Shoot The Messenger

Shoot The Messenger

 New York City, New York, USA
BandRockSinger/Songwriter

Bob Dylan meets David Byrne. In just 6 years, 11 songs have won over 20 awards in national songwriting competitions, including The Billboard World Song Contest & American Songwriter Magazine. Great live show. Lyrics published in an international poetry journal. See ShootTheMessengerMusic.com

Biography

"Hey Rob, I must tell you .. as a veteran 25 year songwriter .. I wish I'd written it myself."

- Alan Roy Scott, co-founder of the Unisong International Song Contest,
on My So-Called Democracy, a 2007 Top 5 Winner (www.unisong.com/Winners11.aspx)

When Rob Frail lost a software gig in 2003, he listened more closely to the voices that were harmonizing in his head and wrote their songs. Think Bob Dylan meets David Byrne.

An audacious reference, but those who hear his music agree. Armed with a rhyming dictionary, and a fear of failure, he put fingers to keyboard and imagination into overdrive. He evolved into a “method songwriter,” with the ability to project himself into a situation and articulate the emotional results.

To date, 11 of his songs have won over 20 songwriting awards, including four Honorable Mentions in the Billboard World Song Contest, genre-hopping among Folk, Rock, Reggae and Country. Call it The Audacity Of Scope.

What his songs have in common are equal senses of humor and humanity; a commitment to groove; and complacency-challenging lyrics that engage the emotions and reward the intellect. His lyric-writing ethos is No Syllable Left Behind. His influences are Rock of all ages.

More important are Frails’ riveting personal depictions of universal human conditions, as articulated in songs about:

• an Iraqi mans’ 21 year plight to get the last laugh on Saddam Hussein (What Did I Miss?);

• the pervasive perversion of the media by its’ corporate pimps (My So-Called Democracy);

• the working classes’ disposability by the corporate kleptocracy, where justice is blind – to greed gone wild (The Other Side Of Somehow, a 2010 Billboard Song Contest winner).

And then there are his serious songs.

But most important are the reactions of those who hear Frails’ music. At this point in a bio, you’ve likely heard words like ‘unique,’ ‘authentic,’ and ‘eclectic.’ In keeping with Frails’ disdain for the trite, let’s call it
‘euthenticlectic’ (u-then-ti-klektik). Reviewers at Taxi, many of whom are Grammy winners or nominees, have said:

• Bold & very "Dylan-esque"!!! AWESOME - so universal!!!!

• I am FLOORED by this song's lyrics. This is brilliant writing - the soul of Muddy Waters.

• Blows my mind lyrically - stunning story telling.

• Cool music. Sounds like Talking Heads.

In particular, Jack Douglas, producer for John Lennon, The Who, Aerosmith, Patti Smith, et. al. had some definite feelings about Frails’ music when he reviewed it in July, 2010:

Overall Comments
• I am going to keep my eyes open and try to catch you some time in the city.
I really enjoyed your music. It is very unique and I had a good laugh.

What Did I Miss?
• Very inventive! Totally unique.

This Is Why Life Sucks
• You had me up dancing a jig on that one.

With longtime jam-mate, guitarist and vocalist Tom Connolly, and various rhythm sections, Frails’ band Shoot The Messenger has appeared regularly at top venues in New York City, including CBGBs, Arlenes’ Grocery, The Bowery Poetry Club, The Back Fence, and Shrine.

Festivals appearances include MEANYFest, NYC; Mid Point Music Festival, Cincinnati, OH; Singer/Songwriter Cape May, NJ. STM was selected to appear at the 2008 Black Potatoe Festival, NJ.

During performances, Frail is known for vocally harmonizing with his guitar lines, and quoting jazz artists like Wes Montgomery. Frail has a strong jazz streak, and takes lessons and inspiration from fusion guitar legend Larry Coryell, a big supporter of Frails’ own jazz-folk fusion efforts.

Shoot The Messengers’ first CD, The Other Side Of Somehow, was released in Feb, 2011. So order it from ShootTheMessenger@gmail.com, go listen at ShootTheMessengerMusic.com, and see Shoot The Messenger live to experience the band that defined euthenticlectic.

