Two on a Bench

by Dax Schaffer

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about

"Two on a Bench," is a collection of playful melodies on ukulele and acoustic guitar with a joyously melancholy songwriting style.

"Don’t let the cheery ukelele accompaniment fool you. These are serious, well-thought out songs by Dax Schaffer about human frailty and the unanswerable questions. Beginning with the macabre tale of the 'Essex (and the Whale)' and going on through the passing into history of things like 'our love' in 'Dial Tones'... these songs are melancholy, but not maudlin. Just a true songwriter attempting to communicate his feelings to the world."
-Jan Seides
Singer/Songwriter/Storyteller

credits

released November 5, 2013

• Produced, recorded, mixed, and mastered by Steven Ray Morris.
• Words and music for all tracks by Dax Schaffer.
• Additional wordsmithery on tracks 1, 3, 9 by Erika Ishii.
• Dial tone sample on track 4 by CGEffex from Freesound.org

Endless thanks to Steven for putting his time, love, and passion into helping craft these songs with me. Please check out his own music:
thankgoodness.bandcamp.com

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about

Dax Schaffer Los Angeles, California

Singer/Songwriter. Some of my more personal songs are collected here. Mostly melodies written on ukulele and acoustic guitar. Thank you for stopping by. I hope you enjoy listening.

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Track Name: Essex (and The Whale)
Twenty one from Nantucket
Went aboard a rusty bucket
And for the grand Pacific they set sail
Their mariner’s hearts beat louder
As they went across the water
Ever closer now to the whale

But some things are learned too late
So why should they berate
Themselves for not knowing in advance?
If you attack an ocean's giant
That it might not be compliant
And decide to sink your boat at second glance

They're stranded on their own
In the water all alone
At least a thousand miles from nearest shore
But on the island of Tahiti
They think that there's a city
Of five hundred cannibals or more

"Well, then we can't go west"
Said one abating breath
"They'll eat us all upon that savage land
I say we go to Chile
It's not much farther, really
Unless the rest of you've a better plan"

So for Chile they went sailing
And in row boats they were hailing
With memories of family as resolve
Though three thousand miles long
The southern current should be strong
Enough to get them back, no time at all

They came upon an island
In the middle of their quest
Not much food, but fresh water was abound
Three men said, "We're staying"
But left the others praying
The crew would soon reach southern ground

They're stranded on their own
In the water all alone
Trying now not to fall to starvation
How were they going to eat
Without a means to feed?
Was probably now worth some contemplation

As each one died
To live they tried
Eating fallen crew
But when none more were passing
And the survivors were fasting
They knew not what to do

So they drew lots
For a black spot
To be the sacrifice
One in less than half a dozen
Owen, the captain's cousin
Drew the lot that night

"Lend me his place"
Was the captain's grace
But Owen stood his ground
In his voice there lay no stutter
"My lot's as good as any other"
And for food they shot him down

From score and one
To few and none
The crew had dwindled down
But so disjoint
Now at this point
They might as well just drown

'Cause when you are gone
From land so long
The things you see might end
So much now was this
That they could not notice
The ship that had found them

The crew came to
With their rescue
Livid and turned pale
When asked of what had happened
So said the Essex’ captain
"Our ship had been stove by a whale"
Track Name: In The Edge of Nowhere
Once it was that I was told, life has deadlines
Though different for every soul to shine
Let for you an ending pressure the sense of urgency
To make all living worth its while in everything you'd maybe be

In the edge of nowhere, I had a funny dream
Of if I went into the middle, what I might've seen
A lot of people waving to strangers I don't know
In the middle of this nowhere, they had learned to say hello

Another funny question, one which you might have asked
What became of all the moments we had let to pass?
Shouldn't we have idled here less than all our time
Searching for the problems that were never..... yours or mine?

