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Keep It To Yourself

by James LaBrie

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03:44
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03:25
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05:23
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05:17
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04:17
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06:21
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about

James LaBrie has seen stunning commercial and critical success throughout the '90s with his band,
Dream Theater, that pantheon of progressive rock this past decade . But gathering the steam before the millennium, each and every member of the band has also been busy with side projects.

But unlike his bandmates, LaBrie's record is a true solo offering (despite the playful band
moniker), perhaps reflecting that special place we hold for both vocalists and lyricists, perhaps
reflecting the highly personal place words hold within our heart.

Before LaBrie's words took hold however, James had to see his musical vision take place. As Dream
Theater came down from a hard year of touring James formulated a plan. "When I sat down with these guys and talked to them individually, I told them all I was really looking for was a common thread throughout, a really cool groove, a push that you felt you had to move with, one that felt really comfortable. So that’s basically what I tried to nail on every song. Every song had to have a groove with a lot of emotion."

"I wanted the album to be something that was easily digestible," continues James, "but one that
also had some substance to it, a bit of a creative quality, I guess you could say. There are
progressive elements, but there are also songs that are between the lines, that have a solid hard
rock groove going. So I would say that it’s a hard rock album with some progressive influences
thrown in . I’m really happy with it, I’m really proud of it. It’s nothing like Dream Theater, but I never meant it to be. It shouldn’t be, and I don’t think it could be. I had a great experience working with all these guys. They're tremendous people, and Terry Brown, I can’t say enough about the guy. He’s one of the nicest guys
I ever met in my life."

So, yes, with the help of the venerable Terry Brown, producer of Rush's output throughout the '70s,
James built, shaped, then fine-tuned nine distinct, heartfelt and often bombastic tracks, all of
them co-writes with an army of the field's hottest creators. Four tracks, 'Shores Of Avalon',
'Sacrifice', 'Slow Burn', and 'Guardian Angel' found James writing with members of Shadow Gallery
(hot off their blistering “Tyranny” epic, on which James guest stars). Matt Guillory of Dali's Dilemma, who also plays on the album, co-wrote 'His Voice', 'Statued' and 'Lace', while Trent Gardner from Magellan and Explorers Club chimes in with 'Beelzebubba' and 'As A Man Thinks'.

So the writers planted the seed, and the players made it grow, James getting together with a
further layer of spark and fly for the execution of these monumental songs. Towards that end,
James tapped co-writer and keyboardist Matt Guillory, scary Zappa-orbiting guitarist Mike Keneally
and his gravity-defying bassist Brian Beller, plus Mike Mangini (best known for his work with
Extreme and Steve Vai) for a little musical witchery down in LA.

The result is a banquet of purifying rock, some of it slamming in a Zeppelin frame of mind, some
of it reminiscent of Queen and possibly Styx, some of it simply the most elegant classic rock you
will ever hear. 'Sacrifice', perhaps the record's emotional cornerstone, is such a composition.
Sung to an ebb and flow-like musical track that is remarkably textured, the lyric is a touching
monument to the eternal. James explains. "The character of the song has a wife who has come
tragically into an accident, where she is now paralyzed, and he is saying that I remember this and
that and how supportive you were of me, and how strong you were to really let me pursue my dreams,
to let me do what I did. And you made it so much more meaningful, and worth it because I knew you
were behind me. And now that things have changed, and you're in a very desperate situation, in the
sense that you now need somebody to help you through this very difficult time, I’m not about to
let you down. I will be there as much as you were there for me, and even though you are now not
physically the same person, you still are to me. I’m there, I remember the good times, and we will
still be together; we'll wake up together all the time, and forever. Again, as with most of the
other lyrics, it's basically spiritual."

'His Voice' also looks at subjects eternal, this time, rocking to a busy heavy metal throb, James
lamenting the curse of 20-20 hindsight. "It’s about a friend of mine that committed suicide 15
years ago. What I’m saying there is that with how I’ve grown as a person up until now, and what
I’ve read, and how I’ve progressed, or how I've evolved, I wish I had known then how to approach
people the way I do now, because then maybe I could have easily picked up the signs and been able
to approach or confront him on things that in retrospect I can see clearly now as warning signs.
So it’s me saying I wish I could go back and do this now, and maybe I could have changed the whole
situation. And the future would be different, and we’d still be friends, hanging out, and having
good times like we were then."

