Sometimes You've Gotta Fight to Get a Bit of Peace

by The Cocker Spaniels

  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Shrink-wrapped full-color Digipak & glass-mastered CD containing liner notes, photos and artwork designed by Fyza Hashim ( with help from Alex Barron, Stevie Summerise & David Hornbuckle.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Sometimes You've Gotta Fight to Get a Bit of Peace via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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After a six-year absence, during which I graduated from college and spent the rest of my twenties trying to get my life together, "Sometimes You've Gotta Fight to Get a Bit of Peace" is here! This album chronicles my decision to leave southeast Texas for good and build the kind of life I want to live in Austin.

The Cocker Spaniels' sound was upgraded in every conceivable way on this album. It was truly a labor of love for everyone involved. Although I don't ever wanna take this long to make another album again, I believe that it was worth the wait, and I hope that you agree!


released July 27, 2010

C.Spaniels is yours truly, Sean Padilla. I wrote, performed and recorded this album from October 2006 to February 2009 at various apartments, houses, and even actual studios in Austin, Texas and Memphis, Tennessee.

Aisha Burns sang background vocals on "Touch My Hair" and played all the violins you hear. Stevie Summerise sang background vocals on "Touch My Hair," conceived the drawing that Alex Barron did for the front cover, and designed the logo of my face that appears on the actual CD. Martin Perna played the saxophones and flutes on "Two Weeks' Notice." Bri Draffen holla'd at me on "Steal My Guitar." Justin Good helped write the chorus of "Anchor City." David Lobel played all the saxophones on "Schadenfreude." The former denizens of the 29th Street Co-op in Austin, Texas stomped and clapped on "Cousin Ben." Every other sound you hear on the album is me.

Andrew "Make It Sound Crunk" Hernandez mixed and mastered the album from April 2009 to June 2009 at Premium Recording in Austin, TX. Fyza Hashim designed the packaging of this CD in February 2010, and also took the photo of me pointing at the sky. Copywritten, so don't copy me, etc.

I thank God, and everyone else who had a positive influence on my life during the making of this album.

This album is dedicated to my little brother, Khadeem Charles, whom I will never again go two years without seeing as long as there is breath in our bodies.