Where, where did I go?
You would never follow
Me, what could I say?
You would only have your way

Though an undergrad romantic, I have played the bachelor's game
Why would I need my doctorate? I am called by my first name
Modify the gradients of words you choose to say
And after tonal studies, reinvent your..... shades of gray

Write from a guilty memory your semblance of what's real
In stream of conscience rambling, you'll only get a feel (That's consciousness!)
For a sense of true essence, all wit now is receding
In all the things you'd like to say are words..... devoid of meaning

Never feeling how it was you felt that you should feel
Never realizing all it was you thought was real
Freehanding the lifelines that you couldn't trace
Never knowing why it was we couldn't leave this place
Giving only what it was you knew you could give
Behaving like an introvert does not make you pensive

No time for peripheral friends, keep who matters most
For every important loved one, well here's a healthy toast
Storing up relation for eventual recurrence
The social life you're saving's a self-assessed endurance

(Overlapping thought and word, one facade is enough
In all my literary years, I've yet to call the bluff
On what it is I'm trying to say and what I really mean
My semiotic factory is just a word machine)

Distracted by tangential thought, won't someone shut me up?
I'm getting tired of myself, all notions are enough
To send away what lingers of a bare and swollen eye
To the beauty of a world that I have let to pass me by

(Why is it that I can’t find myself to be ok?
I keep on thinking all the time that maybe someday
I’ll find my place, and I will be very much happy
If I could only get back to where I see)

Palm the yawn into a face, exacerbating sighs
Exhaled carbon dioxide will fill an empty sky
Too bad facial gestures aren't seen on the phone
Bilingual differences aren't set in Rosetta Stone

In the edge of nowhere, I had had a funny dream
Of if I went into the middle, what it all would mean
How every person gathered there, I still have yet to know
In the middle of this nowhere, they had learned..... to say hello
Track Name: Rorschach Moon [feat. Laura Jackman]
Rorschach Moon
Reflect my tune
And come back soon
Projecting lies

Rorschach Moon
I importune
As I see you
In memories I can't describe

We might see
What we want to see
Is it my want to be
The man in your mind?

Imperfect sphere
But the lines are clear
And I'm not here
In cratered lines that I find

Your bumps are braille too far to touch
Or am I not reaching far enough
To read the moonbeams in the light
Surrounding you and me at night?

And then I find you
In your old disguise
And I would like to
Be one more of your lies

Both:
Rorschach Moon
I importune
You'll come back soon
And tell me more lies

Him:
Your bumps are braille too far to touch
Or am I not reaching far enough
To read the moonbeams in the light
Surrounding you and me at night?

Her:
Rorschach Moon
I importune
You'll come back soon
And tell me more lies

Him:
Your bumps are braille too far to touch
Or am I not reaching far enough
To read the moonbeams in the light
Surrounding you and me at night?

Her:
Rorschach Moon
I importune
You'll come back soon
And tell me more lies

Him:
Your bumps are braille too far to touch
I'm not reaching far enough
To read the moonbeams in the night
Surrounding you and me with light

Her:
Rorschach Moon
You're not immune
When I impugn
Against your lies

Him:
Rorschach Moon
Please come back soon
Don't change your tune
Or tell me goodbye

Day or night that you might shine
'Cause the moonset won't always be on time
Track Name: Dial Tones (or The Passing of Smaller Things)
I thought I could depend on you, I guess that isn't true
But part of me still justifies everything you do
Let's repack the artifacts and build in some place new
I said I can't depend on you, I know that isn't true

Extend to me some courtesy you reserve for yourself
In time, you'll give it to someone else
And to protect from loneliness, we'll buy fancier phones
But will future children know the sound of dial tones?

The latest alarm clock that you set is how late you'll wake up
And how am I to know what's real from what my mind makes up?
I say we go to some jungle and build our huts to keep
As we lie, the bugs might try to eat us while we sleep

So if that shack is too far back, we'll move to suburbia
A dead end cul-de-sac, is that enough?
We'll have the bestest appliances and the nextest gen iPhones
But will those children know the sound of dial tones?

So let's regret our love and get some Androids and iPhones
I'll text you all of my love when you're alone
Perhaps one day, you'll be ok to let me in your home
But will our children know the sound of dial tones?
Track Name: Somber Stroll [feat. Laura Jackman]
Burning zeitgeist haunted lies
Wipe nostalgia from your eyes
A wealth of wisdom I'll ignore
For all the myths you've heard before

So we wander off alone
Searching for what's never home
Painting eyes too plain to see
For all missed opportunity
Track Name: So We Laughed
So you found it again, I see
The path away from where you want to be
Still bucking like a colt
Though you want to be adult
And prove how you're more grown-up than me
Now who's living a fantasy?

