by Franz Nicolay

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Texts are adapted from the PEOPS portrait series by Fly (

All music copyright 2016 by Franz Nicolay (Eggshell Armor Music, ASCAP/PRS)
Artwork copyright Fly Orr.
Words by the subjects; transcribed by Fly Orr and edited by Franz Nicolay.

The writing of PEOPSSONGS was made possible by a residency at the Rensing Arts Center.


released November 19, 2017

Executive produced by Jean Cook for Anti-Social Music (

Recorded, mixed and mastered by James Frazee at Hobo Sound, NJ

Conducted by John Altieri

Judith Berkson
Erin Kemp
Maria Sonevytsky
Karen Waltuch

Jean Cook
Melissa Collum
Karen Kanan Correa

Ty Citerman
Tomas Cruz
Brian McCorkle

Ray Bailey
Peter Hess
Nathan Koci


all rights reserved



Franz Nicolay Brooklyn, New York

To us, the beautiful - and to those who disagree, may their eyes fall out.

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Track Name: Roger Manning
The world is mine cuz I'm poor
Said the on the road alcoholic
Hitchhiking & dumpster diving
The joys of life
Someone said "What the hell are you doing going into the garbage?"
We said "Treasure hunting!"
I see all these people going into the same store
Where we get the garbage
& they don't look any happier than me
& all these cars killing me
Passing me by while I'm trying to hitch hike
But they're going to work
All these people working so hard and ending up with nothing
I've got nothing but at least I didn't work hard for it
But this is not a folksong, this is not a folksong no
You know yr headed for shit but what can you do?
Future worry never worked for me
I've lost that desperate feeling
Track Name: Carl Watson
I went away a couple times to Europe & Asia & came back
Otherwise I was working
I picked oranges, apples
I was an ambulance attendant
I wrote ad copy
I was an ingot buggy operator in Gary Indiana
I was a limousine driver in Chicago
It was a terrible job
I got a novel published in France
& that was the end of my career
Nothing has happened since then
Track Name: Istvan Kantor (Fly's Comment)
Singing is part of all of it
If electricity was an opera then it would be you
Metal is also part of all this
Big sheets of metal are always good for banging & for lightning striking
Which will also start a fire if there is something to burn
& usually there is something to burn
Especially if you are from outer space you will be searching for fire
Or maybe just the information about fire
Even if you have nothing to burn
At least you could take the idea of burning back to your home planet yes?
Track Name: Nico De Gallo
My dad told me his bullet wounds were belly buttons
I thought everyone had 4 belly buttons
My dad was a very artful liar
Him & my mother got into it & he shot her
& her boyfriend shot him & they both died
I became a ward of the state - In California they call it a 601
They can't lock you in juvenile hall so they would put me in foster homes
& I would run away
Then I got in trouble and became a 602 - a juvenile delinquent
They were going to send me back to the foster home circuit in Mendocino County
But I said "fuck that" and started traveling.
I was almost 15 & I had my first hitchhike from SF to Wichita County Kansas.
A lot of corn.
Track Name: John Zorn
I remember swimming in a pool
But I wasn't swimming - I was drowning
I must have been about 7 or 8 years old
& didn't really know how to swim
But I jumped in the deepest part of the pool & I started sinking
You know how you do the dog paddle to stay up
I was grabbing handfuls of water
& I was trying to yell but my mouth was filling with water
As I was going down for the last time I looked over to the side of the pool
& the last image I remember is this blurry picture of my brother
Standing by the edge of the pool with his hands in his pockets watching me drown
I always thought he was taking the change out of his pockets
Getting ready to jump in
Now I'm not quite sure
Track Name: Kriss De Jong
My friend AJ had it figured out long before the doctors had a clue
You are an alien monkey
Your body was not designed to be on this planet
I bet you were an experiment
& they got distracted
& forgot to finish you
Track Name: Shakina
I didn't sleep in someone famous' bed last night
That's why I'm so unsatisfied
I hung out with his little sister
I said yr brother's famous
So find me someone to make out with
But it didn't happen so I went home
Track Name: Zero Boy
The best poets will just say the personal shit
& since I communicate with sound obviously I'm not the best poet
But I'm international
It's like a giant ball that's making contact with the ground
& I'm at the bottom looking at the sky
& the ball slowly rolls
& one day it goes all the way around
& the next thing you know I've covered a lot of ground
Track Name: John Perry Barlow
I was born with a dead twin
I think everyone comes into life with a curriculum
Mine is death
Almost everyone I'm close to dies young
Which is good for them & good for me
Track Name: AC Thompson
West coast people when they tell you how they feel
Means they don't want to hang out with you
When they say let's go get coffee it means they want to fuck you
But the best thing about west coast people is how they become a different person every year
Track Name: Dr. Dave Ores
When I was 20 I complained to my grandfather about a girl
& he said when he was my age he complained about my grandmother to her mother
That he was a good catch & she was stubborn
Her mother said let me tell you a story
When I was a little girl in shtetl
There was a butcher
& every day he would throw out the bones
& the dogs would come
So every day there is one bone that is the best bone
& the dog that gets the best bone is not the nicest dog
That's how my daughter got you
Track Name: Richard Hell
It's interesting to be talking about this now
It's like a big con
like 3 card monte
or pulling a rabbit out of a hat
to support yourself just by describing what the world is like
Track Name: Penny Arcade
I've been young for a long time
If you live outside of society you are not subject to the same law of aging
Because aging in a specific way is a construct
Human beings are herd animals
Pack animals
& they like to fit in
They don't like outsiders
That's the whole tribal thing
Humans tend to worship outsiders only with some distance
That's why it went so well for Jesus after they killed him
Track Name: Aaron Cometbus
t's all a pack of lies - I mean -
Sure I put staples in the blender
But I know I locked the door when I was done
So I don't know how all those raccoons got in
Or why they decided to build a fort under the bathtub
At least they had the decency not to eat the cat