'Beelzebubba' conversely swings like a traffic jam, all honking horns, chatter, and busy
call-and-response, much like the culture it claims to lampoon. Trent Gardner brought that song to me and we worked it out to where it is now. I was really impressed by it and I said let’s do this song, let’s say this. It touches on the fact that in the world of the very people that we trust to steer our world properly, to make our world a better place to live, there’s so many favors and payolas that are going on. It’s very corrupt, and it’s
almost like they have no way of climbing out of it. And unfortunately we’re thrown into this ring of evil. It’s kind of like saying, 'look, we’re completely aware of it, don’t insult our intelligence. As far as you might take things and as much as you get away with it, it’s not because of our ignorance.' It’s just that enough people haven’t risen to the challenge and want to change things. But I think slowly but surely, we’re moving towards a situation where things are going to have to be laid out in a more trustworthy or sincere fashion. So that song touches on how comical it gets a times. It’s a political circus, and it’s hard to believe this stuff goes on."

So finally, why the name Mullmuzzler? "It’s a neat hybrid word isn’t it?" James offers
mischievously. "I was sitting down and thinking about how absurd this whole process was with this
album, the long distances, the variety of human interaction, so I thought 'what can best describe
what the songs are saying to me, what is really affecting my social stance right now, my whole
environment?' So I was thinking about how so many people in the world today are suppressed or
oppressed when they want to say something. So many people hold back what they are truly thinking.
So I thought what could best describe that process? And there was no word out there. So I put two
words together, 'mull', which means to ponder thought , 'muzzler', or 'muzzle', which means to
gag. So 'mullmuzzler' means to gag or silence an individual’s thought before it can be expressed
in any manner. It’s as simple as that."

Simple but so emotionally inventive, “Keep It To Yourself” is an elemental, refreshing look into the
mind of one of rock's most approachable, easy-going, sincere and insightful performers. It's not
often that a record buttressed by so many phenomenal players can swing with such heart, allowing
the listener to forget the finesse of the sonics surrounding each track. All the while, LaBrie's
vocals - for this is the real reason we come to the show - deliver these vignettes of life that
take us beyond the pettiness of our tense, competing world. Ultimately, it is an exercise in
self-reflection that we might all visit and revisit when priorities become clouded, and life
leaves the rails.

credits

released August 24, 1999

• James LaBrie - Vocals

• Matt Guillory - Keyboards
• Mike Mangini - Drums
• Mike Keneally - Guitars
• Bryan Beller - Bass
• Trent Gardner - Keyboards


• Greg Critchly - Drums - "As A Man Thinks"
• Mark Shannon - Bass - "As A Man Thinks"
• Dave Townsend- Guitars - "Shores Of Avalon"
• Michael Stewart- Trumpet & Sax - "Beelzebubba"
• Wayne Gardner- Horns - "Beelzebubba"

Mixes by Terry Brown

Design, illustration and photography Dave McKean at Hourglass

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Track Name: His Voice
Nostalgia plays through me
Along with the radio
A taste, A scene, A sound
A touch is not enough

If only I
Had known his fear
So torn and feeling frightened

15 years have passed
A sour taste still curls my tongue
In despair, He danced the air
A life became undone

If only I
Had recognized
A silenced cry of sweet lies

Ma, you know you can't hold me
Now
Ma, would you like to hold me
Now

I heard His Voice
The trace of tears
Still live within that moment

I heard His Voice
He lost his will
One’s fate revealed that moment

I heard His Voice
The moment ends
So much was said in silence

Ma, you know you can't hold me
Now
Ma, would you like to hold me
Now

And if I could I would
If what had happened then, today
I hold you close
Not turn away
Track Name: Statued
I sit and read your story
Mortal image statued
Delusions of one's glory
Irony masked in virtue

When mom she told me
I'm not gonna to live forever
She gave this manuscript to me
To read when I am gone

Tell me what it's like to be
Where you are, I wanna be
The Invitation
To this Sensation

As I read the last few lines
I slowly start to realize
You have opened up my mind
This is completely beautiful

And now it all makes sense
These words I wish she spoke to me
It was right in front of me
I feel her next to me

Tell me what it's like to be
Where you are, I wanna be
The Invitation
To this Sensation

I need to break away
Need to break through
Throw it all away
Show me how to

I adore you
I won't forget you
I adore you
You helped me break through

I adore you
You held onto me
I adore you
I feel you

Tell me what it's like to be
Where you are, I wanna be
I'm tired of feeling out of place
Too many roles I imitate

Tell me what it's like to be
Where you are I wanna be
The Invitation
To this Sensation
Track Name: Shores Of Avalon
I never saw it coming
Somehow the heat of battle
Sure dulled my senses to the real world
Or was I dreaming
She held my hand and knew me
She looked right through all I knew

