Holy Roman

by The Cannonball Story

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A NOTE FROM THE CANNONBALL STORY:


Hey, remember January 2016? When I wrote the lyrics to HOLY ROMAN (the 5th Cannonball Story album) back then, the idea of an evil CEO buying America and starting a dystopia was still kind of funny. It sounded like the type of thing that could only happen in a concept album like THE WALL, TOMMY, or OPERATION: MINDCRIME… right?

To quote Morrissey: “That joke isn’t funny anymore.” A concept album that started as an exercise in absurdity now accidentally sounds like political satire.

Believe it or not, I wasn’t thinking of the current president-elect when I wrote “No Actually…” or "Turning Into Two People." All I wanted to do was parody concept albums like 2112 where a hero somehow magically saves the day with the power of rock & roll. Unfortunately, the fact that the future president acts like he stepped out of Pink Floyd's "Welcome To The Machine" kind of changes the context for some of these songs.

My hope is that someday this album about corporate robots taking over the world will sound ridiculous again.






ALBUM STORY SYNOPSIS:


Twin brothers, separated at birth, meet in a diner on Christmas Day (“Christmas Diner Intro”) because of course they do. Maximus Pecunius Roman is CEO of a multi-national conglomerate while his brother, Joe Roman, is a punk guitarist.

Joe introduces himself (“I’m Just Joe”). Maximus sees a business opportunity, so he makes a proposal to his brother (“Well, I Am The Roman Empire”). Joe declines, not very tactfully (“No, Actually…”). He doesn’t realize he’s made a powerful enemy…

Enraged by his brother’s refusal, Maximus decides to use his limitless wealth and authority to destroy rock & roll, because of course he does. He turns the world into a dystopia overnight (“America… I Want It”), then sends out his private army of stealth drone robots with guitar-seeking missiles (“Destroy The Music”).

But wait! Joe manages to smuggle a guitar into a subterranean bunker community where the missiles can’t reach (“Running With Axes”). As owner of the last guitar on earth, he reinvents himself as the self-proclaimed messiah of an underground resistance movement opposing Maximus’s anti-rock authoritarian government (“Battle Hymn Of The Subterranean Rock Messiah”).

Together, Joe and the rebels stop the advance of Maximus's rampaging robot army (“The Army of Those Who Care”). But when Maximus learns of Joe’s rebellion (“Maximus Contemplates His Next Evil Move While Playing An Out-Of-Tune Piano”), he decides to take matters into his own hands. He builds a metal suit and wears it to confront Joe himself (“Metal v. Metal”). Joe fights valiantly, but even his gnarly axe shredding is no match for a capitalist cyborg.

Maximus thinks he’s won, but then a strange thing happens: when he tries to destroy Joe’s guitar with his quarktrino blaster arm, the combination of the guitar’s electricity and the quarktrinos accidentally creates an interdimensional time warp. Maximus and Joe are both pulled across time and space by the quantum guitar (“Running Into Time”).

Maximus and Joe continue their battle interdimensionally, fighting for the soul of rock & roll in every possible timeline. After a conflict that literally spans millennia, Joe emerges as triumphant (“Victory for Music”).

Unfortunately, on his way back to the present, Joe accidentally hits the whammy bar on his quantum guitar. This causes him to split into two people and go back to the year of his birth to be reborn as babies. One of the babies is adopted and renamed Maximus Pecunius (“Turning Into Two People [Lather, Rinse, Defeat]”).

Thirty years later, the two versions of Joe meet in a café on Christmas Day… (“Christmas Diner Intro [Outro Version]”) And the cycle repeats...

DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!


(Click on individual song titles above for full lyrics.)

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released December 10, 2016

Created by The Cannonball Story

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The Cannonball Story Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

The Cannonball Story plays ukulele pop. It defines "ukulele" pretty liberally.

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Track Name: Christmas Diner Intro
Instrumental
Track Name: I'm Just Joe
GUY WITH A MEGAPHONE (WHO FOR SOME REASON IS AT A PUNK SHOW):

Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for... JOE ROMAN!

