On Overcoming the Vicious Dog Within

by Malachi Doyle

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The back story to the single “…vicious dog…” is that I anger. Much of the time I do the right things to lessen my anger: I run, I meditate, I sing, I watch dumb comedies, I have sex, I don’t eat too bad or drink as much as many, I pray. Still my anger takes quite a while to leave me. My old shrink once told me that anger is a natural emotion & that it’s what we do with it that matters. Funnily enough, of all the many many people I’ve met through years of touring, travelling, working in customer service and generally walking the beat, I reckon I’m in the top 20% least angry. Still my anger preoccupies me. How do I become less angry?, coz quite frankly it knocks me off balance, harms my mental health and damages my relationships.
Ok, so what angers me?:
I anger about loved ones letting me down, I get angry when I am met by several rude or aggressive people across my path in quick succession, I get angry with myself for squandering my gifts, for stray words escaping, for wasting beauty, I get angry because of fatigue, angry coz it’s in my DNA, and people are not only rational; but most of all, I get angry that the power of a tiny minority of the world’s population is spent oppressing and brutalising the poorest and most vulnerable majority and that the aspirational classes go along with it for the sake of a ‘few extra crackers’, all the while ignoring what’s going on, and minding their Ps & Qs and performing their parts in the media-led circus chorus. I anger often for different reasons, as many do, so why aren’t we talking about this more often? Coz the results are seemingly increasingly violent – whether in the home, on the streets, between nations, between interest groups.
A funny thought crossed my mind: if we live in such an angry world, why does it appear that the vast majority of artists (in all fields), who themselves as people anger so regularly, so rarely refer to the emotion or map it out, confront it, do a portrait of it, diarise it, dramatise it – whichever, in their work? (except maybe in rap & metal and that’s usually fairly unreflective stuff) Is being an artist these days just a mask-wearing exercise?, presenting what we would like others to think of us, not the truth (what the Sociologist Erving Goffman calls “Impression Management”): only showing our good sides: so much for Yin and Yang or if you prefer: the fact that ‘we’re all sinners’, and that our compassion has its limits when stuck in the hurly-burly of life, hey if we read the Bible you get to see that even God Himself angers!
Sure, I get it that nobody wants to listen to angry songs all the time, that we need an escape from the horror of the world, most of the time we feel like we can only handle gentle things, we need some peace. & so we sing pretty songs about virtuous things. I do too, often – just not on this occasion. In this song I wanted to look at my anger & the path by which I have become less angry. I am proud of the improvement. I sleep better at night. My wife gets a mostly tolerable husband. Anyway, in this year in which we are investigating violence against women and children, I thought I would address men & call them to account: to be more self-aware, to look at their anger – whether they express it aggressively or passive-aggressively or in my case mainly masochistically (see self-abuse is still abuse! and ‘misery begets misery’).
Anyway, the moral in all this is that I think one can become less angry & one should persevere in doing so. Your path will be different to mine & I got a lot of things wrong, as well as a few things right, but you must become less angry. We all must (women included btw), coz it’s getting pretty awful out there & the vulnerable suffer too much. So young guys, there’s still time. You CAN make improvements: so loosen up, open up, find your means to become more physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, spiritually FLEXIBLE – that you may better deal with life not happening the way you wanted or expected it to. Make love, not just with your dick, but with your heart, your hand, your voice.

By Malachi Doyle. 19th April 2016.

www.facebook.com/malachidoylemusic/

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released April 19, 2016

Recorded, Mixed and Produced by Malachi Doyle (in Melbourne, Australia)

Musicians:
Malachi Doyle – Vocals, acoustic guitar, keyboards, percussion
Terry McCarthy – Electric guitar
Chuck Probert – Trumpet

Mastered by Nathan Farrelly
Artwork by Malachi Doyle

©Malachi Doyle 2016.

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Malachi Doyle Melbourne, Australia

Born in Melbourne, Australia. Has travelled and toured widely, including long stays in Fiji and the UK to develop a unique blend of Folk, Blues, Country, Reggae and Fijian. Lyrical preoccupations of Love, Social Observation, Protest, God and Whimsy. Including bands 'Art Shall Be Free' and 'Bait', he has released 7 albums, a single and now his second EP. ... more

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Track Name: On Overcoming the Vicious Dog Within
On overcoming the vicious dog within

I had to process all my rage
And what better place to do that:
a shitty town & a shitty place
Far so far away,
where people understood violence.
It wasn’t unexpected,
a de facto stadium of sorts for it
usually elsewise initiated

On overcoming the vicious dog
On overcoming the vicious dog within

but they also needed kindness
& I had that too in buckets
but too pissed to be only positive
I went there, I guess, when ready
Too young I woulda got slaughtered
didn’t know Jamaican culture yet
It became my way – my way in
so comfortable am I with its artifice

On overcoming the vicious dog
On overcoming the vicious dog within

So, I’m sorry to that town
and those I showed my worst to
I met my match & hope I helped him
as much as he did me
To overcome childhoods of pain
To overcome childhoods of pain
To overcome childhoods of pain
To bring down at last some rain

But I’m also not so sorry
At least I chose an equal
I’m thankful to the town
for being its humble self
for not putting on urbane airs
tho of course it did it’s share
but it did it in a way
that I could understand


On overcoming the vicious dog
On overcoming the vicious dog within

It did its bit for me.
I felt I felt so free,
before I got lost in despair,
thinking is this my home?
I got stuck there, thinking is this my life,
my lot?, like battered wife syndrome,
I got redeemed in the end by the warrior
in my family and complete strangers
who acted as limbs of God
who acted as limbs of God
who acted as limbs of God

Rule one: learn how to fight.
The beast it must be met.
But fight fair & with restraint
& pick on someone ur own size.
& pick on someone ur own size.
& pick on someone ur own size.
& pick on someone ur own size.

Then let the rage all go.
Get lucky, get away.
Don’t matter u straight or gay.
Be like Sinatra in My way.
Be a man. Go to war on ur own terms,
but come back humble and changed
Changed in a positive way.
Changed in a positive way.


Don’t fight as a member of any motherfuckin group.
Less u wanna be a part of the Body Odour-cosmic soup.
Don’t fight as a member of any motherfuckin group.
Less u wanna be a part of the Body Odour-cosmic soup.

Overcome
We shall overcome
Overcome
(Horns) Dadadadaaa



©Malachi Doyle 2016.
Track Name: Malted Milk (Robert Johnson)
I keep drinkin' malted milk, tryin' to drive my blues away
I keep drinkin' malted milk, tryin' to drive my blues away
Baby, you just as welcome to my lovin' as the flowers is in May

Malted milk, malted milk, keep rushin' to my head
Malted milk, malted milk, keep rushin' to my head
And I have a funny, funny feelin', and I'm talkin' all out my head

Baby, fix me one more drink, and hug your daddy one more time
Baby, fix me one more drink, and hug your daddy one more time
Keep on stirrin' my malted milk, mama, until I change my mind

My doorknob keeps on turnin', it must be spooks around my bed
My doorknob keeps on turnin', must be spooks around my bed
I have a warm, old feelin', and the hair risin' on my head

Songwriters
ROBERT JOHNSON