Alcoholize Me: The Lucero Project

All credit for the idea for this post goes to our pal Stephen Malkmus Motherfucker, who had a flash of inspiration while watching Lucero play a (great) free show at a Chicago street festival a few weeks ago. He suggested a documentary in the vein of Supersize Me, but instead of eating three supersized McDonald’s meals every day for a month, you have to live out the lyrics of a different Lucero song every day for a month. The effect on your body will probably be similarly unhealthy.

The Memphis band famously write songs about a rough, boozy and smoke-filled life, and if I had to guess, I would say that some of the band members live what they write.

Thirty days. A different Lucero song as your guide each day. (Actually, now that I think about it, David Simon Cowell may have attempted this exact feat when he visited from The Other America this summer. He just didn’t have a film crew capture it all for posterity.)

How would a Supersize Me-like documentary about living out Lucero songs look? Probably like this…

Alcoholize Me: The Lucero Project

Day 1: Women and Work (from Women and Work)

It’s one shot of women, one shot of work
Don’t try to sip ’em cause they only taste worse
Just let it go, kid just let it go

Raise up your glass, let’s make a toast
You can’t win ’em all but you still need ’em both

It begins. You’re just easing your way into things. A couple shots, a couple toasts. A pretty easy night, all things considered. Just some laid back times with some friends old and new, shaking off the day.

Day 2: On My Way Downtown (from Women and Work)

On my way downtown
Thought you might be around
Come on down, have a drink
Have a round, it’s on me
And I said that I would
So yes, ma’am, I’ll be good
I’ll make up for the days that we lost

Come on down for just one drink
When you’re around, I’m more of the man I should be
Come on now baby, can’t you see?
Can’t you see that you’re good for me?

You know what? This project won’t be that tough. It’s probably even going to be pretty fun. No arteries clogged with trans fats and Big Macs. Just good times, cold beer, some laughs. Maybe even some pretty girls?

Day 3: California (from Nobody’s Darlings)

Double bourbon on the rocks on the weekend
Four or five on Saturday night
You better watch it with the looks you’re stealing
Them boys can’t treat you right

Right? It’s a Saturday, so you cut loose a little. Enough of this cautious drinking, let’s throw back a few. A few doubles, even. It’s all good.

Day 4: Hearts on Fire (from Dreaming in America)

Some nights don’t pan out at all, some nights are gold
In this run down, burned down shell of a town
That I call my home
Smokes, and bars, and loud guitars
One game of pool, its just one look, its just one smile
Now I’m playing the fool
My hearts on fire, right where it starts
My hearts on fire, its one thing I’ve found
Flames burn brighter when you’re around

Punk rock girls and lone star beer, and tonight will be ok
And if I could get your attention my dear, things might go my way
Some nights don’t pan out at all, some nights are gold

You are drunk. You might not be making total sense anymore when you speak, and you might be slurring your words a little bit, but it’s a good drunk. It’s a fun drunk. You hope these 30 days are going to last forever. You’re in love with everything and you’re the life of the party.

Day 5: Sixes and Sevens (from 1372 Overton Park)

Drinking women, chasing whiskey
Like there’s nothing left to lose
Now if she’d only kiss me
I’d be a little less confused

Figure the more time I spend sleeping
When we hit New Orleans
The more chance I might break even
That didn’t sound like fun to me

The hangovers are starting to get pretty bad after five consecutive days of drinking, but you can shake them off pretty easily with a greasy breakfast and some coffee. You’re surprised at how easily flirting comes to you when you’re drinking brown alcohols. You’re doing much better with the opposite sex than you ever did in college. This project may have been the best idea you’ve ever had.

Day 6: I Can Get Us Out of Here Tonight (from Rebels, Rogues & Sworn Brothers)

Jenny lights her cigarette
Wonders how she got in this mess
Saturday night, wrong side of town

C’mon babe don’t look so sad
You know it ain’t half that bad
Just set ’em up, and knock ’em down

C’mon babe if you don’t say goodbye
I can get us outta here tonight

Don’t look back don’t hesitate
Car’s outside and we can’t wait
Sunday morning is coming down

You never want the nights to end. This has been the best week of your life. You’ve missed the last two days of work, and you think you might have forgotten to call in on the second day, but surely your boss will understand. This is a once-in-a-lifetime project. Unless the project becomes your life?

