DAYNA CLAY: Words & Music from the Novel UNPLUGGED

by The Dayna Clay Project

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    100% of proceeds benefit the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), the United States' leading anti-sexual-violence charity (http://www.rainn.org), and The Kennedy Forum's mental health leadership initiaves (http://www.thekennedyforum.org).
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1.
You tell me it's in writing Well, that ain't worth a damn You show me a signature And I'll show you a scam Oaths and vows -- well, they're just like The paper that they're on 'Cause paper burns And paper turns To ash, and then it's gone Chorus: Now you lock up your treasures in fireproof storage for to Keep 'em all safe and sound But what you gonna do when your fireproof storage Burns right down to the ground? If you seek eternity Want to hold it in your hand I would say you'll have to stray Away from the ways of Man Ride out to the mountains They will stand 'til the clocks run down It's safe out there But friend, beware When you ride back into town (Chorus) Like this... (Melodica Solo) Way back when, you had a friend The best you've ever known But it weren't secure, 'cause you can't insure What you only got on loan Once upon a time, you had A lover sweet and kind And they were true Came through for you Until they changed their mind (Chorus) So you locked... But what you gonna do now your fireproof storage Has burnt right down to the ground?
2.
3.
I said a prayer and pitched a bottle out to sea Then sat in silence as it drifted back to me Begged for a rescue that this world did not allow I needed something then, but I need Nothing now Take my plants and pets, all I’ve earned or won Take my debts, my regrets, just give me...oblivion I’ve ripped the numbers and the hands off all my clocks Cashed in the contents of my safe deposit box Torn up my calendar, commitments I can’t keep I’d sell my future for just one good night of sleep Take my hopes and fears, all I’ve said and done Take my tears, my career, just give me...oblivion (Guitar Solo) My mind is scattered and my body’s spent and sore They never seem to play together any more My spirit’s fading like a fog into the air No one can damage you if you’re no longer there Take my plants and pets, all I’ve earned or won Take my hopes and fears, all I’ve said and done Take my clothes, my car, take my first-born son Take my voice, my guitar, just give...me…
4.
I used to dream that you’d become the dad I never had Someone who’d look after me, come through when times were bad A man to guard my mother’s heart, complete our family But you were only using her to get a stab at me Chorus: Your virtual virtue, your make-believe soul Took vicious advantage in taking their toll Your counterfeit conscience, your replica heart Can wear me and tear me but never apart With empathy and flattery you stole my love and trust Then you cashed them in and ground my dreams into the dust Got me drunk, defenses down, and pushed yourself inside I kept breathing, my heart kept beating, but something in me died (Chorus) Eight times more you cornered me, then vanished from our home Knowing I had found the strength to make our secret known Someone tried to tell me that forgiveness is divine I will live, but not forgive -- that liberty is mine (Chorus x2) Never, never, never, never apart!
5.
6.
Hand over hand, I ascend in a land Of soil that passes for stone Progress is slow, and all that I know Is how much remains to be known Hunger and thirst become bad, become worse As the shadows around me grow long But the pangs are for naught, for all that I’ve brought Are my body, my spirit, my song And I’m miles from a friend or a phone And the wind up here chills to the bone I could turn back, re-trace every track And still be no closer to home (Far from home, far from home) Day after day, over earth, over clay I keep moving, a woman possessed Night after night, I await morning light And the chance to continue this quest Mile after mile, entranced all the while By a region half-Heaven half-Hell Climb after climb, I grow stronger each time But never as strong as the spell And sometimes my prospects seem poor For each peak that I reach leads to more How can your search ever come to an end When you don’t know what you’re looking for? (Flute solo) Hand over hand, I ascend in a land Where nothing is set in stone Progress is slow, and all that I know Is how little can ever be known Hunger and thirst are more blessing than curse They remind me that I am alive So I struggle and try, but the summit’s so high It’s uncertain I’ll ever arrive And I’m miles from a friend or a phone But I’m equally far from alone If the foundation beneath me gives way God give me faith in my own (In my own, in my own, in my own)
7.
