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Patty Stirling
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Patty Stirling Primate House is my favorite song. It's a rollicking ramble through a building of ill repute, housed by surly and suspicious characters. It's a statement about people you don't want to live with (sort of like Jim Carrol's People Who Died). It's delightfully long and danceable and fascinating to listen to.
  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Comes in a jewel case with complete lyrics for all of the original songs and full credits. Artwork by Céline Keller.

    Includes unlimited streaming of What Is Truth? via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 7 days

      $10 USD or more 


  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    Purchasable with gift card

      $10 USD  or more


There’s gold in them there hills But the hills are in the way If we could level everything Then we could suck out all the good parts We need money We need status We need success But your eyes are way too bright And your voice is too excited If it’s such a foregone conclusion Why do you need to advertise it? This is Boomtown Don’t get trampled By the parade. It’s so good to be alive When you’re history in the making When you’re the new financial darlings And authority kisses your ass We’ve built a theme park In our own image We’ll party after work. It’s an inexorable force of nature So says Darwin, so says Wall St. Alpha males have left their trails While in the clouds Ayn Rand is smiling New Power Generation Change the landscape Cubes ‘r’ us! And when all your dreams collapse Leaving holes on every corner And the sunset casts the shadow Of your half-constructed empire Favored children discover failure… Stop the presses! But your eyes look so surprised As you’re forced to change your diet Yeah, tomorrow belongs to you If you could just afford to buy it. This is Boomtown: Come and get it while it’s hot. © 2002 J Neo Marvin (BMI)
Veracruz is a hopeless fuckup But he’s better than his friend Who knocks on my door trying to sell me shoes He picked out of a garbage can On weekends they bring home some working girl And try to make her work for free Or else they just get shit-faced and pass out Burning cigarettes and blasting the TV When he’s sober you can sometimes catch A look of vacant misery in his eyes If he wasn’t such a sad pathetic loser He’d probably be a decent guy The Christian thug, he’s not so bad I don’t mind him all that much We talk about dead wives, old bad habits And life and fate and such He takes me to his church where they serve free food We try not to be the last to arrive It’s a big group of bloated, neurotic people Talking all about their brand new lives I tape him some old James Brown songs He passes on some K rations* he scored He’s OK now, but apparently he was a real savage Before he found the Lord. Everybody’s got nothing to lose Everybody’s got something to prove Everyone is acting out Down in the Primate House Everyone is in a rage Rattling the bars of their cage Trapped in a world they can’t figure out Down in the Primate House (Meanwhile, just a couple blocks down the street…) At the party the girls all work in the kitchen While the boys all smoke in the yard In a song in a mountain dialect Some guys are boasting how bad they are Talking about traditional values In between discreet lines of speed One guy just got back from Cambodia Where the teenage hookers are cheap, and he says, “Where I come from the women serve the men And there’s nothing that they won’t do” There’s not much I can really say to that except “I guess that works out well for you.” Everybody’s got something to say Learn something new every day Never know what might come out Down in the Primate House Nothing’s like it was before Take those pictures off your door Never want to stop looking out Down in the Primate House The couple in the room two doors down Are predictable as the moon They get the sniffles every morning like clockwork And tie up the phone till noon Then they disappear for about an hour Then they shuffle back upstairs Of course I know exactly what’s going on But I no longer even care Yesterday someone ripped off the landlady’s TV Who else would have had the nerve? Oh, I know that it’s wrong, but I couldn’t stop laughing She got what she deserved. The toothless woman across the hall Is complaining about her old man She’s sick of the way he beats her up all the time I say well, maybe you shouldn’t go back About a week later he’s moved in too Soon he’s threatening everyone in sight One morning he says to me “I hear you been talkin' to my bitch” I guess I’m supposed to cower in fright Then she comes in screaming at me “Mind your own business, faggot!” And they both take off with their load Off to seek their fortune holding up signs Along the airport access road. Everybody’s gotta throw a fit Everybody’s gotta talk some shit Always something dumb to shout Down in the Primate House Piss and moan the same old blues Big world’s got ’em so confused If they cared they’d wonder what