Day 7: Who You Waiting On (from Women and Work)

I mainly work hard at being lazy
But I couldn’t help but notice you drink alone a lot lately
Well I think I could start a career
At sittin’ next to you and looking in your eyes my dear

Come on baby who you waitin’ on, he’s been makin’ you wait far too long
I ain’t a thief and I don’t look to steal, but I saw you try to hide it
When you wiped away those tears
Your boy is runnin’ late and I’m makin’ you a deal so come on

You wear that jacket like it’s made out of steel
You got your jack and coke, you hide behind it like a sheild
Your sittin’ lonely and you’re twenty dollars in, to that jukebox and your
Songs are all about to end

We’re gettin’ shut down we’re gettin’ thrown out,
Tell me little girl where you gonna go to wait now
I got my car here, parked right outside, let’s turn up the radio and take It for a little ride

Come along with me we can find another beer
I don’t think they’ll ever kick us out the Buccaneer

Your confidence is at an all-time high, even if your eyes are a little bloodshot and all your clothes smell like cigarettes. And you keep finding wadded-up ATM receipts in your pockets in the mornings, but your wallet still only has like $3 in it. Not sure what’s going on there. You used to be fairly particular about your whiskey, but now you’ll chug a bottle of anything they put in front of you: Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, Early Times…

Day 8: What Are You Willing to Lose? (from 1372 Overton Park)

So what if all my heroes are the losing kind?
We ended up with nothin’, but we put up a fight
And most of it was choices we never asked to choose
The rest of it was luck and now we’re out of that too

For some reason, all the alcohol is making you adopt kind of a rebel persona. You’ve started wearing a leather jacket, and you woke up today with a tattoo of a skull on your bicep. You have 32 voicemails on your phone, but can’t be bothered to listen to them. It’s only gonna bring you down.

Day 9: Halfway Wrong (from 1372 Overton Park)

We both know how this’ll probably turn out
But another shot and another song
You and me and all of this is only halfway wrong

Now I ain’t saying that I want it like it was before
Too many nights of fighting, it ain’t worth it anymore
Too many nights of chasing you around downtown
Too many nights of me not even being around

But them drunken nights of kissing running in the street
And for a moment kid the world was all it had to be

Your head is really pounding. And your side is starting to hurt, but you can’t really place exactly where on your body the pain is coming from. You have a feeling like you had the most epic night last night, you can’t really remember any of the details.

Day 10: Darken My Door (from 1372 Overton Park)

I can’t say I’ve been behaved, you’d not believe me anyways
There’s been other women of course

So hold me to this one
I wont make the same mistakes anymore
Come on now darling, please darken my door

With me its where you belong, so bring yourself back home
we’ll tear this town down to the ground.

White water tavern nights, old songs and cheap red wine
There’s no finer mess to be found

You are starting to alienate your friends and family. Your significant other hasn’t called you back in a few days, but that’s probably for the best. You’ve done a few things you don’t want them to know about anyway. But you were drunk each time, and it’s all part of this project/documentary, so they’ll be cool with it eventually. Plus, there are always new friends to be found.

Day 11: It Gets the Worst At Night (from Lucero)

‘Cause half a tank of gas will get me far enough
To be completely lost by the time the sun comes up
And so it’s four a.m.
I’m on the road again

You’ve been getting the shakes really bad, both when you’re lying in bed at night trying to fall asleep (or lying on the bathroom floor doing the same, as you’ve admittedly done the past two nights) and in the morning before you’ve had your first drink. And you first drink has been coming earlier and earlier in the day. Now, you’re throwing a beer back pre-lunch just to calm things down. Also, you got a DUI last night.

Day 12:Wandering Star (from Lucero)

The bands are done i should go home
All my friends left a long time ago
The girl serving drinks is the only one i know
I got no good place to go

The loneliness at last call is crushing. The crowd you started hanging out with a week or so ago haven’t been able to keep up with this bender, so you’re always trying to talk to new people. But you kind of miss the old people, they seemed really fun. And that one was so cute and there was some real chemistry there. You also have the suspicion that the bartenders are only being nice to you because you’re spending so much money there.

Day 13: What Else Would You Have Me Be? (from Rebels, Rogues & Sworn Brothers)

And I’d take you out at night
Buy you cigarettes and whiskey drinks
Always end up in some fight
Ain’t that the way good love has gotta be?

You used to love me
A drunkard running wild out in the streets
C’mon baby, what else would you have me be?

C’mon baby won’t you dance
Make good use out of these drunken feet
And I won’t mention that other man
Don’t you whisper no girls names to me

You threw up on the person you were trying to dance with last night, right in the middle of the bar. You think you were just smoking too many cigarettes because you weren’t drinking more than normal. Or was there a pill someone handed you outside on one of the smoke breaks? Regardless, it was humiliating. And you got slapped.

