|Cover Sheet - Front|
|Cover Sheet - Back:|
Text is the 'Mega Poem' which appeared, a verse a day, on Twitter in the run-up to the release...
|Jacket - Front|
|Jacket - Image on inside of gatefold|
Some (The European ones?) come with black dust-sleeves, others are white.
|Lyric Sheet - Front:|
Germinating seed image with lyrics set out as four acts of play
|Lyric Sheet - Back:|
Gravestone image with Eulogy text and tree behind.
Label: Matador Records OLE 839-1
Matrix A: OLE-839 A
Matrix B: OLE-839 B
Matrix C: OLE-839 C
Matrix D: OLE-839 D
Inserts: Double-sided insert, as pictured above
Variants: No (known) variants. Unless you count the black or white dust sleeves.
"David Comes To Life" was famously conceived some time in 2006, and was intended as the follow-up to ''Hidden World'' but the idea was bottled when it came to writing and recording and so ''Chemistry Of Common Life" materialised instead.
The three albums share similar themes in their esoteric lyrics, and greater use of bespoke and colour artwork rather than ''borrowed'' monochrome imagery. These things and the "Looking For Gold" blog separate this period of Fucked Up from the early singles period. However themes present from the beginning appear throughout and at the time of its release DCTL was seen by some as a culmination of the narrative to that point.
To illustrate this lengthy gestation period, the following extracts date back to 2001, and amount to a deluxe-double-album-plus-extras of information. They include a mixture of fact and fiction, because
once you've opened your mind to the notion of the fake,
AVC Interview (June 07 2011):
AVC: Let’s talk about David Comes To Life. The idea for this record dates back to 2006, and you’ve said that some of the riffs are even older than that. Why did it take so long to complete the record and put it out?
DA: For us, LPs were always this weird kind of thing. When we first started the band, we were like, “We can only do an LP after the second 7-inch,” and then we got to the second 7-inch, and we were like, “We are not ready to do an LP.” Then we came up with this idea after about three or four years of being in a band, that we were going to do an record called Crusades, and a record called Cascades. We were going to release those two albums, and those were going to be the last two things we did before we broke up—actually no, we were going to have one 7-inch that was going to come out afterward called Back To The Womb, and those were going to be the last things we did for the band. So we start recording what was going to be Crusades, and around that time, we met the guys from Jade Tree, and they expressed interest in our record. We were like, “Huh, this is starting to get kind of interesting. Maybe we should start to re-think this, and save Crusades and Cascades for another point, and let’s do this record called Hidden World.”
When we were recording Hidden World, we wrote the song “Ian Comes To Life,” and it was about our friend Ian Dickson, who upon hearing that we had signed with Jade Tree said it felt like he had just been kicked in the nuts. So we wrote this song for him about how Ian is this little boy who’s very angry at us. We were writing the song in practice one day, and Mike’s like, “Hey, what do you think about changing the name to David?” and I’m like, “Yeah, that sounds like it’ll work,” so we started writing “David Comes To Life.” After that, we started joking about how we wanted this to be a rock opera. We kept joking about it until after Chemistry Of Common Life; there was no way we felt like we could live up to the praise that record got, especially in Canada, where we won the Polaris award. We were like, “No matter what we do, we’re going to look like a failure, because Pitchfork is saying something that we cannot possibly live up to for this next record.” We decided at that point that since people would already be disappointed, why don’t we just do this crazy rock-opera idea, and that way, if it blows up in our faces, at least we tried it when no one was expecting anything. That’s why it took so long. When we eventually sat down to start to write it, we had all these songs and riffs and other ideas that we had kind of been saving for different things, and we just recorded so much music. I think that someone told me that between this, the compilation, and all the singles, there’s like 300 minutes of music for this record.
|Life in Paper:|
AVC: Fucked Up has created an immersive world around this record. Along with the website that includes lyrics and profiles of the characters, you also released a compilation record of fake bands from the fake town the story takes place in. Did you actually sit down and chart out David Comes To Life like a movie or TV show?
DA: We did. I thought we were going to back out until the very last second. I was like, “There’s no way we’re going to finish this,” so I was kind of waiting for Mike and Jonah [Falco] and Josh [Zucker] to be like, “Yeah, we’re going to do something else, and this is not going to work out.” By the time they finished the music, I was like, “Oh, this is actually going to really happen. We have no story.” At which point Mike, Josh, and I started meeting at the food court in this really shitty mall near where we all live, called the Dufferin Mall. I mean, it’s shitty, but I love it. We would just meet there at the food court, surrounded by teen kids from high school out for lunch, and we would be sitting there with loose-leaf paper and computers, just trying to write this story. We would come with character sketches for all the five main characters, a rough skeleton for the story, what we thought each song should get across, and where each song should go. We sat there over the course of, I think, three weekends. The mall was neutral territory, because we were not getting along very well at this point. Then we wrote from there.
