Some lucky Hello CD of the Month subscribers have received the long awaited Mono Puff libretto, signed by John Flansburgh. For those of you who were not so lucky, the libretto has been placed on this page for your enjoyment.


Comments by John Flansburgh

Drawings by Tony Millionaire


First, I want to thank you for checking out this new recording by the band Mono Puff. Some of these songs were previously recorded for EP's released on the Hello CD of the Month Club. We also recorded a few covers that we thought were interesting and relatively unheard. When we embarked on the album project, our goal (and budget) was to record as spontaneously as possible. The process was very much in the spirit of album-making in the seventies, where a live band plays together and key overdubs are added for spice. We recorded the majority of the songs over one weekend and mixed it over another. It was a great time. Hope you dig the results.
I want to thank the fine people at Rykodisc for bravely releasing the album to the big, bad retail world.


Originally written as a ska song for a TV program and later rejected by finicky producers, this track takes some of its melodic inspiration from "Hall of Heads" off of TMBGs Apollo 18 album, and a lot of its vibe from the recordings of the Ventures and Dick Dale. It's essentially a surf guitar duel between me (on the right speaker) and Mr. Mike Viola of the Candy Butchers (on the left speaker.) It also introduces the awesome boogie-power of the rhythm section: Mr. Hal Cragin (Iggy Pop) and Mr. Steve Calhoon (Skeleton Key).


I hit my head. I hear the phone ring. I was distracted by my friend Joe.
I hit my head. Now I'm left handed. Lost my sublet to my friend Joe.
I've lost my superpowers. I was invisible.
I could just cut myself right out my will
I was unsupervised. I had a real good time until I... I hit my head.
Back in the day with my friends 'round me, you could count on me with
just one hand.
When I digress you'll find me smiling. Could be living underneath the

(repeat chorus)

I hit my head in different places. I was distracted by memory.
I was alone, or else just lonely, and Joe will never return again.

(repeat chorus)

We hoped for better things that were impossible.
We would just clap our hands and wait for the sound.
We were unsupervised. We had a real good time until I...
I hit my head.

This is kind of a personal song that I could easily spoil with too much explanation. Looking at the lyrics, it seems pretty self-pitying, but I assure everyone I was really just trying to put the blame on someone else.


Don't break the heart that needs you.
There's nowhere you can go but down if you do.
To turn your back on someone will make you sorry I can guarantee you.
Don't make the fatal error of thinking you'll find someone better.
Don't break the heart that needs you. Don't don't don't
Is history too much for you to handle?
A little too much wax burned off the candle?
If curiosity has made you restless-
don't stray too far or else you may regret it.
(repeat chorus)

I first heard this songs covered by a few different singers in downtown NYC (including Laura Cantrell, upcoming Hello artist). I finally realized it wasn't a SoCal-rock standard but the work of a great songwriter named Amy Rigby. World Famous Blue Jay Jay Sherman-Godfrey delivers the Frippertronic solo.


A remote broadcast tower outside New York City sends its message into
the area. Tonight they play a recorded performance of the group Mono
Puff. Beyond the Orange Mountains west of the city, this night clouds
settle and the sun's rays can no longer hold back the interference from
the distant antennas. Against nature, a family labours to isolate the sound
of Mono Puff from the static. Like so many others before them, they
strain at the fine tuning knob of their receiver. Finally free, they hear and
understand. This recording is dedicated to their struggle.

This recording was cooked up quite spontaneously at the end of the marathon tracking session at Unique Studio in Times Square. Romanian-born actress Elina Lowensohn, star of "Nadja," a number of Hal Hartley films, and the upcoming "Devil When Down to Newport" video, did the voice-over. There are no samples or loops, just real records scratching along, and live radios being tuned.


The devil went down to Newport town.
He brought his red surf board to race against the Lord.
It was totally rocking.
Satan told his girl, "I'm gonna ride a curl."
He caught a heinous wave and he gave the crowd a wave.
It was totally rocking.
They were surfing for souls to the beat of rock and roll. Alright.
Next came God's turn. He got a wicked sunburn.
He didn't use lotion while he was parting the ocean.
It was totally rocking.

God said to Satan "Dude I'm sick of waiting.
In order to win, Chuck you've got to hang ten."
It was totally rocking.
Thing were looking rad, oh yeah, for the forces of bad. Alright.
Satan went surfing. He didn't need a board.
He could not hang ten. He could only hang four.
Satan had a problem. He could not compete.
Satan was hindered by his cloven feet.
It was totally rocking. Go go Satan go

This two chord wonder was originally recorded in demo form by the legendary, now-defunct New England combo the Clamdiggers. Members of that band were in the group Mente, who performed a locally notorious song called "Bobby Orr" ("greatest hockey player in the world- bahhhh-none!"). Mike was channeling Eddie Van Halen during this take. That's my best/worst John Entwistle impersonation on the fuzz bass at the end.


Far from the crowd, he's the day watchman.
Walk past the trees he used to swing from.
What bothers the spaceman? The teeth in his head?
I'm sure he could smile for us.
Wave to the people out on the lawn. Mr. Ellis and Mr. Lee.
Mr. Lee and me.
What bothers the spaceman? What's left for him now?
I'm sure he could smile for us.
Lee Lee Lee Lee etc.