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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: Gimme Back My Red Pen
If my life were a novel whose chapters laid bare all of my thoughts and deeds, I know that it wouldn't be a best seller, nor would it be the easiest read. I know every writer needs an editor, but that doesn't mean it should be you, so I'm taking back the pens you stole from me - the red one and the black one too! Now, my manuscript's filled with corrections that I don't recall asking you for, and all this red ink has left me unable to distinguish my writing from yours. Just because I let you read it doesn't mean that I plan to let you write it too. I've spent so much time reading your edits that I struggle to write something new, and I spend yet more time second-guessing all my words when I finally do. I may never write the perfect novel, but you can bet every word will be true, so you need to work on your own masterpiece. The author of this book ain't you. I don't care if you designed the cover and bound up every sheet of paper too!
Track Name: Help & Hassle
I'd rather be stranded on the highway, thumbing a ride with the sun beating down on my back, than call you on the phone and ask you to pick me up, 'cause you'll rant all the way back about how much gasoline you used to make this trip, and demand that I reimburse you for it all. Then, you'll tell me that if I had just checked the fluids in my car before I left, I'd have never had to make that fateful call. In emergencies, what I really need is some help, not a hassle; in a crisis time, what I need to find is a friend, not an asshole. I don't need your griping or your late advice; if I think to call you, I'll just think twice. I'd rather be standing on the corner, holding a sign reading "God Bless You; Will Work for Food," than call you on the phone and ask you for a few bucks, 'cause you'll cop a major 'tude about how you'll have to postpone paying a bill just so I could have a bit more food to eat. Then, you'll tell me that if I had just put a bit more cash aside on my last check, then my Frigidaire wouldn't be so bare this week. You've gone out of your way, and that's quite nice of you, but you know that's what a friend's supposed to do. If it's that big a hassle to help your brother out, then just go your way and I'll do without.
Track Name: Touch My Hair
My Afro must be the eighth wonder of the world: a big and bulbous mess of thick and shiny curls. I love the way it looks and I'm not alone, 'cause every time that I set foot outside my home, some total stranger feel compelled to stop and stare. Then, when he's close enough, he reaches for my hair. I bob and weave to defend my personal space, and when I see the disappointment on his face, then I say: "You can't touch my hair - not with those dirty hands! Maybe if you asked first, then I might understand, but even if you did, I'd probably say no, 'cause I'm not an exhibit, and this is just a 'fro." I know it shocks most of the folks who look at me that hair like this grows from my scalp naturally. I use shampoo, conditioner and olive oil; my 'fro is not a work or magic or great toil. Can you guess how many jobs I've been denied because of this, in spite of being qualified? When you say that you wish your hair could look like mine, I just might look at you like you've lost your mind, but I admit the vermicelli on your head would probably make me long for a 'fro instead. How much more of this would I get if I had dreads?
Track Name: The Overeducated Underclass
How do I get a job without experience? How do I get experience without a job? Trying to find some work in this economy would make a lesser man decide to steal and rob. I thought that my degree would open lots of doors. I missed out on a lot of sleep to pass each class, but once I graduated, I became a member of the overeducated underclass. I just came home from yet another interview. The HR guy said he couldn't hire me. My resume needs one or two more internships, but I'm not rich - I can't afford to work for free. I worked two crappy jobs so I could pay for school, and student loans are creeping up on me so fast. How much longer am I doomed to stay a member of the overeducated underclass? I was told by so many people that going to college would be a stable path to a steady career and financial prosperity. I really don't know why I believed them, 'cause so far it hasn't been true. All my friends are settling for jobs any teenage high schooler could do. I know a man who's gunning for a Ph.D; I saw him working at a nearby video store. He told me, "Every Friday I stare at my check, and wonder what the hell I went to college for, 'cause my boss is paying me as if I'm still 18. I'm too old for allowances: I need real cash!" I know I'm not alone when I say I'm a member of the overeducated underclass.
Track Name: Two Weeks' Notice
I'm giving you my two weeks' notice. I don't believe this nine-to-five's the only way I can survive. I don't believe the dough I make is worth doing a job I hate. When I come home at the end of each day, my mind is too tired to think, and my body's too pooped to play. If talent were metal, then mine would gather dust: my notebooks are empty and my instruments have gathered dust. I shouldn't have to choose between a steady paycheck and my dream. I'm tired of the either/or - I just can't take it anymore! I know that I've got so many bills to pay, but you're not paying me enough to catch up on them anyway, so if I'm doomed either way to be broke, I may as well just hit the road and play guitar until I croak. I don't believe everyone who says to me that "starving artist" is a redundancy. Will I go broke for my art? Well, I just might, but I'd rather be proven wrong than concede and not fight. I know my mother has never heard me say, "When I grow up, I'll be a CPA." My inner child is pissed off in a major way from crunching numbers every day. It's time for him to play! I'm giving you my two weeks' notice, but if you let me leave today, I'd happily be on my way.