I was having problems of my own
My wheatpaste was undercooked & poorly blended
I had a long night ahead of me & already I was behind
The first flyer I tried to put up was a disaster
The ink smeared and the paper buckled
Altho tragic, this complication was nothing new to me
It was eerily reminiscent of the Nuclear Berkeley flier disaster of 1999
In which I discovered retrospectively
You have to rub down your fliers with a frequently-worn sock
& as all of my socks are frequently worn
I was in luck

I was in New York City & it was the middle of winter
So I was loath to bare my extremities & even so I did it
I took off my shoes in two feet of snow & peeled off my seasoned socks
Even in the crisp frigid air the fragrance brought a tear to my eye
Perhaps I felt a bit nostalgic or maybe it was the windchill factor
There I was - in the dark, snow-covered night - alone - with bare feet
& a disappointing bucket of paste & a bag full of promising fliers
I was starting to think that this is sometimes the best part of the show
An invasion of public space
Inciting a provocation to commit randomness
We all have something darker, more distorted & vulnerable
hidden underneath the surface

This was what was going through my head when everything started to unravel
First of all - a dog ran away with my socks
& then a snowplow zoomed by and buried my wheatpaste bucket in its wake
All I had left was a bag full of wilting fliers and a need for coffee
I decided to return to the scene of my wheatpaste cookout
Where I found not only raccoons but an apartment full of passed-out
And/or puking punks
So again - for the record - it wasn't my fault!
Track Name: Spike Sewage
I was a "brick-seller"
me & this guy called Army would get empty VCR boxes
& put bricks in them
& sell them on the bridge
You have to put the bricks right in the middle
& tape them down so they wouldn't rattle

We would take our brick money & buy dried poppies in Chinatown
& make this strong opium tea
We used to sell bags of sugar & oregano & the shadow to party-going tourists

The original founding fathers of this country were dissenters
Therefore I am a patriot

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