me
Love, can’t you see
I see you walkin my way.
I see you mount me all day

Got a dose of you last night
Body’s throbbing from the sight
In your eyes dark fire
Swirling trouble desire

Love, git on me
Love, can’t you see
I see you walkin away
I see you behind me all day
Love, git on me
Love, can’t you see
I see you walkin my way
I see you mount me all day

When I walked through the bar room door,
I saw you. I wanted more.
You called my name out loud without fright,
As if you knew me all my life.

Get reeled in by her slow half-smile
Sleepy eyes dungarees ripped with style.
There’s only one damn thing to say
to love today.

Love, git on me.
Love, can’t you see.
I see you walkin my way
I see you mount me all day
Love, git on me.
Love, can’t you see.


8. Anything But Love
Lyrics adapted by Annie Lanzillotto from a love note by Gertrude Stein to Alice B. Toklas
© Music by Annie Lanzillotto, Lori Goldston, Adeel Salman 2010

Folklorist Kay Turner gave Annie Lanzillotto one of Gertrude Stein's love notes, to perform in a group reading Turner was directing. Lanzillotto got bronchitis and never performed in Turner's event, but she did prepare. She wrote a blues song, on guitar with glass slide. Six months later, Goldston, Salman, Imperato rehearsed in YoHo Studios, Yonkers. Lanzillotto sang the song acappella to them. Goldston composed the rhythm. Salman created the rock chorus.

Anything But Love

Baby
Precious
I did not mean to be anything,
Anything but love.

Anything Anything
Anything but love
Anything Anything
Anything But Love

And I did not mean to shove
The sweet along to bed too quickly
I just meant to be the only
To the only precious baby in the world.

Anything Anything
Anything But Love
Anything Anything
Anything But Love

Bless her sweet delight
I love her so tight
Bless the sweet, Precious bless her,
I say bless her night.

And day asleep and awake
sitting by the fire or making cake
Bless her
Bless the sweet
My Sweet
All my sweet.

Anything Anything
Anything But Love



Latte
©Lyrics by Annie Lanzillotto 2010
©Music by Adeel Salman 2010

Lanzillotto wrote the verses for this song years ago during the euphoria of Barack Obama’s Presidential campaign and win. She first performed this in front of an audience, accapella as a rap song in Atlanta Georgia at an Alternate Roots conference. Salman slowed it down and his music gave the song a whole new quality.

Latte

Gimme a vanilla president
so I can sip my latte and pay my rent.
With my blackberry and my Clonazapam,
I’m having trouble breathing just where I am.

Gimme a mocha latte president
So I can feel real high, for one moment.
Slide back to armchair complacency,
Laid back attitude of wait ‘n see T.V..

It’s too too hot.
Leave some room at the top. x4

Blow one candle out for every year that’s gone!
Make a wish for the unknown.
Benzodiazepine, Taxes paid, Lorazepam,
Acupuncture, Cab to Yoga, Vote your conscience, caffeine.

It’s too too hot.
Leave some room at the top. x4

Citizens swallow your medicine!
Plato’s Cave is caving in.
Half-Robin Hoods; Bernie Madoffs
Sucker-punch the rich, trickle down job loss layoff.
Got no future. Got no home.
All empires go the way of Roma.

It’s too too hot.
Leave some room at the top. x4



GRAZIEMILLE to the performers we've worked with on stage and in rehearsal:
Rosa Goldensohn, Sylvie Diegez and Wayne Lopes and Sylvie’s Full Moon Saloon, John Casale, Carmelina Cartei, Nick Lenchner, Artie Rothschild.

THANKS TO OUR BACKERS for extraordinary contributions:

Lucia and John Mudd --in memory of Margaret Mudd, Annie Hauck-Lawson and Danny, Alana and Phil Lawson --in memory of Margaret McBride, John Denaro --in memory of Michael Burke. Rachel Lanzillotto, Joe and Kim Novi, Meirav Katz, Rick Trizano, Roy Victor, Lulu Lolo and Dan Evans, Audrey Kindred, Michael Kindred, Fred Gardaphe, Shirley Kaplan, Susan Guma and Sarah Lawrence College, Neil Goldberg, Paola Corso, Ralph Lewis, John Michael Regan, Rob Stupay, Lisa Paolucci, Alina Lundry, Gale Lockland, Kendra Baldwin, Kathie DeNobriga, Maria LaRusso, Jenny Bass, Steve Bass, Rosemary Petracca Cappello, Camilla Trinchieri, Margie Duffield, Edvige Giunta and Josh Fausty, Eric Garcetti, Joanna Clapps Herman and Billy Herman, Hope Clark, Ricardo Hinkle, Nicole Lanzillotto, Rachel Blumenfeld, Alexandra Hartmann, Melissa Montagino Arkus, Mark Valdez, Eddie Gormley, Will MacAdams, Nick Slie, Tom Dehn, Julie Moors, Laura Ruberto, Eliza Ladd Schwarz, Lori Starace Beresford, Anthony Valerio, Anney Bonney, Alice McCarthy, Chiara Montalto, Sarah Shulman, Jessica Femiani, Claudia Horwitz, Jennifer Guglielmo, Mark Vesuveo Guglielmo, Ame Gilbert, Anne Veal, Arthur Aviles, Geri Spina, Mary Anne Trasciatti, Erin Fitzgerald, Robert Margolies, Robin Puskas, Tyler Rollinson, Sue Mandel Weingarten, David Packer, Valerie Vitale, Carole and Bob Kavanaugh, David Van Tassel, Jennifer Miller, Kerry Scheidt, Salley May, Mitria DiGiacomo, Gale Lockland, Jonathan Ebinger, Valerie Vitale, Roy Campologo, Kendra Baldwin, Bob Viscusi, Anthony Chiappelloni, Lisa Cichetti, Luisa Del Giudice, Tyler Rollinson, Al Tacconelli, Joel Van Liew, Yael Raviv, Robert Margolis, Suzanne Wasserman, Sheryl Woodruff, Mary Ann Re, Joseph Ricapito, Simba Yangala, Orlando, Rocio Magana, Pat Bennett, Toni Papaleo, Joan Spota, Kirstin Zullo and Cyndi Popolo, Courtney Moors. Kickstarter.com. Dixon Place.

credits

released 31 October 2010
Blue Pill, by The Annie Lanzillotto Band
Lyrics by Annie Lanzillotto
Music by Annie Lanzillotto and Adeel Salman
Arrangements and Musical Direction by Adeel Salman

Vocals by Annie Lanzillotto,
Guitars, Bass, Backup Vocals by Adeel Salman,
Drums by Erik Van Batavia
Sax by Rose Imperato
Cello by Lori Goldston

Recorded at The Loft 2010
Engineered by Roy Matthews

Engineer in Seattle, Julian Martlew

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Annie Lanzillotto Band Yonkers, New York

Annie Lanzillotto is an author, songwriter, performance artist, orator and poet.

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