The Lives of Dexter Peterson

by Matthew Ebel

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  • The Lives of Dexter Peterson was based on a NaNoWriMo project written by Matthew seven years before the album’s release. It’s his first published work and is currently available exclusively through Rabbit Valley Comics

    Imagine if any given moment in your life could be the gateway to a parallel world where you are someone else. Your face, your age, even your species could change, but your name remains the same. Maybe you’re still you, or maybe you’re possessing other beings… after all, you begin to recall their memories as soon as you land somewhere new. You have no control over when these shifts happen, nor do you know where or when you’ll end up next. Would you think you’d gone mad?

    What if, after years of living as other people, you noticed that a girl- the same girl -was traveling along with you?

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  • First Edition CD

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about

The Lives of Dexter Peterson is a two-part project from Matthew Ebel based on a novella written by Ebel. The album and story are about a boy from New York City who finds himself inexplicably jumping from one life to the next, as though someone were changing the channels of his life and he’s the star of every single show. He can’t explain why nor can he see a pattern, all he knows is that a girl named Alexandria seems to follow him from one life to the next.

My name is Dexter Jared Peterson. I am 26 years old and I live in New York City. In the last seven years I have lived as 11,577 different people.

This is how Dexter begins every entry he writes in his journal. Whether he wakes up as a World War II soldier in the French countryside or a dolphin off the Hawaiian coast or a cinema-worshiping priest of a post-apocalyptic religious order, all Dexter can do is try to stay alive as his environment changes. Throughout it all he keeps track of his lives in a journal that, somehow, travels with him.

The album itself is a work of simplicity: Only six instruments were used to make every sound you hear– piano, bass synth, harpsichord, electric piano, drums, hand percussion, and voice. If it sounds like an electric guitar or bass, it ain't. You also won't hear any auto-tuned vocals or copy-pasted chorus tracks either. Everything was recorded at Matthew's humble studio, The Coffee Bunker, in southern NH.

credits

released April 15, 2012

Written, produced, and engineered by Matthew Ebel. Drums and engineering assistance by Runtt. Mastered by Andrew Mendelson at Georgetown Masters, Nashville, TN. Album artwork by Brad & Jess Bonn, Genesis Whitmore, and Matthew Ebel. Additional voices by the Elitist Bastard Choir (2012)

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about

Matthew Ebel Boston, Massachusetts

I call myself a piano rocker, but I’m really just kind of a goofball. I’ve been playing the piano since age 5, discovered electronic music at 12, and made this stuff my career in '99. Since then I’ve played the Grand Ole Opry, been quoted in Rolling Stone, and made a name for myself in new media. I’ve been playing piano rock full-time since 2007 and since then I’ve never looked back. ... more

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Track Name: Good Morning, New York
I wake up in the mornin’
with a cold wind pouring in.
Some people dream of California,
and that’s alright if you like your weather warmer,
but I got me a city.
She stays up at night with me.
Some towns are too laid back
but my city’s an insomniac.
I get so turned about and burned out
and confused and confined, yeah,
but all I know is that I’m
crazy for that New York state of mind.

Good morning, New York.
Good morning, New York.
Good morning, New York.
Good morning… (yeah…)

I get down to the station
where the rats are all racing.
Some swear they’re bound for better places
and that’s alright if your thing is open spaces,
but I love me the city.
She sings along with me.
Some say that sleep is overrated
and I know ’cause I’m overcaffeinated.
She can confuse you and abuse you
but she gets in your head, yeah,
but she’s my empire and if you don’t like the
taste of this Big Apple you can just bite me instead.

(Instrumental)

When I open up my eyes
all I want to see is her face
and tell her that I love her more
every second I’m awake.

Good morning, New York. x9
Good morning… (yeah…)

Music and Lyrics © Matthew Ebel Entertainment
Track Name: The Last Pirate
They say a pirate’s life for me,
but pirates of what century?
Are there corsairs in sailing ships
or torrent-trading little shits?
On P2P or the high seas?
Will there be blood or C&D’s?