Slug Magazine Interview June 28 2011
SLUG: “David Comes to Life” was a song on 2006’s Hidden World. When did you decide to flesh it out into an entire album?
Mike Haliechuk: Around then. We knew we had this “character” that we could work with … and we knew sort of early on that we wanted to do a big-style record like this one, but we never really had the time or the guts to do it until now. Some songs on this new record are pretty old and the idea is almost as old as the song is.
|David before he came to life: |
10K & G Beat shopping for ideas with their driver Martijn - Euro Tour 2005
(Image of an image of a symbol, changed, reproduced and set in an unfamiliar context).
SLUG: Besides the namesake, how much of David from the album is based on your manager David Eliade?
Haliechuk: The song on the first record definitely came from him, but this record isn’t about his life or anything. It’s just, whenever we need to personify someone or something … David’s the one who gets personified.
Equalizing x Distort Zine 2001
|David being depressed, being fucked up|
DCTL Postcard competition winner
Damian: When I joined the band I had just broken up with my girlfriend at the time, so every single song I wrote was about how much I hated her. It’s kind of scary when you look around and everyone is as scared and insecure as you. To quote Propaghandi. We are all from really different backgrounds and we are all sad.
Wavelength Zine Interview Extracts (LFG Post Feb 01 2007)
I heard rumours of a fucked up film featuring Fucked Up, can you tell more of such secrets?
It isn’t about us, we‘re scoring it. It’s going to be called Triumph, and is the brainchild of epoch-maker David Eliade. It will be the first true film in history and will be fed to audiences like a fine, sugary, drug-laced mash through tubes into their brains. Its going to be the biggest movie of the 21st century. We are also working on a musical called David Comes To Life.
...Lastly, FUI would like to welcome a few new members into the family - hello to Octavio St Laurent, Nick Fenstle (UK), and Mister Q, plus the new philosophy we are experimenting with, Wilsim Publogy. Triumph of Life!
The band has a manager called "David Eliade" who some people think is fake, and others aren't so sure about. Although I did have coffee with him this morning (he is my landlord).
LFG Post (Jan 05 2009):
DAVID COMES TO LIFE
Hey we started rehearsing our musical the other day:
Quietus Interview with Sandy Miranda (June 09 2011):
Speaking to the narrative of the album, in the trailer, there's a bit where you guys are attempting to retell the story…
SM: Oh God…
…and you all kind of stumble. So my question is, if the band is struggling to understand the story, should audiences bother?
SM: It's up for interpretation. Following the lyrics, you're not gonna get the story fully, you know what I mean? You still have to sort of piece it together. You'll have your points A, B, and C but then it's up to you to find your way between all of those points. But really it's just a story of love and of lost love and of revelation - just very classic themes. We're not really rebuilding the wheel here or anything. We're just trying to see what else we could do.
Pitchfork Interview with Damian Abraham (Jan 19 2011):
From Punknews Review (June 07 2011):
Although the album is about a young man that may or may not have killed his lady friend, you probably couldn't figure that out from reading the lyrics. Rather, as characters walk in and out through the tracks, openly declaring their thoughts much like ancient Greek theatre, the album comes off more as a series of character studies that, despite the deceiving detail, also has a vagueness that lets the listener put the pieces together as he or she will.
David Eliade is a worker at a light bulb factory in late 70's, early 80's England. David meets Veronica Boisson, an activist, and the two fall in love. Though David enjoys being in a relationship with Veronica, David starts to worry that something wrong is going to happen. The two build a bomb as a form of protest and attempt to bomb the factory. The bomb fails to destroy the factory, however, and ends up killing Veronica in the process. David feels sorrow for spending time with Veronica, thinking that it was all a waste, something the narrator agrees on. David also feels guilty for causing Veronica's death.
The story then introduces an acquaintance of David named Vivian Benson, who tells David to not trust narration. David then realizes that he is a character in a story, being controlled by Octavio St. Laurent, the story's narrator. David and Octavio fight for control over the plot, but David loses the fight and comes out feeling worse.
