Chameleon In A Kaleidoscope (1996)

by Mailbox

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This is the first "real" Mailbox album. There were demo tapes (actual cassette tapes) before this, of course. This was the first time I used real studio equipment to record a full-length project.

As with most first albums, I had tons of material but I wasn't really sure what I wanted my debut to be. I didn't know how I wanted this hobby of mine to be received by the public. So I tried a little bit of everything. There some geek rock, acoustic pop, prog and even a spoken-word epic.

Like my other earlier recordings, I don't relate to the material so much anymore but I have great memories of writing and recording it on my own and with my gang. Most of all, I'm proud of the pure ambition and freedom I put into Chameleon In A Kaleidoscope.

Uniqueness invades every pore of Mailbox's Chameleon In A Kaleidoscope ... generating oodles of great grooves ... On MAILBOX's debut album, innovative songwriter-producer-performer Adam Rabin courageously fuses his bizarre musical stew with witty stories of identity, escape, and confusion. The Mailbox sound is complemented by writer Greg Skillman's surreal lyrics. They are also joined by David Delaney, Rachel Beck, Andy Rabin, Rian Gittman, and others who bring their distinctive voices and styles to the project. For those with the ability to smirk at life's everyday struggles, MAILBOX's debut album offers a collection of personal anthems.
- FAU Free Press


released January 1, 1996

written and performed by Adam Rabin with Greg Skillman, Rachel Beck, David Delaney, Andy Rabin, Sparx T. Urquhart, Dave Moadel, Rian Gittman, Kathy Hof, Melissa Weinstock
Cover painting by Cheryl Nathan


all rights reserved



Adam Rabin Burlington

Where Prog Rock meets Geek Rock. Adam Rabin is a Vermont songwriter/multi-instrumentalist who has also played with Elephants of Scotland, Mailbox, and musical improv troupe She Thicc. You can also hear Adam’s music on the podcasts: Improvised Weapons, Improv Overdrive, What The Hell Are You Watching, and Vermont Favorites. ... more

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Track Name: The San Antonio-West Virginia Energy Malaprop Incident (incl. On the Clock)
In an economical pan-dimensional directive from the top on the San Antonio-West Virginia Energy Malaprop They said, "re-adjustable non-combustible equipments to be used and be mandatorilly inexcusably constructed with a muse!"
With such non-essentially supercilious requirements being made such as geometrical hydroelectric conducive lemonade the existentially motivated interested will be served like asymmetrical architecture that gets on people's nerves.

Well, this hypothetical imaginary system would go bust if the diabolical ignoramuses betrayed the public trust so in an anti-partisan editorial, scientists did suggest that the absolute-zero superconductors would actually be the best!!

These are the situations
when artists get elected.
Some subtle fluctuations in
just what gets protected.
There'd be rivers on the sun
and mountains on the cities.
Nobody'd get anything done
but it sure would be pretty.
When the over-aesthetic perpetrators heard about the plan they made ritualistic genuflections and summoned the good god, Pan they deactivated appropriations to the scientific set, but Pan apathetically materialized scolding the marionettes
He said, "Preposterously incorrigible mindsets such as yours are certifiably nonproductive contagious little sores for it takes dual-hemisphere interpolation to arrive on different planes or evolutionary homeostasis takes up half the brain!"

These are the situations
when logic gets confiscated.
Some subtle fluctuations
in what gets delegated.
There'd be rivers on the sun
and mountains on the cities.
Nobody'd get anything done
but it sure would be pretty.

Well, their educational malnutrition was noticed then and there as psychosomatic efflouresence appeared out of thin air so, with diplomatic ingenuity a consortium met to pool their quantumphysical baroquedelic solutions to the rule!

These are the situations
when everyone works together.
Some subtle fluctuations
to make it all work better.
All the rivers on the sun
and mountains on the moon
can be navigated and mapped
by late this afternoon...


