Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Searchlights & Suspects

This is a new KtV song. Hasn't been released or nothin'.

Manic mind state pills create panic crime rate kills
eyes dilate; planet vibrates n' sits still
why wait 'til the thumbs up/green light?
Dumbstruck don't seem right;
Still tryin' to get they dump truck unstuck each night

Cheap life/sex sells half price/damaged goods/ beat wife
Three strikes, caught you one mo' 'gin with that peace pipe/sleep tight
Dirt bags are we; had me hooked from the first drag; I'm free
Sold my birth tags now I curse at the street/lurk past the scene

Work fast as thieves; hound dogs turned loose after me
Heard the news; didn't know which words to use; stashed the key
Gravity shakes now, broke loose; atrophy/break down
Point at what ain't there; blank stare, passively make rounds

Seven mile pile-up; sitting ducks single file, stuck
Car wreck, scarred flesh, the hard rest has defiled us
Garbage in the wild dust blowing halos 'round these angels
Harvest moon plays us all like puppets 'fore the day folds

Brain doesn't work right, trust what my gut says
Sleep every third night, search lights and suspects
Our hands have earned stripes, X's marked blood-red
Bonfires burn bright, search lights and suspects

Sunday, April 6, 2008


This is a song I wrote and recorded with Sims of Mpls. hip hop crew Doomtree. It is on his debut album "Lights Out Paris."

Left, right, march to your grave site
They got 'em ready on the front lines
Every man, woman and child for miles, single file
Take a number and we'll call you when it comes time
The air feels thick, not as thick as the black smoke blocking out the sunshine
Speak up, boy! they can't hear your voice and I never had a choice when they hung mine

You put up your pride they burn, gonna burn it down
You speakin' your mind they tun, gonna turn it down
They feed you they lies you worms better learn it now
Live by it, learn to smile/big riots burn a while

Thank you for saving us savages!
Godless primates that never had a prayer
Bottom of the food chain around where the maggots is
Stripping antagonists layer by layer

Do we divide our do we divide?
You don't believe in evolution or improving with time
So now you standing there telling me who's truly divine?
I know right from wrongdoing whereas you need a sign from the sky

Back! Back to where you all came!
Gimme every brother back lynched in your god's name
Your lord's gold-plated on a chain
Mine's hangin' from a tree by his neck in the rain

I got blood that walked the Trail of Tears, walked the Trail of Tears
Survived and kept comin'
How'm I s'posed to feel about honoring my country
When I'm lookin at their killers every time I see a 20?

What you talkin' 'bout you so patriotic?
I ain't fightin' in a war I don't believe dying for
Hide behind that sticker on your bumper
You ain't sending folded up flags back home to they mother
And you ain't overseas fighting, dying with the others
You would rather send your neighbor's niece's cousin's nephew's little brother
Hiding in your mansion in the suburbs like your god wouldn't judge you sleeping under silk covers

We 'bout to reach Vietnam numbers
While your President leads you in prayer for his blunders
We 'bout to reach Vietnam numbers
Why don't you go ahead and say me a prayer while you under

Left, right, march to your grave site
They got 'em ready on the front lines
Every man, woman and child for miles, single file
Take a number and we'll call you when it comes time
The air feels thick, not as thick as the black smoke blocking out the sunshine
Speak up, boy, they can't hear your voice and I never had a choice when they hung mine.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Falling Down in D Minor
While the turning of my favorite millennium was taking place, I was making sandwiches in a classy hoagie shop called Erbert and Gerbert's, located in the heart of Dinkytown, Minneapolis. I celebrated the dawn of a new era by slapping various cold-cuts and condiments into sliced bread for U of M students to jam down their necks between classes, far too frantic to embrace the adorable names their food had been christened with like "Boney Billy," "The Pudder," and "The Bornk," to name a few.
I wormed my way out of a weekend work schedule, and found myself packed into a beastly luxury pearl-white station wagon with the three other members of my rap group (Stephen, Noel, and Jesse) and a couple of their buddies who were looking to escape Minneapolis for a day or two. We were headed up north to Duluth. For those who don't know, Duluth is the birth place of rap music and iron ore, so it made perfect sense for us to be performing there.
That winter was frozen six miles into the earth; All gray and lifeless with a lair of ice that stood fast for months longer than most years, and easily became the last place you'd want to be driving through. With blinding snow storms, a few inches of ice under our tires and Stephen at the wheel, the four-hour drive was anything but dull.
We were booked to play some local hole-in-the-wall bar, which apparently was Duluth's crown jewel of holes-in-the-wall, since all thirty members of the population under 63 were there to get plastered and forget about their lives for a few hours.
The show began and ended as it always has: "Put your hands, put your hands down, say "ho," tip your bartender, peace, we got CDs in the back..."
My business associates and I were quickly exceeding our alcohol limits, since we were mainly paid in beer. The rest of the money went towards gasoline, motel rooms and limousines. That's right, the promoter got us a couple limousines to bring us from the motel to the venue and back to the motel. You know, I never truly knew the meaning of the word "glamour," until I was driven seven miles through Duluth in the middle of a blizzard, after dark, to a shitty night club.
The drinking jamboree was interrupted when the bartender announced "last call for alcohol," which meant you either run to the bar or crawl to the door. It was time to go. Piles of confused, intoxicated faces made their way to the glowing red exit sign, searching for cab rides, people who were a little less drunk to double as a cab ride, or limousines. The drunk were assisting the drunk and many moments went by before anybody knew what the hell was going on. People were missing or making out in the DJ booth, getting high in the bathroom or puking behind the smoke machine. These were moments that none of these people would be telling their parents, children, or parole officers about.
A final trip was made inside the bar where Jesse was discovered standing alone in the middle of a checkered dance floor- strobe lights flashing, Ace of Base pumping, fueling his own private party off in some distant disco orgy.
Miraculously, the stray cattle were rounded up and herded into our limousines like some dysfunctional prom. The other groups made the drive back to the Cities, while the six who rode with us collapsed into a cramped motel room not knowing what hit us.