Lie quiet, let the rain wash over me now

Inside the royal chambers
She's staring out her window
Tears well hidden by a crimson veil
This is the poison
Clutching a Turkish dagger
By the moonlight I feel it begin

I'm wounded, let the pain wash over me now

Loneliness again
Sits here along side of me
Gotta make my way
To where the waters heal my wounds
I know this is where I'll stay
Too jaded by her deception
A trust I thought to believe
I just wanna rest
Live out the best of my days
When I reach Avalon

Walking to my window
I'm feeling weak and so betrayed by all I've lost
I'm left here
To comprehend this strange barrage of lies

By the dawn’s early light
The war had raged through the night
I turned to her I thought I heard her crying
I could see by her face
Before she laid me waste
That there was someone else she's dying for
Someone else out there besides me

I'm fading let the fear drain away from me now

My fears' been broken
As healing waters poured over me
And I begin to feel
Feel its magic strengthen me
I know this is where I'll stay
Can't take any more deception
I just want peace in my heart
This calm I am feeling
I've never known until
Until I reached Avalon

Lie quiet, let the pain wash away from me now

No beginning or end
All of the roles we pass on through
I looked inside and I saw
My soul's my guide
I need to walk with you
I know this is where I'll stay
The world I've left behind
Has no place in my heart
I can finally rest
And live out the rest of my days
I'll never leave Avalon
Track Name: Beelzebubba
An intern in a silhouette
Gets DNA from the president
Let me tell you..... I guarantee it
He's got his

Yes, Senator, the bill's fat....
It feels good.... I didn't mean that.
It's for the children
Don't forget it.

Cause slick Willy
He's selling his jive
Slick Willy
He's taking a dive
Slick Willy

Slick Willy
Slick Willy

Arafat and Albright
America, a sad sight
Let me tell you..... I guarantee it
He's got his

We got what we deserve
It's much too late to go back
We were taken for the ride....
So many tried to say
We have only taken what we've sown
And when time passed
It had grown....
Into Beelzabubba.


Beelzebubba.
Beelzebubba.
Bubba
Beelze....
Bubba
Beelze...... Bubba.

While the country is burning down
We're being sold out in the big town
Have they got yours ?
Cause I guarantee you.... they've got mine.

Slick Willy
He's selling his jive
Slick Willy
He's taking a dive

Slick Willy

We got what we deserve
It's much too late to go back.
We were taken for the ride....
So many tried to say
We have only Taken what we've sown
And when time passed
It had grown
Into Beelzebubba

Beelzebubba, Beelzebubba. Beelzebubba, Beelze.... Bubba
Track Name: Guardian Angel
In the early misty morning
As you open your eyes I am there
Another day in a cold uncaring world
Dark treasons cold unhearted ways
I stand before your providence
Nobody comes nobody goes
You’re so bright eyed and innocent
There's a side of life you just don't know

Draw yourself close to me
I'll take them all I'm not afraid
Your faith is all I need
I'll simply lay me my life down for you
And never turning away
I'm your Guardian Angel
I'm your Guardian Angel

I dream of a place of Simple Love
Detached from the Wicked and the Bad
Lost out in a storm of Sinfulness
Where is the Kindness we used to have

Your life is sworn to me
I'll take them all I'm not afraid
I'll give you all I need
And when the rest have left you for dead
You can count on me

I'll never leave never go
Wrap yourself around my world
Now go to sleep in my arms tonight
So when it's hard, when it's cold
When you’re so afraid
Just close your eyes
Rest easy child and know I'm by your side

I hear you weep
Dreaming among the stars
And I see your smile in the sun
I hope you'll understand
Someday far down the road

That I showed you Love
All the while
All the while... with me

I'll never leave never go
Wrap yourself around my world
Now go to sleep in my arms tonight
So when it's hard, when it's cold
When your so afraid
Just close your eyes
Rest easy, child
And know I'm by your side

I'm your Guardian Angel

I dream of a place of Simple Love
Detached from the Wicked and the Bad
Lost out in a storm of Sinfulness
Where is the Kindness we used to have
Track Name: Sacrifice
I remember a time when I was free
When I could fly away
Sky's the limit
I sang my song it was my dream
And still is today

Changes come, changes go
Where they lead
I just don't have a say
Don't have a say

Do you remember
The time I traveled
Sing my songs to all the world
You were stronger
But that's all gone and that's okay
You’re still my girl

