A Rock Opera/Song Cycle/Post-Ironic Parable
This album took far too long to release. It has been finished and ready to go for a number of years, but when the band that made the album doesn’t exist anymore, it becomes difficult to see the purpose of spending time and money on the publication process. However, in the end, it’s not about the band, it’s about the music. And the music that makes up this album is some of my favorite of all time. It deserves to be heard and needs to out there in the world, instead of sitting on a hard drive, the files waiting to become inaccessible.

But this album is not just about the music that was written, rehearsed, recorded, mixed and mastered (though that in and of itself was quite a feat). It tells a story, has a history, and took a community to create. It was an idea that went from conception to realization. It is a rock opera that was only ever partially performed. It includes artwork by a number of artists who were asked to pick a song and create a personal visual representation. Narration and background music were added to create the “song cycle/post-ironic parable.” What you hold in your hand is a unique work, a labor of love, a personal treasure that took years to come to fruition.

I remember when Jol first came up with the idea on the steps of Cubby Control one evening when we were drinking, smoking, playing music, and talking some Cubby. “What if there was this guy who was crazy, and everyone kept saying to him, ‘Jesus Christ, you’re crazy,’ and instead of thinking, ‘maybe I really am crazy,’ he thinks, ‘maybe I really am Jesus Christ’.” Well, those weren’t the exact words, but it was something like that. We had a good laugh about it and were forever determined to write an album about this guy.

The Cubby Creatures took a road trip to Portland to play a show there in support of our release Who Remembers Kathy Barra? (or maybe it was After the Deprogramming), and we had rented a van and agreed on the way up to hash out the story of Jesus Christ, You're Crazy (JCYC) beyond its basic concept. I remember sitting in the back of the van with Jason and Bill. I think Karl was driving and Emily was taking notes in the passenger’s seat. This was after Jol had left the band. Our brainstorm on that trip led to the general outline of the story as well as the name of the main character Jojo who we determined must at some point meet a blue whale.

The Cubby Creatures had produced two rock operas in the past -- The World of Tina and The Telethon for the Benefit of Suzie -- and we wanted to do the same with JCYC with a cast of characters, props, and guest artists. We were even thinking of incorporating puppets in some way. The band would perform incidental music and create sound effects as well as play the songs. However, it never came to be because Karl announced he was leaving the band, and so we decided to do a last show with him, performing the songs from JCYC, and Karl narrated the story. It turned out to be the closest we ever came to performing JCYC as a rock opera.

At that show we gave out CD-Rs of the 5 songs that comprise JCYC. They were not the final versions of the songs. We had always wanted to do some overdubs, which we finally did at this studio in Oakland where our friends Thee More Shallows rehearsed and recorded. I remember during the winter it was freezing in that studio because there was no heater, and Bill and I would be in layers while we recorded guitar overdubs for “Keep In Mind” and “Resurrection Pits.”

I’ve always felt a little strange about the song “Resurrection Pits.” For one, the main riff is something OG Cubby Control inhabitant Jon Colburn and I used to jam on acoustic guitars back when we both lived in Orange County (before Cubby Control even existed!). We never formalized it into a song, but it was a riff I kept playing for years until I finally introduced it to the Cubby Creatures and we turned it into “Resurrection Pits.” So I can’t really say we wrote that song. I’m not even sure Jon came up with that riff. I think it’s maybe best attributed as “traditional.” The other thing is the lyrics. I wrote most of the lyrics (and Jason came up with a few lines), but the concept of the “Resurrection Pits” was Jol’s. For some reason I always sang the lyrics as “I’ve got the Resurrection Pits,” but the idiomatic expression is “this is the pits.” So the line probably should’ve been “This is the resurrection pits.” But I only realized I was misstating the idiom when Jol told me one time, “I thought you were singing about your armpits.” I presented this issue to Bill long after we had already recorded the vocals, and he responded encouragingly, “But it’s cool because we know what you mean, and it’s a unique phrase, so people will remember it,” or something like that. It made me feel a lot better.