Part Two.

I was the first one awake Sunday morning, curled in the fetal position next to the radiator, with a headache and an urge to leave Duluth. I walked out to the lobby wearing the same clothes and smells that I crash-landed in the night before; The bath towel I had used for a pillow was imprinted in the side of my face. I could tell by the taste of complimentary O.J. and blueberry muffins that the motel staff wanted us to leave. I glanced outside to see the same dead gray winter I saw on the way up, and made my way back to the room. Gradually, everyone awoke from the comas: bruised, poisoned and confused.
Jesse had a black eye and his cell phone and wallet were gone. We all agreed it was time to leave. The six of us piled into the frozen station wagon, rubbing hands together, toes together, trying to generate heat inside an icebox. Steve turned the key in the ignition...nothing. No lights, no struggling engine, just quiet. We sat still in disbelief as our foggy breath froze to the car windows. Swear words were said, gas pedals were stomped, and steering wheels were hit, before we gave up and went back into the motel. The only auto shop Duluth had to offer was not open on Sunday. I'm assuming that was out of respect to the 13th commandment: Thou salt not get home in a timely fashion on the Sabbath."
I couldn't tell you how that day was spent inside the motel room, but I can guess. We were all trying to find our "happy place" while simultaneously counting down the minutes until the car shop opened Monday morning. It's never pretty when forced to marinate in the sum of a nameless night of excessive drinking.
The cleaning lady's knocks were beginning to sound more like a prison guard banging our cell with her knight stick.
" moleste, por favor...we don't need any more shampoo."
No where to go, little money and two channels to choose from, the thought of murdering everyone in the room with a spork definitely crossed my mind more than once.
At some ungodly hour, Stephen woke us with news that the car was running. No auto-repairman, no jumper cables, no nothing. Just felt like starting up. Okay. I guess the car was sick of Duluth, too. Without hesitation we all dove into the vehicle like we'd just robbed the motel, when in fact the motel had all of our money.
We cruised down 35W as the pale pink sun peeked over our dashboard; All crooked, spent and wanting our mommies. I was happier to be in a moving vehicle than a dog that can lick his own crotch for hours on end.

Part Three.

We were making good time. At some point about 90 miles outside the Twin Cities, we lost control. While tail-gating a semi truck, I tuned in the Beach Boys on Kool 108- "the best of the 60's, 70's and Today!"
Stephen and I sang along half crazy and trying to stay awake. As we sung "Little Old Lady From Pasadena," we must have hit a patch of ice or a baby moose, doing about 75 or 80. Our monstrous car began fish-tailing, pointing in all directions like some possessed compass.
While the car was deciding where to crash, I began doing the "roller coaster" scream over the classic oldies' station, grabbing the door, Stephen's arm and stomping down on my imaginary brakes. We spun left, right, left and shot off into the median ditch, driving deep into the unplowed snow which completely swallowed the car. We saw nothing but white. We must have died. A feeble hand reached out and killed the radio. We all looked at each other in disbelief. I started laughing hysterically, which seemed to be the most appropriate thing to do at the moment. No one joined me. We got out of the car.
Fortunately we crashed about 100 yards from an exit ramp which held a gas station. We all trudged through the deep unmarked snow like some lost, defeated hiking expedition.
Phone calls were made and a tow truck pulled our lifeless wagon out of the snow bank. A highway patrolman was at the car by the time we returned, making sure that no one was hurt and that no one left without a lecture. Within an hour of the disaster, we were back on the road and would be home soon.
I got inside my apartment, took a shower, put on my fancy Erbert and Gerbert's maroon work shirt and matching visor, and prepared for Monday.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


peep the websites!