JOE ROMAN:

I'm just Joe
I don't know
'bout much 'cept playing guitar

I just go
Where I go
And I get byHhow I get by

Living on the margins has advantages
It's the only way I keep my sanity


I don't want no mutilation
I support education
I don't need no corporate backer
I'm half try-hard and half slacker


I'm just Joe
I make dough
Not much
But enough to get by

I don't know
Where I'll go
But I know
I'm gonna be fine

Chorus repeat
Track Name: Well, I Am The Roman Empire
MAXIMUS ROMAN:

I'm bending over backwards
I'm a champion of independence
I try to help the little guy
I smile, smile smile

So don't take it personal
It's just a business decision
...
Did I mention I have black friends?


I am the Roman Empire
I am the Roman Empire
I am the Roman Empire
I am the Roman Empire

I am the Roman Empire?
I am the Roman Empire!
No, you don't get it, I am the Roman Empire
Like, I AM the Roman Empire
I--that's me--I'm the Roman Empire.


Hey, man, I'm confused too
Just a poor little CEO
But you know how it goes
I'm just like you--except I work a little harder

I can afford to be nice
I've got your balls in a vice
I've got all this clout,
So come on: Let me help you out.


I am the Roman Empire
I am the Roman Empire
I am the Roman Empire
I am the Roman Empire

I, I am the Roman Empire
I am the Roman Empire
I--that's me--myself--that's me, I am the Roman Empire
I, I, I am the Roman Empire
Track Name: No, Actually...
JOE ROMAN:

You seem nice maybe you're with it
No, actually... you're a piece of shit

I thought maybe we could click
No, actually... you're a piece of shit


I know I sound judgmental when I judge your way of thinking
But
Something in the way you live your life just looks so empty
Don't
Even get me started on the casual douchebaggery
You're the type of person who treats a waitress awful


You sound like you know some stuff
No, actually... you're a piece of shit

I thought maybe you were tough
No, actually... you're a piece of shit


Chorus repeat
Track Name: America... I Want It
DISEMBODIED VOICES:

America...

MAXIMUS ROMAN:

I want it!



MAXIMUS ROMAN:

How dare you turn me down!
I could've helped you out!
You've hurt me the last time!
I'll sacrifice you to the bottom line!

I hope you like your states Orwellian
Cuz I'm about to make a dystopia
It's time for me to call in a favor
Have you met my friend America?


MAXIMUS ROMAN (Voice Over):

America, it's nothing personal
I respect the freedoms that you gave my business
But now that I've outgrown your use
I'm afraid it's time for you to go
Track Name: Destroy The Music
SHOOTY MCSHOOTFACE, CAPTAIN OF THE ROBOT ARMY:

You cannot fight the system
We are the evil robots
We have galactic missiles
We come to kill your guitars

If you try to resist us
We'll rip you into pieces
Maximus is our master
We follow every order


REPORTER:

I'm, I'm, I'm reporting. I'm in the streets. There are robots... robots with missiles! The missiles... They're shooting missiles at guitars! No guitar is safe!


ROBOT CHORUS:

Destroy, destroy the music
Destroy, destroy the music
Punk rock has no utility
Destroy, destroy the music


SHOOTY MCSHOOTFACE, CAPTAIN OF THE ROBOT ARMY:

You cannot fight the system
We're here to rig it
We have the big guns
Think of the children

We make things much safer
We stop the danger
Let us be your eyes
Homogenize


REPORTER:

Hi, there, so actually I misreported last week. It turns out the robots are super friendly and just want us to be nice and normal to each other. And they definitely don't wanna shoot me, please don't do it, PLEASE DON'T DO IT!


Repeat chorus
Track Name: Running With Axes
Instrumental
Track Name: Battle Hymn Of The Subterranean Rock Messiah
JOE ROMAN:

You can buy your drones
But you cannot buy our lives
You can shoot our guitars
But you cannot shoot our minds [sic]

You can have your surface world
We'll take the underground
Fill the sky with missiles
But
You'll hear
Our sound

I'm just some guy named Joe
But I'm the best hope that you've got
If you follow me
I will teach you how to rock

They can have their surface world
We'll take the underground
The sky is filled with missiles
But
There's still
Our sound


JOE'S HOLY ROMAN TABERNACLE CHOIR:

If you're feeling down 'bout how the world is blowing up
Raise your middle finger, then your others, and then clap
Honestly, our enemy is every kind of suck
Some day we'll destroy him if he don't destroy himself


JOE ROMAN & HIS UNDERGROUND ROCKERS:

You can buy your drones
But you cannot buy our lives
You can shoot our guitars
But you cannot shoot our minds [sic]

You can have your surface world
We'll take the underground
Fill the sky with missiles
But
You'll hear
Our sound


Chorus repeat
Track Name: The Army Of Those Who Care
JOE ROMAN & THE ARMY OF THOSE WHO CARE:


You...
Cannot...
Controlllllllllllll........
Us...