I tried to live on a clock
it was too small and noisy
so I got off it and just roamed
It was nice
not having a buzzing clicking thing
under my ass all the time
As soon as
as soon as I thought that
I was back on the clock
and I hadn't left yet
and you know how that is
Track Name: As Long As We're Here
The Employee:
"Watching the tubes have got me down.
Who is that on the bridge?
I feel the moments inflate.
But time is money.
(No, time is space,
didn't Einstein prove that?)
As long as we're here
let's get something done.
Let's learn astrology, let's form a bond.
It may not matter in a hundred years
But just in case it does...
The Bossman:
"Pulling the serfs have held me up.
Who is that on the tubes?
I feel the moments escape.
But time is space.
(No, time is money,
didn't Patek Philip prove that?)
As long as we're here
let's get something done.
Let's learn nuclear physics,
let's form a bond.
It may not matter in a hundred years,
but just in case it does...
The Arbitrator:
"I've heard both sides and their variations
'Nothing matters and so what if it did'
and 'It's all so important,
so who you tryin' to kid'
They both stand in misrepresentation
and they could use
a little clarification.
Everything's about as real
as your very first intention.
Maybe it's all just symbols from another dimension.
Maybe it's all random natural evolution.
Maybe it's all impersonal elaborate experimentation."
The Arbitrator's final word:
"As long as we're here,
let's get something done.
Let's learn symbiosis,
let's form a bond.
It just might matter in a hundred years
so here's to when it does!"
Track Name: Everybody Out
Sometimes I need to imagine
that the FBI is following me
Guns and bugs and darkest shades
and Pig Latin codes on Walkie Talkie
sometimes... sometimes I...
Sometimes I need to pretend
that I'm a hero of war who just wouldn't die
They'd gather around to hear my tale
of when I stormed the hill where I lost my eye
sometimes... sometimes eye...

sometimes... I need to dream...
everybody ... everybody OUT! (everybody out)

Sometimes I wish it was me,
the lead story on 60 minutes
The boy with 3 arms or of the like,
either way, a freak show exhibit
sometimes... sometimes I...

sometimes... I need to dream...
everybody ... everybody OUT! (everybody out)

Sometimes I wish I was you
standing on the top of the world
For that chance I would do anything
if I could be a beautiful girl
sometimes... sometimes I...

sometimes... I need to dream...
everybody ... everybody OUT!

(everybody out)
Track Name: A Little More
Many's the time I wonder
where my life is going to
Many's the time like this
I think I bit off more than I can chew
just a little, just a little more,
just a little more
Many's the time I wonder
if maybe I have seen it all
But just when I've had enough
there's always something else to haul
just a little, just a little more,
just a little more

If you need me,
you know where to find me
I'll be hiding behind my desk
trying to get some rest!
Everyday I try and try
and I just don't know what it's for
Still everyday they say
I need to try a little bit more
just a little, just a little more,
just a little more

If you must know,
just take a memo
I swear, I swear I'll quit
if I get anymore ... grief!
Many's the time I'm thinking
that there's nothing else that I can do
Except to pray that
I can take a little more before I'm through
just a little, just a little more,
just a little more...
Track Name: Tracheas
It's a mistake,
well I hope it's a mistake,
I got a room
full of tracheas.
They came in a box
in the mail today
If I find out you did it,
you'll pay
Windpipes blowing a summer song

It's the same old song
and it's a little too long
Windpipes shaping the way I live
It's the same old life
and it's a little too long
How did they get here?

What's their destiny?
The dog just fetched one
far away from me
Maybe they'll make
the grass look greener.
Maybe they'll make
the past a little clearer.
Windpipes blowing a summer tune

It's the same old tune
that fits in a spoon
Windpipes dancing an Irish jig
It's the same old jig
but they're a little too big
For this kind of silliness

that I cannot foresee
Honest to God, Tracheas,
piled next to me!
What will I do now?

Just what can I do?
Maybe I'll mail them
all back to you?
I take in air,
but I no longer breathe
If the end was closed off
I could use one for a sheathe
Windpipes mumble a winter prayer

It's the same old prayer
but there's nobody there
Windpipes paint my greenhouse roof
Supposed to be a see through roof
but they made a goof!
Track Name: My Head
My head caved in
and my heart got scared
My heart got scared,
"What will make me beat?"

My head caved in
and my mouth got scared
My mouth got scared,
"What else can I say?"

My head caved in
and my ears got scared
My ears got scared,
"Hello? Hello? Hello?"

My head caved in
and my appendix got scared
My appendix got scared,
"What am I doing here anyway?"