Vivian then reveals to David that she witnessed the bomb blast, and that Octavio was the cause of Veronica's death. Octavio accepts that having Veronica die was wrong. However, Octavio defends his action, saying that because he was cast as a villain, he was merely doing his job and should not be blamed. Veronica's spirit returns to David and David realizes his time with Veronica was worthwhile. David, glad with his experience, returns to the factory to relive everything again.
From Fiction Zine (Sept 08 2013):
(Pink laser-beam messages from Valis, Crass quotes from Bob, random images from here and the internet).
Despite all this (and thanks to the virtual non-existence of personal computers) the correction fluid industry was booming. Bob could not make sense of what so often seemed senseless. He had to work and work and work, just to keep his job. It was a litany of desperation and depression. A repetition of boredom and confusion.
Things seemed perfect.
Bob: It's a real-life love story about a worker called David. He lives in a world very much like ours, but with different levels of reality, some of which are fake.
Bob: At one level, Veronica, Vivian and Octavio are all David. This version of the story describes him falling apart so he (or they) become almost separate entities. He falls in love with the part he's losing, battles with the part that's in control and remembers the part he should never forget. He pulls himself together and literally
FZ: You mean he's a schizo, like Tommy in Quadrophenia?
Bob: (Rolling eyes dismissively) Veronica and David have a complex spiritual connection; she's into love, flowers, freedom, Gaia, mysticism, all that hippy stuff. If you were a Christian, she'd be your personal Jesus.
FZ: Someone who's always there?
Bob: That's Octavio; he's similar to Veronica, in a "non-material existence" kind of way, but he's nurture rather than nature - he's like a spooky sitting tenant inhabiting David, watching him and passing judgement on everything he thinks.
FZ: Like social conditioning?
Bob: Like Mike Skinner - we're 45th Generation Romans. Octavio is the manifestation of the beliefs and preconceptions that come with that.
FZ: Far out. What about Vivian?
Bob: Vivian is the equivalent of David's Soul, and so she's taken for granted, always there but never really contemplated. She appears as a briefcase in "The Other Shoe" movie.
FZ: I think you'll find it's a suitcase and it contains the bomb.
Bob: Why do you think that?
FZ: I read it in the comments on YouTube.
Dave (Bob's mate): It's a MacGuffin.
(We discuss this further, without agreeing what the suitcase means. Unprompted Bob takes off again)...
Bob: David, ''lives'' in late 70's Byrdesdale, a typical industrialised English Garden City, just like any other typical industiralised English Garden City, but fictional. To him though it's reality; he believes his walls are solid and his beliefs are his own.
Lyrically he's dying on the inside. He's forgotten Vivian and is yet to meet Veronica and Octavio. He feels alone, in a place that's falling apart.
Wherever he looks...
this view is confirmed.
It is an ugly thing.
Bob: But one morning, something happens and David's spirit rises.
Maybe it's the sun rising over the factory.
Or the pamphlet of ideas. "We must now all join up and throw off the shackles of shame. United we can't be defeated they shall hear us proclaim".
Dave (Bob's mate): So do all their earlier records, black & white is the DIY-Xerox aesthetic, black & red are Anarcho-Syndicalist colours, yellow is the Sun...
Bob: Anyway... Maybe it's finding his soul-mate, either in physical form or as some kind of devine feminine within him. ''Hello, you must be David, I am Veronica - let's be together until we're finally crushed'' she says.
FZ: She's a bunny-boiler?
Bob: (Not smiling) One time listening to the album in the car late at night, something happened when that line came along, and it was the voice of my soul speaking to me, it was beautiful, I saw the road I was on.
FZ: (Not sure if Bob is joking or "over-emotional". We think of misundertstanding his meaning and asking if it was the Old North Road, mostly to shoe-horn in another Roman Empire reference. But it's too obvious and contrived. Even for here. Forget it. We nod and smile, hoping without speaking, to convey the right kind of understanding or amusement).
Bob: So, "Veronica" the girl / emotion / idea / light arrives in David's life.
She opens his soul and fills the empty space. "Syncretism is so natural and they're experiencing something so actual."
"My sun is shining, how about yours? It's kind of blinding, burn my eyes pure."
FZ: Sorry Bob, you're rambling.
Bob: I was quoting lyrics to illustrate that at this point, things couldn't be better for David.
That is to say, things can only get worse. "Clouds overhead start to loom". Octavio is freaked by the weird subversive ideas David is having without him and he's coming to take control.
But despite his preconceptions Octavio loves Veronica too. "A bleeding heart pinko commie freak still makes my knees go weak".
They do the black, white, red thing. Octavio becomes a self-appointed Our Father-figure. He want's to protect her and keep her locked away from David.