it’s all about Down in the Primate House This house is a house of bad luck Filled with casualties and creeps I feel like I need to take a shower Every time somebody speaks Some of us are just passing through Some have nowhere else to stay Some are damaged and desperate Some just like living this way It’s a Valuable Life Experience That will leave it’s mark on you Wipe that cocksure smirk off your face, my friend You’re just another ape in this zoo. Everybody’s got nothing to lose Everybody’s got something to prove Everyone is acting out Down in the Primate House Everyone is in a rage Rattling the bars of their cage Trapped in a world they can’t figure out Down in the Primate House. *Should have sang “MRE’s” here, but I forgot the correct military jargon when I wrote this song. © 2002 J Neo Marvin (BMI)
Dear Emma 03:03
If we could somehow reach back in time And pull you forward Drop you into this century You’d still be ahead of your time You’d still be unsatisfied You’d still be ahead of your time You’d still be unsatisfied. We still talk about how free we are Slave like horses Dreaming about the big score Cling to tradition Kiss the shackles on our own wrists While kings and bosses Still get their way as always. I’d love to welcome you Roll out the carpet Fill up the samovar You can take the front room Come out and have a look around I’d love to hear what you’d have to say But that’s impossible We’ll have to find the words ourselves. (If I can’t dance, I want no part of this I want freedom, self-expression, beautiful radiant things If I can’t dance, I want no part of this Well actually, she never said this, but it’s a good line.) © 2002 J Neo Marvin (BMI)
Slow Drain 03:36
Unforgivable 07:25
The wine has just kicked in At the end of a long day She’s telling me about her little sister When she went to UCLA One night she went to a party With two guys that she called friends The whole fraternity Had their way with her that night Apparently this is called a “train”. I never heard the word used that way before. It happened just before finals She never told anyone So nobody ever found out why She never even showed up that last week But she knew it was all her fault Her mother would have told her so She must have led them on somehow She brought shame down on her family. She moved away to find herself She found herself a new religion Found a leader with the answers To fill the endless void inside He told her what she had to do To cleanse the sins of the past away She drove back to California And apologized to each boy one by one. “You wanna know what’s bothering me? You wanna know why I look so angry? You wanna know why I don’t let you touch me? I’m not telling and don’t you ask me!” He cuts the ribbon to launch his new business He’s a pillar of the community Respectable wife and three fine children Neighborhood coach in his spare time Sometimes he sits back in his recliner And dreams about his college days He smiles remembering old friends and good times And what was that slut’s name again? There’s got to be Something worse than Hell for you. © 2002 J Neo Marvin (BMI)
Ex-Supernova 03:25
She’s been feeling the pressure That increases with age You can only run so far On rebellion and rage She feels her confidence slipping As if her purpose is gone Everything she once stood for Now seems pointless and wrong. She remembers being certain Now there’s nothing but doubt While everyone on the TV Seems to have it worked out She must have taken a wrong turn At some point in the past Now she wants to blame someone But they’re all moving too fast. The doctor makes his house calls In his nondescript car When he leaves his prescription You can forget where you are She’s discovered a new goal And she’s learning the way The medicine hasn’t worked yet It will one of these days. © 2002 J Neo Marvin (BMI)
It’s been months now since we’ve spoken So I assume that we’re not speaking I remember your last message I can quote the words verbatim. If you remember and still stand by it I’ve got nothing to say to you If you’ve forgotten, that’s even worse, dear Actions do have consequences. Are you ready for your close-up? Are you planning brilliant crimes? Are you hiding in your chamber Wasting someone else’s time? Are you being fabulous somewhere While your friends all roll their eyes? Are you hanging by your thumbnails? Are you fighting to survive? A selective memory Means you never have to say you’re sorry You may be riding for a fall But you’ve got The Greatest Love Of All Center of the universe Unstable and getting worse When the world crashes all around you I hope someone will be there for you ‘Cause I won’t. © 2002 J Neo Marvin (BMI)
Kite Song 05:46
Stick Figure 04:04
Your constitution is so strong That’s the reason you’ve lived so long Despite all you’ve done To yourself for all these years What’s your motivation? Who can tell? It’s all logical when your life is hell Sometimes I understand But I hate it anyway. I search in vain For words that might help I turn my back And hate the weakness in myself But I don’t know if I can take another tragedy. You cut through so much pretense With your brilliant mind But when you see yourself You can be so blind You’re so thin It’s really frightening But you’re still beautiful to me. You can’t deal with someone loving you Guess that’s your tough luck, dear I still do You do your best I fear the worst But you’re too good to throw away You try and you try But you will not disappear. © 2002 J Neo Marvin (BMI)
