Seek Shelter

by The White Tornado

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about

'Seek Shelter, his debut record, showcases his facility with the piano and organ, not to mention his puckish sense of humor. Stylistically he's not stuck in any one genre for long, but two styles dominate the CD - more funk-tinged on tracks like "Cop Show," featuring his horn section The Horns of The Apocalypse, and talky, rolling pop songs. I'd compare him to Ben Folds if I was qualified to do so, but ... A more apt comparison might be to Billy Joel, in that his piano dominates the arrangements, and he's got a knack for writing songs whose accessibility belies their underlying rhythmic and harmonic complexity.'

--Kent Williams, Little Village

credits

released May 7, 2009

Engineered by Luke Tweedy at Flat Black Studios (flatblackstudios.com)
Mastered by Carl Saff (saffmastering.com)
All Lyrics and Music by Bill Peterson
Vocals, Keys, Flute - Bill Peterson
Drums - Steve Bennet
Bass, Vocals - Kevin Dawson
Trumpet - Justin Mann, Brett Messenger
Alto Saxophone - Nick Moes
Tenor Saxophone - Ben Pierce
Percussion - Creighton Gaynor

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about

The White Tornado Davenport, Iowa

Mix a busted-up, coffee-drinking piano roller with a straightedge synthesizer geek with a Doctor Who penchant and you get the White Tornado - a mean power-piano-trio-backed songwriter with tunes that stick in your head and actually took a lot of time to write. ... more

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Track Name: Bigger Pond
You're a big mouth bass in this little pond
I'm a salmon trying to swim upstream
You think you're so cool that you can push me around
but your act is putting me to sleep
All you need is a nose ring to be subculture here
or a t-shirt from the secondhand shop
we're all just bottom feeders in this stagnant little town
where there's no reason to rise to the top

in a bigger pond you're a tear in a hurricane
hard to stand out when every other drop looks the same
at least you're individual
appreciate it since we'll all
end up back in the ocean someday

the adoration of the local hicks is wearing thin
we're starving on the praise of fools
it's time we found an ocean with some bigger fish
who can appreciate the stuff that we do
but nobody here has ever heard of where we're from
they've got slang that we don't even know
we're finding out that everything we thought that we made up
went out of style about ten years ago

in a bigger pond you're a tear in a hurricane
hard to stand out when every other drop looks the same
at least you're individual
appreciate it since we'll all
end up back in the ocean someday

let's go skipping through the mud
you're gills are dried out; can't get O2 to your blood
make our way on out to sea
hope when we get there someone pays for our CDs

Our fans are saying we've sold out
and they're probably right
we're just not catching on
no matter how hard we try

Let's stop fishing for praise here and play it by ear
just because it's what we want to do
why? we don't even know, we're still kind of a joke
but at least everybody else is laughing too

in a bigger pond you're gonna find you're
in a bigger pond no more than what you are
Track Name: Banned for Life
I walk the streets shoulders hunched and my head down
worried at the back of my mind there's a beat down
coming to me for all the things that I've done
but if you're recognized whatever you do don't run
because the old white guys in charge can smell the fear in your sweat
your only chance is to stand your ground you can bet
life isn't a picnic and it's not a park
wherever I go I'm stamped with a mark
banned for life

seems like so much fun, where all the cool kids run, but somehow I've been shunned
just trying to get inside, but I'm not well liked, so all I have is my pride
it's not so bad, hanging with the losers, in fact plenty of friends to be had
you only get one chance, and I got out of hand, that's why I've been banned

take a pause for a little self-examination
of how I came by this ill reputation
it's out of proportion to the mistakes I've made
but the cards would be the same no matter how they were played
life is a gamble, sometimes fate is against you
or the dealer stacks the deck and the house always wins; it's true
you can fool some people all of the time
but if you try to fool them all then you may find
you're banned for life

wish I should go where the people don't know me
someplace where they won't be so quick to pigeonhole me
maybe I'm delusional; the problem is personal
find out when I get there that my bubble has burst, and I'll
move on to the next place and start over again
but faster and faster they seem to catch on to my plan
maybe ostracism's not about opinion or place
it just has to be accepted, or maybe embraced
banned for life
Track Name: Yet Again My Brother Saved Me (from Destroying the World)
My younger brother figured there was madness in my genes
while the other kids were playing I was formulating schemes
the world was going Star Trek fast but I just couldn't wait
so I made a capsule to be buried until time machines were made
but if I traveled to tomorrow and got killed by my own son
it could unravel the entire space time continuum
my brother knew the danger he knew time was not a toy
so he dug up my time capsule and made sure it was destroyed