Don’t make Anonymous upset.
Thank God I haven’t crossed them yet.
Are they peg-legged with parrot pets
or basement rats afraid of sex?
Somewhere I think they missed a step
’cause they don’t look like Johnny Depp.

Yo ho ho, is there nowhere left to go?
When the booty calls does anybody know? Yo ho!
Sail away, set a course for Pirate Bay
’cause the last pirate’s fighting with the MPAA.
Yo ho, is there nowhere left to go?
When the booty calls does anybody show? Yo ho!
Sail away, set a course for Pirate Bay
’cause the last pirate’s fighting with the RIAA.

Will nothing stop them in their tracks?
God knows they’ve tried to patch their cracks
with DRM they can’t decrypt,
maybe a disc that can’t be ripped.
There’s blood on everybody’s hands…
…oh shit I think we killed the fans.

Yo ho ho, is there nowhere left to go?
When the booty calls does anybody know? Yo ho!
Sail away, set a course for Pirate Bay
’cause the last pirate’s fighting with the MPAA.
Yo ho, is there nowhere left to go?
When the booty calls does anybody show? Yo ho!
Sail away, set a course for Pirate Bay
’cause the last pirate’s fighting with the USA.

Yo ho ho, is there nowhere left to go?
When the booty calls does anybody know? Yo ho!
Sail away, set a course for Pirate Bay
’cause the last pirate’s fighting with the MPAA.
Yo ho, is there nowhere left to go?
When the booty calls does anybody show? Yo ho!
Sail away, set a course for Pirate Bay
’cause the last pirate’s fighting,
the last pirate’s fighting,
the last pirate’s fighting with the RIAA.

Music and Lyrics © Matthew Ebel Entertainment
Track Name: These Wars We Fight
Running for the silver moon,
thinking of the things I’d do
to be in someone else’s shoes tonight.
I don’t remember faces I’ve just seen
staring through the rain at me,
but if I make it to the trees I might.

Hanging by a lonely thread
trying not to come back dead,
but there are worse things, so I’ve said before.
So I write that all this mess is almost through,
I’ll be coming home real soon,
and other lies I’ve said to you before.

Someday we’ll look back and see
that we were not the enemy.
You can say we’re born this way
but I maintain that we can change.
We can dream of sometime when
these wars we fight will end, my friend.
But until then…

Waiting as the time rolls by,
longing for that caffeine high,
memories of my former life barge in:
Those crowded buses and those city blocks,
football games and chicken pox,
maybe when the thunder stops we’ll win.

(Chorus)

Instrumental

(Chorus)

Music and Lyrics © Matthew Ebel Entertainment
Track Name: Frozen Oasis
The piles go on for miles and miles and miles.
Those streets are icy sheets with concrete aisles.
From New York to the Dakotas,
Pennsylvania, Minnesota,
I’m so sick of snow. I’m cold, you know I’m tired.

The trees look bleak and I feel sneaking doubts
the sun will peek right through these freaking clouds.
Though the sky above is duller,
you know I love every color.
In my head I’m somewhere up above these shrouds.

(Instrumental)

I hide I sterilized, well-heated rooms
and fantasize I’ll rise out of these tombs.
When my Zen is out of order
I’ll pretend I’m somewhere warmer.
If you need me, leave a note: I’m in Cancún.

My frozen oasis is how I’ve chosen to face this,
it’s how I replace this wasteland. It’s my vine out of this quicksand.
It’s a salve for my psychosis and though everybody knows this snow will
go away in time, I’ll just stay warm in this
oasis in my mind.

The breeze is just A/C, it smells the same.
They tease with plastic trees to ease the pain.
Under pressure like a soda,
shake me up and I’ll explode
the summer better come before I go insane.

(Chorus)

Music and Lyrics © Matthew Ebel Entertainment
Track Name: I Met A Girl
I met a girl in Tennessee that saved me from insanity.
I only caught her name just now but I’m tied to her somehow.
I met a girl in Tennessee, she’ll never know what she means to me.
A million songs that I could write, but I just want one more night.

