‘Cereal’ is the first song on my first solo album, ‘Eating the Cannibal’, released in 2000. The song was written in the mid 90s after I watched an interview on TV with serial killer Jeffery Dahmer.
IMAGE: ‘The Judge’ by Kenny Schick (the Mannequin Series shot in NYC – no photoshop is used in these images SEE MORE KENNY SCHICK PHOTOGRAPHY HERE).
Given his actions and crimes, I was expecting to witness a total nut job blabber incoherently, something like Charles Manson, but what I saw was a very articulate and well spoken man who fully comprehended the questions being asked and was very aware and forthright about what he had done.
He took full responsibility and seemed to have a great deal of insight (or perhaps hindsight) about how things progressed and went wrong. Listening to his explanation of his ‘process,’ as demented and wrong as his actions were, there was a logic and progression that is not unlike how an artist or scientist would move forward with an idea or concept.
It felt very strange to be able to ‘understand’ what was truly not ‘understandable’ — to think that someone who spoke so rationally about something so irrational was just another human being who somehow just slowly slipped into such an unimaginable space.
People find many ways to find thrills in the world — mountain climbing, skydiving, snake handling, heroin, and so many things others would call crazy. People do so many things they know they shouldn’t — cheat on spouses, steal, embezzle money, torture other humans — the sky is the limit.
It struck me that the most saintly human may just be one odd thought process away from becoming the most hideous human — that a series of experiences and/or choices could change one’s direction forever.
Because I don’t really like to write songs that are immediately obvious, and perhaps because the subject matter is so uncomfortable, I stuck to my usual obtuse method of lyric writing. Even using the ‘incorrect’ spelling ‘Cereal’ (which sort of reminded me of kid’s sweet cereal that is so yummy and attractive but so bad for you) instead of Serial was sort of way of putting a mask on a song that written too literally could be too confronting.
I like to allow room for listeners to make up their own meanings to songs so they can relate them to their own personal life experiences rather than to just shove my thoughts and experiences down their throats.
The song was originally recorded to an old black face ADAT, and for the re-release, I imported the files off the ADAT into Pro Tools so I could remix the song with more control and re-sing the lead vocal.
HEAR THE SONG HERE and let me know what you think, of the song, of the music of the thought process anything.