It's Not What You Think

by Chris Velan

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    My debut solo album, released in 2003. It was co-produced, engineered and mixed by Danny Cinelli at Planet Studios in Montreal and featured some great Montreal players: Tony Albino (drums) and Alan Baculis (bass).
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released November 25, 2003

Produced, engineered and mixed by Daniel Cinelli at Planet Studios.
Chris Velan - vocals, guitar
Tony Albino - drums
Alan Baculis - bass



all rights reserved


Chris Velan Montréal, Québec

Montreal singer-songwriter and producer, Chris Velan, has
been crossing borders in music since he began his solo career a decade ago with his world-influenced, singer-songwriter indie pop. His 6th album, “Glow", co-produced by Howard Bilerman, has Velan at the top of his game - with nods to afrobeat, disco rock, folk pop and rocksteady - under the tent of Velan’s deft song craftsmanship. ... more

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Track Name: Getaway Van
Getaway Van
(words & music by Chris Velan)
© 2001 Chris Velan

Elevator goes up,
And I go with it one more time and forget,
Elevator goes down,
And throws me out on this new town and says not yet,

Years ago, we bought a van and drove long miles in it,
You should know, I still carry around that van in my pocket,

Blue as the ocean,
It shined like gold

When it runs you down, shakes you down,
Like it can,
There will come a day, getaway in a van,
I’ve been doing time thinking I’m,
Not the man,
There will come a day, getaway in a van

And the dashboard sang,
About highways, love and life without regret,
But it didn’t mean much,
We were still too young to know what it meant to lose yet,
And I know my name,
Is the same it was when we had time to spare,
It’s a fool who thinks,
That the land of milk and honey is, a place out there,

What’s in the rearview,
We left behind,


Burn up the atmosphere, you carburator heart,
Don’t have to know to steer, just know a rolling start

Track Name: Bodycount
Body Count

Last night while I slept sound
Something was going down
News hit like falling rain
Wake up, it's happening again
Thousands of miles away
In a place I didn't think about until today
It's war or a flood and we can't know what it means
But it fits real well on our TV screens so

Give us the body count
We want to know how much to care
Give us the body count
We want to know how lucky we are
To not be there
To not be there

Sometimes I let it in
Sometimes I wonder what it feels like to be them
But most times I think of me
Out of sight, out of mind, works conveniently
Besides what's one person to do
My sympathy won't make what's done, untrue
Disaster's just a word it's not real
'Till it pains you and it claims you
And it forces you to feel


And another one fell from the sky
Another one got buried in the blink of an eye
Just when you think it's over there's more
This global voyeurism's getting hard to ignore
And the closer it gets to home
The less you can dismiss it with hearts of stone
I don't know their names, you see
Oh, when they go they take a little piece of me yeah

Track Name: Wicked Stylee
Wicked Stylee
(words & music by Chris Velan)
© 1999

(Summer 1999)

Living down here where the time is slow,
I’ve got two paint cans holding up my window,
Skeleton car lying on my lawn and I’d give you a call if I had a phone to call on,
Flash in the sky means a storm has come,
I’ll just sit on the porch and watch it come undone
You’re over there and I’m over here and I don’t know you yet but you’re giving me ideas

I’m getting rattled by your wicked stylee,
And it makes me nervous,
Oh ya,
And I’m getting rattled by your wicked stylee,
And I think I like that,
Oh ya, oh ya

All I can do is what I’ve done,
I try not to fly too close to the sun,
Looking at you looking back at me and I fall to my knees on account of what I see


Bugs flying in through the open screen,
They’re jumping up and down like they’re happy to be seen,
And I can’t sing ‘bout the heavy truth,
‘Cause I Laugh at myself and I’m way too uncouth,
They’ve got maps of the mountain and maps of the sea,
But they don’t have a map that can bring you to me,
A tug from the brown jug makes me smile,
So let’s forget time for a little while

Track Name: Lights On
Lights On
(words & music by Chris Velan)
© 2002 Chris Velan

Can you see the stars tonight,
And you also looking up thinking that you’re all alone,
In the alabaster light, ya, ya, ya,
It’s the little things that come around,
Hit you when you least expect them,
Your brown, brown skin,
Your sneaky grin,
These are the dots and I must connect them,
And I just want to pretend, that nothing ever ends,
It just keeps going,
On and on and on

