In 1994 I released my very first CD, the 7-song Some Assembly Required, and one of my favorite tracks on it was the dark and satirical “It’s Not My Fault.” And since I’ve decided that one of my summer projects will making lyrics videos of my older songs (along with deep tracks from my newer albums), I can’t think of a better track to kickoff the series.

I wrote the song in 1994 while based in Chicago, and it actually came out of a new material night that some Chicago comedians (Mike Lukas, the sketch group Ectomorph, Mike Preston, Gideon Bailey and others) and I did in the back room of a pool hall on Sheffield Ave. One of our weekly features of the show was asking the audience for a word or sentence on which to base material for next week, and one of the weeks we got the suggestion “it’s not my fault,” which became this song.

When I first performed the song a friend of Mike Preston, whose day job at the time was a social worker, told me that the song was about “cognitive dissonance,” a term I hadn’t known up until that point. Over the years I’ve learned a lot more about it and have been fascinated with the concept of cognitive dissonance as it applies to the way people rationalize and excuse their own bad behavior. My interest in the subject was rekindled during the 2014 World Cup when Luis Suarez of Uruguay bit an Italian player (the THIRD TIME he’d bitten someone in a game!) and Uruguayan fans and press said they believed there was an English/Italian conspiracy against their star striker.

This led me to a great book on the subject, Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me). Anyone who’s ever been confused as to how we can live in a world where people strongly believe things that are demonstrably false (cough politics, cough relationships) should check it out.

I recorded the seven tracks from Some Assembly Required at a studio on Michigan Ave in Chicago, a studio that did a lot of sound for TV and radio. It was painfully close to some radio broadcasting antennae and the condenser (or ribbon?) microphone kept picking up signals. Drumming on the track is John Goodman (not the one from Roseanne), who played in my band The Steppingstones and currently plays with my other Steppingstones bandmate Dan Pavelich in The Bradburys. John’s playing what we called “the frisbee kit,” which was a collapsable drum kit that had no shells on any of the drums, just rims and skins. I still can’t believe it actually sounds decent.

I’ll be posting more of the old stuff soon, if you have something you want to hear, let me know in the comments (or on twitter or facebook) and I’ll try to accommodate.

Here are the lyrics:

It’s not my fault I killed my dad
He was really mean
It’s not my fault I’m a flasher
I was shunned as a teen
It’s not my fault I tried to kill myself
With a sleeping pill feast
The Devil made me do it
Or was it Judas Priest?

It’s not my fault’s a handy criminal dictum
I know I killed 12 orphans
but I’m really the victim
So I went on an 8-state killing spree
Why is everybody pointing fingers at me?

It’s not my fault
(my fault, it’s not my fault)

It’s not my fault I drove home drunk and I crashed my car
There should have been a warning sign
Up at the bar
It’s not my fault I’m a moron
What can I do
There’s gotta be somebody I can sue

It’s not my fault’s a defense anyone can build
If you get busted for murder
Blame the guy you killed
I’d take the wrap if it were up to me
But the culprit is the dog that died when I was three

It’s not my fault
(my fault, it’s not my fault)


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