Day 14: Hold Me Close (from Nobody’s Darlings)

I was drunk by noon on New Year’s Day
In the hills outside of town some place
With the smoke and the wine
And a stranger’s eyes

Smoke and the wine and the whiskey don’t mix
Shakin’ so bad, think I’m gonna be sick
Buy another scotch as I head to the door
Now it won’t make me better
But I wanna make sure

Is it really New Year’s already? And does that mean you just completely missed Christmas? Shit. You’re kind of permanently nauseous now no matter how much you drink or what you drink, so you just keep drinking more to try to chase it away. You’ve thrown up for the second straight day, and you think you might have spotted a little bit of blood in it this time.

Day 15: Chain Link Fence (from Tennessee)

She’s sitting right there on the chain link fence
She’s down at the park with the rest of her friends
And she looks so pretty, but she’s only sixteen
Didn’t know that when she smiled at me
Now the boys are hunched over with their electric guitars
I’m lying in the grass beside my car
Follow her down to the Dixie freeze
Now hold on, hold on, hold on to me

You have been arrested for statutory rape and released on bail. Your new friend Spike (?) put up the money and said you’ll work out an arrangement.

Day 16: On The Way Back Home (from Rebels, Rogues & Sworn Brothers)

So young and so hungry
So unqualified
Don’t want the jobs anyway
No settled life

To get outta here
Two options one chance
You joined the army
I started a band

We’ll meet at the bar
We’ll buy us a round
We’ll toast that we’re back home
We’ll toast this damn town

Annie’s still working
Behind the bar
You can buy her a drink
I’ll sleep in the car
Let’s go

It’s on the way back home
We’ll be there soon

One of two choices
I guess I’ve made mine
I drink in a different town
Nearly every night

You got a notice in the mail that you’ve been fired. Also, you got a notice in the mail that you’re being evicted because you forgot to pay the rent and were caught pissing on the landlord’s door three nights in a row. You shake it off because you heard there’s a cool new bar that opened up across town.

Day 17: Nineteen Seventy-Nine (from Rebels, Rogues & Sworn Brothers)

You were mine, 1979, just skin and bones
Your favorite dress, motorcycle boots, raised on rock n’ roll
Now don’t, don’t give up on me, not quite yet
Leaving me, with only letters that, I said I never kept

Nights, nights so long, they can kill a man
Years, years so fast, it’s all the same
Now why, don’t you leave, another day

A sort of melancholy has crept into your drinking. You’re drinking alone more and more, in quiet, lonely bars. And you find yourself going home with the kind of people you wouldn’t have even looked at 10 days ago. There has been some crying during sex.

Day 18: Juniper (from Women and Work)

I woke up last week down in Dallas
Had an Indian maiden tattooed on my chest

You are alarmed at the racist implications of the Indian maiden tattoo. You don’t know who you’ve become anymore. And you really shouldn’t be driving to Dallas (or anywhere else) with that pending DUI charge hanging over you. You’re not sure you have enough money to get through the next 12 days. This documentary better be a hit.

Day 19: Watch It Burn (from Nobody’s Darlings)

You said you’re tired of this goddamn town
You said you’re gonna burn it all down
Drive your car to the end of the bridge
Sit and watch the smoke rise
Lay on your hood at the top of the ridge
Gonna watch it all burn tonight

You’ve noticed an odd, destructive streak emerging during your blackouts. And you’re now hanging out with the kind of people your mother warned you about when you were a kid. You are concerned at how much danger turns you on. You threw a bottle threw a cop’s windshield last night. This morning, you have strange cuts all over your body. There is significantly more blood in your vomit these days. It’s probably nothing to worry about.

Day 20: Drink Til We’re Gone (from Lucero)

I wasted my time with these cigarettes
And these ashes are all i got left
Because this big old river will kill us in time
‘Till then we’ll drink its weight in cheap beer and wine
We can drink just as fast as the river is strong
And we’ll drink ’till we’re gone

Is black lung a thing? And can you get it from smoking for 20 days? Also, you now have crabs.