Seasons come, seasons go
Where they lead
I just don't ever know
Don't ever know

I know you need me here
To see you through
I'm gonna make your eyes shine like brand new
I'd sacrifice all that I have and more
Forever until death do us part

All those pictures
Painted by your hand
I still remember
How beautiful
Nothing’s changed, you’re still the one
I'm dreaming of

Just this morning
You awoke and took my hand
I smiled inside
How long we have here
Left to us, we'll do our best
And enjoy the ride

Good times come, good times go
When they’re gone
How will we ever know
We ever know

I know you need me here
To see you through
I'm gonna make your eyes shine like brand new
I sacrifice all that I have and more
Forever until death do us part
Track Name: Lace
Sit with me in the corner
Where the lights are low
Maybe you can make it right

With all the lights still covered
There's something too familiar
A little much to hang onto

What I believed in
No longer matters
Won't try and hold on
To who I once was

Why should it matter
What I prefer
But society slams me
Thinks I'm less of a man

Now I know I'm wanting
To go back to you
And I don't quite understand

Can't deny these feelings
That are coming through
Is this who I really am

I never imagined
This that I'm feeling
I finally have something
I believe in

It shouldn't matter
This is who I am
But society slams me
Calls me less of a man

I've finally something to believe in
I never imagined
What I was feeling

It shouldn't matter
You don't feel the same
But so quick to judge and
You don't understand
Track Name: Slow Burn
I feel my future
Tied to my past
Why don't we go and leave this world behind
Watch me as I wander
Aimless through this mystery
Counting all the times
You fallen to the cold
You we're always there for me
Always said a prayer for me

I'm drifting in time
No reason I find
You always come to my soul
Somehow you believed
There'd always be a season for us to behold
I'm drifting in time
No reason no rhyme
You always come to my soul
I've learned to believe
So thank you
For the Slow Burn you've brought to my heart
And you are the one
Yes you are the one

I have been to distant
Sometimes just too far away
Let me go and leave it all behind
Sorry if I've hurt you
Sorry for the time we've lost
If you could just forgive me
I'd bow down before you
So that you could see I'm real
So that you could hear these words
Track Name: As A Man Thinks
First, the bad news...
Face the music. Mind over matter.
In other words...my imagination run amuck
Give and take with inspiration, information, innovation
Impossible situation? Worsening aggravation
Every change, every step, every moment defined
As a man...... as a man..... as a man thinks

Shell game in a strait jacket
12 gauge in a shotgun racket
Shinbone, shindig, shimmy for the Shinto
Got to do this all alone
Wait
Better slow it down and think about it.

Embracing this moment
Enslave or free my soul
Just to play the game with no guarantee
Is what I'll do for now
My life's a requiem playing out of key
With no 'absolutes' at all
Who promised tomorrow?
Tomorrow may not even be here.

How long am I blameless-
'Undecided' in a frantic world?
My velocity screaming fast
From this truth I fear

Where did I hear;
'As a man thinks, so is he' ?
But this man thinks
'Til his moment's gone'


Scapegoat to the end, dig it ?
Whiz-bang in a whirlwind minute
Voodoo- take a turn.
Why not nuke my head - feel it burn ?
Wind up where you were
If you think about it.

Shell game in a strait jacket
12 gauge in a shotgun racket
Shinbone, shindig, shimmy for the Shinto
Got to do this all alone
Wait.
Better slow it down and think about it.

Better slow it down.
Take a moment right now.

Let a man think
As a man thinks
What a man thinks

Hey there, Budapest
What about..... let's just give it a rest.

Scapegoat to the end, dig it?
Whiz-bang in a whirlwind minute.
Voodoo - take a turn.
Why not nuke my head - feel it burn ?
Wind up where you were
If you think about it.

Shell game in a strait jacket
12 gauge in shotgun racket
Shinbone, shindig, shimmy for the Shinto
Got to do this all alone.
Wait.
Better slow it down and think about it.


Better slow it down
Take a moment right now.

Let a man think
As a man thinks
What a man thinks.....

Bottom line ?
Get it in.
Get it off.
Get it out.
Get away.
Get a buck.
Get a clue.
Now he just wants more.

And he feels it now.....

No more indecisions here
No more time to figure things out
No more lies
No mortal sin
He'll pay up square
But he won't get in.

Too many opportunities
Too many reasons
Too many travesties
Now for the good news
It's gonna get..... gonna get wild
When you wake up and realize
You've still got it all.

Hey there, Budapest.
How about next time we do our damn best ?

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