And I chose,
Time only knows,
Where my minds goes back,
To that place where

I’d line up the needle on her favourite song ‘cause,
Yeah she loved the lights on,
And when she sang I would hum along ‘cause,
Oh, she loved the lights on,
It’s not a matter of right or wrong just,
Yeah, she loved the lights on,
Unless we went to the break of dawn then,
Oh, she loved the lights on,

Cruel, it seems cruel but it’s true,
You can’t hurt nobody if you live for you,
But it was my understanding, that I was going to be landing,
For a while with you (and now I just)
Comb down my hair and scrub my face in the morning,
Put my umbrella in the air when it’s storming,
And it’s the best thing I can do,
To stand up and pull me through, pull me through

I had a dream and in that dream I asked the question why,
Love is like building up a bridge over the river Quai,
If it crumbles you can never think about the cost,
If it doesn’t then you always have a bridge to cross,
You say go write another song ‘bout,
How you had it all, now you’ve gone and lost it,
Can we forget about the pain and go walking, over who might have caused it,
Take a lesson from the bending tree,
Everybody knows you’re an angel,
But nobody more than me

Track Name: Toenail Clipping Moon
Toenail Clipping Moon

Streetlamp on a park bench in the dying light of day,
She’s just a child with a child, in her arms, she prays,
For the strength to do what she has to do,
The baby cries and she whispers softly,
I wish I could give you silver, not a rusty old spoon,
Underneath, the toenail clipping moon

The father really wasn’t worth much talking about He swore,
That he loved her and then he walked out the door,
When she told him that he would become a dad,
Just two poor kids with nothing to do,
And she said he’s just confused, he’ll be coming back soon,
Underneath the toenail clipping moon

There’s dust on the floor and no food on the shelf,
I can barely afford to take care of myself,
Got no one to help me I’m in all alone,
It’s no way to live, a child needs a home,
A child needs a home

Streetlamp on a park bench in the dying light of day,
Tomorrow she knows she has to give away,
I know someone will love you as much as me,
And give you what you deserve rightfully,
And maybe someday I’ll see you in April or June,
Underneath the toenail clipping,
Track Name: Last Dodo Egg
Last Dodo Egg
(words & music by Chris Velan)
© 2003 Chris Velan

(February 2003)

I’m on the trail of a mythical creature,
It’s got me searching from the dawning of time,
All the orgasms since we crawled out of water,
All happy kids of the original crime,
There’s a museum in the town of East London,
Upon the sands of an African shore,
It’s sagging low from the weight of the century,
It’s got the key to unlock the door

All things, that you remember,
Cold rain, fall in November,
One try, then you surrender,
Light a candle with a dying ember,
OK, coast is clear,
The last dodo egg in the world is here,
Scared like hell, cracks in the shell,
Holding on tight,
Just for the memories,

The mummies in the catacombs of Palermo,
A piece of moon and some manganese,
I’m running scared from the general’s army,
They say he suffers from a dangerous disease,
The dinosaurs are playing deep in the bedrock,
I lost my keys in the sofa crack,
They’re mixing cocktails in the parlours of Pompeii,
And I don’t think that I’ll get them back


Let’s make a pact to forget about something,
Let’s pull the planets out of orbit tonight,
We’ll roll our bodies to the brink of extinction,
Then gently fall back into the light,
The map that says the building’s here is mistaken,
It’s turned to dust along with every display,
Caretaker’s daughter doesn’t know where to find him,
The egg is gone and it’s floating away

Track Name: Sweet Mary
Sweet Mary (1999)

It was the year of our father,
Nineteen-hundred and seventy-six in JA,
When I first met my Mary,
Quite contrary to what my mother did say,
She was a mountain girl come to Spanish Town,
I was only there for a while,
But when I think back on all the love we shared,
I just can’t but help to smile,
We spent one whole long year together,
But at the end, I had to go,
By my Mary’s side, I wept and cried,
I’d never been laid so low,
She said, “Boy when you first met me,
You were as green as a mango tree,
But now you are a man, go back to your land,
But first listen carefully,