Track Name: The Mercy of Mechanics
I'm stuck in this cheap hotel room, trying to stave off panic. My livelihood is resting on the mercy of mechanics. My Daewoo croaked on the side of the road, and I purged my wallet to get it towed to a town that I can't find on a map. I'm all cleaned out and feeling trapped. The auto shop just told me that the parts I need won't come today. Now, the panic's getting worse; I've got another show to play! He said, "I'm shocked that it got you this far." Why did I purchase a foreign car? Now I'll have to cancel the show. I'm so damn bored, but I've nowhere to go. I'm running low on currency. Maybe I'll call my father, but all he'll do is lecture me; I don't know why I bother. He'll say that I should've just stayed home. "Get a real job and act like you're grown!" I really don't wanna argue with him: the way I feel, he'll probably win. There's nothing in this hotel room to do but sit and watch TV. I'd hang out in the lobby but the concierge would leer at me. What are you all staring at me for? Have you never seen an Afro before? I should've known this town was a drag when I saw all the Confederate flags. I'd go outside and take a walk (fresh air would surely do me good), but when I go out, all I see is a McDonald's and some woods. I don't wanna get strung up on a tree; there may be Klansmen waiting for me. I've got no choice but to stay inside until the mechanics fix my ride.
Track Name: Steal My Guitar
I was waiting on a Greyhound in Baton Rouge when a man walked up to me looking like bad news. Then, he said, "Hey Jimi, won't you play me a song?," but I don't respond to any other name but Sean. Well, I must've bruised his ego, 'cause he got pissed. His left hand grabbed my neck and his right formed a fist. Then, he said, "Hey Lenny, you must not have skills; if you don't wanna play, give it to me and I will!" He tried to be a thug, but it didn't get far. I can't believe that man tried to steal my guitar. Well, I knew where this was going, so I tightened my grip, lifted up the head stock, and busted his lip. Then, he said, "Hey Hootie, what'd you do that for?" You touched my pride and joy, so you know this means war! My guitar has been better to me than flesh and blood. It helps me to speak when my words aren't enough. My guitar is the tool that I use to make a living, and it even makes me attractive to the women. If you tried to sever a mother from her child, would you really be shocked if she got a little wild? I have never been known as a violent kinda man, but if you push me to, then I certainly can. Well, he tried to knock me out, but my Jag was a shield. Security arrived, and he started to yield. Then, they said, "Hey Mister, it's now under control." You can never separate me from my rock and roll! They whisked him off in cuffs and threw him in a car. That's what he gets for trying to steal my guitar. I'm pretty sure my Jagmaster left a big scar. Don't touch my baby if you ain't ready for war!
Track Name: Anchor City
I wake up in the morning asking myself why the city smells like God just farted in the sky, but I already know the refinery's the answer. How much longer 'til I'm diagnosed with cancer? Drive around the city and see all the decay: water-damaged houses slowly rot away. The faces of the elders reclining on their porches are frozen in permanent scowls. I look at them and know that they've gotten used to feeling the same way that I do right now. This life in Anchor City has dragged them down, and I'll go under too if I stick around. I scan the classifieds and get so damn annoyed. I spend entire seasons broke and unemployed. You only have three options to make a decent living: mental hospital, refinery or prison. Everybody struggles just to pay their bills: no wonder they're all hopped up on a bunch of pills! No cash to write a check on unless you work for Exxon or play the State's terrible game. The COs are the inmates; the doctors are the patients; they're all sick, trapped and insane. I've sat under the teachers who test more than they teach; I've listened to the preachers who judge more than they preach. I bubbled in the scantrons, but got no education; I shouted "Hallelujah," but didn't get salvation. I grew up with an empty head and heavy heart, wondering when my real life was gonna start. When going out no longer can cure your cabin fever because your only option's the mall, your mind will atrophy from a lack of stimulation until it doesn't work at all. I'm going under fast. I can't stick around!
Track Name: Take The L
I'm tired of your baby's father trying to scare me away, 'cause he's been leaving death threats on my answering machine each day, and how'd he get your cell and find my number anyway? I knew your kid would be included in the package deal, but now her father's antics make a life with you lose its appeal. The drama I've endured since I met you is quite unreal, 'cause you don't wanna cut him out of your life. He needs to see his daughter, and I understand, but how long must I fear for my own life - 'til he accepts the fact that you've found a better man? Tell your baby's daddy "take the L" or you'll be taking one as well. I'm tired of your baby's father trying to push up on me. He visited my job but he got ambushed by security. He needs a hobby much more interesting than stalking me. I've got enough on him to take my grievances to the police, but you advise against it 'cause you say you wanna keep the peace. I'm changing my phone number. I might have to break the lease, 'cause what if he shows up at my front door? If he can't have you, I guess he thinks no one can. I've got two fists to knock him to the floor, but he should be beyond this. We are both grown men! He says that I stole his woman from him; I think that accusation's kinda low. He did something wrong to make you say goodbye, and I did something right to make you say hello. He says that I stole his daughter from him; I think that accusation's quite unwise. If he paid his child support on time, I wouldn't have to buy his daughter school supplies. Please tell me why you let him get away with bringing all this strife into our happy home. If part of you still feels for him today, then let me know so I can leave you both alone. Girl, you know your love's a slice of heaven, but he's putting me through hell. If you've been as firm with him as you say that you have, I sure can't tell!