Day 21: Tonight Ain’t Gonna Be Good (from That Much Further West)

When I… walk through the front door
It’s a long way to the bar
I can feel the trouble start
When I walk through the door

Summer’s winding down
There’s gonna be a fight
And oh, oh, you know it ain’t no good
I said oh, oh, no it ain’t no good

Tables full of empties,
And they’re all bent with rage
The boys playing pool,
And looking straight at me
“When he walks away,
Smash one in his face.”
Hell, I ain’t freezin’ man
You know it ain’t right

You’d never been in a fight before. Now your knuckles are bloody, your brain is screaming, you can’t see out of one eye and you think your collarbone might be broken. You drink all the alcohol in your place as soon as you wake up to numb the pain. You can’t really taste anything anymore…you suspect you might have burned off your tastebuds. And you’re experiencing some short-term memory loss.

Day 22: Johnny Davis (from 1372 Overton Park)

Edges of an empty parking lot it rained chrome
Johnny in the middle stood his ground and fought alone
Johnny ‘took em one on one
But his young rival simply pulled a gun

You think something really bad might have gone down last night.

Day 23: Nights Like These (from Tennessee)

It’s nights like these
That make ’em sleep all day

Cause nights like these tear me apart
Beer tastes like blood
My mouth is numb
And i cant make the words i need to say

Going out to drink now has become like getting up to go to work used to be. All the fun is gone. It’s rote. It’s joyless. You have a hacking cough. Your nose makes strange noises when you breathe. You’re guessing that’s the cocaine you’ve been doing.

Day 24: Bikeriders (from Nobody’s Darlings)

At a bar they call The Stoplight, the fellas drink their beer
The women with their hair done up they make it very clear
Which one of the fellas is all theirs and can’t be touched
But that don’t mean the motorcycle riders just give up
On talking to the pretty ladies every one they can
Never seen the trouble caused all by just one dance
If Benny don’t get himself shot tonight he’ll wish
That he had when he gets home

DUI #2. When did you buy that motorcycle? What a big mistake that was.

Day 25: Slow Dancing (from Tennessee)

Smokin’ cigarettes; more than i should
My hands won’t stop shaking and that can’t be good
I would forget you, if only i could
Think about anything else
Slow dance at the end of the night
Everyone’s looking; who cares if it’s right?
Your head on my chest; i held you so tight
Don’t care what they have to say
Our feet were too drunk to keep step in time
But we held fast and we made it through fine
Hell, you smiled a lot

Chairs on tables; they’re mopping the floors
But we were still dancing just like before

You’ve been diagnosed with chlamydia. Everything either itches, burns or aches. You think you can feel your liver through your abdomen. At least you hope it’s your liver. A few bars around town have posted your picture and instructed the bouncer not to let you in. Apparently, there have been some complaints. And some property destruction.

Day 26: And We Fell (from Nobody’s Darlings)

And we fell
Fell around the world
A drunken mess
With nothing left
But the other ones
Still holding on
To all those dreams
We didn’t know were done

And we fell
‘Cross the state
Never gave ’em much
Never givin’ up
And we’d raise a glass
And we will today
To all those times
It never went our way

And we fell through the town
Held each other up
Never staying down
And we’d take a drink
When it got too much
And I’m still not sure
Just what became of us

You keep trying to cry but the tears are so laced with something that they sting coming out. And you remember when you used to have saliva, like a normal person. Some people tried to have an intervention for you last night and get you to go to rehab, and to abandon the Lucero Project, but that would mean these last 26 days were for nothing. You can’t let that happen. You’re so close to the end.

Day 27: Kiss the Bottle (from Dreaming in America*)

It gets loneliest at night
Down at the liquor store
Beneath the neon sky
The moonlight
Six a.m. the floor comes alive with lights
The pans dried up so tight

We hit concrete
We were born into this mess
I know i painted you a prettier picture,baby
We were run out on a rail
Fell from the wagon to the night train

I kissed the bottle
I should’ve been kissing you
You wake up to an empty night
With tears for two

Cigarettes they fill the gaps
In our empty days
In our broken teeth
Say mister, can you spare a dime
Some change could make a change

You’ve been shaking on the job
Just one drink ahead of your past
There’s a white light coming up
You draw the blinds hoping it’ll pass

You’ve been sleeping in alleys a lot, hoping not to get woken by the cops (or worse). And you’ve been hanging outside convenience stores, offering to buy underage kids booze in exchange for a little cash so you can get a little something for yourself too. When is the last time you showered? Your hair is falling out in clumps. You’ve become incontinent to a degree.

*Fugazi cover

Day 28: Can’t Feel a Thing (from 1372 Overton Park)

It’s nothing short of Vegas and a bar that’s never closed
Nothing short of lying down and waking up alone
And nothing short of dying’s gonna bring me any peace
Well I ain’t really worried, cause I can’t feel a thing

It’s alright, well it’s alright
A little less pain every time I fall
It’s alright, its alright
Til you get so tired you can’t feel nothin’ at all
Nothin’ at all

You’ve been having some really dark thoughts. You should go to a doctor — or a free clinic — but you’re so close to the end of this that you should probably not bother.