Midnight Pine is a score by Kill the Vultures (Stephen Lewis:production, (myself) Alexei Casselle:vocals,lyrics) to a film of the same name; a period piece taking place in Depression-era urban America. The lush,jazzy noir texture of the music swells and submits to tales of faith, cutthroats, racial identity, paranoia and mortality.

Originally released in select European countries (Italy, France, Switzerland, etc.) and Minneapolis for its first and only pressing, Midnight Pine is now available for download at our website


1.Where the Cutthroats Stay
2.It's a Long Way Down
3.Midnight Pine
4.Can't Buy Forgiveness
5.Cemetery Stroll
6.It's a Long Way Down (part 2)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Midnight Pine

This is a song I wrote for my band Kill the Vultures. It is featured on the Midnight Pine EP self released in 2007.

White night gown walking into dark water
That most likely fell from above
Sends a shiver through every last drop
Of my halfbreed blood

Beyond a shadow of a doubt
There's still the shadow of a proud man swinging
Swinging from a midnight pine

Masquerade, mingle through the market
Knowing that this ain't my skin
Look back at the ashes of my footsteps
March with men shackled to sin

Beyond a shadow of a doubt
There's still the shadow of a proud man swinging
Swinging from a midnight pine

A child's face pressed up to the glass
Fixed, hungry for what he ain't got
Begs 'til he gets the Indian leg bone
From the souvinir shop

Beyond a shadow of a doubt
There's still a shadow a proud man swinging
Swinging from a midnight pine

Standing at the mouth of scortched red rivers
Eyes rolled back, shook as she sung
Palms to the sky, roots to the sycamore tree
Rope to the branch where she hung

And beyond a shadow of a doubt
There's still the shadow of a proud man swinging
Swinging from a midnight pine

Monday, October 22, 2007


Alexei Moon Casselle
May 18, 2004

Before I begin my story, I need you to do me a favor. I need you to imagine the most humid, unbearable red-hot scorching bone-dry heat your purple brain can muster. Now imagine spending your entire summer in that heat- standing in a frail, yellow merchandise tent, trying to sell albums to tens of thousands of angst-ridden, under-developed teenagers smoking cigarettes, dancing in circles of fury creating windmills of pasty fists, fighting for a corporate-sponsored revolution.

That was my life, last summer on the Vans Warped Tour, which was an outdoors all day punk rock festival; A traveling circus that relocated to a new city every day, yet somehow remained in the same desolate parking lot, where insects go to die. I usually forgot we were in a different city than the day before and very little time passed before I no longer cared.
My job was to set up my special yellow tent and convince a percentage of the thousands of concert zombies to buy a rap album they hadn’t heard of, among millions of CDs more commercially viable.
Sometimes I would be outgoing and charismatic for my own amusement, other days I sat in my chair with my Top Gun aviator shades on, stone faced, while repetitive questions fired at me and bounced off my forehead. I was thinking of how many different ways I could end my disposable, meaningless existence.
After awhile, all the people looked the same to me. I knew what clothes they were going to be wearing; I knew the confused dirty look that would be on their rebellious, adolescent faces; I knew what they smelled like, how they talked, and the wild freedom in their eyes. I knew the dull look they wore at the end of the day as exhaustion settled over us all. I was exhaustion. I stayed in one place from sunrise to sunset on the same square of black tar or dirt or grass or black tar or dirt or grass or sand or volcanic ash.
The Warped Tour was larger than anything I had ever been a part of. Assembling this tour every day was like moving a small town and having it up and running within a couple hours. There were dozens of stages with multiple bands playing simultaneously and hundreds of merchants selling clothes, food, music, energy-drinks, water, beer, shoes, magazines, religion.
My bus (consisting of aerobic gurus: Mr. Dibbs, Murs, Slug, DJ J-Bird and myself) joined the Warped tour in Phoenix, Arizona. We had driven there nonstop from Minneapolis, thanks to our super-human bus driver named Loras, who didn’t seem to eat, sleep or have the need to perform the necessary bodily functions of normal people. Being that he was an ostrich and emu farmer from Kentucky, he was the last of a dying breed. We all got used to spilling out of our bunks and into the aisle while we slept, from violent turns he was making to keep our bus from plowing through the guard rail, sending us to our generic rock star deaths.
We arrived in Phoenix incredibly late. We were lost foreign exchange students trying to stay afloat in a carnival about the size of two football fields, all swarming with frantic questions and demands unanswered.
J-bird and I rushed off the bus, already behind schedule, as the others slept peacefully in bunks and aisles. I loaded my handcart with a huge collapsed yellow tent, a couple bullet-proof, over-sized blue plastic bins filled with pounds upon pounds upon boxes of music, and silver duffle bags screaming with t-shirts for sale and squirt guns for my own entertainment. We made our way through scattered crowds, cutting through thick bushes of tour flunkies, stoned before breakfast.
The air was filled with broken bursts of electric guitars and a steady hum of people pulsing all around us. We found where to set up, dumped the load and hurried back to the bus to grab the second half of our merch.
The day pushed on, and the grounds were now flooded with bodies swarming the area, hungry. I was on a chair, foaming at the mouth, shouting my sale like some stockmarketauctioneersubwaycarhustler, looking for any takers. The hard part was grabbing the attention of the MTV generation’s river of jaded eyes. The rest went by the numbers:

Me:“Hey, I got that shirt, too! Green Day kicks ass!
Them: This shirt is a joke. Green Day blows.
Me: I know, right?! Hey, you heard Atmosphere or Murs?
Them: Who's Atmursphere?
Me: No, At-mos-phere and Murs.
Them: Oh yeah, my sister downloaded one of Atmosphere's records. I don't like hip hop.
Me: Yeah its really dope! I'm surprised you haven't heard 'em, they're playing at the Maurice Stage at 3:00, you should check 'em out!
Them: 3:00? but Good Charlotte is playing at 2:45 at the Teal stage so I won't make it. You got any free stuff?
Me:Here's a sticker. Get outta here.

Mid-day. The sun crept over my head and sat heavily on my shoulders. I heard someone say it was 110 degrees. Numbers could never do that fire justice. I stood my ground for as long as I could, and then yelled into my walkie-talkie for back up. “Fuck This!” I ran into the nearest building, cooling my dizzy head. I felt sorry for the mobs that had paid buckets to bake in the sun, rationing out the remains of their wallet for over-priced bottled water and a CD of their new favorite band, solely as a token to prove they had survived.
With a fist full of money, puddles of sweat by my feet and day one under my belt, the sun began falling and the crowds fell thin. I started packing up. It would be dark soon. The winds were filled with mercy as if some higher power was taking pity on us all.
As J-bird and company began helping me take down the tent and pack up for the day, the winds began to pick up, which in return, signaled a recording inside my head: a sandstorm would be coming soon. Now, I have never seen a sandstorm, not even in a National Geographic. I don’t know if they’re caused by UFO’s landing in the desert, or if they even exist, but for some reason due to hours of exposure to extreme temperatures, I was completely convinced that we were about to be hit by one helluva sandstorm.
My pace was now frantic and absurd as I began ripping down my tent. I loaded my cart like I was on a game show, and ran through an obstacle course of meandering stage crews and groupies, blue plastic bins pouring over left and right from my handtruck, leaving a trail of paranoia behind me.
I yelled warnings of a sandstorm to the people I knocked over, so they understood why I was genuinely terrified. My friends were awaiting my return with the handcart to haul the rest of our burdens back to the bus. I never came back.
I reached the bus and dumped all the bins on the ground like dead bodies, and then raced on board as if the “sandstorm” was biting at my ankles. A stranger was on the bus and nobody else. I wanted Loras to tell me that everything was going to be alright.
I mumbled an attempt at “hello” to the strange girl and began tearing about the coolers and refrigerator looking for water. No water… just lunchmeat and bread, and this was no time for a sandwich.
I wandered to the back room of the bus and stripped down my underwear and socks, dripping with sweat. Naked and crazy, I came out to the front again, apologized to the strange girl for my appearance, then began looking for water in the same places I had moments ago, cursing under my breath.
When they found me, I was in the back, sitting on the floor, with my knees to my chest, rocking gently back and forth and rubbing my head. J-bird asked me if I was okay, to which I replied, “I only peed this much today,” holding my index finger and thumb about an inch apart.
More gibberish spilled from my cracked lips before I was persuaded into taking a cool shower. Speaking as carefully as one might in a hostage situation, they aimed me in the direction of the showers, and then dispersed into the bar-b-que, which was taking place around the neighboring buses.
Standing under the showerhead, I turned the handle and felt the cool water pour over my heat stained skin. I cleared every last person from the showers when I began making sweet, soft, orgasmic moans of ecstasy. That bothered people, apparently. That and the fact that I had not removed one article of clothing before taking the shower, not even my shoes.
I headed back to the bus, hungry. I was leaving a trail of liquid footprints and dripping from every angle of my body. It was night by this time, and the partying tour freaks watched in horror as a dark drenched figure lurched through the crowd, knocking over garbage cans unapologetically. People stopped talking, as the mysterious man loaded his plate with Chipotle burritos and chips without saying a word, just pointing at the food he desired.
I took the food and went back on the bus with a can of “official tour water.” I changed clothes, and then laid in my bunk. Someone asked me if I was alright and I didn’t respond. I was thinking about the other three weeks I had left…and this was no time for a sandwich.