FZ: Ha, this is getting weird now.
Bob: David's beliefs become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Salt for a stone, skin from the bone, a fission, division from merged to alone. I was there when a bomb went off in his heart, that sudden release that ripped him apart. Veronica RIP.
The changing information which we experience as World is an unfolding narrative. It tells about the death of a woman (italics his). This woman, who died long ago, was one of the primordial twins. She was one half of the divine syzygy.
The purpose of the narrative is the recollection of her and of her death. The Mind does not wish to forget her. Thus the ratiocination of the Brain consists of a permanent record of her existence, and, if read, will be understood this way.
FZ: Great, that's hilarious. Listen, we need the loo, can you look after our pint?
All the information processed by the Brain-experienced by us as the arranging and rearranging of physical objects-is an attempt at this preservation other; stones and rocks and sticks and amoebae are traces of her.
(At this point, it became clear that Bob wasn't listening, so we left him talking and headed for the WC)
The record of her existence and passing is ordered onto the meanest level of reality by the suffering Mind which is now alone.
"His description of truth has the pages torn. His inscription of roses are just the thorns. His scripture is ripped from the back of his hand. The scribe's wish is the subject's command".
FZ: (Returning from WC scratching head)
FZ: Veronica had just died.
Bob: Not really, David and Octavio's egos had a battle and there was
Vivian steps in and tells us "One union dissolves as another is made, powder to spark to brilliance to dark". I'm not sure how this fits in, but it helps settle things down and Octavio begins to explain how they're like the captives in the "Wise Man" story.
He - they both think "Simply follow the story and remember the lines, I had no choice, this is how I was cast. Trapped inside a frame not of my design, follow what is destined and toe the line. There is no escape, that's why they call it fate".
They think, therfore they are and so David Comes To Life.
FZ: Cogito ergo sum and he came to life? Is that it?
Bob: If you like. He came to life, transmuted from lyrics into thoughts...
FZ: Therefore he is?
Bob: Maybe in recognising the extent of his universe as a fake, he was able to find the real world and so come to life. Maybe he became a mover and a shaker in the film industry and went on to control punk bands.
FZ: Maybe you've been brainwashed
Bob: No I used to have these thoughts, they just never became clear, I forgot them. Now they're coming back,
FZ: Ok Bob, we've been here before, thanks.
Bob: In Horselover Fat's exegesis the theme of this issue is put forth over and over again. Fat believed that a streak of the irrational permeated the entire universe, all the way up to God or the Ultimate Mind, which lay behind it. He wrote:
38. From loss and grief the Mind has become deranged. Therefore we, as parts of the universe, the Brain, are partly deranged.
FZ: Thanks Bob
Bob: Obviously he had extrapolated into cosmic proportions from his own loss of Gloria.
35. The Mind is not talking to us but by means of us. Its narrative passes through us and its sorrow infuses us irrationally. As Plato discerned, there is a streak of the irrational in the World Soul.
Our Story Gets Retold: Madoka Comes to Life (From B3 post)
Shaft's Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Fucked Up's David Comes To Life: two totally different stories in two totally different settings and genres. One is a Japanese anime about magical girls that takes the genre and twists it towards some pretty dark paths. The other is a punk rock opera about a lightbulb factory worker who finds and loses love, only to discover that the world he lives in may not really exist...
So why, after these last couple years, do I find myself discovering mirrored themes and concepts within these two?
Hidden World - Facts & Fiction - (June 29 2011, includes link to orignal below)
It bears investigation as to whether or not Octavio St Laurent and Stefani Germanotta are in fact the same character in some sort of back-breaking uber-meta narrative that incorporates not only both albums, but the trajectory and real-lives of both artists, and all of reality itself.
That post makes a lot more sense than it used to. Maybe I should have contacted him and asked how to (think) understand some of the finer points of DCTL.
1. Sleeve photographs by Sandy Miranda. DIY.
2. Message Above (edited):
From: GILES HILL
Sent: Sometime in May 2014
To: Mike Haliechuk
GH: I’m pushing on with a page for DCTL, do you mind answering some questions about the artwork? Also please let me know if you think any of the stuff I’ve done relating to the DCTL 7”s sucks and I’ll change it...
MH: ya go for it - haven't read the 7" stuff yet
GH: Ok...Was it always intended to have two covers (The light bulbs and the studio picture) or was the light bulb sheet added later in the day? Are they intended to work together, so the bulb sheet is like a stage curtain and the photo is the performance; or separately so you have nice simple (but false) cover for marketing and a more complex one for the actual record?
