East High Anthology was released in 1995 at the end of my first sabbatical. It was released on cassette tape because CDs were too expensive at the time. It was recorded on a Mac Quadra 605 using a cheap mic and a borrowed mixer. It was in the pre-AutoTune days. I used a method called Linear Prediction to correct the pitch issues and shift my voice from a bass to a pop singer. A number of custom Fortran codes were used for the processing.

The original liner notes are reproduced below:

For the lucky few, high school was three or four years of unrestrained joy: State-Champion football teams, endless parties with the in-crowd, romantic bliss, courteous and exciting teachers, fast cars, and either no fights or fights in which they always came out the victor. For most of us, high school involved pimples, unrequited love, undesired attention, endless homework, embarrassment, humiliation, boredom, and getting beat up both physically and emotionally.

For me, Salt Lake City High School East (Yes, the same East High that Roseanne Barr Arnold attended) was a bittersweet experience. I was the waterboy for a state-champion football team in my junior year. My senior year was our football coach’s first losing season. I had some incredibly exciting teachers and some dreadfully boring ones. I had occasional mutual twitterpation and some disastrous romantic failures. Most people feel at least some nostalgia for high school. However, I can’t get nostalgic for high school because I documented some of my most bitter moments (and some of the less bitter) with songs. Whenever I play these songs the original emotions come flooding back to me. I have long wanted to record or document some of these songs and after almost twenty years I finally got the time (due to a sabbatical) and the technology to record them.

All but one of these songs are about people I met in high school. This anthology by no means covers everyone that I knew at East, but it is a representative cross-section. Many of these songs were first written while I was at East. However, some were written during this past year for this recording, and all but “A Man of Few Words” have been extensively rewritten and orchestrated. With two exceptions the people involved in the songs will remain anonymous, for their protection as well as mine. The two exceptions, Fred “Lefty” Bennett and Dr. H. Jess Brown, are either old enough or dead enough not to care about being immortalized. Also, their names are integral to the lyrics.

Since these songs are about real people, you might be able to figure out the parties involved. If you should suddenly realize who a song is about (or even worse if you recognize it’s about you) please keep your knowledge to yourself. We don’t want to add to the violence in an already violent world.

The musical influences in these songs are many and varied. Stylistically they cover New Age (Adult Contemporary), Latin, Jazz, Blues, Guitar Rock, Progressive Rock, Folk, Rap, Big Band, and Broadway Show Tune. With this variety there should be at least one tune you will finds catchy and one tune that you will hate. I have included the lyrics on the off chance you might be interested.

But seriously, if you have any comments or questions about this recording I’d love to hear from you. My Internet address is Erik_Spjut@HMC.EDU. My snail-mail address is

Dr. Erik Spjut Department of Engineering Harvey Mudd College Claremont, CA91711. E.S. 6/95

I Remember

Long ago and far away,
as all stories used to say,
We visited a land both romanticized and painful.
There were fleeting victories
Interspersed with agonies.
I wondered at the lessons we learned in joy and pain.

Faithful friends and friends untrue,
Which was I and which were you?
The difference wasn’t always so easy to determine.
First encounters with romance,
Hopes of stealing one last glance,
But rivals went unvanquished and dragons went unslain.

East of Eden lay the land
Where we tried to understand
The meaning of our future. Were we the in or out group?
Long ago and far away,
In our shame and glory days,
We lived a great adventure. We learned through joy and pain.

A White Tulip

I just saw her face.
But it couldn’t be.
She is far away.

I don’t know her.
But I knew her
Before I faded.

Can I face her?
Can I reach her?
Can I tell her?

A white tulip given in love
Some violets, long since turned brown
May I trouble her; before we’re through?
I’ve forgotten why, but I love you.

I have touched her face.
I have seen her smile.
She smiled.

We’ve walked the streets
On moonlit nights
hand in hand.

Can I place her?
Did I leave her?
Can I tell her?