Lyrics

My So-Called Democracy

Written By: Rob Frail

Verse 1
Now the White House is makin news videos,
just to make sure I know what to know,
about legislation that affects nation,
let 'em think for me, don't disturb my vegetation

Chorus 1
Cause I've got 500 channels of hi-def TV, in my so-called democracy
Dis-information in crystal clarity, in my so-called democracy
The rise of American idiocy, in my so-called democracy
Home of the neo-con consent factory, in my so-called democracy

Verse 2
Where the 4th estate is bought by the 2nd,
I'm sure this is just what The Framers had reckoned.
Where town hall meetings with the president
are screened for the right kind of sycophant

Chorus 2
And I've got justice for all who have enough money, in my so-called democracy
Unfair, unbalanced crazies on TV, in my so-called democracy
Don't look toward the FCC, in my so-called democracy
Dude, where's your accountability? in my so-called democracy
In my so-called democracy, In my so-called democracy

Brdige
If the White House needs to pay the press,
well, they're only looking out for my best.
And if rich folk are feeling oppressed
let's give 'em more tax breaks, cause that's what's best.
And if they need to draft us for their next conquest,
well, they're only looking out for our best.
Looking out for our best, can't you see just don't call it democracy

Chorus 3
Where White House reporting is just stenography, in my so-called democracy
Cause don't you dare question their policy, in my so-called democracy
Let's make some laws in secrecy; just don't call it democracy
Pretext for wars througout history; just don't call it democracy
Let's call it a theo-plutocracy just; don't call it democracy

In my so-called democracy, In my so-called democracy
In my so-called democracy, In my so-called democracy

What Did I Miss?

Written By: Rob Frail

I am Jawad Amir, I'm here to testify I spoke against Saddam, so he said I must die.
I fled to my parents, and after writing my will, I climbed into a wall near the window sill.
It's been 21 years living inside my wall, hoping for the day that Saddam would fall.
The US invaded and the Guard all ran; my legs are a little stiff, but here I am.
I'm feeling OK, but answer me this:

What did I miss? Nothing much: Billy made billions selling crappy code,
while OJs' search for the killers has grown pretty cold.
What did I miss? Nothing much: Madonna, Brittany, Yanni, Cher, The Smiths, & The Cure,
Techno, Rap, New Age, & The Stones 'last' tour.
What did I miss? Nothing much: the Macarena, and Double Dutch,
Nothing much, nothing much, nothing much, nothing much.

You'd think that living in a wall is a curse, but it beats an Iraqi prison (or even worse).
I fixed it up with curtains and some building caulk; if my neighbors' couldn't see me, then no one could talk.
You'd think there's not much freedom with 2 1/2 feet, but I had my Koran and something to eat.
Some people call me the Ann Frank of Iraq; I'm just glad they didn't bomb my block.
I'm feeling OK, but answer me this:

What did I miss? Nothing much: a few presidents, and maybe a pope, they fixed the Hubble telescope.
What did I miss? Nothing much: the Yankees won it 4 years in a row, but the subway series was a no-go.
What did I miss? Nothing much: they got these computers and gadgets and such,
Nothing much, nothing much, nothing much, nothing much.

What did I miss? Much too much: some dissidents smashed, some Kurds were gassed.
What did I miss? Much too much: sorry to say some dear friends have passed.
What did I miss? Much too much: your little baby girl became a doctor last year.
What did I miss? Much too much: your best friend Ahmad has disappeared.
What did I miss? Much too much: they're just so many with whom we've lost touch.
It's just too much, it's just too much, it's much too much, it's much too much.

The Other Side Of Somehow

Written By: Rob Frail

The ink on the pink slip started bleeding in a drop of rain,
If I catch the drop before it hits the ground, maybe that'll hold off the pain
19 years on the assembly line, a line that's come to an end
The rumors said it was coming, but sometimes you need to pretend
As of today, I'm living in yesterday, and I'm fightin' back the fear
I'm on the other side of somehow, somewhere between nowhere & here

Betty, she took it well, at least that's what she showed
She said By the way, I gave the bank all our money, was exactly what we owed
They offered me a job at the new place, said we'll pay you to pack up & go
but at half the wages; and I don't speak the language, down there in Mexico
And the kids used to ask for toys & such, but they stopped that suddenly
I'm on the other side of somehow, a workin-man wannabe

That giant sucking sound, the sound we were warned about
Is the sound of thousands of lives in the midst of a desperate shout
Hey, America, we had a deal, you can't just walk on out
We're on the other side of somehow, in a country that's cashed us out

It's a Corporation vacuum, suckin up lives like so much dust
Guess they gotta do what we all gotta do, to keep from going bust
But when the bag gets full, they just throw it away, that's our factory legacy
Ya see, America, for all her greatness, never cleans up gracefully
And when we pass our friends in the street, they stop talking suddenly
I'm on the wrong side of somehow, but it's OK to look at me