Day 29: It May Be Too Late (from Women and Work)

Well it’s Saturday night, out here on my own
Been downtown, don’t know how long
Been waiting on a friend of mine, been saving her a seat
Bar’s about to close, she’s yet to be seen
Now in the past I’ve gone astray
Yes, I’m the one to blame
Come on now call me back, darlin’ please call me I’m so down-hearted
It may be too late to save me little girl
Called your phone `til the numbers wouldn’t dial
Yes it may be too late to save me little girl
Show me a sign, it might save me somehow
Now I could get better, or I could get drunk
Two doubles for the road, reckon I’m done
Gonna pay up my tab, make it back accross town
Call one more time, maybe drive by the house

You are concerned that you might have raped someone last night. It’s just been so lonely. Not statutory rape, either…legitimate rape. But it’s all a blur. And you haven’t pissed in 48 hours. One more day. You can do this. And then you can rest.

Day 30: Last Night In Town (from Nobody’s Darlings)

Bloody knuckles and a broken nose
Oh, that’s why I never left home
I’ve fought in bars
And I’ve fought in the streets
Four more years of fightin’
’til they’re done with me

Leave it ’til tomorrow ’til you say good bye
Ain’t in the mood to watch no one cry
Tonight it’s whiskey, so buy another round
Drink it up boys its my last night in town

Momma I ain’t you’re only son
Ain’t no favorites here, its just how its done
Drink it up boys its my last night in town
Its too late to turn back now, oh

In the mornin’ its the wide open road
Take it far enough it’ll bring you back home
She said “i watched them carry you to the back
Couldn’t say good by to you like that”

I can always say, “I’m sorry I’s drunk”
So many times ’til it doesn’t mean much
When i get home the first rounds on me
Raise up that glass – goodbye Tennessee

You did it! It’s over. You’re never going to be the same, but you really accomplished something. 30 days: an untold number of gallons of beer, whine and whiskey. Maybe 100 cartons of cigarettes. Some other drugs, for sure. Sex with a goodly number of people of various sorts and descriptions. Some arrests, some fights. Some uncurable diseases.  But you did it! Now it’s time to get on the wagon, find a job and a new place to live, and maybe start making those amends.

Day 31: Sing Me No Hymns (from Rebels, Rogues & Sworn Brothers)

The rain’ll wash away the piss and blood
But the water’s not enough
To wash away the things that I’ve done

Sing me no hymns
When I get home
Leave them with god
Leave me alone

I will do as I feel need be done
To pay back what I owe
For all the blood and all the lost ones

Until I feel the proper time has come
Leave me be and let me drink
I need none of your good intentions

You decide to keep it going. At least for a little while. Even though the parameters of the initial project have expired, you think it will make for a cooler final product if you keep rolling a bit longer. Plus, you’re pretty sure you have liver cancer so you need to drink until you forget about that. The only bar that will have you now is open 24 hours, so that’s good. If you could just stop the seizures from happening in public, you’d be just fine.

Day 32: I’ll Just Fall (from Tennessee)

I think I’ll just stay right down here on this floor
’cause if I get back up, I’ll only fall down more
It ain’t the liquor; it ain’t the beer that keeps me down
It ain’t the sad songs or the heartache
It ain’t even this town
Well I must’ve had a pretty good time to end up here
Made a pretty good run; caught up with me, my dear
There’s no need to make a fuss ’cause I’ll be alright
Just let me lay here a while, ’till I can stand up right

Now I’m just a little bit tired, that’s all
And don’t make me get up, ’cause I’ll just fall

Now please stop talking so loud and just let me sleep
I ain’t in nobody’s way; they can step over me

You have died. You chose wrong.

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6 Comments

Filed under Music Has AIDS, The Dilemma

6 responses to “Alcoholize Me: The Lucero Project

  1. Whydidireadthis

    I read up to day 14 and then realized this is completely ridiculous. The music is amazing but you’re article is a little dramatic.

  2. Scooter

    Well if someone takes on this challenge…god bless em….make sure you save some extra dough to get rid of th STDs, Rehab and Depression counceling. You’ll probably have one hell of a time!!

  3. Anonymous

    This is embarrassing…

  4. Robbie

    Great article. “Kiss the Bottle” is a Jawbreaker song, not Fugazi.

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