Some scriptures read about a dove
A year, long since turned brown
May I cry for her, before I’m through?
I’ve forgotten why, but I love you.

She was smart.
They almost forgot.
Who told them?

The world was beautiful
Where we walked.
Who told me?

Did I erase her?
Should I retrace her?
Can I tell her?

A glimpse of beauty far above
A story, long since turned brown
May I speak to her, or is that gone too?
I’d forgotten why, but I love you.

A. P. History Blues

I been waitin’ for the words to fall.
I been starin’ down an empty hall.
I been lookin’ at his shiny shoes.
Black and white patent leather shoes.
I got the slowly speakin’ noddin’ and blinkin’ Lefty Bennett A. P. History blues.

What’s he sayin’? Seems like years ago
That this sentence was begun. You know
I’m uncertain. I’ll most like forget
What the subject was when we get to the period.
I got the slowly speakin’ noddin’ and blinkin’ Lefty Bennett A. P. History blues.

I been waitin’ for the words to fall.
I been starin’ down an empty hall.
Warren Harding was a president.
Twenty minutes have gone by and that’s all he’s said.
I got the slowly speakin’ noddin’ and blinkin’ Lefty Bennett A. P. History blues.

Praise The Man

Thoughts sometimes come to me
without a decent reason for existing.
Flaws fill my heart and soul
in numbers far too great for even listing.
But I can’t condemn a man without a trial, or spit in a beggar’s face.
I can’t turn my back on one and still have love for all the human race.

Praise the man, the perfect man, the only perfect man.
He can condemn without a trial, bring justice to the land.
He’s polite to the hypocrite’s eye,
But behind your back he tells them why
You’re a hypocrite and fit to die.
Oh, praise his name as once again he spits in the beggar’s eye.

I am overcome with the greatness of his omniscient person.
Association with mere men would cause his gloriful station to worsen.
Yes! He must have written the laws,
For he certainly is above them,
Or at least he acts as if he was.
Oh, bend down before him and salute his name.

Praise the man, the perfect man, the only perfect man.
He can condemn without a trial, bring justice to the land.
He’s polite to you face-to-eye,
But behind your back he tells them why
He’s better than you and you’re fit to die.
Oh, praise his name as once again he kicks you as you lie.

Good Times

I know just what I want to say.
But I don’t know quite how to say it.
I love you more than words can tell.
In fact I’ve never loved anyone the way I love you.

That’s why it’s so hard to tell you the things I know I’ve got to.
Our futures lie on different paths.
And soon we’ll be on our separate ways.
But I just can’t seem to say goodby.

Together we’ve grown in, oh, so many ways.
You’re more sure of who you are and where you’re going.
And I’m a better person because of your love.
But I just don’t want to say goodby.

When you think of me,
When you think of our time together,
Please try not to be too bitter.
For me won’t you only try to

Think about the good times.

Think of the times we’ve scaled the lofty hills,
Our first embrace, our pizza date,
The many times I’ve held you near.
We’ve shared our hopes and shared our fears.

Your future’s bright. You’ll love again.
You’re not afraid to make new friends,
And time will pass. The tears will dry,
And through it all, I hope you’ll try to

Think about the good times.

The walks we took, the songs we sang,
The hopeful sigh when the telephone rang.
Your memory’s etched upon the being of my soul.
Our talks of goals and self control.

I just can’t bear to think I’ll cause you any pain.
And yet the end must come. I pray you’re still my friend.

Just once before I go. Please hold me close.
Don’t let me go. I know I’ll hate to just look back and

Think about the good times.

Polished Chrome

Intense the sun.
Cry for the cold.
Look to the East.
Youth is grown old.
No quadratic,
Mere radical,
Mellows with time.

Listen to the meassage hidden in each word.
See if you alone can hear the voice that’s never heard.
I could see you looking. At least I saw you try.
So keep your dirty eyes off of my other piece of pie.

Young boys on their
Best behavior.
For the game has
Lost a high gear.