This song is not based on any personal experience with baseball great Bill "Spaceman" Lee, who I quite accidentally met at a TV show right after writing this song. Lee, back in the seventies had a couple of great, controversial seasons with the very conservative Boston Red Sox. When Lee made a couple of appearances on local rock radio stations at the time, he lived up to his name with a very odd "lost philosopher"-style that made a lasting impression on me.

These lyrics do not actually appear in the Mono Puff Libretto. They have been added here for the sake of convenience.

Hello hello, it's good to be back, it's good to be back
Hello hello, it's good to be back, it's good to be back
Hello hello, it's good to be back, it's good to be back
Hello hello hello

Did you miss me when I was away?
Did you hang my picture on your wall?
Did you miss me every single day
Although you couldn't see me at all?

Did you love me in your own little way?
Did you tell that naughty boy not to call?
Did you love me in your own little world
Although you didn't see me at all?
Although you didn't see me at all?

Hello hello, it's good to be back, it's good to be back
Hello hello hello

Did you miss me while I was gone?
Did you hug your pillow in your bed?
Did you kiss me all night long
And tell them every word that I said?

Did you want me to come back again?
Did you know I've been too far away?
Did you want me? Did you tell all your friends?
To think about me every day?
To think about me every day?

Hello hello, it's good to be back, it's good to be back
Hello hello hello

Hello, hello, I'm back again
I'm back, I'm back, I'm on the right track
Hello, hello, tell all of your friends
I'm back, I'm back, as a matter of fact
As a matter of fact, I'm back

Did you miss me when I was away?
Did you hang my picture on your wall?
Did you miss me every single day
Although you couldn't see me at all?
Although you couldn't see me at all?

Hello hello, it's good to be back, it's good to be back
Hello hello, it's good to be back, it's good to be back
Hello hello, it's good to be back, it's good to be back
Hello hello hello

Goodness gracious

Hello hello, it's good to be back, it's good to be back
Hello hello, it's good to be back, it's good to be back
Hello hello, it's good to be back, it's good to be back
Hello hello hello

When Marjorie Galen and I first started Hello CD of the Month Club, producer Joshua Fried suggested we do a disc of "Hello" songs- or maybe he just wanted an excuse to cover this song. Originally recorded in the early seventies as an over-the-top Glam-rock number by the legendary Gary Glitter, the tone of this track bears little resemblance to the original. Some of the words are unintelligible on the original, and we just kind of flubbed through them on this version. They are also strangely smarmy, and look too ugly printed out, so I'll just leave that experience for the listeners.


Who'll teach me drama?
Who'll be my acting coach?
I love the theater
I'm Dr. Kildare

The melody came from a ska tape I bought without any publishing credit. I recorded a MIDI version of it for the Mono Puff Hello CD of the Month Club and added the lyrics. The middle break here is all electronic music and an electric guitar plugged directly into the tape recorder. That part was smashed together at around four in the morning at Hello Studio.


So long, Mockingbird laughing on the telephone line.
I can read your mind from half a mile.
Peek into your mind, but I won't say.

Hello, open field. I'm happy as a scarecrow now.
Cars can pass me by. I don't mind. They can pass me by. I don't mind.

So long, Mockingbird. I won't miss your mockingbird face.
I hate you so.

This was intended to be a group a cappella number, but at rehearsal it was obvious that the fellas felt funny singing without their instruments, so we did it this way. That's Hal at the mighty Hammond B3 organ. The vocal was recorded as a guide track for the band, and then kept for this recording.


Careless Santa spoiled my Christmas time.
Thoughtless Santa. How can I forgive him?
Been so good all year long.
Bag of money was all I asked him for.
Down my chimney it came- my one Christmas wish-
landed on my arm and broke it.

Careless Santa spoiled my bankrobbing scheme.
Thoughtless Santa. How can I forgive him?
I laid low like we planned. Bag of money was all he stole from me.
Down my driveway I came. The place was crawling with cops.
Spotted the cast on my arm and they busted me.

This holiday tale of misadventure was recorded for the Hello Santa Special CD last Chirstmas. This track is the first finished product of my drum looping session with Yuval Gabay from Soul Coughing.


You sure weren't rich. Didn't live in the city.
Didn't whisper sweet nothings. Never told me I'm pretty.
You sure weren't perfect. What's perfect these days?
But you left me now I'm destroyed.
You cheated at cards, and lied when you hung out
in bars making time with those girls you called old pals
I cried when you left me,
now I'm wondering when you'll make it all up to me?
Don't I have the right to be over you yet?
I've tried pretending. I tried to forget.
Though it's past three AM I would still let you in
'cause I can't go on dreaming alone.
I work at my desk and stare at the letter
and think of the first one that you never answered.
Pour milk in my coffee and watch it explode
and know that you're doing the same.
Don't I have the right to be over this fling?
You once said you loved me- we talked about rings.
I would try someone new if that someone would love me the way you did.
Don't I have the right to be loved?

I wrote this song a couple of years ago for performance artist Iris Rose's Torch Song show at La Mama. It is a radical departure, even for this record, but Nancy Lynn Howell's beautiful vocal brings the song to life.


Those are human voices, but they were recorded one not at a time in the late sixties. The vocals are being played on a early version of a sampler called a Melotron. The British company was put out of business in the early '70s after a few short years when the UK musician union deemed they were losing jobs to the machine. My approach to this track was to create my own kind of HiFi test record, with the same kind of other-worldliness the originals seemed to be driving at.


When they look back and weigh everything he's done
they will realize: Nixon's the one.