I met a girl, she looked at me. I don’t know what I’d hoped to see.
I only caught a glimpse just now but I’m tied to her somehow.
I met a girl in New York City- oh my God, was she so pretty,
but I never got a chance to stay, I stood up and got pulled away.

Everywhere I go, she is the same girl.
Everywhere I know she is the same.

I met a girl, she lived in France, I know we never had a chance.
I only caught my breath just now but I’m tied to her somehow.
I’ll meet a girl in outer space. I’ll know her name and I’ll know her face
and although she’s lost like me, I know she will set me free.

(Chorus)

(Instrumental)

(Chorus)

Music and Lyrics © Matthew Ebel Entertainment
Track Name: I Wish I Were
I wish I were Jean-Luc Picard,
I don’t think it would be that hard
to sip Earl Grey and save the day
while boldly going through the stars.
Or maybe I’d be Captain Mal,
a shining six-gun as my pal.
Sexy, broke, and full of jokes
even as things have gone to hell, oh…

I wish I were a starship captain.
I wish I were.

I wish that I could be James Bond
with dry martinis, cars, and blondes,
a PPK and sharp things to say
when I’m about to get it on.
Or Harry Potter I could be,
the king of spells and sorcery.
I’d have no equals
and my sequels would become and industry, yeah…

I wish I were a British icon.
I wish I were.

(Instrumental)

I wish that I were Doctor Jones,
but I don’t think I’ve got the stones
to find the grail and I think I’d fail
at turning Nazis into bones.
As Han Solo I could be
the baddest in the galaxy
and I shot first, for what it’s worth,
’cause I’m a scoundrel, yeah that’s me, oh oh…

I wish I were anything Harrison Ford’s ever been.
I wish I were.

Doo doo doo (Frodo Baggins)
Doo doo doo (Scott Pilgrim)
Doo doo doo (Clark Kent)
Doo doo doo (Wayne Campbell)
Doo doo doo (Buzz Lightyear)
Doo doo doo (Darth Vader)
Doo doo doo (Zaphod Beeblebrox)
Doo doo doo (Mufasa)

Well I wish I were anyone but me.
I wish I were someone you’d be glad to see.
I wish I were all your fantasies come true…
I wish I were with you.

Music and Lyrics © Matthew Ebel Entertainment
Track Name: Wait Here
Watch your step and catch your breath
and cover up, you’ll catch your death,
and maybe if you’re good you’ll catch a break.
Or maybe raise the stake
if you’re awake.
Always stuck between the lines,
you read the signs but still sometimes
you wanna go where no one knows your name.
But nothing seems to change
when you’re the same.
Who do you blame?

It will be alright
if I just wait here.
I’ll just close my eyes
and I’ll disa…

Peering into outer space,
it’s laughing in your ashen face
’cause it’s the biggest picture on display.
And you’re just DNA
with things to say.
Now you find here waiting here,
maybe you can bend her ear
and bare your soul before she’s gone again.
But much to your chagrin,
you just can’t win.
Sing it again and again and again and again…

(Chorus)

Pirouette around the sun,
your world has come undone and
underneath it all you’re lonely just like me
and everyone you’ll ever see.
So is she.
So stop and breathe…

It will be alright
if I just wait here.
I’ll just close my eyes
and I’ll disappear.

Music and Lyrics © Matthew Ebel Entertainment
Track Name: Normal Is Not For Me
What would it be like living the normal life-
an ordinary guy sleeping with a normal wife?
Work all day so I get paid
enough to get away from the job I hate,
or blow it all on credit cards and real estate?
Hey hey, no way, that’s insane.

What would it be like to see the world through normal eyes?
To only fantasize about a better car to drive?
And a body that never quits:
Rogaine on the top but Brazilian bits,
no ass, no hips, no wrinkles, and gigantic
tick-tick-tock, you can’t stop your bio-clock.

