Plays Well with Others

by The Cocker Spaniels

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about

The cover of "Plays Well with Others" is a picture that my wife Erica took of me playing with my stepson Nate.

As hard as it may be to believe, C.Spaniels wasn't originally intended to be a solo project; it merely became one due to circumstance.

That changed in the beginning of 2012, when guitarist Stephen Pierce and drummer Alan Lauer, both members of the brilliant band Zest of Yore, invited me to join them as their bassist. As a longtime ZOY fan AND a musician with a good memory, I learned their songs so quickly that we ended up having leftover time during our practices. As a result, Alan suggested that Stephen and I trade instruments midway through our practices, so that I could teach them my own songs as well.

From that point forward, we performed regularly around Austin, TX as Zest of Yore AND the Cocker Spaniels. I taught Alan and Stephen songs from both of my previous albums, as well as new songs that I'd been working on over the last four years. They became not only my band mates, but also two of my closest friends.

When I decided to relocate to Charlotte, NC to be closer to Erica and Nate, I insisted that Alan, Stephen and I record some C.Spaniels songs together, while we still lived in the same city. On July 7th, 2014, two days before I moved, we hunkered down in our practice space for four hours to record this EP.

I wanted "Plays Well with Others" to be as representative of our live shows as possible - one voice, one guitar, one bass, and one drum kit - so I avoided further layering. If you attended a full-band C.Spaniels show, this is what we sounded like, minus the long tuning breaks and awkward stage banter.

Alan, Stephen, and I will make more music together in the future but, for now, please accept and enjoy this souvenir of our friendship and musical chemistry. Don't forget to also check out Zest of Yore!

credits

released December 16, 2014

The real, full band:
Sean Padilla (vocal/guitar)
Stephen Pierce (bass)
Alan Lauer (drums)

All songs written by me; arranged, performed & recorded by the real, full band; and mixed & mastered by Jimmy Ether & Andrew Knox

Thanks to God, Erica, Nate, Stephen, Alan, Jimmy and you <3

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about

The Cocker Spaniels Charlotte, North Carolina

Homemade genre-free semi-autobiographical songs written, performed and recorded almost entirely by Sean Padilla, a Charlotte, NC resident who does his best with what he has.

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Track Name: Handwriting
I hate your handwriting! I don't wanna see it anymore: notes thumb-tacked onto every wall and slipped under every door. Your passive aggression makes me forget you have a voice. You know I'm not so inaccessible that I'd leave you with no other choice. We see each other every day, but you never, ever think to say what's on your mind. All these ugly notes around our house only make me wish I could move out; I might this time! You pluralize with apostrophes; the tails of your letters point in wrong directions; your Qs look just like Gs. Direct confrontation: does the mere thought fill you with fear? You know I'm not so temperamental that I wouldn't give your concern an ear. Do I come across to you that way? Is that why you never think to say what's on your mind? You wanna save electricity, and need me to use less A/C? Well, that's just fine, but take the note off the thermostat, give my shoulder a gentle tap, and speak your mind.
Track Name: Nobody Knows Why You're Famous
...so they write about you on the Internet, and they talk about you on the radio. You're on the cover of a hundred magazines, and you even have a television show...but nobody I know can quite explain to me how you achieved this level of celebrity, which makes me think that your career is like a paragraph without a main idea...so they leap to your defense like you're their friend, then insult you as if you're their enemy. They watch your every move, even when you stand still, then blame you alone for your ubiquity...but when I ask them what about you makes them care, to give an honest answer they would never dare, which makes me think that your career is but a veil behind which their lives disappear. Nobody knows why you're famous, and I'm not sure I wanna find out. I fear I'll be disappointed when I finally figure it out. I know everything there is to know about you but why I should, and I'm not sure that knowing any of it does me any good.
Track Name: My Parents' Clothes
My mother's closet is like a capsule frozen in time. She dresses just like Queen Latifah did in '89: all-black outfits tailor-made for making power fists, ankara-printed kufis and gold around her wrists...but now Latifah dresses like she goes to ballrooms every night. Funny how we start and then abandon our own trends! What was cool to wear back then has come back into vogue again. Now my mother loans her clothes to all my female friends. My parents held on to their clothes, and now they're cool again. My father dresses like RUN-DMC in '86: Kangol hats and leather jackets that just barely fit, unlaced sneakers, denim jeans, and chains around his neck. I'm shocked I haven't seen a boombox on his shoulder yet! ...but after Run stopped raising hell, my dad kept on rockin' the bells, 'til hipsters younger than myself picked up on his old trends. Beige don't age and black don't crack - a damn near scientific fact. Now my father looks just like my older, hipper friend.
Track Name: Manhattan Skyline
The Manhattan skyline looked so off, like a hand with two fingers chopped off. I took for granted what I'd see each time I rode the D. My cousin said to me, "I'm glad you left NYC. I walk around so scared. I wish I could move down there!" I roamed the campus in a daze, jaw in my hand and eyebrows raised. The news looked like an action flick; it made me feel so sick. All my Desi friends got taunted to no end; they hid inside their dorms, awaiting the next Desert Storm. "Hey, Sean, ain't that where you were raised? Tell me your family's okay!" The phone lines were cluttered for three days, and paranoia had its way. My aunt worked in the Towers, and overslept two hours. She woke up to see her life spared right on TV. The city's wounded, but it's strong, left with no choice but to press on, or remain paralyzed with fright...some passengers just might. Every single block is overrun with cops, and I know exactly why I stare at the planes in the sky.
Track Name: The Only Black Guy at the Indie-Rock Show
At every single show I am the only guy who looks like me, the only sign of melanin in one big sea of ivory. My white A-shirt and baggy jeans; their bowling shorts and dirty Vans; I look just like a "thug" among the dressed-down Pavement fans. It shouldn't even matter that I'm the only Black guy at the indie-rock show. I stand in a crowd, but still feel alone. Some loser at the Parish said, "Hey, I just wanna let you know, T.I.'s at Austin Music Hall; I think you're at a different show." Everyone is standing still, nodded heads and folded hands, looking at me like a freak because I have the nerve to dance. I ask my Black friends to try out something new and come with me to the show; they're so reluctant to go. There's more to music than rap and R&B, but they say that rock is a White man's game; I know Chuck Berry wouldn't feel the same. I told my White friend that the opening act was crunk. He didn't understand the slang; he asked if I was in a gang. I wonder if I will live to see the day when I see rock bands on BET and Black girls back it up to GBV, and I wonder if White folks who like Jay-Z often feel as alienated as me.
Track Name: Crisis Point
Why'd you have to wait so long to ask for help? You knew that you couldn't do it by yourself. If I'd have known a lot sooner than I did, I'd have helped you, but your silence was misleading. Now the paper cut has become a hemorrhage, and my Band-Aid's not enough to stop the bleeding. Swallow your pride; cast off your shame. When you need help, just call my name. I am just one man, yet I can't sit back and let the world defeat you. Don't hesitate; set yourself free. The longer you wait, the worse off you'll be. We will both do our best, and let God do the rest; He's gonna need to! You ought to know that this burden we now share could have been much lighter if we shared it sooner. I've got Aleve for your head, but it's unfair to expect me to know how to treat a tumor.