You can smoke two pounds of Cali herb by yourself then,
Try to stand on your head,
No matter how high you get,
You’ll never forget,
The wonders of Mary’s bed

Now my Mary’s sweet smell was in my nose,
And her vision, it robbed me blind,
And as I crossed the sea, it occurred to me,
That I left myself behind,
She was my natural mystic,
Sweet sugarplum I still ask, why did I go,
They say your first love is your hardest love,
And I’d have to say that’s so,
Now it’s a day and another day,
And a way and another way,
Had a family once but they’re gone,
Now it don’t strike me as weird,
There’s gray in my beard,
And her words still linger on


And now there’s nothing for me left here,
‘Cept some broken dreams, disappointments I’ve had a few,
But there’s this place I know,
Where the mangroves grow and there’s just one thing left to do,
I’ll go back to my Mary’s bed,
Plant a kiss on her head and pretend that,
Time just stood still,
Then I can live out my life like it should have been,
And the rest will be what it will,
So I went back to the bar where we first met,
Asked the bartender, where could she be,
And as he poured me a beer,
He said, last year,
She left this world peacefully,
Then every man in the bar looked at me,
They said, old man don’t you see,
We were all touched by Mary just like you,
Now she lives on in our memories,

And we all can smoke,
Two pounds of Cali herb by ourselves then,
Try to stand on our heads,
No matter how high we get we’ll never forget,
The wonders of Mary’s bed
And we can run,
Two hundred miles through a ganja field until
All we see is red,
And we can shout it out, were still thinking about,
The wonders of Mary’s bed
And so we sing,
Jump around sweet Mary,
You know we all have to move along,
You never know what you’ve got,
In this cruel world,
Until you realize it’s gone.
Track Name: Open Shut Case
Open Shut Case
(words & music by Chris Velan)
© 2000 Chris Velan

On the first day of springtime
When everything was expanding
He was stabbed in the eye by a ray of sun
Slicing through the buildings
And he just had to drop his briefcase where he stood
All the things that might have been and those that surely could
They hit him, with the force of knowing
That this was not the way
On the street, oh my God, another day

It’s an open-shut case
Of a calling not being heard
Not being heard

Mama, see, you’re a product of their thinking
When all you wanted to do has just been, slowly shrinkin’
It’s a pile of dirty dishes
And a drawer of single socks
With a pair of worn-out ballerina shoes
Sitting in a box
And the voice, in the drive-through speaker
Still has that song that he thinks will be a keeper
It just needs a little bit more
To just get his foot through the door
And in the meantime, he’ll just keep on
Sleeping deeper


It’s like a whisper in your ear
If you try to speak it out loud
It might just, disappear

You used to want to build things
Used to be sure
That you would heal people
That you would find the cure
And you would be a football star
You’d be the driver of a racing car
The old typewriter that you pounded on
Might have made you quite the phenomenon,
With your brush and the canvas you could paint well,
But you put it all away when they said it wouldn’t sell, well,
What you’re doing now you don’t know why,
It wouldn’t hurt if you only tried,
Now it sticks in your mind like a splinter,
You could use spring but you only get winter so,
How’re you going to get from here to there
So many walk around with a vacant stare,
Live the life you love, love the life you live,
So you can let yourself forgive,

If it’s an open-shut case
Of a calling not being heard
Not being heard
Not being heard
Not being heard

(alternate ending)

You can take a horse down to the water
But you can’t make him drink or want more
Said, it’s late in the day,
And we both know what you came here for
Seeing everyone, how they turn and run
Like a raisin in the sun, ‘till the next man comes
How you gonna get from here to over there
When your hands are full with your pulled out hair
And you swear and you swear that you don’t really care
Just as long as you can get your share
See the poor man with no education
Resigned to stay put and blame the system
And see the rich man,
He thinks he must make money
‘Cause the money is the thing that gets him gold jewelry
Just live the life you love and love the life you live
Happiness is not a sieve
Plenty fall away ‘cause they’re not trusting
Keep listening to avoid

An open-shut case
Of a calling not being heard
Not being heard
Not being heard
Not being heard