We...
Are not...
Your
Roooooooooooooobots...

You...
Cannot...
Controlllllllllllll........
Us...

We...
Are not...
Your
Roooooooooooooobots...


We're the army
Of those who care
Try to stop us
If you dare

We don't need you
In our plan
You're a coward
And a businessman


You...
Cannot...
Controlllllllllllll........
Us...

We...
Are not...
Your
Roooooooooooooobots...

You...
Cannot...
Controlllllllllllll........
Us...

We...
Are not...
Your
Roooooooooooooobots...


Repeat chorus
Track Name: Maximus Contemplates His Next Evil Move While Playing An Out-Of-Tune Piano
Instrumental
Track Name: Metal v. Metal
MAXIMUS ROMAN:

I am Maximus
And I am ready to fight
I've got my metal suit
and it fits really nice!


JOE ROMAN:

I am Joe the messiah
And I am also ready to fight
My guitar is metaphorically metal
And it gets really louuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuud!!!


MAXIMUS ROMAN:

I am Maximus
And I just won the fight
Next time ditch the guitar
And maybe try a gun

Now I'm gonna shoot you
With my quarktrino blaster gun
It will atomize you
And also kill you really good
Track Name: Victory for Music
PHIL, THE INTERDIMENSIONAL HISTORIAN:

It was a battle of time
A battle of spaces
A battle of swords
And a battle of maces!
A battle of fools
A battle of sages
And the winner 'twas rock
In. All. It's. Ages.
ROCK!


JOE ROMAN:

Well, I've been across time
And I've been across space
And Maximus
Is in his place

And I've rocked with cavemen
And Egyptians
Man those cats really
Know how to dance

I rocked with Napoleon
And with Mongolians
They sure liked that
Black metal

And I rocked on Earth
And I rocked on Mars
And I saw the future
And it is ours!


CHOIR OF ANGELS:

Victory for music!
Victory for rock & roll!
Victory for good taste!
Victory for soul!


JOE ROMAN:

Well, I've been across time
and I've been across space
And Maximus
Was just a waste

And I rolled with Beethoven
And Tupac
The two of them
Really got along

And I jammed with Apollo
And I jammed with Zeus
They were partial
To "Gin And Juice"

And I jammed on Earth
And I jammed on Mars
And I saw the future
And it is ours!


Chorus repeat
Track Name: Turning Into Two People (Lather, Rinse, Defeat)
JOE/MAXIMUS ROMAN, REVERTING TO A NATAL, UNDIFFERENTIATED STATE:

I am turning
Into two people
And one of them is righteous
And one of them is evil
One of them makes money
And one does what he wants
And neither one is happy
But they pretend that they are
And the rich one wants coolness
While the poor one wants power
And they're both so jealous
Of each other
Yeah, the rich one wants coolness
While the poor one wants power
And they're both so jealous
Of each other


JOE ROMAN II:

But let's avoid a false equivalence
Maximus, you're still a piece of shit
I am not a perfect guy
But I didn't destroy the entire world
Yeah, I'll admit, I don't mind money or power
But I'm not gonna get them by being an asshole
You can say you earned your way
But you treat people like property
And that's not something that I can stand for
You're a type of social cancer
You do your thing when no one's looking
Destroy the stuff once was good
So you have my pity, but not my fear
I'll see you Max in 30 years
We'll do it again to the same result
And when you lose it'll be your fault
Cuz your idea of independence
Is predicated on oppression
But some day the people you boss around
Will leave you on your own to drown
And you can say that you're self-made
Well, whoop-de-doo--throw a parade!
Have you seen the internet?
Some things that people make are shit
You make money, but you don't make value
Nothing that you do is helpful
You have no creativity
You just make people miserable
Pretend to be happy
Pretend to be smart
Pretend you've got a working heart
But deep down we both know the truth
So let me end with
FUCK YOU!



JOE ROMAN MMXVI:

A new story every generation
Rock & roll through the millennia
Some heroes become what they despised
Pass the torch to the new ones rising
Track Name: Christmas Diner Intro (Outro Version)
Instrumental