A Matter of Substance

Weekend musings from the Alleged Artist…

Two “Origin Story” songs come from the “Infinite Regression” album. “Paper Crushes Scissors” was about money. “Matter Over Mind” was about drugs and alcohol. Both naive and preachy, but both with a decent musical backdrop.

I lost my father to alcoholism when I was still a teenager, which had an impact on pretty much every piece of music ever issued by Velvet Cockroach and Tastiera since. But while I understood what had happened back then, I didn’t understand his side of it. To be honest, I’m not sure he did either, until it was too late. I was quite tame as a teenager and even during undergraduate college. Then let’s just say I made up for lost time in grad school – although I had several friends doing the same. I never got into drugs, but alcohol has been a companion ever since. I’m considerably more conscious and measured about it today, with a much deeper understanding of what it did to my father, my brother, my aunt… let’s face it, the effects are pretty rampant across anybody’s family. So while “Matter Over Mind” was definitely preachy and naive back in 1991, it’s preachy and dead on target in 2024.

As prevalent as the cowbell was on “Paper Crushes Scissors”, it’s even bigger here. If you’ve got a fever, Tastiera has the prescription. I also didn’t notice until I put both of these songs next to each other on “Origin Story” that they both start with help from the same sweep synth sound, although it plays a more central role on “Matter Over Mind”.

I didn’t remix “Paper Crushes Scissors” at all for its 2024 version. All I applied was noise reduction and rebalancing of the EQ, with some compression at the end to fill it back out. I did isolate the vocals on “Matter Over Mind”, but only to fix one line in the song. Let me know if you can tell where that happened, and then I’ll tell you why. Other than that, “Matter Over Mind” is very much the same as it was 33 years ago. Cheers, right?

Image by 3D Animation Production Company from Pixabay


What is so wrong with pure thought – why does it terrify the soul
Two percent of a handful of impulses, yet we still have no control
Has thinking gone out of style

What would Sir Isaac think, if he looked at us today
Caught up in chemical quiescence, victims of intellectual decay

Sniffing your breath away (matter over mind), drinking resolve away (matter over mind)
Shooting your veins away (matter over mind), you’re fading away

Guess I don’t need to tell you, you’ll probably win the drug war
And then you won’t need to fight for that high anymore

And meanwhile your brain will die (matter over mind)
And you might wonder why (matter over mind)
But you’re too stupid to cry (matter over mind) – don’t you realize

There is nothing like the mind, nothing you’ll ever find
No potion of any kind, and there is nothing left of yours

You’ll do just about anything to keep that elixir on your shelf
Put some white powder on the mirror, lest you have to see yourself

Then sell it to all your friends (matter over mind)
They’ll follow you to the end (matter over mind)
And we will all depend (matter over mind) on falling farther and farther every day now

There is nothing like the mind, nothing you’ll ever find
Matter over mind, matter over humankind

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