Track Name: Schadenfreude the guy you left me for doesn't want you anymore, and now you're being forced to cry as many tears as I did when you said goodbye. Now, I'm not one for schadenfreude, but seeing how you've been destroyed by this rejection makes me feel like karma's truly real, and I just can't conceal the pleasure that I get from watching you suffer. The things you did to me when I was your lover are boomeranging back to you so precisely that I can't help but think that someone up there must like me. He nitpicked to find fault in you, then left you for a silly shrew. I bet you asked yourself, "If he preferred that girl to me, how awful must I be?" Well, since that question's on your mind, I'll answer it with one of mine: don't you think it's a bit unfair to bounce without a care just 'cause I hate Silverchair? Now that you've been dismissed by another, you might wanna take me back as your lover; I know that it would be a balm to your ego, but you should've considered that before you let me go. In retrospect, I think you deserved each other. This love triangle burst apart so precisely, and now I can be with someone who actually likes me.
Track Name: Thicker Than Blood
Every time I see you smile, I thank the Lord you're out of that life: I couldn't imagine having to make a choice between Similac and a pipe. Every time I see you crawl, I thank the Lord you're healthy and strong: no one who doesn't know what I know would ever suspect that something was wrong. They say that blood is thicker than water; I say that love is thicker than blood, 'cause even though you're not of my womb, I still want to give you all of my love, and make sure that you're taken care of. I filled out a lot of paperwork, and I let the social worker prod. Oh boy, did that woman get on my nerves, but I know that she was doing her job. You needed a month to incubate. I paid you a visit every night, and I pressed my hands against the glass, and I prayed that you would turn out alright. I'm so thankful that you're too young to know why you're here. When I think of the future, it fills me with so much fear. How would you react if I told this secret to you? Will your mom still be alive to say "I'm sorry" to you? I guess we'll cross that bridge once we're there; in the meantime, I'll try not to care. Every time I hear you coo, as you slowly fall asleep in my arms, I thank the Lord He gave you to me, to keep you happy and safe from harm.
Track Name: Small Stone
A morning charly horse became a midday stomachache. The evening brought a stabbing pain that jolted me awake. For two long hours, I lie prostrate beneath the porcelain throne. The pain, though I purged all I ate, just wouldn't leave me alone. Who knew that I'd go through so much over a small stone? Sunrise found me struggling inside a waiting room. The too-small chair I curled up in felt like a wooden tomb. The X-ray said my kidney had a three-millimeter stone. The IV doped me up so bad that I could barely drive home. Who knew that all of this would come from such a small stone? Although I'm glad it wasn't bad enough to kill, I'm not insured, so I'll wanna die when I see the bill. Now I have been forced to flee the sodas and the sweets. I let more water run through me than hydrants on the streets. Coworkers ask me, "What's a gent so young doing with a stone?," but I know teenage girls who've spent a week suffering at home. Who knew we'd all go through so much over a small stone? Although I'm young, and still in pretty decent health, my youth won't last, so I've gotta take better care of myself.
Track Name: Bromance on 29th
There is no such thing as a self-made man; if there is, then he surely isn't me, 'cause I wouldn't be who I am right now if it wasn't for my second family. When the house that I used to call my home started feeling like a penitentiary, seven men on Dancy & 29th took me in, and then their kindness set me free. We were packed like sardines into each room: I was never, ever short on company. I heard straight men saying "I love you" to one another without insecurity. I read tons of books and rode around on bikes when I wasn't at a party or a show. I had little time to feel sad and down; I was flanked by friends and always on the go. Art seeped through the walls like sweat from pores: posters covered almost every inch of space. I gave J permission to paint my car; now my hood has a huge likeness of my face. There were instruments scattered all about; not a week went by without a singalong. That's how Meryll and the Trapdoor Band wrote so many of my all-time favorite songs. We grew vegetable out of concrete plots, dumpster divers eating better than the rich. Every evening we would all gather 'round for another tasty homemade meatless dish. We would bless the food, and then Coleman would ask us all what was the best part of our day. I'm still thankful that I can answer him, though it's been a year since we all moved away, since the gentrifiers came and had their say...but I still hang out with them almost every day!
Track Name: You Are My Favorite
