Playland at the Beach

by Great Apes

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Playland at the Beach is conceptually built around San Francisco’s history, culture, and current state of rapid change, with each song being narrated from the perspective of a building or landmark.

All downloads come with digital photos representing each song and the lyric sheets

Available on vinyl from Asian Man Records.

credits

released November 12, 2014

Great Apes are:
Brian Moss: vocals and guitar
Rob Carter: vocals and guitar
Ryan Marshall: bass and vocals
Matthew Kadi: drums

Additional vocals were provided by Morgan Herrell.
Playland was engineered, mixed, and mastered by Jack
Shirley at Atomic Garden in East Palo Alto in June of 2014.

Romanticized version of the Dutch Windmill in
Golden Gate Park by Peter Glanting.
The image was used with permission.

Cover photograph was used with permission from the San
Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.
Taken at Whitney’s Playland at the Beach in
San Francisco on November 26th, 1949.

Layout, insert photography by Matthew Kadi
Font assistance by David Holtz

Thank you: Mike Park, Leslie Hampton, Jack Shirley, Bob Vielma, Marty Ploy, Harry Jerkface, Ziggy, MP Shows, Scott Alcoholocaust, Jesse Townley, Laura Lee Mattingly, Eric Urbach, Luke Andrews, John No, Winston Smith, Richelle Cullen, Sean Hills, Adam Gecking, David Holtz, Mike Maciel, Thee Parkside, 924 Gilman, Bottom of the Hill, Void Boys, The Lawrence Arms, Bastards of Young, Ma Jolie, and Hard Girls.

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Great Apes San Francisco, California

Insert hype-up descriptors here. Plain and simple, San Francisco's Great Apes are a lyrical punk band. Music, much like a bio, is often at its best when it’s spit out intensely and quickly, with concision and honesty.

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Track Name: Rough in the Diamond (A Conversation Between Vesuvio and Specs)
The first track, Rough in the Diamond is sung from the perspectives of Vesuvio and Specs’, two longstanding North Beach bars, who have fallen towards each other to share a drink in the middle of the street well after last call.


I can't sleep tonight
I can't either
let's lean to the street
let's drink some ether
It was all popped collars and stiletto squeals
I like a man with calloused hands and a pen like steel

with friends like these who needs
a writer in the dark
the maritime and reckless
the urchins from the park
they'll cash us out
and drain the swill
but we've got each other
we've got cheap thrills

where are all the Singletons?
where's Barbary Lane?
thrown out with the eighty sixed
but I can't complain
I've got postcards to read
I've got Corso's spite
their stories steam from the storm drains
beneath City Lights

with friends like these who needs
a writer in the dark
the maritime and reckless
the urchins from the park
they'll cash us out
and drain the swill
but we've got each other
we've got cheap thrills

I hear things are worse along the wharf
where it's all regal bows and flying corks
I can hear our friends in the fog stirring
staring down with thirsty eyes and slurring

let's cope until we choke and try not to care
about that arrow's aim as we toast the air it tears
here's to the dispossessed, caught in catastrophe
and new Bohemia, wherever it may be
Track Name: Go Niners (As Told By Telegraph Hill)
Go Niners! is the story of the Gold Rush, both old and 2.0, as told by the omniscient Telegraph Hill.


a wooden bow stabs
through the shroud of grey
a wake in the water
a knife in the Bay

harbinger bell
on a silent dock
a boot in the mud
trees shudder / birds flock

(a black venom ooze crawling eastward)

ravenous come pouring
through the Golden Gate
allure of promise
axe drawn / claim staked

a tent in the hillside
a brick in the eye
cancer sprawling
multiply and divide

(I feel sick)

the few and the fortunate smirk from rooftops
while new metropolis starts to grow
while the foreign-faced and all the common mass
teem in the blood and piss below
an empire of partition
built on shining ores and railroad tracks
they’ll imprison them all with poverty
if the work don’t break their backs

the lottery of life – it’s competition at its worst
foundation built upon always putting yourself first
they call it civilized, but it’s just a primal feast
just because you build machines doesn’t mean that you’re not beasts
eureka.
Track Name: Milk: It Does a City Good (By the Civic Center Stairs)
Centered around the work and resonance of the late Harvey Milk and the murder trial of Dan White, Milk: It Does a City Good is sung by the Civic Center steps.


