The BPRS only exists because of Susan “George” Schorn, an amazing writer, karate master, self-defense instructor, and activist based out of Texas. Back in 2012, she enthusiastically agreed to read at our former concert series, Readin’ N Rhythm, which sent Becky into a huge panic. A writer for McSweeney’s and all-around badass, reading at our dinky little show? How could we possibly give her the proper welcome? Reciting a bio from Wikipedia and saying “Thanks, George!” didn’t feel anywhere near enough.
Becky and Dave wanted to create something unexpected, something that challenged stereotypes and norms in the same way George did, while also honoring the various aspects of her personality. Their friend and saxophonist Ben Jaffe was always down for some weird improv, so the three got together the night before and ran through a piece featuring Becky, in cartoonish, stylized voices, reading from various texts – a page of the local police blotter, the dream sequence in a sci-fi novel, excerpts from the poem-story The Wild Party, a random sheet torn from a newspaper.
Becky had never performed as a front person before, so when the time came, she tried to hide in the bathroom. But Ben and Dave convinced her to come out and practically shoved her onstage where they erupted into the most bizarre six-minute intro of all time. Two audience members definitely left, but George loved it, and that’s all that mattered.
“Two Deer Stake Out My Tree” hearkens these strange origins while also combining two true encounters – one in the woods, another in a Lower East Side nightclub – that demonstrate the power behind feminine anger. Becky hopes she isn’t on the receiving end of this anger next time, but hey, it was good fodder for the song.
One winter evening long ago, Dave, Becky, and original BPRS member Ben Jaffe were in “The Thing,” an awesome secondhand shop in Greenpoint filled with extremely strange and wonderful objects. Ben picked up an old dusty piece of art in one of those gaudy brass frames and said, “This one’s from the Willy Wonka art dealer!” We giggled then took turns offering up commentary on other random items.
But the Willy Wonka art dealer stuck with Becky. She wondered what else he would buy and sell, how he would describe each piece, what his voice would sound like. He was probably creepy. She would probably want to hide from him.
The lyrics to this song started from there then grew into an outlet for our angst and anger over being young in America – how we were left with a recession, a broken society, a dying planet, yet were still expected to work 9-5 and pay the rent. We wanted a luck dragon to fly in and rescue us, leaving nothing but flames behind.
This anger rings truer today than ever before, but instead of hiding or running, we’ve become more empowered to get organized and do the work. Capitalism in America has run amuck. We don’t need a luck dragon to save us; if we come together and fight as a collective, we can save ourselves.
Not sure how to do this? Consider getting involved with the Working Families Party, a movement focused on creating a system that supports all Americans, not just the 1%.
And if you’re into rock-n-roll, check out Ben Jaffe’s latest musical project, Pill.
“One Day,” the song that lent its name to our new EP, was the very first song we wrote. It was deeply personal for Becky, its lyrics focused on her hopes and misgivings about the way her life was progressing. But Dave couldn’t think of anything to play to it. Instead, he played the drum line from “Til the Money Runs Out” by Tom Waits and waited for inspiration to hit. Give a listen and see if you can spot the similarities!