The time waits by
The door for who
Wins the game with
Zero the score.

Gaze into the future of the ever-searching mind.
Buy them by the dozen. They’re cheap for one of a kind.
Keep your fingers to yourself. I really wish you would.
I’m saving this (my Sunday best) for when I really should.

Rejoice the Joy. Behold the day.
Now squeeze the toy. It sinks!
You may have noticed that the pleasure gained
is greater than drilling holes in a cardboard plastic land.
Now pat yourself on the back forgetting the sextant and the canon in a single
Try to picture a hut on fowl’s legs without being too
modest about conquering the chrome dome with a mere appoggiatura.

Dinner On The Median

I felt all alone as I looked into your eyes.
I wanted to tell you but it’s deemed unwise
By the unspoken rules that we all vaguely know.
How could I have told you so?
It’s a mystery to me how we get anywhere
Never saying how much we care.

I felt all alone as I walked by your side.
Those mere few inches were a gulf miles wide.
I’m of course just one of many but you’re one of few.
May I express this thought to you?
It’s a mystery to me how we get anywhere
Never showing how much we care.

I felt all alone as I sat by myself.
Put my plastic emotions in a jar on the shelf
Where I keep my good side safe from harm.
But there’s no cause for alarm.
It’s a mystery to me when you’re by my side
Why you’re so close and the gulf so wide.

We all feel alone as we play those little games
That tell us our feelings we must never name.
It’s kind of strange that I would say such things
But when I’m down I have to sing.
It’s a mystery to me why we all tell silent lies
Never giving truth a decent try.

I’m not all alone, I just thought I knew you.
Of my heart I know but of yours I never do.
I can’t keep from laughing when you’re by his side.
If I didn’t laugh I’d have to cry.
It’s no mystery to me but it is a concern
Why it hurts so badly when one’s burned.
You’d think that by this time I would have learned.

H.Jess Brown

If A. P. is the method of your chemistry,
I am the one you gotta see.
‘Cuz H. Jess Brown is your main home boy.
A pipe bomb in the canyon is a pleasant toy.
Free energy and entropy and enthalpy.
Yo! Delta “H” in Swahili.
If we had bells they would have rung,
Exothermic reaction.

Your bead test and your flame test is it blue o’ green?
Reagents is where you’ve been.
Reaction coordinate. An inorgainic oxylate.
Potassium permanganate.
A Circus Circus bombadier a laying on the floor up there.
I am the one supplied his gear.
A finger here, a finger there, a bloody mess,
Not sure I care.

Electrolyzing water makes a flammable precipitate.
I’m flaming. I’m flaming.
Yo, Bunsen, He’s a burner too.
Sulfuric acid in your face. Just wash it off. It ain’t no glue.
White phosphorus, I’ll cut it. But it burns real well.
And you’ve just got to love the smell.
The flaming sparks just hit the ground,
And you don’t mess around with H. Jess Brown.

A Man of Few Words

I sit very quietly speaking my mind
To the cars passing outside my door.
They are quite indifferent to the feelings I don’t show,
And I’ve seen their faces glowering before.

I am a man of few words
Feeling better that some things are left unsaid.
I have seen glories that before I never dreamed of.
But the words remain unspoken in my head.

I sit very quietly speaking my mind,
And this bench doesn’t care for the show.
The world revolves around a point that only I can see,
Unspoken words of promise I now know.

I am a man of few words
Feeling grief for all the things I haven’t said.
You are the promise that before I never dreamed of.
But the silence isn’t broken in my head.

I sit very quietly speaking my mind.
She who has ears let her see.
Many is the time I’ve wished to tell you how I feel,
But the moment never felt quite right to me.

I am a man of few words
Living in two unconnected spheres.
I could surely join them with a few well chosen phrases.

But I’m obligated not to,
Just count the passing years,
And sit and smile at glowering cars
Until the future comes to pass.

And so I am just a man,
A man of few words.