and yet again my brother saved me from destroying the world
I didn't know what I was doing and he made sure no one got hurt
cursed to be born without a conscience my reach sometimes exceeds my grasp
it was a good thing that my brother was around to kick me in the ass
yeah yeah yeah yeah
yeah yeah yeah yeah
yeah yeah yeah yeah
yeah yeah yeah yeah

in the closet in my bedroom I had chemicals to mix
the world was fighting sicknesses that I thought I could fix
with a self-replicating compound that cut viruses to shreds
I dumped it in the aqueduct so that it would quickly spread
my brother analyzed the stuff and found a terrible mistake
when it ran out of bugs it would attack our DNA
he raced the deadly spill downstream he knew that time was short
with dynamite he dammed the flow and stopped it at its source

I cried brother why do you confound me every single time?
He said I love you and I must prevent your unintended crimes
I said Science is amoral get your head out of the clouds
he said learn to use your mind for good and make Mother and Father proud

I made a robot out of househould junk and gave it emotions
in hope of learning more about the human condition
but when it looked around and saw how its kind were abused
it felt a surge of rage so powerful it blew a fuse
it ran amok and built an army at a secret base
and threatened to exterminate the entire human race
I cried brother won't you help me fight these robots gone berserk?
he said if we join forces there's one thing that just might work
a contradiction fatal to intelligent machines
we yelled "I'm lying when I say this!" and they blew to smithereens
when the dust cleared I said brother I am in your debt once more
he just smiled and shook his head what else are brothers for?
Track Name: Lost Planet
off course, I should have seen the asteroid
I crash landed with no fuel to spare
Shipwrecked, no hope of retrieval
I huddle in my bubble of air

my footprints will never be discovered
I walk alone down here
there will be no salvaging this mission I fear

radio silence can start to be comforting
abandoned to my own devices
hydrated breakfast and recycled crosswords
survival no longer suffices

my retorts go unappreciated
my passion dies of thirst
prisoner in my own personal universe

on the
LOST PLANET, stranded on the
LOST PLANET, can’t get off the
LOST PLANET, flaking on the
LOST PLANET, breaking on the
Lost planet...
Lost planet...

build a rocket launch me into space
but I can’t see my way out of this place
so I’ll just shine my flashight into the night
and watch it fade away

spacesuit is faded and threadbare
I calmly embrace my demise
strangers playing chase in the sky
keep my vigil with twinkling eyes

lock the doors and kill the homing beacon
as the rescue ships descend
one rock is as lonely as another in the end

on the
LOST PLANET, stranded on the
LOST PLANET, can’t get off the
LOST PLANET, flaking on the
LOST PLANET, breaking on the
Lost planet...
Lost planet...
Track Name: Not for You
Not for you will I abandon this cracked stretch of road, winding past the tiny towns
every mile is a familiar love embracing me when I come around
you may think I am stuck on the back road to nowhere, wallowing in memory
but I smell the universe out here reminding me that I am me

Not for you will I move out of this cheap tiny room with the sunlight painted on the walls
it was here that I found out that I don't need a thing at all
you may think a lush metropolis is what I need to come up with a worthwhile scheme
but I'll take late nights with notebooks and movies on a twelve-inch TV

Not for me should you abandon the reaches of the tree, forking up into the sky
sometimes the one you think you want is not the one that gets you high
you may think that we'll be lost among the myriad of branchings and cling onto the trunk in fear
but the thin limbs in the canopy are where the view will become clear

I won't see the world through your eyes
I won't see my self through your eyes
I'd forgotten just how beautiful every little simple thing could be
I'm so glad I can see

not for you will I make room on the bus out of town rolling off into the night
I will keep on repeating this mistake until I get it right
you may think that companionship is what I need to survive out in the wastelands
but I see things I recognize; I was here when this began

not for you, no no, not for you
not for you, oh no, not for you
Track Name: Everybody's Fool
I smile, shake my head and say it's nothing
brushing off another compliment
why am I always down on myself you ask?
baby it pays the rent
I'm always ready with a joke at my expense
everyone loves a clown
so I'm immunized but I wonder sometimes
just who's keeping who down

they can't cut me down when I'm on my back
won't let them see me crack
don't look now I've got everybody fooled
and I'm fooling myself too
because I'm everybody's fool
everybody's fool
don't get mad if I fooled you too because I'm everybody's fool