One day soon every home on Earth Will be linked by a complex system of tunnels You can order anything you could ever desire online Your groceries will be propelled Into your refrigerator by themselves And anyone anywhere can reach you at any time After all, it’s so inconvenient to go outside So just keep eating and don’t try to analyze And if you’re a busy female executive Whose husband refuses to do the shopping We’ve got high tech solutions To preserve your traditional way of life Why ask why? Just another poor schlub trying to scratch out a living In a flag-infested wasteland Aw yeah, unity is the word du jour As working people still get shafted You’ll be waving your maxed out Visa card When they throw your ass in the snow Stop grumbling and buy another lottery ticket After all, you never know Watch TV documentaries about the rich And pretend their concerns are yours Spend your lunch hour discussing the details Of Christina Onassis’s pain Life is a commodity And sex is something you buy and sell Some afternoons I feel like my skull Is slowly caving in Just from listening to you. But wait…there’s more! The invisible hand has just dropped the ball And the players scatter like roaches Still, the crowd persists in believing in the game Keep your head down and wait for the next big scam It’s bound to be coming soon If we all agree this scenario is real We’ll see Tinkerbell alive again The vigilantes saddle up their mules Every man to his own agenda We didn’t start the fire, we only provide the gasoline Loathsome cowboy in a china shop Loves the sound of breaking glass When every man is king Someone still has to play the role of the servant class. I woke up one morning to find myself In a bad summer action movie The special effects are awesome But the hero is not exactly convincing We’ve burned all our history books to keep warm Now the news looks like science fiction And the acts human beings are capable of Are forever beyond description “You’re either on the bus or you’re off of the bus!” The driver’s voice crackles through the speakers As the highway to Hell unfolds like a yellow brick road We’re checking the map as we quell our reservations With biker crank and Prozac 99 bottles of something unspeakable on the wall Take one down…pass it around. © 2002 J Neo Marvin (BMI)
Living in the eternal now Just like the timeless brat you are Never gonna change a thing Can’t keep your hands out of the cookie jar We had high hopes… Speaking in a private language Redefining everything we’d see We were a nation of two In our alternative reality We had high hopes… It’s a thin line between a myth and a delusion Where and when we crossed it I don’t know, I can’t tell you A life of brilliant starts Nothing ever finished in the end Flying off in all directions Not a lot to show for the exhaustion You know the chorus… You haunt my dreams Like an accusation from the past I shut my eyes and think about The way you used to dance! Oh, oh what a mess we made! Nothing’s solid anymore My sense of reality’s compromised Since the ending of the story Makes everything before look like a lie Where’s that leave us? Where’s that leave me now? Oh, oh what a mess we made! Oh, oh what a mess we left behind. © 2002 J Neo Marvin (BMI)
Flirt with the dark I’m darker than you’ll ever be What’s on your screen? There’s nothing there I need to see Stockpile vicious thrills Gulp them down like delicious pills It fascinates you so I guess you don’t get out much, do you? Dreams deferred Grow bitter and look absurd Come and see The sad parade of history Hear the bells Hacks are casting sickening spells Behind the wall Someone screams and I feel it all The book room grows and grows As he compiles the evidence He’s so misunderstood But he still gets off on scaring people Transparent boy The suckers fall for his projections But he perks up like a pup The second someone calls his bluff. Lose your appetite for dreaming All that could have been burns up in the air The tragedy of our potential Is enough to drive you to despair Tell me something if you dare Take me by surprise Convince me there’s a better future Take me by surprise Then prove that we might actually get there Don’t let me down Or do it quick and get out of the way Don’t block my view I’ve got my eye on something better Dreams deferred Grow bitter and look absurd Come and see The sad parade of history Hear the bells Building a global village of private Hells Behind the wall Someone screams and I feel it all I keep my hope locked away where you can’t find it I keep my hope locked away where you can’t find it I keep my hope locked away where you can’t find it I keep my hope locked away where you can’t find it. © 2002 J Neo Marvin (BMI)