--Brian Weaver, March 23, 2017

A message from Jol, ca. June, 2003...

dearest cubby creatures,

i find myself compelled to express my extreme admiration for the JCYC original production
soundtrack e.p.
not only were tears shed at the conclusion of the cd, i have literally listened to nothing else but
this in 24 hours, and my ipod has never been more appreciated than it is now that i’ve these 5 masterpieces
contained within its rusty innards. this is the happiest musical immersion of my life.
i’m convinced a religion could be founded on this album alone.
it is rich in wisdom, fruitful in mantras, loaded with potentially life-changing insights, cosmic allegory and serious pith.
i declare myself a disciple.
anything i’ve ever loved about the cubby creatures is on display here, jacked up to the max.
you have given the world (and me) definitive cubby creatures here, and the exquisite articulation
actually achieves genuine spiritual ecstasy—an ecstasy which has always been promised by cubby creatures
but never so fully delivered as here, in this tour de force.
you guys rock my world for reals...thank you for putting this out.
the world and i have needed to hear it. it’s the best-case second-coming scenario made flesh.
hallelujah and amen.

Brian interviewed by Jol in 2009 via chat about the “official release” of JCYC...

Jol: I understand that there is an official release in the works that will include narration, the whole story of the rock opera
Brian: Yes, work on that has commenced. We've even already recorded Karl reading the narration.
Jol: so for those of us who only have the bootleg edition with just the songs--and those of us who are hearing the songs for the first time as they appear on the cubby web site as songs of the month--could you give us a little overview of the story? a little context, if you will?
Brian: OK, yeah, the JCYC story centers around a child named JoJo, who lives in a small village and has rather eccentric ideas, or at least it seems to the other villagers who often remark at his ideas and actions saying "Jesus Christ, You're Crazy." This happens so often that he begins to think he is Jesus Christ, or at least someone like him.
Brian: That's sorta where the story begins. The rest of the story involves him trying to figure out just who he is and what his life and all life are about.
Jol: Ok, so tell me how the songs fit into the story. First we have "life is insane." Who's narrating that one and what's its significance?
Brian: Yeah, that song occurs at the beginning after we're introduced to JoJo and after we learn about JoJo's eccentricity and how those around him react to him. The song is perhaps a reflection of how JoJo is feeling.
Jol: And how about "Blue Whale"? What's that all about?
Brian: JoJo is so upset and confused that he flees his village, traveling to the ocean. He winds up on a beach for weeks on end staring into the depths of the waters, and that is when the Blue Whale appears to him, singing to him about the world's beauty.
Jol: Wow, how nice. I always imagine a fabulous light show or some crazy film loops accompanying this song. it feels very visual. So what's Jojo's response to the whale's message?
Brian: JoJo is inspired by the Blue Whale, and so he returns to his village to pass on its message. He gains a following and they travel all around talking about the world's beauty and about all the world could be. Most people dig his message, but others reject him and become angry at him. He ends up panicking and fleeing his missionary life and ends up falling and injuring himself. His wounds remind him of what happened to the first Jesus. This leads into the song Resurrection Pits.
Jol: Hey, what about "Keep in Mind"?
Brian: Well, after plummeting to the depths of the Resurrection Pits, he decides he wants his own story to end differently than that of Jesus. He goes to mother to try to find some information about his father who has never been around. His mother doesn't have the answers he seeks. He ends up taking a trek into the mountains where he finds a cave, and inside the cave is an old man. He asks if the old man can help him. The song Keep In Mind is basically the man's response.
Jol: I love that song. To hear it without any context it really just sounds like a great world view being summed up.
Brian: Yeah, I love that song too.
Jol: And the climactic title song--what's the story with that? Is it just Jojo coming to terms with the legacy of the Jesus?
Brian: I think it's maybe JoJo coming to terms with his own legacy. Leading up to the song we have the ending of the story, what happens to JoJo, what the ultimate message of his story is. "Jesus Christ, You're Crazy" closes the story, perhaps summing it up.
Jol: wow, i guess you don't want to give away the ending, but my curiosity's definitely peaked.
Brian: Yeah, I won't reveal the ending. I'll save that for folks who listen to the official release.

Copyright © Cubby Control Records