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In 2019 we spent a couple weeks in Italy. Awhile back I was looking through the photos from the trip and ran across one of a Medieval illuminated manuscript.

I love really old sheet music. It makes me think of of how many hundreds of years people have been showing up to jam and getting paid in beer tickets. Or grog or ale or whatever they were drinking back then.

I don't remember how to read that old Medieval notation even though I had to learn it in college. (Neumes, they're called.) And I really didn't know anything about the piece in the manuscript. My Latin is terrible.

But I became obsessed with it for a few weeks and went on a little research odyssey to find out what it's all about.

Turns out the piece is called "Uprising of 1244" and it's about the epic fall of a once-beloved king at the hands of his people. A revolt!

Why did they revolt? You'll see...

I thought, "I wonder if I could record a version of this old song." Pretty far outside my zone as a musician. But I gave it a shot and I think it came out good!

lyrics

There once was a king who ruled over his kingdom
With a benevolent hand at the will of the folk
And every magazine covered every item he sported
His comportment was perfection from sock to mourning cloak

But then one dark day he wore a plaid shirt with hot pants
And chants for removal from his throne were soon spoke


Twas the fashion uprising (rising) of 1244
When they took down the king
Because he dressed like a hipster whore


He made his address to the citizens from his terrace
In a Tampa XFL jersey, fedora up on top
Proclaiming he was better than an emperor with no clothes
"We'd prefer your fleshy hose", they yelled "than those janky ass flip flops."


And they jeered and they yelled and called for resignation
The king just waved them off and walked away in vintage Crocs


Twas the fashion uprising (rising) of 1244
When they took down the king 
Because he dressed like a douchebag eyesore


The peasants who had looked to him for sartorial advice
Were left adrift in a sea made up of cut rate merchandise
They knew their little village would never see progress
With a king who looks like the floor at a Ross Dress for Less
Dress for less


They yanked him from his throne and chained him in the town square
Where children stared at his mullet hair and Juicy velour trackwear
They offered an ultimatum to give them all some hope
A three piece double breasted pinstripe or else the hangman's rope.


Twas the fashion uprising (rising) of 1244
When they took down the king 
Because he dressed like a depressed Thor


He said I shall not
Give up my sweater vest
And I shall not
Give up my parachute pants
My bedazzled cravat 
Will never be oppressed
My romper fits so tight
And it shows off my ass


And the crowd rushed in
With knives and scissors drawn
To cut away the disarray
And force a denoument
Until he stood there, just a naked man
Like a broke co-ed with an Only Fans
And the crowd said "Dear god, we've made a huge mistake."
And we know we're not supposed to body shame
And now we can't unsee this atrocity
Body like a quick stop from high velocity
So you can wear anything you want


Twas the fashion uprising (rising) of 1244
When they covered up the king
Because his body looked like it's own civil war

credits

released February 25, 2021

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Phil Johnson and Roadside Attraction Milpitas

Phil Johnson is a man who gets mistaken for a woman, but only by those not paying attention. That revelation kicks off a battle for self-awareness where comedy and music are the weapons of choice. It’s a battle that has taken Phil to such esteemed festivals as the Edinburgh Fringe and Sundance Film Festivals and the Top 8 Finals of the World Series of Comedy. ... more

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