WHAT IS TRUTH? takes its inspiration from psychedelic classics like Their Satanic Majesties Request and Magical Mystery Tour, resulting in an anything-goes approach that stretches the music in whatever direction each song calls for, from the Dylan-goes-to-New-Zealand folk-rock of “Primate House (1731 11th Ave)”, to the darkly sad chamber-punk of “Ex-Supernova” or “Stick Figure”, to the thumping “Mark E. Smith in Turkey backed by a jazz combo and a Rasta drum circle” ambiance on “Fiscal Year Zero (Charge Of The Lite Brigade)”, the catchy Celtic Mariachi drone of “Formerly Boomtown”, and the full-on joyful noise of “Kite Song”. 28 musicians and singers from all over the musical map contribute to the resulting sonic crazy quilt. Recorded exactingly yet spontaneously in good old-fashioned lysergic 16-track analog by the incomparable Wally Sound, WHAT IS TRUTH? will astonish you with its musical twists and sharp songwriting.


released October 12, 2017

Produced by J Neo Marvin
Engineered by Wally Sound
Recorded at The Wally Sound in Oakland, CA, 2002

J Neo Marvin – Vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, organ, piano, egg, avocado, theremin,, crash cymbals, tambourine, melodica, coco-uke, baritone guitar, motor organ, cumbus, and tom-tom
Alan Korn – Bass
Jill Fido – Bass on “Ex-Supernova” and “Good Witch”
Wally Sound – Yggdrasil bass on “Fiscal Year Zero”, drums on “Formerly Boomtown”
Tim Ennis – Twinchin drum, tom-tom, gongokqui bells, dumbek, and tar
Harris Taback – Drums
Suki O’Kane – Drums and bowed cymbals On “Unforgivable”
Sue Hutchinson – Vibrator guitar ans squiggle writer guitar on “Unforgivable”
Franco Reguzzoni – Piano on “Ex-Supernova” and “New Age Couple”, Casio keyboard on “Stick Figure” and “Take Me By Surprise”
James Oterreau – Piano on “Fiscal Year Zero”
Diane Wallis, Carrie Bradley, Cynthia Wigginton, and Nancy Clarke – Violins
Rico Bell – Accordion
Nik Phelps – Trumpet, alto sax, soprano sax, baritone horn, and French horn
Bill Fitzgerald – Tambouras
Jim McLaren – Harmonica
Earl Eckles – Pandiero
Dani Leone – Steel drum
Terri Manning – Slide whistles, bamboo flute, musical saw, and backing vocals
Davis Jones – Featured vocal on “Unforgivable”, backing vocals
Toy Yamaji – Introduction on “Kite Song”, backing vocals
Rich Hubbard – Bamboo flute on “Kite Song”, backing vocals
Deirdre Fogarty, Jeremy Hanberry, Kim Theurich, Nancy Clarke, Jen Faith – even more backing vocals

Cover artwork by Céline Keller


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J Neo Marvin & the Content Providers San Francisco, California

The Content Providers came into being when former X-tal singer/guitarist J Neo Marvin found himself overflowing with new songs that needed to be heard. A massive cast of friends and acquaintances flew in and out of a loose revolving-door lineup and the songs were pulled from rough experience and sharp observation, as each Content Provider added something unique and unpredictable to the whole stew. ... more

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