I puffed my head full again
And my body parts chilled
My body parts chilled
and everyone got cocky again!
Track Name: The Yellow Bus
The yellow bus, the yellow bus
rolls down the street
Runs over the children's feet
and they cry to their moms.
The bus stop turns into a
hopping mass of screaming kids
Like a hundred squeaky pogo sticks
and they cry to their moms.
The hopping mass:

Angry moms in unison:

"What did I tell you?
Don't play in the road.
Just sit and wait for the bus,
it will be here soon.
Mixie the Pixie:

"Right now, you are just a kid.
One day you'll grow up really big."
Angry moms (still angry):

"What did I tell you?
NO! You don't listen to me.
One day you won't be so lucky,
One day you'll see."
Joe, the bus driver:

"Look, I got a job to do.
I take pride in my bus.
So, when I come around,
best not to make a fuss.
I said just wait on the curb.
Was that so tough to comprehend?
Now, we'll be late for school.
You're dead if I get a reprimand."
Ms. Feldman (Teacher of the Year, 2 years running)

"And after all of this mess,
the kids, they send them down to me.
What am I supposed to do
to keep them occupied until 3:00?
Is there a word that can
teach these kids about happiness.
I search my whole mind
and all I find is 'recess'."
Joe (2:58pm):

"I'm sick of driving this here bus.
I've just about had enough.
It took no big vision
to realize my mission.
Like a pilot from Japan,
I will help to save the land.
As long as I'm behind the wheel
my plan will come to see the real
yes, it will."
The yellow bus, the yellow bus is now possessed and puts the spoiled brats to rest at the bottom of a hill.
Track Name: The Piano That Jack Filled
part 1-The Piano That Jack Filled
Jack was an ordinary man
with an ordinary life
Ordinary kids and
an ordinary wife
Then, one fine day
just for kicks
He shoved them into a piano
that he made from popsicle sticks
Jack could play Beethoven,
Jack could play Bach
Oh, how Jack could boogie,
My, how Jack could rock
But Jack's same old song and dance
had sent him amiss
So he wrote a new one
and it goes a bit like this...

Part 2-The Beat That Bob Walked
Bob was an ordinary cop
on an ordinary beat
in an ordinary town
on his ordinary feet
Then, one fine day
near quitting time
He got the call
about a gruesome crime
Bob had seen a lot,
Bob was a pro
But, now Bob would face
what Bob couldn't possibly know
Bob arrived at the scene,
the case was all his
But, there was only one clue
and it went a bit like this...

Part 3-The Show That Alan Shot
Alan was an ordinary cameraguy
giving ordinary cues
Shooting ordinary footage
for the ordinary news
Then, one fine day while
connecting some feeds
He got the big story
"If it bleeds, it leads"
Alan could shoot hand held,
Alan could shoot steady
Alan was a good P.A.,
Alan was always ready
He set his critical focus
and taped with minimal hiss
The piano that Jack filled
and the tune that went like this...

Part 4-The Job That Jane Worked
Jane was an ordinary girl
with an ordinary face
And an ordinary job
at an ordinary place
Each and every night
she worked over there
Taking it off
until she was bare
Jane danced for pleasure,
Jane danced for bucks
Jane danced for sickos,
Jane danced for drunks
Jane danced to Ozzy,
Jane danced to Kiss
Then she danced to a song
that went a little bit like this...

Part 5-The Bar Where Bob Unwound
Bob was walking home
to his ordinary pad
Thinking ordinary thoughts
about the mission he had
On stressful nights like this
Bob needed to unwind
So, he stopped into a bar -
The first one he could find
Bob soaked up his beer
and the girls up on the stage
Bob just sighed and wished
that he again could be that age
But the key to that murder
was in his head and ringing strong
and as Bob whistled out the tune
a girl danced to this song

Part 6-The Lam That Jack Was On
Jack was an ordinary fugitive
on the ordinary run
From the ordinary law
for the wrongs he had done
Jack hid across the street
behind a bush on his neighbor's lawn
He watched and he waited
until everyone was gone
When the last cop car left
Jack snuck back into his home
and picked up the tickets that
he had left by the phone
But before Jack took off
to meet up with his partner in crime
He sat down at his dear piano
one last time...

Part 7-The Room Where Jane Got Dressed
After Jane was through
showing off her pair
She went back to the dressing room
and Bob was waiting there
Bob pulled out his notepad,
Jane put on some clothes
Bob pulled out a cop badge
and Jane turned up her nose
He asked about the song
she danced to at the show
She played it off legit
and said she didn't know
Two dancers came backstage,
Bob turned to see the four
Jane was singing to herself
as she snuck out the back door

Part 8-The News That Everyone Watched
The opening theme was playing,
Alan counted down from 5
Then he pointed to the anchor
and it was time to go live:
"Last night around 8
a wife and her kids were killed
in a story we like to call,
'The Piano That Jack Filled'"
Everyone watched in fear
as the tape played over the air
Except for the executives,
"Look at our ratings share!"
"We Don't know why he did it
and we don't know where he is
We only have the transcript
of a song that goes like this..."

