ballpoint pens archive



all my friends are drowning underwater
and you, my friend, are strangling your daughter
my hands have been tied behind my father
you, my friend, are crying in the corner

but i don’t need your symphony
i don’t need your symphony

this is where you’ll find me, traveling underwater
you, my friends, are drowning in the fodder
i can’t seem to recognize my father
you, my friends, are drowning in the water

but i don’t need your symphony
and i don’t need your symphony


This is a special one.

The version of the song in this collection was mixed by the genius musician and producer James Wallace, a close friend of mine and Ross’s.

And my friend Nate Igor Smith, who was there for everything, who was the manager of the Gaskets, who was practically the third member of the band, provided this remembrance:

“When Ross died, all we had left was his music. There were a few songs that I listened to over and over again. The first was the Gaskets song “Left Hand” that Teddy wrote about Ross’ drinking problem, which meant so much to Ross that he hand painted a music video for it. Ross was very aware of his drinking problem and what it was doing to his friends, but he could never get to the place where he actually wanted to quit. The second was “nine times out of ten,” a perfect, almost chipper tune that if you aren’t listening carefully doesn’t initially come off as the soul crushing song about regret that it is.

The third song is “symphony.” I keep coming back to it every time I need to get a little more grief out of my system. I can’t pretend I know what the lyrics are about exactly, but the song is so heartbreaking that even now, listening while writing this and thinking about Ross, all those feelings return along with the familiar tears, even though he’s been gone for longer than I had him in my life. Ross might not have needed our symphony, but we all needed Ross. Despite all the pain he put us through, the world is so much worse without him.”