Rode to town, and there I found a little church about twelve foot wide Opened up that little door, and I took a little look inside Little altar, little pews, little preacher turnin’ back the clock With a small-minded sermonette for his little old nodding flock Well, he started out real gentle, with a Scripture verse or two Talkin’ of love, and Noah’s dove, and a promise made for me and you People all around me, they were listenin’ with half an ear So pretty soon, the preacher changed his tune, and he Gave ’em what they came to hear Ooh... When the preacher said “Damnation,” well, the congregation perked right up They were shoutin’ “Amen!” as he condemned all the Folks who wouldn’t make the cut Now he’s wavin’ ’round his Bible, sayin’ “Love the sinner, hate the sin” But he’d do well to drop the Hell and let some Heavenly mercy in Ooh... I know it’s Man who made the Bible, God who made the Earth and sky And Christ who made it clear that we’re not here to judge and crucify Still it seems to me "religion" is just "division" with another name And it breaks my heart how it splits us apart When inside we’re really all the same (You know I) Rode to town, and there I found a little church about twelve foot wide Opened up that little door and I spent a little spell inside Little altar, little pews, little sympathy and little love Gonna trade that little church for the prairie and the hills above (Said "for the prairie and the hills...above")
8.
Earlier that day, while passing underneath a prairie cottonwood, Dayna had spied a flash of crimson fluttering down from above; reaching up, she'd surprised herself by actually catching the leaf in mid-fall. Studying her prize, she'd then fallen into a reverie, and had pondered, at length, the symmetry of nature: The leaf's intricate network of veins mirrored, in miniature, the branches from which it had dropped -- not to mention the other, unseen tributaries anchoring the trunk to the earth below. The realization had made her gasp, and it had moved her in a way she couldn't quite fathom. The veins were the branches were the roots; from high in the air to deep underground, the tree emphatically asserted its "treeness" throughout. They can have their Bible, she had though, 'cause here's the divine plan. And now, perched atop a looming land formation with a nasty north wind in her face, Dayna took this line of thought further. She'd seen it dozens of times in dozens of ways: the land sustained not just flora, but fauna as well. And in so doing, it embraced male and female in equal measure, engaging and enriching both sexes with an unerring -- and unerringly even-handed -- devotion. And what, finally, was "God" if not the seed-sowing, life-growing spirit flowing through that land: through bison and bighorn, pine tree and prairie grass, mountain and canyon and...and Dayna herself? My own nature, she understood with a start, mirrors nature. Throughout her adult life -- and even before, in her teens -- there had been those who'd told her how "wrong" her feelings were, from the ex-boyfriend who'd labeled her attraction to women "a phase," to the leader of a women's support group who'd provided anything but, accusing Dayna of "coming halfway out" and deriding her professed feelings for men as a cover. At times, under the weight of such criticism, Dayna had found herself wondering whether her detractors on one side or the other might be right. Yet the land itself seemed to suggest otherwise -- and to do so by example. Looking out, she saw the vista before her as if for the first time. She'd just begun, tentatively, to believe in a higher power, yet already she grasped what it meant for her -- her, who loved female and male, women and men -- for her to have been made in that higher power's image. Any lingering trace of guilt connected to who she was and whom she had loved vanished...the moment Dayna understood that her Creator felt the very same way.
9.
Look at us It's the haves versus the have-nots So rehearsed, we act like robots -- it's bizarre. We don't trust So plugged-in and so plugged-up, We're afraid to love each other as we are. We need more drums -- And fewer drum machines. Truer hearts -- And fewer dumb routines. Chorus: Let's get carried away -- and rise above Carried away -- in boundless love I will carry you, if you'll carry me So let's throw all the rules out the window Let's get carried away -- okay. Look at us: Can't you see that something's wrong? Too many DJs, too few songs -- by far. We can't see All these students and these teachers For the individual creatures that we are. Stop building walls -- And tear the old ones down. Our world's so small -- We all share common ground. (Repeat Chorus) Just as sure As the world will keep on turning, Every spin around the sun, we're learning more. But it's still Just a little disconcerting To love like we never have been hurt before. So let's refuse To play games anymore. We can't lose If we're not keeping score. But I will carry you, if you'll carry me I will you carry you, if you say... (Repeat Chorus)
10.