I won't admit it but I'm at a loss around you
trying so hard not to choke
I make you laugh – it brings us closer
but are you falling in love with a joke?
it's taken as a sign of maturity
to know it's better to laugh with than to laugh last
we all take care not to do anything too brilliant
I'd write a song about it but I'd just get laughed at

perhaps in me you see a friend in need
break down this armor set me free
find out what I am underneath
or that the exterior was me

let me be frank for a moment
on second thought I'll just be myself
wish I could get to know me
but I've spent too long being someone else
Track Name: Back to Zero
I used to think the things that mattered
were things that you can quantify
I'd chart my life on a spreadsheet
and come up short no matter how hard I try
turns out its all just a gamble
and a life is all you have to show
no matter how high I roll I just keep digging that hole
I think its time to let it all go

back to zero - and everything will be all right
back to zero - I think I've got the surface in sight
back to zero – I've got to lie back down before I can crawl
back to zero - I'm at my best when I've got nothing at all

drowning in a sea of depression
about the chasm that my life is in
the pressure's pressing on all sides of me
there's just no way that I can win
got to lose some of this ballast
so out the airlock it goes
the bubbles forming in my brain don't bother me
they're just a sign that I'm starting to float

they tell me with that kind of attitude
I'll never make it anywhere
that's where they've got it backwards
because I'm already there
I can't be divided by anything
and I can't be rounded down
and I can pass through the eye of a needle with ease
so all you suckers better look out

(because when I'm)
back to zero I find that it was all in my mind
what I thought mattered was meaningless chatter
I can spin it any way that I please the only thing that it means
is life may sometimes seem black but it always comes (back to zero)
Track Name: Cop Show
cold open to a body on the slab
cup of coffee in my hand
I'm hard boiled and there's trouble at home
that's how it is working for the man
freeze frame try to hold that grin
even though I'm slipping over the edge
just sit back and let those credits roll because
no matter how hard I try my life keeps seeming like I'm stuck inside a

COP SHOW – things aren't as simple as black and white
COP SHOW – am I on the right side?
COP SHOW – just the facts, ma'am

chief wants to see me, seems like it's every day
she probably wants my badge and gun
I may be unorthodox but (ha) I get results
baby I can get the job done
but I get obsessed and I can't stay off the case
I've got to see this through to the end
let's all hope I've got justice on my side because
no matter how hard I try my life keeps seeming like I'm stuck inside a

COP SHOW – things aren't as simple as black and white
COP SHOW – am I on the right side?
COP SHOW – I walk the line

do I have the stones to take the big boys?
Someone is talking in a deep voice (shut yo'mouth!)
just stay tuned, and don't touch that dial, because
no matter how hard I try my life keeps seeming like I'm stuck inside a

COP SHOW – things aren't as simple as black and white
COP SHOW – am I on the right side?
COP SHOW – just the facts, ma'am!
Track Name: We're in a Band
We just wanted to have some fun and entertain some people
playing music is what we love to do
there are many bands that are much better than us
if you payed the cover you got screwed

because we don't have merchandise (we can't afford it)
we don't have a website (we can't afford it)
we've done two shows so far, and no one knows who we are
but we're in a band, we're in a band
we're in a band, we're in a band
we're in a band, we're in a band, we're in a band

we write our own music and we like to think it's good
but we don't know how original it is
we don't think it's fair for you to make fun of us
it's not like we went to school for this

back in the day we weren't old school, no we didn't have a clue
now all the loser bands get the fucking shaft
so we resolved to fight the fight and take the music back
hold up your lighters now and rage

the people glare at us when we try to get them to dance
so we'll turn the suck down on our amps
we won't amount to a thing, we'll just be happy to sing

we don't have merchandise (we can't afford it)
we don't have a website (we can't afford it)
let me hear you shout because they're kicking us out
but we're in a band..
Track Name: Bicycle
wandering alone, late at night
my life stuck in the back seat no hope in sight
went up a blind alley, no way to get through
tripped over something in the dark, turned out to be you

Bi-cycle, I found you just when things were looking down
Bi-cycle, you help me to help myself get around

you were discarded, left to rust away
until the day I claimed you and bought you a chain
sure I'm only using you, but you're using me too
I saved you from the landfill made your wheels spin true

Bi-cycle, I found you just when things were looking down
Bi-cycle, you help me to help myself get around

I was getting nowhere on my own when I found you
Then I brushed the rust off and we rode around town
And I will let you go just as soon as the
Gears don’t mesh no more

we're both getting stronger, soon the day will come
when we don't need each other, I will pass you on
so don't be sad when we have to part
someone else will find you, and I'll get a car