Good Luck

by X-tal

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The fourth X-tal album, a short six-song EP released by Alias Records in 1993. Recorded in L.A. amid much uncertainty, personnel changes and production conflicts, resulting in a strong, vivid collection. A transitional release from a band discovering they still had a lot more to say.


released March 1, 1993

Produced by Joe Chiccarelli and X-tal
Recorded in Los Angeles and Woodland Hills, 1992-93
Cover art by Allison Moseley
© 1993 Undulant Rhetoric (BMI)

J NEO MARVIN: Vocals, guitars, keyboards
MICK FREEMAN: Drums, percussion, vocals
MARK ZANANDREA: Guitars, keyboards, mandolin, secret vocals
No guests other than Mark, who technically was one at the time.



all rights reserved


X-tal San Francisco, California

Here, for the first time, the entire recorded output of X-tal in one place.

X-tal (1983-1996) were a San Francisco post-punk band fronted by J Neo Marvin. Greil Marcus of the Village Voice described them as a “small-time San Francisco combo that wears their defeated leftist politics on their sleeves and can open for the Mekons without letting you forget them when the headliners come on.” ... more

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Track Name: Stating The Obvious Again
My friends are scattered all across the continents
They’re searching for the satisfaction they deserve
Some of my friends have died in pain you can’t imagine
Now they’re gone for good
I’ve heard you tell the nation it’s all their own fault

Don’t tread on my loved ones
Don’t you even try
Don’t toy with our anger
We’ve got the right to live
Don’t threaten good people
Don’t trivialize their lives
Don’t spit on our values
We’ve got the right to love.

Pursuing happiness and thrills, we’ve taken risks
We don’t need scum like you to tell us how to suffer for it
You sit in offices and churches making speeches
While in the streets, men with clubs and knives
Are out enforcing your philosophy of life.

The inquisition has just been cancelled for lack of interest
Too many people would rather fix the holes in their own roofs
Than fight a holy war.
Ah, the ghouls will lick their wounds and slink away
You know they’ll be back.

Toss out what you’ve been told and you have to improvise
You have to rely on your desires, your heart, your conscience
I salute anyone who can make it through the night
If others don’t approve of what they see
They can kindly step away from the window.

I salute anyone who can make it through the night
Someday I will again.
Track Name: Smells Like Smoke
What makes you so surprised
To see a raging mob run wild?
Welcome to the ugly truth
Coming to crush your sweet denial
Tell the crowd to trust the system
They’ve all just seen how far that gets them
Tell them not to break the law
There’s no law at all, just power

Spare me the moral outrage
All I have to say
Is I am stunned and amazed
This doesn’t happen every day.

Sadistic selfish force
Put the cart before the horse
Years of examples on the news
Power is yours to grab and abuse
Revenge on random targets
Temporary dictators of a fool’s paradise
Enjoy your coup until the thrill dies down
You got a new TV and your hood’s burned to the ground

A nation’s sentimental myths crack open
Leaving nothing but the hate beneath them
Regression is no accident
When you’re trained to stay ignorant and hopeless

Lie to me, I don’t wanna see
Give me security, who cares if we’re free?

From the street corners of South Central to the shores of Somalia
A 2-D panorama of big scary chaos with no context
Feel shock, anger and compassion and understand absolutely nothing
Meanwhile, your safely walled enclaves will remain protected by any means necessary.
Track Name: Good Shepherd
You’re so happy to be here
So glad to be just where you are
When you know that he’s around
You can feel his love within
He’s so good and wise and strong
And he shows you right from wrong
And you really love him so
And you really love him so

Through your tears you see his face
He looks like Jesus in the dark
Now he’s looking down at you
At the way you fold your arms
And he slaps your face again
You need more respect for him
And you clasp your hands in prayer
And you want him to approve
So you giggle and you smile
And you’re his little girl again
And you really love him so
And you really love him so.

He has such beautiful eyes
Eyes that stare into your face
Eyes that peer into your mind
Eyes that leer into your soul
You are one of many wives
And you live up in the hills
In the beautiful big trees
It’s a happy place to be
And you stumble into town
Begging tourists for their change
And your faces look so blank
And your faces look so pale

You want to leave but you want to stay
It gets too heavy sometimes
When he orders you to do
Things you don’t quite understand
But when you see a chance to run
You fall down and cry instead
And you really love him so
And you really love him so.

Mom and Dad left you alone
They never paid you any mind
And they still don’t realize
Why you don’t write anymore
‘Cause he keeps you up all night
He taught you how to fire a gun
And he gives you everything
Everything that you deserve
But he’s gentle and he’s kind
He’s a god on earth for you
And you really love him so
And you really love him so.
Track Name: Cat Box
A steady stream on I-79
Of men in olive drab trucks
Our resources dwindle
They’ll always get enough

Every time a base closes
People kick and scream
They just can’t let go
Of that cold war dream

We bounce along the potholes
Across the USA
While our teeth fall out
And our hair turns gray

Let’s distract ourselves as usual
From the pots and pans burning on the stove
Let’s play games of chance with life
Hey, it’s always worked out fine before.

We fall into line
With the great white father
We could blow up the world
But hell, why should we bother?

We’re the proud world leaders
In ignorance and apathy
Squandering time and energy
We’ll fight to the death for entropy, yeah!

So tell me:
Who’s going to clean out the cat box?
Track Name: Good Luck
Once upon a time we had beautiful demands
We knew the door would open at our command
That was way back when we still believed
If we kept on screaming, screaming at a wall
It would someday fall. (OK, now what?)

And wouldn’t we like to see our dreams come true?
Won’t happen fast…great leader, we want to have faith in you
We know you sold yourself thousands of times to win this bet
And every one of your failures will be called a success, and vice versa.

We want to live a better life
It makes us susceptible to bribes
A new and brighter dog is in the house
I’m trying to swallow all my doubts.
Wait and see, that’s what we always do.

Deep in the heart of this twisted land
The bile pumps cold and the bile pumps hot, it may never stop
And when a light comes on, shadows grow tall and spread out their arms
And when justice grows, they sound the alarm.

Always something to defend
Every step around the bend
New heroes rise up every day
Trying to take our crumbs away
We want to live a better life
It makes us susceptible to bribes
A new and brighter dog is in the house
We live in hope, we live in doubt.