In 1992 I graduated college right into a recession. I remember seeing a political cartoon in a newspaper where graduates were handed a diploma and a spatula (as in fast-food). That image stuck with me as I landed a temp job in a corporate office and continued working entry-level jobs through my early 20s. Within a year or two I had written this humorous, quasi-tropical take on life in the office – a raucous water-cooler gathering and happy hour filled with gallows humor about the rumored downsizing on its way.
Hear the full track below from Bandcamp.com
Hear a sample below on Apple Music or Spotify.
…or find Cubicle wherever you stream music.
Comic strips like Dilbert came along and confirmed my visions of this song. In 1996 I recorded it with producer Annie Virrill, who first made a 4-track acoustic demo with me in her tiny apartment. Then we went to Third Studio from the Sun and cut it with engineers Dave Meyer and Dan Jerram.
Annie brought in an absolutely killer rhythm section: Joe Howell on bass and John Hummel on drums. Annie’s own quirky musical sensibilities found their way onto the record, like her use of a jaw harp, water cooler and manual typewriter. Add in friends Joey McNelis and Steve Gadjisz on Beach Boys-inspired harmonies and happy-hour banter during the solo, and the result perfectly captured what was going on in my head for 40 hours every week of my youth while working in a cubicle and daydreaming of rock stardom.
The artwork was masterfully done by Russ Mowry of Brushfire Designs, who, as my other collaborators, found elements of my song to set him off on his own artistic riffs. Look in the cover artwork for “icicle, bicycle, cubicle!”
Lyrics: Here in my cubicle I try to get the project done Until I get a visitor Who starts me over back at square one Here in my cubicle The phone rings off of the ugly green wall Whoops! Here comes the manager I pray it’s not a personal call I collate and I staple I make the mailing labels My degree is on their file They call this entry level I’m running into deadline trouble It has to get done on the double I type til I get carpal tunnel In my cubicle Here in my cubicle I’m checking for the mistakes Everything looks all right Now I’ve got time for a five-minute lunch break Here in my cubicle I play computer solitaire Whoops! Here comes the president He’s talking to the engineer, he says… This is our opportunity I say we downsize the company I recommend the strategy Trim the office and the factory Quick! Better close the file They’re coming up my aisle Gulp down my Adam’s apple (GULP!) Methinks me job’s in trouble (Water cooler/happy hour chatter) WHAT! Reogranization?!? Reorganization?!!!?!?! I can’t believe how swift They canned the second shift They gave us lovely parting gifts, but Now I find myself adrift I wear a nametag and a funny hat Would you like some fries with that I wish that I was back…. In my cubicle