Little Boy

Little boy, You think I like you? Little boy, I’d kind of like to.
Little boy, But I’m a woman. Little boy, And you’re an infant.
Tell you what I’m going to do. I’ll spend a little time with Little boy.

You’re a joke, little boy, you’re so pathetic. You’re a joke, little boy, you need a medic.
You’re a fool, little boy, to think I’d want you. You’re a fool, little boy, But still I’ve go to
Be polite when You’re around but we both know I’d like to shoot you down.

Little boy, There’s no denying. Little boy, but still you’re trying.
Little boy, Go take a powder. Little boy, I’ll say it louder.
I’d rather have the stomach flu than have to spend more time with little boy.

You’re a fool, little boy, Go take a powder. You’re a fool, little boy, I’ll say it louder.
Little boy, you’re a fool, you’re so pathetic. Little boy, you’re a fool, you need a medic.
Go and bother someone new. I’m sick of wasting time on you.
There’s nothing else for you to say. Don’t leave here mad. Just go away.
Good riddance to you and goodby.

The Awakening

I came to honor royalty
And I must appease the guard.
But the princess is embarrassed
“You’re trying way too hard.”

What can I say? What can I do?
How can I make you realize it’s not you,
But what you stand for,
That I love

I’m just the court jester.
I got my audience before the crown,
Began to plead my cause,
Only to be shouted down.

Oh what a cheerful head of state.
Oh what a jovial potentate.
But royal does not noble make,
And herein lies my great mistake

See all the lords who wait at court,
Who patiently wait their turn.
I’m but a jester of no import,
But I am quick to learn

Do not worry princess.
I’ll cause you no harm.
I hold you in too much awe
To do more than take your arm.

When a jester does more than make you laugh
He becomes a major threat.
I’m glad you put me back in my place.
I won’t soon forget.

The stakes were high, but so was I.
That game I did enjoy,
And checkers don’t have eyes.
The trap was set, I won, and yet
I lost that round.
At least you didn’t give me lies.

I know I’m crazy.
You’ve told me that.
Like a mad hatter
who gave you his hat.

The princess is embarrassed.
But royal does not noble make.
It’s not you but what you stood for.
And there lies my mistake.

I learned the game,
Found out the rules.
I think I’ll switch to skydiving with no ‘chute.
It’s safer.

Technical Notes

These songs were sequenced and recorded on a Macintosh Quadra 605 using StudioVision, Finale, Sound Designer and an Audiomedia LC card. The mcrophone was an AudioTechnica ATM31. The mixer was a Peavy XR-800 donated by Steve Mortensen. The MIDI sound modules were a Roland MT-32, CM-32P, and SC-7 with MIDI interfaces from Altech and Opcode. The keyboard was a Yamaha YS200. Extensive additional audio processing was done on a Quadra 700 with Barry Vercoe’s Csound, code from Press, Teukolsky, Vetterling, and Flannery’s Numerical Recipies in FORTRAN, and custom code written using Language Systems’ FORTRAN.

I wrote, arranged, sequenced, and recorded all of the music on this tape. Band-in-a-Box was used for about half of the percussion parts and a quarter of the bass parts (I got lazy). I stole a few bars in “I Remember” and “Polished Chrome.” The vocals were all mine except for the lead vocal on “Little Boy” which was sung by my wife, Karen Spjut, and the backup vocals on “H. Jess Brown” which were sung by my wife and my children, Josef, Jakob, Kajsa, Kersti, and Lars.

Some may wonder why I recorded an album of popular songs instead of more serious music. A big part of the reason is that most of the inexpensive tools for home and MIDI recording are designed for pop use. I felt it would be easier to use them in the intended manner before venturing out. I also hoped that a few people would want to listen to this tape.

Acknowlegements Thanks to Electronic Musician and Keyboard magazines for timely articles on recording, mixing, and arranging. Thanks to Harvey Mudd College for my sabbatical. And many thanks to a patient wife who endured much for this recording to occur.