stepping stones for shined shoes
greased-palm façade
a ladder to the backrooms
of self-service and fraud
between the press pass handshakes
and demolition smiles
I’ve seen hope in a neck tie
every once in a while…

a healing hand for the outcasts’ reach
from the labor yards to Castro Street
let the silent sing through the martyr’s song
let the candles burn from the protest lawn

saint of mothers and teachers
hushed lovers and freaks
while the stubborn stewed scowling
in trembling council seats
oh how the threats came daily
inked in fear
with the chill of premonition
a speaking ghost appears

White in the office
police-issued .38
a Twinkie for the judge
while the jury deliberates

let the bullet shatter every closet door
every landlord's lust, every profiteer's war
let it scream the tune of justice and humility
in the ivory halls let it call for responsibility
Track Name: Paint Job (The Lament of 1492 Valencia Street)
Paint Job features 1492 Valencia, an apartment building above the Dovre Club in the Mission District, lamenting about the neighborhood’s current state of affairs and reminiscing over times and tenants gone.


glass me in with shiny new sills
frankly I prefer a bit of dirt
all these sheep in suits’ clothing
with their boutiques, parlors, and desserts

I miss the smell of posole
the feel of children’s footsteps in my halls
and the verse of the taxi
the choruses of language in my walls

new monotone – the cellular drone
a pink moustache, a bus-sized limousine
culture collage – now blotted out
it’s uniform, it’s hollow, it’s so pristine

there are specters in the dust specs
this paint job’s looking suspect
history’s vibrant hues, they’ve all been painted white
my stories sing in creaking pipes

give me your tired
give me your needy
give me distortion from the park
cover me in graffiti
give me givers
you can keep the greedy
back when it felt like home they just called it seedy

lost in the echoes of low rider roar
the skin of the Women’s Building back in ‘94
the bidders will swarm and the values will soar
while my longing hearth crumbles through the floor

there are specters in the dust specs
this paint job’s looking suspect
history’s vibrant hues, they’ve all been painted white
my stories sing in creaking pipes

the slow death of the decades
from the Irish to the tech craze
history’s vibrant hues, they’ve all been painted white
my stories sing in creaking pipes

weary window eyes with pigeon lashes
watch as condos stalk from the down street
all these memories rest in rotten beams
tear me down – just let me sleep

pray and wait for the great quake
to bring hell cleansing through the crust
we'll be better off when we're all
splintered and shaken back to dust
Track Name: Whitney's Playland at the Beach (The Dutch Windmill of Golden Gate Park Speaks)
The final song and title track, Whitney’s Playland at the Beach is sung by one of the Dutch Windmills of Golden Gate Park, who celebrates a past of fond memories and joy while welcoming and finding beauty in the inevitability of change and life and death’s cyclical nature.


antiquated, but I really don’t mind
oh, what’s the point in shaking wooden fists at time?
the dunes will shift / the tides will change
it’s so inevitable, nothing here will ever stay the same
framed by memories, without nostalgia’s decay
on the city’s edge, watching over Great Highway
salt corrodes, while my blades count years
wind erodes (I can hear the coaster’s cheers)…

I was nineteen when the Dipper was built
and fifty two when they ripped it down to stilts
I watched the Ferris wheel rise above the spray
and set behind the Park Chalet

let it spin
let it twist
find your faith in a child’s laugh or a lover’s kiss
let it crash
just let it be
it has and always will be Playland by the Sea

dilapidated, but I feel fine
oh, what’s the point in longing for eaves left behind?
the fog will ebb, past the ruins of the pier
and where the pilings stood, new structure will appear

my veins pumped water down park paths
and I was there when the fire took the Baths
when the ocean’s cold hands stretch and reach
I’ll fall calm and quiet to the beach

let it spin
let it twist
find your faith in a child’s laugh or a lover’s kiss
let it crash
just let it be
it has and always will be Playland by the Sea

in seventy two I saw a boy, elated at the age of eight, outside the park’s closing gates
high atop his father’s shoulders, staring up to space, with an It’s It smeared on his face
he showed up again in two thousand ten, youth now erased, with a son of his own in his place
the same breeze that keeps me breathing, that keeps my lungs awake, held his kite up with grace

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