Jesus Christ gave nice advice but how can we begin “Doing unto others” when they’re sworn to do us in Till that tarnished Golden Rule is practiced far and wide I propose a way for us to stay uncrucified Chorus: Gonna build a missile to stop the abuse Fill it up with anger -- truth for a fuse Cut thru the confusion -- sound the alarm Instant retribution when we detonate ourselves a little karma bomb Dominick’s a clever prick who teaches English Lit Dominates his girlfriend with his lies his size his fists Twice her weight and twice her age and not one-tenth as kind She must close the book on him to liberate her mind (Chorus) There is not a spot on earth where Exxon would not drill Flouting safety measures, flirting with a spill We should take the CEO and all the top VPs Coat them with petroleum from their goddamn Valdez (Chorus) If somebody bashes you because of who you love Don’t just turn your cheek and wait for justice from above Justice doesn’t come till they lie moaning in the mud Oozing out a pint or two of homophobic blood Here’s a little paradox that almost makes me laugh In the name of life somebody shot the chief of staff Let us lead this terrorist directly to his fate Let’s abort him with a bullet 30 years too late (Chorus) ...instant retribution when we detonate ourselves!
11.
12.
You tell me it's in writing Well, that ain't worth a damn You show me a signature And I'll show you a scam Oaths and vows -- well, they're just like The paper that they're on 'Cause paper burns And paper turns To ash, and then it's gone Chorus: Now you lock up your treasures in fireproof storage for to Keep 'em all safe and sound But what you gonna do when your fireproof storage Burns right down to the ground? If you seek eternity Want to hold it in your hand I would say you'll have to stray Away from the ways of Man Ride out to the mountains They will stand 'til the clocks run down It's safe out there But friend, beware When you ride back into town (Chorus) Like this... (Slide-Guitar Solo) Way back when, you had a friend The best you've ever known But it weren't secure, 'cause you can't insure What you only got on loan Once upon a time, you had A lover sweet and kind And they were true Came through for you Until they changed their mind (Chorus) So you locked... But what you gonna do now your fireproof storage Has burnt right down to the ground?
13.
I said a prayer and pitched a bottle out to sea Then sat in silence as it drifted back to me Begged for a rescue that this world did not allow I needed something then, but I need Nothing now Take my plants and pets, all I’ve earned or won Take my debts, my regrets, just give me...oblivion I’ve ripped the numbers and the hands off all my clocks Cashed in the contents of my safe deposit box Torn up my calendar, commitments I can’t keep I’d sell my future for just one good night of sleep Take my hopes and fears, all I’ve said and done Take my tears, my career, just give me...oblivion My mind is scattered and my body’s spent and sore They never seem to play together any more My spirit’s fading like a fog into the air No one can damage you if you’re no longer there Take my plants and pets, all I’ve earned or won Take my hopes and fears, all I’ve said and done Take my clothes, my car, take my first-born son Take my voice, my guitar, just give...me…
14.
(Hand over hand, I ascend in a land) ...Of soil that passes for stone Progress is slow, and all that I know Is how much remains to be known Hunger and thirst become bad, become worse As the shadows around me grow long But the pangs are for naught, for all that I’ve brought Are my body, my spirit, my song And I’m miles from a friend or a phone And the wind up here chills to the bone I could turn back, re-trace every track And still be no closer to home (Far from home, far from home) Day after day, over earth, over clay I keep moving, a woman possessed Night after night, I await morning light And the chance to continue this quest Mile after mile, entranced all the while By a region half-Heaven half-Hell Climb after climb, I grow stronger each time But never as strong as the spell And sometimes my prospects seem poor For each peak that I reach leads to more How can your search ever come to an end When you don’t know what you’re looking for? (Looking for, looking for) Hand over hand, I ascend in a land Where nothing is set in stone Progress is slow, and all that I know Is how little can ever be known Hunger and thirst are more blessing than curse They remind me that I am alive So I struggle and try, but the summit’s so high It’s uncertain I’ll ever arrive And I’m miles from a friend or a phone But I’m equally far from alone If the foundation beneath me gives way God give me faith in my own (In my own, in my own, in my own)
15.
I used to dream that you’d become the dad I never had Someone who’d look after me, come through when times were bad A man to guard my mother’s heart, complete our family But you were only using her to get a stab at me Chorus: Your virtual virtue, your make-believe soul Took vicious advantage in taking their toll Your counterfeit conscience, your replica heart Can wear me and tear me but never apart With empathy and flattery you stole my love and trust Then you cashed them in and ground my dreams into the dust Got me drunk, defenses down, and pushed yourself inside I kept breathing, my heart kept beating, but something in me died (Chorus) Eight times more you cornered me, then vanished from our home Knowing I had found the strength to make our secret known Someone tried to tell me that forgiveness is divine I will live, but not forgive -- that liberty is mine (Chorus x2) Never, never, never, never apart!
16.
17.
18.