And though our rose is faded, you still look at me lovingly,
Thru tears & fears & years of faith, thru eyes of resiliancy
Then I know life is meant for living beyond its warranty
And I won't be a statistic of a dying industry
And I'm lying in bed awake at night, and it hit me suddenly
I'm on the other side of somehow now, but it's only temporarily
I'm on the other side of somehow, somehow it's OK with me

Alive (My Iraqi War Diary, pt 1)

Written By: Rob Frail

I hate the Shia, I hate the Suni,
I hate what this war is doing to me
I hate my government, I ain't exactly loyal
I'm a killing machine that just needs a little oil

I gotta fine girl back at home
we write letters, talk on my cell phone
I just hope when this is all through
I don't end up hating her too

Salute me, prosecute me, or just take my gun and shoot me, cause I'm
Cause I won't make it out alive, before I die
I'm not gonna make it out alive,
Forgive me if I don't make it alive, before I die
I got no business being Alive, Alive, Alive

Riding in my tank, I might call an air strike
Some might say that's unsportsman-like
Sometimes I make mistakes, but there's nothing I can do
'cause you gotta kill them before they kill you

OK, so here we are, guarding this pipeline;
when this embed comes up, says he's with Nightline
He asks if were bringing 'em democracy,
I said "you want the answer with or without hypocrisy"

Salute me, prosecute me, or just take my gun and shoot me, cause I'm
Trying to make it out alive, before I die
Won't you help me make it alive,
You gotta help me make it alive, before I die
Just trying to make it Alive, Alive, Alive

Out in the desert the grains of sand fly,
each one's an enemy that wants me to die
We're bringing democracy & the freedom it allows,
but what good's a vote when they blow up your house?
Why do people always have to say
it's the Hand of God when things go their way?
There's a rocket comin' at you, looks like a direct hit,
and you can see God's fingerprints all over it.

I'm a killing machine, I'm not supposed to feel, but if you
saw my nightmares, you'd swear they're real.
Those TV ads make it look like fun, but that
stops pretty quick when the blood starts to run

When your out on a patrol,
there are things you just can't control
Sometimes it's live, sometimes it's a dud,
you just pray you don't lose too much blood

After I was hit, I was tended by a nurse
She took me her arms, said it could'a been worse
Sometimes a blessing comes from a curse
Hope had a face just like hers

Salute me, prosecute me, but whatever you do, don't let them shoot me
Cause I'm gonna make it out alive, before I die
She helped me make it out alive,
I think I'm gonna make it alive, before I die
I'm gonna make it out Alive, Alive
Looks like I'll make it out Alive, Alive, Alive

This Is Why Life Sucks

Written By: Rob Frail & Tom Connolly

I'm not a ladys' man,my options are few
There's someone for everyone, too bad it wasn't you
Uptown: I bought a round
Midtown: we fooled around
Downtown: I fell in love
BringDown: you said let's be friends

It happens every time I start the mating waltz
The love arrow flies, but Cupids' aim is false
He always misses her while my heart is struck
I'm Cupids' sitting duck: this is why life sucks, this is why life sucks

I'm not a ladys' man, that you can see
There's someone for everyone, I hope that works for me
Uptown: you're in the arms of another
Midtown: we avoid each other
Downtown: I'm still in love
BringDown: we're still just friends

It happens every time I start the mating waltz
The love arrow flies, but Cupids' aim is false
He always misses her while my heart is struck
I'm Cupids' sitting duck: this is why life sucks

Was it true love or false hope? I can't tell, I can't cope
My angel without wings moved on to better things
No grand love, just a fling, I was just her plaything
My greatest of fears: she's jerking my tears

It happens every time I start the mating waltz
The love arrow flies, but Cupids' aim is false
He always misses her while my heart is struck
I'm Cupids' sitting duck: this is why life sucks
This is why life sucks...

On & Off (I Wanna See You)

Written By: Rob Frail

I wanna free you like a hurricane frees the wind
I wanna lead you back before original sin
I wanna lift you beyond your purgatory
I'm gonna make you my bedtime story

I want to see you with the lights on, with the lights off, when you wake up, when you lie down
I want to see you with your tears on, with your tears off, with a smiley face or a big frown
I want to see you with your halo on, with your halo off, as a good girl or without a prayer
I want to see you on your best day on your worst night if you feel down, I don't care

I wanna need you like I never needed someone before
I wanna lead you where we've never ever been before
I've got you bad getting worse yet I can't refuse
I've never had a verse as po etic as you

I want to see you with the lights on, with the lights off, as a brunette, as a carrot top
I want to see you with your halo on, with your halo off, in your high heels or your flip-flops
I'm gonna make you your own ring tone a sing-song, so when you call my phone I'm gonna meltdown

