Song #66: Cuppa Joe: “Something New”

October 30, 2020
Song #66: Cuppa Joe: “Something New”

Years ago we invited Cuppa Joe to come up and play a record release party for the Busy Work 7″ at Under Acme, a venue on the Lower East Side where we would do occasional shows. We put together a four-band bill which included Footstone and Ditch Croaker, plus Melting Hopefuls, whose “Pulling An Allnighter On Myself” 7″ we were releasing at the same time as Cuppa Joe.

The show took place on October 22, 1993 (I still have the ads I took out in the Village Voice and The Aquarian Weekly to promote the show), and the four bands were excellent. The room was packed, and true to form, we actually drank all the beer – the only beer you could buy at Under Acme was bottles of Rolling Rock, and during Melting Hopefuls’ set, the venue pulled me aside to let me know that they had run out of beer. I wear that like a badge of honor.

During Cuppa Joe’s set, they played a couple of songs I hadn’t heard before, which included one that I seem to remember as an instrumental, a pretty cool piece that reminded me at the time of The Feelies a bit. I remembered the chord progression well enough to teach it to myself on guitar the following day, and I continued to play it (at least to play it as I remembered it) for years afterward, because I am a shit guitar player who knows the cowboy chords and little else, so when I happen to figure something out, it goes into my limited repertoire and remains there forever.

Unfortunately, when we put out Cuppa Joe’s Nurture CD, the song didn’t appear on it, which bummed me out, and it slowly faded from my memory. Until 2012, when the Cuppa Joe guys got together and recorded the album Tunnel Trees, which included a track called “Something New,” which immediately rang in my head as the song I heard way back in October of 1993 at Under Acme, and taught myself (somewhat) on guitar.

The lyrics, though, had been updated, and were about as meta as song lyrics could get:

Too many years since I’ve been downstairs
With headphones on until 2AM
Now it’s all coming back, from the multi-track, laying down each line
One at a time

This used to be “Follow What You Do”
Then it became “Konichiwa”
Now it’s “Something New”

Learn it fast on the basement floor
Move it off to a distant shore
Either way, it’s a pretty fine tune

And on those late nights after practice

Driving up a dark I-295
Just to be a part of such a labor of love all the time
Felt so alive, so alive

Used to be “Follow What You Do””
Then it became “Konichiwa”
Now it’s “Something New”

Learn it fast on the basement floor
Move it off to a distant shore
Either way, it’s a pretty fine tune


Spatch is shaking the basement floor
And I’m back from a distant shore
Even Rick is considering (unintelligble)

The song tells of how the band wrote songs while Doug was stationed in Kenya with the Peace Corps, and how he’s back, and “Spatch” (drummer Steve Spatucci) and Rick (bassist Rick Larkin) were recording new music – and also how the song had evolved over those 15 years, originally called “Follow What You Do,” then “Konichiwa,” and now, well, it’s something new.

Cuppa Joe were fun.

I wish I could play you “Follow What You Do” and “Konichiwa,” and perhaps Steve will chime in and share those songs with us, as he’s a pretty thorough archivist of Cuppa Joe’s history. But I can play you Something New, which is pretty cool since yesterday, I played you “Something Old.”

There are still a few days left until the election, and I’m still committed to donating Dromedary’s proceeds from any downloads to Swing Left. The reality, though, is that your donation this late in the game would be better off if you made it directly to the candidates, so that they could employ your money for last minute advertising.

Here are a few Democratic candidates running against incumbent Republicans that I think are worthy of your cash:

Jaime Harrison is running for US Senate in South Carolina, hoping to unseat Lindsay Graham. As if “unseat Lindsay Graham” wasn’t enough, Harrison believes in ending private prisons and investing in schools. The race is still very close. You can make a donation to Harrison at this link.

MJ Hegar is a badass who is running for US Senate in Texas against Republican John Cornyn. Cornyn is ahead in a very red state, but Hegar has a chance, and voters pulling the lever for her could also vote Biden. If Texas goes blue, the election is over. You can make a donation to Hegar at this link.

Jon Ossoff is running for US Senate in Georgia against Republican David Perdue, and famously ripped Perdue to shreds in a debate this week. They are neck and neck. You can make a donation to Jon Ossoff at this link.

Theresa Greenfield is running for US Senate in Iowa against Republican Joni Ernst, and while Ernst has a lead, there’s still time. You can learn about Greenfield and make a donation at this link.

Sara Gideon is running for US Senate in Maine against spineless Republican Susan Collins. Gideon is slightly ahead, and can win. You can learn about Gideon and make a donation at this link.

Cal Cunningham is running for US Senate in North Carolina against Republican Thom Tillis, and is slightly ahead. You can learn about Cunningham and make a donation at this link.

And I encourage you to investigate Justice Democrats, who are transforming the Democratic Party into something truly special, one downballot election at a time, and will need your help long after next week’s election is over. Visit them at this link. And maybe consider running for office yourself!




~ by Al on October 30, 2020.

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