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Pictures of Saint Paul Street

by greg ashley

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about

Greg Ashley has been a fixture on the underground music scene since the late Nineties while strafing eardrums as a teenager in Houston in garage punk band The Strate-Coats. Since then he’s proven himself not only as a songwriter, singer and guitar player in bands like The Mirrors & The Gris Gris, but also as a producer/sound engineer via his Oakland-based Creamery Studio.
His career as a solo artist is vast & varied, spanning the gamut between fried & beautiful psychedelia, gorgeous & cathartic symphonic suites & gentle, damaged folk music, beginning with 2003’s “Medicine Fuck Dream” & last leaving us with 2014’s “Another Generation of Slaves”. His latest, “Pictures of Saint Paul Street” carries forward that album’s musical palette (a rootsy amalgam of tortured, Cohen-esque folk tinged with the beer soaked recklessness of a West Texas honky-tonk).
The songs on “Pictures of Saint Paul Street” are lush & beautiful autopsies of society’s underbelly, with stark and brutally honest ruminations on humanity. Songs like “A Sea of Suckers” & “Pursue The Nightlife” pull no punches, while “Jailbirds & Vagabonds” and “Blues For A Pecan Tree” carouse on a more abstract, human (almost romantic) level. By the time you’ve hit the album’s centerpiece; “Bullshit Society”, Ashley’s songs move from hopeless misery to rallying anthems for the dispossessed. The people & artists who move further to the fringe as power and greed overtake our planet, a situation all too familiar to Ashley as he was forced to relocate his long-running Creamery Studio from it’s long time home due to the rampant gentrification of the Bay Area (the former studio building now houses luxury lofts). “Pictures of Saint Paul Street” isn’t always an easy listen, but that’s the point; the journey to salvation isn’t easy or pretty. The protagonist in many of Ashley’s songs may be Ashley himself - a true artist willing to admit he’s nowhere near perfect, and honest enough to document his sunrises & sunsets no matter if they occur in his own backyard, or on a barroom floor.

credits

released June 30, 2017

Greg Ashley ~ Guitar and Vocals
Arlo Perlstein ~ Bass
Nico Brusq ~ Drums
Jimi Marks ~ Piano on all tracks and Drums on Six A.M. At The Black And White, Self Destruction Derby, and Two Person One Man Band
Thatcher Boomer ~ Clarinet on Pursue The Nightlife
Jess Hartlaub ~ Backing Vocals on Bullshit Society
Graham Patzner ~ Violin on Two Person One Man Band
Sofia Bell ~ Photos

Recorded at The Creamery in Oakland, CA
All songs written by Greg Ashley

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greg ashley Oakland, California

In addition to being a songwriter, Greg Ashley is also a highly regarded music producer in analog recordings. Find the link to his recording studio below!

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Track Name: A Sea Of Suckers
A sea of suckers drowning in their love,
They thought that it was enough,
But if you wanna get some well you better learn to play dumb,
You better learn to tell someone a lie,
Go on and give it a try,
Just sign that piece of paper while the county does you the favor,
You'll pay each other's taxes till you die.

Some exotic beauty married to her doom,
It was her blue eyed groom,
She gave him satisfaction and romantic interaction,
She gave him everything he could desire,
Except a couple more wives,
Then he drank for acceleration of their looming separation,
Two less lovers two more screwed up lives.

Well they took me down to that detox ward,
I thought that it was a bore,
They fed me medication and they taught me meditation,
Said stay away from that liquor store,
And you would never be poor,
And my crazy junky bunkmate he would puke and piss and gyrate,
And the pills they gave us made us crazy for,
Crazy for more.......
Track Name: Goodbye Saint Paul Street
Fiction isn't fixed,
So I decide to read the paper,
But journalism's dead,
So propaganda does me the favor,
It's givin' me the news,
I'm just an idealistic sucker,
I'm givin' up on dreams,
I'm through with you worthless motherfuckers.

Goodbye Saint Paul street,
Goodbye all you desperate people,
Goodbye Saint Paul street,
Your justifications for violence and evil,
Where every kindness is taken indifferently,
The only thing respected is violence and greed.

I did it now and then,
I smoked crack out of a half inch socket,
I think I did him in,
I might have killed Jayson Bronzini,
But I can't be sure,
He had so many pills in his pocket,
We toasted Jameson,
Then threw his bones in the bay with the seaweed.