Normal is not for me, it seems.
I’ve seen things that you’ll never believe
and I believe in things you’ll never see.
Normal is not for me.

(Instrumental)

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could be a normal pair?
Spend our Friday nights folding sheets and underwear?
We’d buy our dreams on video
and save them for a later that’ll never show
so I can wreck a Harley when I’m 50
oh hell no! I’ll let go when hell gets snow.

(Chorus)

Once upon a time I tried and tried.
I was just an actor reading lines.
I guess I was just born this way,
but I am not alone they say.
Someone out there’s got to sympathize…

(Chorus)

Music and Lyrics © Matthew Ebel Entertainment
Track Name: A Million Miles Away
So if I told you I was crazy would you care?
Or would you understand the weight I’ve had to bear?
Though you might think we’ve just met
I swear I’ve seen you everywhere.
I’m not sure who’s the stalker here,
I think there’s blame to share.

See I’m not what you would call an open book,
but if you keep an open mind I’ll let you look.
You could say that I’ve got issues
like a cop dating a crook,
that I’m lost like Peter Pan
or that I’m mad like Captain Hook.
Though I might seem forward,
you have no idea what it took
to even talk to you.
And even then, my body shook.

And I feel like I’m a million miles away.
We both wake up in different worlds each day.
Even though you’re right beside me
you’re a stranger lost in space
and I feel like I’m a million miles away.

You don’t seem like someone who believes in fate.
I don’t either, but that’s probably our mistake.
I could close my eyes and run
but you’re on every path I take.
You’re like a kind of gravity I can’t seem to escape.

It’s a first for me: For once I’m thinking twice,
so can I beg from you some personal advice?
There has got to be something
that’s pulling strings throughout my life.
Am I dancing to the music
of the damn Pied Piper’s fife?
Is it God or just an author
with a cliché plot device
to keep me wandering?
If that’s the case, that isn’t nice.

(Chorus x2)

Music and Lyrics © Matthew Ebel Entertainment
Track Name: All Over Again
No regrets.
Take a chance, so they say,
but they got nothing to lose.
Smug advice.
But the choice is on me:
Do I cower, do I suffer the bruise?
I don’t expect that I’ll be back,
I might blast off or fade to black.
I’m lost on unfamiliar track,
but no more holding back.

No matter what life I’m livin’
I’m gonna live like I’d do it all over again.
No matter what life I’m livin’
I’m gonna live like I’d do it all over again.
I’m not perfect, I don’t always win,
but I’ll be damned if I let it get under my skin.
No matter what life I’m livin’
I’m gonna do it like I’d do it all over again.

No regrets.
Take the step, then the next.
It’s hard but I’m making good time.
Make mistakes.
Make the breaks, leave a trail-
I won’t leave anybody behind.
I know I’ll fight, I know I’ll cry.
I want to live before I die.
I’ll lift the faces I pass by
and look them in the eye.

(Chorus)

(Bridge)

(Chorus x2)

Music and Lyrics © Matthew Ebel Entertainment
Track Name: Who I Am
If I seem to be disjointed, well I am.
I am not the type of man to let you in,
but you always reunite me with myself
every time I’m trapped inside of someone else.
And I can’t see tomorrow any more than I can dream
about somebody else’s life ’til through his eyes I’ve seen.

Will you love me for who I am,
not who I might have been
or who I’ll be tomorrow
when I’m someone else again?
Will you love me for what you see,
not who you think I’ll be?
when I wake up tomorrow
will you still remember me?
Will you love me?
Will you love me?

Sometimes I feel like an echo in my skin
every time I’ve gone and lost myself again,
but you meet me everywhere I try to hide;
open up my doors and let yourself inside.
And I could swear I’ve known you
for a thousand lives or more,
but every day I’m someone
that you’ve never seen before.

(Chorus)

‘Cause you’re the only face
that never changes, never leaves,
but when you look at me
who do you see?

(Chorus x2)

Music and Lyrics © Matthew Ebel Entertainment