So I say it all depends
If we're making more than we'll spend
But that's where I'm wrong
And you come along
To say the mistakes that I should mend
It seems I've hurt us once again

So we laughed
And cried
And you asked
Just why we had lied

I would not tell you, if you weren't unhappy
These things one needs not to say
You had just lost it when life had accosted
Now everything is the same
So we go searching, in spite of the anger
For dreams we should not pursue
You were not happy, and I was just lucky
That's all I knew
After all we'd gone through
I could not tell you what to do

So we can go there, if you want an answer
But I'm not ready to leave
You were the hurt one in a game I'd begun
But now you thrive
And come alive
Though you don't know where you're going to
So you say follow me
Like a wanderlust Romani
And in discovered lands, we'll travel through
The places we were never going to

So we laugh
And cry
And years pass
Until the days we die.
Track Name: For Now, From Me
I'm not asking you to hear me out
But hear me out one more time
The things you fear in me are not insurmountable
And somehow over them I'll climb

But in the meantime, you find yourself unable
To deal with the pressures of yourself
And in order to keep your mind preoccupied
You pick another man up off the shelf

I'm not saying that you don't really love him
But I don't think it's love he can receive
And in the end, you'll be a little sadder when
Your newest toy decides to finally leave

I can say now, I know why it happened
Stagnant water's hard to sail across
But if we had only waited for this pond to be a river
We could have avoided all this loss
And if you had only stated why you thought our love might wither
Maybe I could have fronted the cost

So my fingers dance upon the strings I played for our affair
With calluses that mar sensitivity of fingers once fair
No, I don't know if your heart is something I'll repair

So my fingers dance upon the strings I played for you there
With calluses that mar sensitivity of fingers once fair

And just maybe when you're done getting hurt
By people who will not love you back
You'll take a moment to recall the one who cared for you

Your one and only honest lover,
-Dax
Track Name: Persistence of Vision
Meet Gertie, my pet dinosaur, she's kind but sometimes mean
And if you spend a while with her, she'll do a dance routine
She makes me laugh and makes me sad, puts me through my hell
Reminds me quite a lot of you, I love her just as well

And I'm filled with all these thoughts about someone just like me
Another rat with bulbous ears to keep me company
I don't have much oh Minnie Dear, but I can be a lover
We'll ride out these black and white years, 'till Walt discovers color

And if you're kidnapped by Cab Calloway, I'll save you Betty Boop
Miss White, this is the day your prince has come to rescue you
Your life is drawn in pictures played back to me in motion
The zoetrope that's spinning on the shrine of my devotion

Now do you remember Bluto? Built just like a house
Wants to take you for his own again, that sorry louse
Well hold on tight my Olive Dear, it's time for our big finish
Wrap your noodle arms around me, and I will eat my spinach

And this little run away from home has time to give us pause
Despite all that you thought you knew, my world has different laws
Once or twice you might have said, "My breed's a lot to handle"
But how much less should this mutt expect from a stuck-up Cocker Spaniel?

And as always, you remind me of where I'm meant to be
Like a rag doll that taught some king of Halloween to see
But you're a pseudo Disney princess, just like Anastasia
And you know that I would fall for you like Spike fell for Julia

But now we're on a flying ship, there's monsters wearing hats
The backdrop has nostalgia and sometimes talking cats
War is bad, and nature's good, this world is full of whimsy
You're a strong female protagonist in a film by Miyazaki

But of all the heroines out here, the decision is still tough
I couldn't stop you Nausicaä, Mononoke's had enough
Chihiro and Kiki found their names, plus they're way too young
But Sophie, my heart's in your hands, I think you are the one

And I'll miss you always Ellie, from my homemade dirigible
And though I've hurt you Helen, together we're Incredible
I'm just some silly spaceman, if you're a cowgirl, call me!
You're the most important one to me, the EVE to my WALL-E