MH: I always intended for it to just be the picture of the band in the dance studio but matador didn’t think that cover would read well enough as a small jpeg and they wanted something a bit more iconic so we came up with the light bulb, but I still liked the orig photo so we went with both. GLASS BOYS has 2 covers as well I think?
GH: Do you consider one or other to be the ‘proper’ cover?
(Response in Message Below)
GH: Randomly: Did you put the red curtains up, or were they already there?
GH: The light bulb seems to work on a number of levels from the homunculus, to coming to life / waking up when switched on, but also on the artificial level as a replacement for the sun / separation from nature kind of thing and the idea of the coming to life taking place in a factory setting, but the factory is owned by a Stirnest... I guess there’s plenty to ramble on about – do you consider those kind of references to be relevant, where there others you’re thinking of? I’m stumbled across JC Pearce while googling and some of his philosophy seems to tie in with all this – is that just coincidence?
MH: We were just lucky that we'd used the lightbulb before on the live 12" - I found the homunculus image and it just worked along with the FU image, like FU was just this concept I invented to destroy punk or cause problems just like the homonculus. FU was this idea I made up to do my bidding. The stereogum lightbulb thing was more on the ball - where I tell the journalist my day job is working in a lightbulb factory - thats where the idea for David came from and it was also just a good symbol with the lightbulb over the head for ideas kind of vibe. Like how David knows he's a caricature - he's just a humunculus stuck in someone elses lightbulb, thats what DCTL ends up being about. the sun stuff is a coincidence but does tend to creep into everything I do. All the philosophy stuff you mention I have no idea about ha.
GH: I’d also like to ask about mirrors, but will save that for later!
MH: go for it
3. Message Below (rewritten for enhanced rethoric)
From: GILES HILL
Sent: May 2014, a few days after the other one
To: Mike Haliechuk
GH: The photo I was referring to is the big one inside the gatefold. In simple terms the gatefold image is the full picture and the front cover is a cropped version.
The front cover shows a reflection in a mirror on the studio wall. At first glance you're looking into the room, then you see it's a reflection of the room, then you see it's a picture of a reflection, there's a picture of the picture below, (the black bits in the bottom corners are the legs of the camera tripod). This is a digitalised image, so it just looks like a picture of a the picture and so on.
I’m glad you mentioned breaking the fourth wall, because it does that, but at the same time gives the viewer the strange sense that they are just a ghostly spirit – the gatefold viewpoint is floating above the band members heads but they’re looking through where your body should be and you don’t have a reflection... alternatively when you go back to the front cover, aware that it’s a reflection, then Josh’s Dad / Nick Fenstle is the viewers reflection.
So, onto mirrors:
Googling “mirrors symbolism” brings up references to spiritual reflections, the containment of the soul and that sort of thing; those kind of themes can be read into the lyrical themes involving Veronica and Vivian. Does that come into play with the artwork?
Similarly, the Stereogum interview was copied on your blog under the heading ‘Mirrors within Mirrors’ in August 2007. Taking a bit of a leap, is that to do with recursion? Having got my head partly round the concept, it would seem to make sense of how DCTL was seen at the time as being the culmination of the FU ‘narrative’ - accepting that you were making it up as you went a long – there do seem to be some common themes starting with the LFG era song writing and running through the first three albums.
Finally some of the early LFG posts mention you and Damian being into the Invisibles – was Barbelith an influence here?
The rest of the discography has been largely based on interview and random google extracts – do you mind if...
I can pull together some other relevant references if not.
(Those questions remain unanswered, so images, text and links on this page were pulled together St Paul style. As above, the ones below came from the same kind of places. They are left over, and were going to be deleted, but they make a good summary - if you don't fancy reading the whole thing).
More Last Notes (numbered to give the impression they're not completely random)
1. History in the mid 80's - the empire still hasn't quite ended.
Watch Triumph Of Life, J M Roberts - 2. A New Direction.avi
2. A few more show posters, borrowed sourced from the FU Site:
3. The Actual Story
"Album Trailer" (From LFG Site)
Hey so here is a video that maybe explains a bit more of our motivations in a clear and non-judgmental way. We really are mostly all being completely serious during this, it's kind of like a kayfabe moment (or whatever) seeing as how the musical thing is mostly legit, but it's the entire band identity up to this point has been the actual thing that's needed clarification. But that will be for another time.
If you have more questions about the album after watching this I don't know what to tell you.
4. Light Bulbs & Sleeve Art #2