Goodbye Saint Paul street,
Goodbye all you fucked up people,
Goodbye Saint Paul street,
Racism cocaine violence and evil,
Where every kindness is taken indifferently,
The only thing respected is violence and greed.

I'll miss those perfect days,
Drunk in the Piedmont cemetery,
I can't afford to live,
Let alone be buried in Oakland,
They'll take my corpse away,
Throw it down in a ditch back in Texas,
Or in some unmarked grave,
Nobody puts a stone on trash it is pointless.

Goodbye Saint Paul street,
Goodbye all you ruthless people,
Goodbye Saint Paul street,
Your total acceptance of violence and evil,
Where every kindness is taken indifferently,
The only thing respected is violence and greed,
You're all so full of shit so c'est la vie.
Track Name: Blues For A Pecan Tree
There is a spot at the end of a thought,
That nobody finds till they're free,
It isn't a vision of pure energy,
Dirt's what you end up to be,
So book me a flight to the end of my life,
Save me a seat next to you,
Fix me a drink and then call me a fool,
A fool that has never been true.

To anyone he's kissin',
All the one's he's missin',
That saved themselves a seat meant for two,
Your nickers are gone the camera is on that's your cue,
There's no goin' back you're stuck on this track,
You're the new one.

So give me a loan I'm so broke and alone,
Lend me a place in your bed,
I'll always be broke hope you like a good joke,
A joke that is tragic instead,
Like jump up and down like a half drunken clown,
Show me your little tattoo,
The only thing gone when our minds greet the dawn,
Is a half empty bottle of booze.

I woke up on the tile,
Confused and beguiled,
Nothin' I could ever refuse,
My consciousness gone but I linger on just to be,
There's no goin' back I'm stuck on this track never free,
Never free baby.
Track Name: Two Person One Man Band
Well his mother raised him well taught him to read and write and spell,
He had opportunities and a standard pedigree,
Threw it away,
Wasted his mind,
Wanted to be,
A regular guy,

So he learned how to smoke and he taught himself to drink,
And he loved his marijuana till it made him start to think,
Wasted potential,
Was a disgrace,
The lower classes,
Would now be his place.

Cuz people never really change,
They always stay the same,
Then they'll try to change their fate,
But it's always far too late.

But he still had his game he played with barely any shame,
And the woman in his lives mostly accepted his bloodshot eyes,
Until he'd black out,
Into the night,
Became abusive,
And full of spite.

His women never really change,
They always stay the same,
They're forever twenty-six,
He's the one they'll never fix.

Womanizers never seem to win,
They all get caught except for him,
His life has been a mess always it seems,
It's this addiction his women scream,
So he tells them what he knows they wanna hear,
I'll give it up tomorrow baby have no fear,
Depression plays upon their sympathies,
An aphrodisiac these melodies.

Then he hits his middle age and the women start to say,
I think we should settle in to a life with far less sin,
He had no interest,
In playin' dead,
He tried it one time,
That's what he said.

Cuz people never really change,
They always stay the same,
Then they try it like a band,
Some two person one man band,
And people never really change,
They always stay the same,
Then they try it like a band,
Some two person one man band.
Track Name: Bullshit Society
We are livin' in a bullshit society,
I wanna stick my head in a hole in the ground,
Nobody gives a shit about anything,
And the middle men are runnin' the show.

Here's your consolation,
Here's your consolation prize,
Here's your consolation,
Here's your consolation prize.

We're bein' led by a bullshit generation,
I wanna stick their heads in a hole in the ground,
The only time they take their hands off their cocks,
Is to pat themselves on the back again.

Here's your consolation,
Here's your consolation prize,
Here's your consolation,
Your fucking consolation prize.

It's a police state,
And you're a debt slave,
It's a police state,
You pray for class war! Class war! Class war! Class war!

We are livin' in a bullshit society.
Track Name: Jailbirds and Vagabonds
The curve of your body is an endless fascination,
You take me so well I never need my imagination,
Let's go be vagabonds I'll dress in rags you dress in nothing,
Let's go be jailbirds love is a prison that's good for something.

You old four eyed beauty,
With your wine painted tongue,
Your voice sounds like music,
Once your dress is undone.

They talk in circles I could never walk a straight line,
They feed me apples all I want is liquor and strychnine,
So pass me the bum's wine content in the beauty of degradation,
I'd break that glass with you there's something that leads me to endless temptation.

Like watching the sunset,
Choke out the blue,
I'm lit in the starlight,
Naked and true.

