The Mean

The Mean

 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
BandRockSoul

The Mean combines the psych-guitar / eclecticism / weirdness of Funkadelic, the harmonies / country-rock laid-backness of The Band, the 50s-pop melodies / harmonies / rocksteady-early-reggae of The Wailers, and the chord / song structures and heart-on-sleeve emotion of Bruce Springsteen.

Biography

The Mean effortlessly combines elements of Rock, Soul, Blues, Country, Funk, Brazilian, and Americana music. Vocals and songwriting are shared among the distinctive voices of Aaron Livingston, Charlie Raboteau, and Michael Gibney. Stephen Greenberg on bass, Martin Raboteau on keyboards, Jesse Maynard on drums round out the Mean's "exhilarating, indefinable sound." (Baltimore City Paper, Aug. 24, 2007)

After collaborating in a number of different projects, the members of The Mean joined together in 2006 and quickly gained a reputation for their intense, dynamic and varied live performances. While building a significant following in the Philadelphia and New York areas, the band self-produced their debut album, "Meet Us Here", which was released in March of 2009 and was described by the Philadelphia Weekly as "intelligent, layered and dense, yet catchy and accessible."

Sophomore LP Zero Zero further focused the group's sound, offering up "a beautiful collection of soulful and eclectic songs." (Erika Ordoñez, Off the Radar). After the band toured the Northeast in support of Zero Zero, songwriter/singer Aaron Livingston embarked on a tour in support of his duo project with RJD2, called Icebird.

Lyrics

Keep Time

Written By: Aaron Livingston, Charlie Raboteau

Where we go
Participate
Crawl in low
Have it your way

There's no stopping the juice, that's what's keeping it loose
Swish it ‘round in your mind and wind and wind and wind....

Keep the time, my friend
no, don't call it in
Play it dirty so you'll never get clean again

You and I
Since we are friends
All i got
Is confidence
Start speaking French:
Parlons francais
Ne peut pas jouer
Can't play these games

(What are you, dense?)

Bitches blow like balloons, and as the serum expands
see we can see to these wounds, and your condition is bad
but we can treat it with moonshine, i mean it
i need it too

Keep the time, my friend
no, don't call it in
Play it dirty so you'll never get clean again

Pickering Bridge

Written By: Michael Gibney

I jumped into the creek
off of the Pickering Bridge
I knew there was nothing that would break my fall

Mary kicked off both her shoes
off of the Pickering Bridge
I knew there was nothing that would bring her back

Early Fall, the leaves just turned
off of the Pickering Bridge
The water it was cold, but I couldn't feel
so I floated down, I don't know where, she went away
she went away, and left me there, so I floated down
off of the Pickering Bridge

I'm In Doubt

Written By: Aaron Livingston

Stop playing ‘possum
Anything is possible
I'm trapped inside a bottle
Can't find my exit wound
No problem, oxycotin
That pill is really small
It's life that's hard to swallow
Here comes Jameson to chase it down

I'm in doubt, like a cloud
Full of stormy weather raining down
I'm in doubt, now hear the sound of thunder
Just don't ask me why or how

I'm completely blinded
What's real is real until
we find out what's behind it
life is a ferris wheel
I'm high as Frankie Lymon
as far as I can feel
our fate has been decided
Bring firewater wash it down

I'm in doubt, like a cloud
Full of stormy weather raining down
I'm in doubt, now hear the sound of thunder
Just don't ask me why or how

I'm nervous for tomorrow
I'm not quite sure exactly why I'm filled with sorrow
I don't remember you
I'm stuck at Sleepy Hollow
Stuck with this ghastly food I begged for
Now to borrow
A sip of some strong brew, and now

I'm in doubt, like a cloud
Full of stormy weather raining down
I'm in doubt, now hear the sound of thunder
Just don't ask me why or how

Why I Love You

Written By: Charlie Raboteau

You want to know why I love you, ask the sky that's above you
You can speak and you can act too, but it don't matter what you say or do
Ask the strangers that surround you, all the people that died for you
You sacred wave of sound you, you chemical compound you
You ask me for a reason That's like asking why I'm breathing
I love you just to please you, I love you ‘cause I need you too
To sum up my affections leads in the wrong directions
For we are just reflections of the stars up in heaven

So long as I live so live you
So long as you live I live too

That's why you look a little like me, your black hair streaked with lightning
The way your screws could use some tightening, to read your thoughts can be quite frightening
In our bible full of private jokes, I found the drafty of a suicide note
I couldn't tell if if it was you or I who wrote, the letters fading while the feelings float
Past the fence in the back yard, above the street lights into the night
Are we shrinking while your leaving, every angle is deceiving

So long as I live so live you
So long as you live I live too

Dragon Blues

Written By: Aaron Livingston

In California
‘bout a bottle a day
I can hear those footsteps
From a mile away
Shit, I said ‘now please, don't break me tomorrow'
next day, I'm saying, ‘please don't wake me tomorrow'
Ice in my veins, when you call my name...

Knee deep in free weed
never pay to play
You better pay attention
to every word i say
Before i hear you saying, ‘Please don't break me tomorrow'
next day yr saying, ‘Please don't wake me tomorrow'
Ice in your veins, when you call my name...

Honey, please
You can do what ever you want cuz you know that yr by yourself
Just like everyone else
Oh, honey bee
I love you, do whatever you want cuz you know that yr by yourself
Just like everybody else

Discography

Meet Us Here (2009) -- CD
Zero Zero (2011) -- LP, CD

Set List

We have a catalog of over 40 original songs, half of which are in our active repertoire (see list at end). Typical sets run 45 minutes (~11 songs), but we are happy to play over 2 hours when we play solo shows.

Some original song titles from our active repertoire:
Keep Time
Pickering Bridge
Gentle Woman
Why I Love You
Middle Ground
Real Goodbye
Dragon Blues
Ghost Witness
Clear the Air
Driving Blind
Gotta Have It
Hang Up the Phone
I'm In Doubt
Life Is Real
Mahalia
Now You're Here
The Show
Your Time