Part 9-The Trip That Pam Took
Pam was ordinary psychic
and an ordinary stoner
An ordinary flake
and an ordinary loner
She smoked her last bowl,
the worst of her traumas
So she pawned off her stereo
for a trip to the Bahamas
Pam read palms,
Pam smoked hash
But, Pam had connections
to replenish her stash
Pam was still stoned
when she boarded the plane
And some mystical music
was channeled through her brain

Part 10-The Trip That Jack And Jane Took
Jane met Jack on time
at the airport for the flight
They checked in all their luggage
and took off like a kite
To leave their lives behind
so they could be together
Jack and Jane in love,
Jack and Jane forever
They landed hand in hand
the height of all their dramas
Alone and free at last
down in the Bahamas
Jane knew how to cha-cha,
Jack knew how to rhumba
Jane knew how to tango,
Jack knew how to samba

Part 11-The Footage That Alan Reviewed
Alan reviewed his footage
for a follow-up story
Alan had to shudder,
it was graphic, it was gory
No new clues had surfaced,
just something about a dancer
The police were getting nervous,
the public wanted answers
Alan rewound the tape
and played it back once more
When he saw a pair of tickets
sitting on the floor
A perfect piece of evidence
was present all along
But there was still the matter
of that damned little song...

Part 12-The Smile That Jerry Wore
Jerry was an ordinary bellhop
with an ordinary smile
At an ordinary resort
on the Bahama isle
When Jack and Jane checked in
exhausted from the trip
Jerry took their luggage
and Jack gave him a tip
Jerry sees it all,
Jerry works everyday
Jerry runs the joint
in his own special way
Later on that night
while Jerry made the rounds
He stopped at Jack and Jane's door
and heard these lovely sounds...

Part 13-The Tape That Alan Played
Alan took the video
and went down to the station
He had to show Officer Bob
about the murderer's vacation
Alan showed the video to Bob
and to the Captain
Who went through the roof,
"How could this have happened?!"
There was no time for blame now,
They had the time, they had the place
And the Captain was just happy
to get Bob out of his face
Alan and Bob got on a plane
like the others had done before
With nothing to do until they land,
they reviewed the tune once more

Part 14-The Deal That Jerry And Pam Had
Pam was jonesing big time,
her skin began to crawl
She stepped out of her hotel room
and walked on down the hall
At last, Pam found her man
with his ear against a door
Pam made her connection,
Pam was set to score
Jerry and Pam went to the basement
where Jerry kept his stash
Pam's mouth began to water
as she handed over the cash
The stars were totally groovy,
her telepathic powers kicked in
Again it echoed through her head
and Pam began to sing...

Part 15-The Questions Ben Was Asked
Alan and Bob arrived at last
on the trail of a wanted man
They spoke to the hotel manager
to find out all they can
Bob pulled out his notepad
and licked the tip of his pen
And started asking questions
to the hotel manager, Ben
Alan shot away,
Alan didn't miss a frame
This was big time news,
this was not a game
Ben was glad to help,
proud to right the wrong
Bob said, "Oh, one more thing.
Do you recognize this song?"

Part 16-The Scam That Jerry Pulled
Jerry was spying in
as the song burned in his ears
Something big was going down,
their fate was drawing near
Thinking on his feet,
a clever sort of fella
Jerry told Pam, Jack,
and Jane to hide out in the cellar
In fear of some connection
to the deal he made with Pam
Jerry told Bob that
Jack checked out and flew to Vietnam
Jerry realized the song
that Pam was always cooing
was the same one Jack and Jane sang
in their room when they were screwing

Part 17-The Trail That Bob And Alan Sniffed
Bob, Alan, and Ben
marched up to Jack's suite
Sniffing out for clues,
putting on the heat
The room was totally empty,
Jack was surely gone
"Jerry must've been right.
We must move on."
Alan and Bob took Jerry's lead
and caught a flight to Danang
But terrorists shot the pilot
and the plane crashed with a bang
As Bob's blood dripped over Alan
who met his death
Bob whimpered out the song
with his very last breath...

Part 18-Epilogue
With all the evidence destroyed
they dropped the investigation
And without a follow-up story,
people changed the station
Pam sat with Jack and the girl
who would be his wife
Pam had a vision that Jack and herself
were twins in a previous life
This, perhaps, explained
why Pam was hearing the tune
As Jerry, Pam, Jack, and Jane sat
beneath the island moon
So, with a ton of tropical hash
to burn up in their bong
They spent the rest of their days
giggling that little song.

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