Jonathan Coulton

Jonathan Coulton

 Colchester, Connecticut, USA
BandFolkSinger/Songwriter

Well crafted geek folk-pop. Hilarious but heartbreaking songs about mad scientists, robot armies and self-loathing giant squids.

Biography

An independent musician with the heart of a geek, Jonathan Coulton is a Yale graduate who left his day-job as a computer programmer to stay home and write songs. Between 2005 and 2006 he wrote, recorded, and published a new song every week as a free podcast project called “Thing a Week.” This year-long experiment produced 52 consistently well-written and solidly produced songs, and he soon became an internet sensation. Jonathan’s songs cover unusual topics not often heard in music and tend to make even the most jaded listeners excited about music again.

Coulton's is the voice of every elementary school kid who could never quite keep his shirt tucked in or shoes tied; every lovelorn mason and mad scientist; every vengeful nerd; every one of us who has ever sat despairingly on the floor, surrounded by parts of an Ikea endtable, weeping over an allen wrench.

A number of Jonathan’s songs have become full-fledged internet hits: his folk-rock cover of Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back” the unrequited love of a mad scientist in “Skullcrusher Mountain,” and "Code Monkey," the anthem of software designers everywhere. The office zombie song "Re: Your Brains" made the Dr. Demento Funny 25 countdown for 2006. But beneath the geeky comedy there is real heart. ” I’ve always been a math (sorry, I mean “maths”) and science guy, so I think about robots and fractals all the time. But on a deeper level, there’s a thread running through my songs about how it feels to be a nerd – this kind of alienation, a sense of not belonging, not being accepted. And it’s not just limited to actual nerds – I think we’re all familiar with that feeling, no matter how popular we were in school,” says Coulton.

Jonathan Coulton won the 2007 Game Audio Network Guild “Song of the Year” award for his composition “Still Alive,” which was featured in the critically acclaimed game Portal, the Game Developers Choice Awards “Game of the Year” for 2007. All of the songs from the Thing a Week project are now available on CD, either individually or in a packaged box set and his song “Code Monkey” is heard each week on the G4 Television program of the same name.

Coulton releases all his music under a Creative Commons license that allows for legal file sharing and copying, as well as non-commercial derivative works. His worldwide community of fans has rallied around him to generate airplay on hundreds of podcasts, create a library of music videos, and arrange gigs around the United States.

When not traveling the globe or using his powers for good, Jonathan Coulton resides in New York City with his wife and child.

Lyrics

Skullcrusher Mountain

Written By: Jonathan Coulton

Welcome to my secret lair on Skullcrusher Mountain
I hope that you’ve enjoyed your stay so far
I see you’ve met my assistant Scarface
His appearance is quite disturbing
But I assure you he’s harmless enough
He’s a sweetheart, calls me master
And he has a way of finding pretty things and bringing them to me

I’m so into you
But I’m way too smart for you
Even my henchmen think I’m crazy
I’m not surprised that you agree
If you could find some way to be
A little bit less afraid of me
You’d see the voices that control me from inside my head
Say I shouldn’t kill you yet

I made this half-pony half-monkey monster to please you
But I get the feeling that you don’t like it
What’s with all the screaming?
You like monkeys, you like ponies
Maybe you don’t like monsters so much
Maybe I used too many monkeys
Isn’t it enough to know that I ruined a pony making a gift for you?

I’m so into you
But I’m way too smart for you
Even my henchmen think I’m crazy
I’m not surprised that you agree
If you could find some way to be
A little bit less afraid of me
You’d see the voices that control me from inside my head
Say I shouldn’t kill you yet

Picture the two of us alone inside my golden submarine
While up above the waves my doomsday squad ignites the atmosphere
And all the fools who live their foolish lives may find it quite explosive
But it won’t mean half as much to me if I don’t have you here

You know it isn’t easy living here on Skullcrusher Mountain
Maybe you could cut me just a little slack
Would it kill you to be civil?
I’ve been patient, I’ve been gracious
And this mountain is covered with wolves
Hear them howling, my hungry children
Maybe you should stay and have another drink and think about me and you

I’m so into you
But I’m way too smart for you
Even my henchmen think I’m crazy
I’m not surprised that you agree
If you could find some way to be
A little bit less afraid of me
You’d see the voices that control me from inside my head
Say I shouldn’t kill you yet
I shouldn’t kill you yet
I shouldn’t kill you yet

Code Monkey

Written By: Jonathan Coulton

Code Monkey get up get coffee
Code Monkey go to job
Code Monkey have boring meeting
With boring manager Rob
Rob say Code Monkey very dilligent
But his output stink
His code not “functional” or “elegant”
What do Code Monkey think?
Code Monkey think maybe manager want to write god damned login page himself
Code Monkey not say it out loud
Code Monkey not crazy, just proud

Code Monkey like Fritos
Code Monkey like Tab and Mountain Dew
Code Monkey very simple man
With big warm fuzzy secret heart:
Code Monkey like you

Code Monkey hang around at front desk
Tell you sweater look nice
Code Monkey offer buy you soda
Bring you cup, bring you ice
You say no thank you for the soda cause
Soda make you fat
Anyway you busy with the telephone
No time for chat
Code Monkey have long walk back to cubicle he sit down pretend to work
Code Monkey not thinking so straight
Code Monkey not feeling so great

Code Monkey like Fritos
Code Monkey like Tab and Mountain Dew
Code Monkey very simple man
With big warm fuzzy secret heart:
Code Monkey like you
Code Monkey like you a lot

Code Monkey have every reason
To get out this place
Code Monkey just keep on working
See your soft pretty face
Much rather wake up, eat a coffee cake
Take bath, take nap
This job “fulfilling in creative way”
Such a load of crap
Code Monkey think someday he have everything even pretty girl like you
Code Monkey just waiting for now
Code Monkey say someday, somehow

Code Monkey like Fritos
Code Monkey like Tab and Mountain Dew
Code Monkey very simple man
With big warm fuzzy secret heart:
Code Monkey like you

Discography

Smoking Monkey
Where Tradition Meets Tomorrow (EP)

The Popular Science EP:
Our Bodies, Ourselves, Our Cybernetic Arms (online only)

The complete Thing a Week collection:
Thing a Week One
Thing a Week Two
Thing a Week Three
Thing a Week Four

Set List

Generally sets are best when they are 45 minutes to an hour. Minimal covers, but a few crowd pleasers here and there. Always a nice mix of up tempo audience roilers and thoughtful teary ballads, delivered with enjoyable between-song comments - some people think that's the best part.