about

This album is a compilation of songs and spoken-word pieces inspired by UNPLUGGED, Paul McComas' acclaimed 2002 novel. They were written in the voice of the novel's main character, Dayna Clay, and performed by Paul and Maya Kuper, along with many other collaborators.

All proceeds from this project benefit RAINN: the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (www.rainn.org).

credits

released January 15, 2014

Music & lyrics by Paul McComas © 1998–2014

“Virtual Virtue” music by Jim Schettl & Paul, lyrics by Paul ©1998, 2014

“Carried Away” music & lyrics by Maya Kuper © 2014

Produced, engineered and mixed by Maya Kuper & Paul McComas

Track #2 engineered by Milwaukee Public Radio,
#3 & 4 by Jay Mueller,
#9 by Joe Dilillo at Solid Sound Recording,
#13 & 14 by Channel 2/CBS-TV Chicago,
#16 by Chicago Public Radio

Tim Buckingham: drums (3, 4, 6, 10, 15)
Kim Hah: lead vocal (3, 4, 6, 10, 15)
Ben Handelsman: rhythm guitar (3, 4), lead guitar (15), guitar solo (12)
Louisa Holland: viola (4)
Chris Kozlowski: xylophone (3), percussion (4), dialogue (5)
Maya Kuper: lead vocal (1, 9), backup vocal (1, 4, 6, 7, 9, 12), melodica (1), synthesizers (4, 6, 8), narration (5, 8), piano (6)
Heather McComas: keyboard (15)
Paul McComas: bass (3-6, 10, 13-15), lead vocal (7, 12), backup vocal (1, 3, 6, 9, 10, 12-15), guitar (1, 7, 9, 12), drums (8), organ (11), narration/dialogue (2, 5, 8, 11, 16)
Heather Mell: dialogue (11), drums (13, 14)
Angela Roché: lead vocal (13, 14)
Jim Schettl: lead guitar (3, 4)
Leslie Stein: guitar (10)
Rachel Taknint: flute (6)

UNPLUGGED is a novel by Paul McComas
(2002, John Daniel & Co., 261 pp., ISBN 188028460X).

Cover photo of Paul & Maya by Nina D'Angier
Package design and “Fireproof” photo by Maya Kuper

In loving memory of Julia, and of Jim Schettl

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The Dayna Clay Project Chicago, Illinois

"Dayna Clay" is a fictional 27-year-old rocker, battling depression and PTSD in the wake of childhood sexual abuse. Maya Kuper & Paul McComas’ alt-rock musical "UNPLUGGED: A Survivor’s Story in Scenes & Songs" chronicles Dayna’s bumpy journey through the South Dakota Badlands, and into self-discovery, healing, full embrace of her bisexuality, and love. Proceeds support RAINN and The Kennedy Forum. ... more

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