I want to see you with your groove on with your groove off, put a move on, take a load off,
I want to see you put a show on, be a show off with your smile on with your smile off
I want to see you with the lights on, with the lights off, with your clothes on, & your clothes off

The Royal We - 2011

Written By: Rob Frail

Verse 1:
Oh, I never really meant it til I met you, but "I love you" never rang so true
And when you said it back, my heart was set free, you’re my queen, I'm your king, feels like destiny
We got cold-cocked, shell-shocked by love you se,e it's the royal you and the royal me

Chorus 1:
I followed you to the end of the earth, then we fell into heaven, as our love gave birth
We'll keep each other young as we grow old, as we watch each others' hearts unfold
In love, in love, in love, in love for all to see; It's the royal we, it's the royal we

Verse 2:
I put you on a pedestal that reaches the sky, then I climbed all night 'til I was at your side
The stars are much brighter from this view; do you think they'd be missed if I borrowed a few?
to make you a crown and a scepter, too, cause it's the royal me and the royal you

Chorus 2:
I ran around the sun and collected some rays; we'll use them up on our rainy days
It seems our life together was foretold as a story of love that never gets old
In love, in love, in love, it's plain to see; It's the royal we, it's the royal we

Bridge:
We all make mistakes no matter how strong the love
it's how we deal with it when push comes to shove
and when we make a royal mess I know, I know, I know we're trying our best
I know we may make a royal mess, in love, in love, in love nonetheless

Verse 3:
Now after all these years of looking at you "I love you" still never felt so true
You say it's nearly all a dream come true; well, for someone like you, it's the least I could do
The stars are just as bright as the day we met; they say they'll dim, but it hasn't happened yet
We're still cold-cocked, shell-shocked by love you see; it's the royal you and the royal me

Chorus 3:
I followed you to the end of the earth, then we fell into heaven, as our love gave birth
It seems we'll be together 'till the end of time, then I'll turn back the clock 'til we're in our prime
We kept each other young as we grew old, as we watched each others' hearts unfold
In love, in love, in love, it was meant to be; It's the royal we, it's the royal we

The Other Side Of Somehow (2011)

Written By: Rob Frail

Verse 1
The ink on the pink slip started bleeding in a drop of rain,
If I catch the drop before it hits the ground, maybe that'll hold off the pain
19 years on the assembly line, a line the bankers put to an end
The rumors said it was coming, but sometimes you need to pretend

Chorus 1
I'm on the other side of somehow, a place where ends don't meet
How come "Ten-Thousand CEOs Laid Off" is a headline we'll never see?

Verse 2
Betty, she took it well, at least that's what she showed
She said "by the way, I gave the bank all our money, was much less than what we owed"
They offered me a job at the new place, said we'll pay you to pack up & go
but at half the wages; and I don't speak the language, down there in Mexico

Chorus 2
I'm on the other side of somehow, where honest men are tempted to cheat
How come "Ten-Thousand CEOs Laid Off" is a headline we'll never see?

Bridge
I'm not an educated man, I work with my hands, but there's one thing that I know:
Big Business eats all the donuts, then leaves us with the holes
C'mon, give us a little justice, along with all the larceny
Then I'll know life was meant for living beyond its warranty

Verse 3
I had a funny dream last night, the CEOs were working for me
They were digging holes, then filling them in; they say that revenge is sweet
I handed them ten thousand pink slips; not a dime in severance pay
And now from my side of somehow, the vultures had become the prey

Chorus 3
I'm on the other side of somehow, where justice is blind to greed
How come "Ten-Thousand CEOs Laid Off" is a headline we'll never see?
How come "Ten-Thousand CEOs Laid Off" is a headline we'll never see?

Discography

9 song CD: The Other Side Of Somehow (Feb, 2011)

Set List

Original Show (60 - 90 min); many of these songs have scored national songwriting awards (see bio):

My Asian Liaison
My So-Called Democracy
EasyCome
The Other Side Of Somehow
When I Rule The World
Your Morning Smile
No Ordinary Visionary
Alive (My Iraqi War Diary, Pt. 1)
Bleeding Heart
Talkin' A Noose Too Far Blues
The Royal We
What Did I Miss? (My Iraqi War Diary, Pt. 2)
On & Off (I Wanna See You)
This Is Why Life Sucks

We may include some choice covers by Elvis C, Nirvana, Talking Heads, Red Hot Chilis, REM.

We regularly perform 2-3 hour shows, at The Back Fence in 2008; now at The Grizzly Pear, or Gizzie's Coffee.