I take off my ring now to respect the bizarre,
I want you to hold me there naked under my guitar,
Praise for adultery,
Passionate filth and debauchery,
We drank to insanity,
Screwed to infinity,
With my heart,
With my heart,
Weakened and thin,
Even back then,
Do it again,
Again and again,
Again and again.
Track Name: Self Destruction Derby
Hard drugs mainlined they got to be too much,
But small talk and soft things they never were enough,
So can you Matthew find a workin' vein,
Liquor and methadone they keep you from goin' insane.

All you other fools step aside,
The king of fools has arrived,
In this constant state of confusion,
I try never to make a conclusion who wins,
The self destruction derby.

Saint Paul's workin' girls they're workin' on their backs,
The dancin' dope fiends they're workin' on their tracks,
High class white trash I never learned to beg,
So drink up ladies then you'll spread your legs.

All you other fools step aside,
The king of fools has arrived,
In this constant state of confusion,
I try never to make a conclusion who wins,
The self destruction derby.

You're fallin' deeper into a drunkard's arms,
His wife left him off to the funny farm,
So do ya Julia like my broken tune,
We'll keep drinkin' under the crazy moon.

All you other fools step aside,
The king of fools has arrived,
In this constant state of confusion,
I try never to make a conclusion who wins,
The self destruction derby.
Track Name: Medication #9
I'm a failure in my dreams I can't remember what they mean,
Don't remember why I bother to go on,
Can't see anything ahead except the day I turn up dead,
Can't see anything it's pointless I was wrong.

Maybe I could turn to crime I understand the criminal mind,
Or I could turn to Jesus turn to Jesus on my knees,
And just forget the way I was but there's a part of that I love,
I can't accept some simple fantasy.

I'm a failure in my dreams I can't remember what they mean,
Can't remember anything except this song.
Track Name: Pursue The Night Life
I don't understand,
Why anybody's holdin' my hand,
Hang onto your friends,
The insanity may just never end,
The historical tradition of the human condition is pain,
So form a new line all money is worthless in time anyways.

It was a cocaine conversation,
Pointless thoughts that never begin,
Up until it's seven AM,
The same thing again and again,
Philosophize about your deviant life just confess,
Drag your drugged nose across the mirror again never rest.

Pursue the nightlife do it again,
Go to the toilet you'll be everybody's friend,
Then back at home you are so restless and alone,
Just take another sleeping pill and put down the phone.

Short was his name,
A hustler within his game,
Like a beach covered in sand,
Trash in a little trash can,
Standin' on the block with his bucket and his mop for some wine,
Him and his wife were so tight they're gettin' drunk every night on my dime.

It was a street level conversation,
Takin' all my money again,
Two dollars out the front door,
They never stop they're askin' for more,
She's got one, two, three teeth less is better I guess for a date,
Longshoreman, truckers, vagrants and suckers still wait.

Pursue the nightlife do it again,
Buy another round at the bar for some trim,
Take her back to your place tell her everything is fine,
Show her all the things you hide behind your black eyes.

You are a drunk in a river of piss,
Starin' out into the abyss,
You are a drunk in a river of piss,
Lost without the things that you miss,
You are a drunk in a river of piss,
Just a drunk in a river of piss....
Track Name: Six A.M. At The Black and White
Now it's six A.M.,
I can get drunk again,
I think I found my place,
Amongst the human race.

Sometimes I remember the good old days,
When marijuana warped my brain,
Martha cooked the frozen fish,
And never judged me or made me wish,
For any lack of cigarettes,
And never a mention of nicorette,
I didn't have to be the one,
I'd never have to be her son,
There was a sympathy there that only strangers can share.

I still believe on Christmas eve,
The telephone will ring,
It will be me so drunk on wine,
High on street trash cocaine lines,
But she wont care cuz she's not there,
She's just the only friend that I could find,
Unconditionally kind,
And we both had the time.

Now it's six A.M.,
I can get drunk again,
And now I've found my place,
Here in the USA.

We know America's insane,
Became an alcoholic for the pain,
Looked into the mirror was ashamed,
I never remembered a yesterday,
But I'll never join them as a slave,
With a bullshit degree that never pays,
The world's an ashtray anyways,
We couldn't have had it another way,
Now I don't believe in nearly anything.

I don't believe on Christmas eve,
The telephone will ring,
It will be me so drunk on wine,
High on street trash cocaine lines,
But she wont care cuz she's not there,
Now she's in the grave not anywhere,
There's an experience there that we are all gonna share.