You are my favorite person: I cannot imagine life before or without you, but I know it would be so much worse. Your presence is a diadem: I feel just like royalty when I am around you. You are the queen of my universe. Your mind's a shear that quickly prunes through the bullshit and gets to the heart of the matter. Your conversation is poetry, blunt wit, and corny randomness. No one else can leave my belly hurting from laughter. Life with you is a sweet dramedy. Sometimes your grumpiness is quite insufferable, but even at your worst, I find you lovable. We don't always get along, but we never, ever fight. If one of us is wrong, then the other makes it right. Your heart is fragile like an egg: it can hold a lot, but it is easily broken. Strength conceals vulnerability. I'll never truly understand everything you go through, but I'll always be open to everything you reveal to me. I like counting stars with you because we refuse to let this society box us in. Brown-sugar space-age feminist, now that I have found you, I hope never to lose you. I am so thankful that you're my friend.
Track Name: Cousin Ben
What happened to the cousin who could draw anything and everything he saw? Your pen used to be your anti-drug, but now you're just another New York thug in your black doo-rag and dirty Lugz. I'd heard the worst about you through the years, and now you've confirmed all of my fears, 'cause ever since the South took me away, you've been roaming Flatbush every day. You make me wish I'd chose instead to stay, 'cause then I could've kept you right in line. MacGruder would bow to you today if you hadn't pissed away all of this time. Cousin Ben, I'll never see you the same again. The dusty stack of comics on your dresser makes me sad; I see the empty pages in your sketchbook and get so mad. Your talent's gone, or is it just the will to go on? 'Cause every night the street chews you up and spits you out, but every afternoon you run right back into its mouth. You say to me, "I'm not a bum or slob. Oh Sean, I've tried so hard and long to get a job, but working for the White man ain't my speed. I make twice as much from selling weed, and my baby mama takes care of my seed." But, with your topographic skin you look like Seal: I bet the girls just like you for your thug appeal. They give you way more drama than the soaps; you talk of settling down to give them hope - a harem full of open-legged dopes. What happened to art school? Is there hope? Don't you know this kinda life's a joke? You're gonna go to prison or get smoked. And when you fall asleep on Auntie's couch, tell me what it is you dream about: a new football for Charlie Brown to drop, a new building for Spiderman to hop, or one more alibi to tell the cops?
Track Name: Practice Makes Perfect
I have spent way too long suppressing all my lust. Now that my fear of Hell has almost bit the dust, I can feel the chemistry between the two of us intensify with every whispered word and every gentle touch. You know that I've no clue how to please you, but I want you too badly to tease you, and I will do anything that you instruct me to do. Practice makes perfect, and I'd like to practice with you. The sigh of you in the nude is manna to my eyes: rounded breasts, tiny waist, shapely hips and thighs, pretty feet, lengthy legs, a heart-shaped derriere. Let us touch, taste and penetrate each other everywhere. You know that you're about to be my first. I'll try my best not to be your worst. Please tell me what I'm doing wrong and what I'm doing right. Practice makes perfect, and I'd like to practice tonight. Who could say this evening isn't heaven sent? Your body's in my bed with condoms and consent. The way you move and moan has slowly cast a spell. Tonight I want to fuck you guiltlessly and well, but if I don't succeed, will you let me try again? I couldn't take this step if you were not my friend. For you, I'll cast my insecurities aside, and I'd like to stay once you let me inside.
Track Name: No Intermediary
No thousand-year-old testaments with contradicting rules, no binary distinctions made by legalistic fools, no false interpretations that do nothing but confuse: Lord, those I can't use. No hypocrites projecting guilty feelings onto me, no former freaks who make a fetish of virginity, no AA vets who drink communion wine liberally: keep them, Lord, from me. No shiny-suited pastors who buy private jets with tithes while their whole congregation pinches pennies to survive. They stare into the camera as they wobble, wail and writhe. Lord, spare me that jive. No budding theocrats who wish to flip the script on us, substitute the Constitution with Leviticus, and add the book of Genesis to every syllabus: they, Lord, get no trust. No acolytes of Paul who perpetrate misogyny, and cannot bear to see a woman in authority: even Adam stopped despising Eve eventually. Lord, don't despise me, but I can't find you in these buildings or these books, and I don't hear you in the words that they speak. I'm exhausted, and I can no longer look. To my own temple I shall rest and retreat. I'll leave a key for you right under the mat. Oh Lord, if you could just meet me where I'm at, I'll let no intermediary separate us two.
Track Name: Postcard from Exile
Little bro, I miss you more and more each day. Sometimes I feel guilty for moving away, but I'd feel even worse if I chose to stay. Little bro, you were too young to realize how Anchor City ruined everybody's lives, but now you're slowly seeing it with your own eyes. Oh, please don't ever think you caused me relocation. The Saturday cartoons, the wrestling and Playstation, the football in the park, the weird impersonations were all the brightest moments of each day, and we will do them all again someday. Little bro, I know you're growing up so fast. You're wrecking shop on the gridiron and in class. You've even found yourself a little bonnie lass; don't move too fast. Little bro, I know it kinda hurts to see the slow erosion of the love and unity between all of the grown-ups in the family. Oh please, don't ever think that I forgot about you: a tear for every day that I have spent without you. Continue to avoid the anchors all around you, and when it's time for you to get away, I'll have a place prepared where you can stay. I really miss you so much.