Alex in Wonderland
- Writing began in late 2004, and recording started in April of 2005, but the album wasn’t completed until 2008.
- The album was mastered at Wisseloord Studios, located in Hilversum, just outside of Amsterdam, in The Netherlands. The studio is famous for being where Def Leppard’s Hysteria album was recorded as well as having a client list that includes U2, Sting, 50 Cent, Lenny Kravitz, Paul McCartney, and Elton John.
- The instruments used in the beginning of the song include a Muppet Show drum kit and a Casio SK-5 sampling keyboard.
- The ringmaster-styled introduction is loosely based on Elwood Blues’s introduction of “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love” in the 1980 movie, The Blues Brothers.
- The voices at the end saying “Happy Birthday” are from the real-life family members who gave Alex’s producer Sam Finocchio a portable cassette recorder for his sixth birthday. The birthday wishes heard in the song were originally recorded onto a cassette that was put inside the cassette recorder before it was given to Sam.
- The bass guitar part in this song was created using vocals and is not actually a bass guitar.
Big Bunny in my Backyard
- This song was created as an homage to Dead Milkmen.
- The lead vocals were performed by Sid Sinatra of The Dead Celebrities, a St. Louis-based punk band who were named “Best Punk Band” by the local alternative newspaper, The Riverfront Times, two years in a row.
- Many of the place named in this song actually exist in Grand Cayman.
- Stingray City is a popular dive and snorkel site in Grand Cayman’s North Sound, where many stingrays come to interact with visitors.
- Lime Tree Bay is a condominium complex on the island.
- Bodden Town is the name of the central district of the island and is the name of the former capital of the Cayman Islands. The current capital is George Town.
- Coral Gardens and Sand Bar are names of other snorkel sites close to Stingray City.
Tom the Turkeyduck
- Tom the Turkeyduck is named after the Italian radio station, TamTam Network, which plays primarily European techno music.
- While a turkeyduck is not a real name for an animal, the head of the Muscovy Duck, native to Mexico, Central, and South America, has turkey-like characteristics, and these ducks were spotted by Alex’s producer, Sam, while visiting Italy.
- The route Tom takes is real and can be tracked using an atlas or Google Earth (or by scooter, if you happen to be in Florence, Italy, since some of the destinations are not accessible by car).
- The cities and road (SR 222) named in the song are also real.
- The ending originally was to include the many cats that live in Rome’s Coliseum giving Tom a bath, but that version was dropped because the Roman cat lick joke seemed too forced.
- This song is about online communication, and the lyrics were written by Andrew John of the rock band, The Stranded Lads.
- It was written before Twitter was created.
Pepper in my Tail
- The song’s story is based on an old story told by Sam’s wife’s grandmother but with the twist that the story in the song is told from the point of view of the original story’s villain.
- The lyrics were written by Larry O’Neal of the folk-pop band, Hotel Faux Pas.
- These were the last vocals recorded at Jupiter Studios for the album, just four days before Alex’s producer, Sam, moved from St. Louis, MO to The Netherlands.
- The lyrics for one line was mis-sung, and this mistake wasn’t noticed until after the album was mastered, when the liner notes were being proofread and it was too late to fix.
- This song was created as an homage to Violent Femmes and contains many references to their members and to many of their songs.
- Other names mentioned in the song are members of Sam’s family.
- After spending hours in the studio working on an older version of this song, Sam wasn’t happy with how the song was turning out, so that version was scrapped, the music for this version was started at four o’clock in the morning, the lyrics were reworked to fit the new music, and the vocals were recorded three hours later.
- The previous version had more of an Eminem-inspired sound. The version that appears on the album contains some stylistic influences from “Get Low” by Lil Jon.
Pop Goes the Weasel
- Most of the lyrics were written by Darin Schneider, aka Sid Sinatra of the punk band, The Dead Celebrities.
- The guitar tracks and some of the vocals were performed by Jim Callahan, former guitarist of Big Fun, the house band of the legendary music venue, Mississippi Nights.
- The guitar track was recorded in one take the first time it was played. Andrew John played the track and then asked Sam, “You’re looking for something like that?”, to which Sam replied, “You’re done. That’s it. I got it.” No other takes were recorded.
Super Secret Hidden Bonus Track
- Contains many bits of random recordings from 1980 to 2008.
- This was the only track that contains voice recorded after Sam moved to The Netherlands.
- The beginning of this track was another homage to Dead Milkmen.
- The rest of the joke that doesn’t get finished is: “Do you know how fast you were going?” And Heisenberg says “No, but I know exactly where I am.”
- The album was recorded between 2009 and 2011 in Grenoble, France; South Yarra, Victoria, Austraila; and St. Louis, MO, USA.
Introduction: How to Make a Dance Album
- The intro to Kids’ Club takes place shortly after “Super Secret Hidden Bonus Track” from Alex in Wonderland.
- Creating techno-sounding tracks was something that Alex’s producer, Sam, would frequently do with his friends, Bryan and Chuck, in the early 1990′s.
Get Up and Dance
- This is the second Alex the Seal song to make lyrical references to Vanilla Ice.
- “Get Up and Dance” also contains lyrical references to House of Pain, The Movement, Information Society, and MC5.
Ana Got A Tortilla
- Ana’s introduction is in the style of Ministry’s 1991 song, “Jesus Built My Hotrod”.
- The song’s structure borrows the style of “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” with the of inclusion of pieces of other well-known songs as instrumental solos.
- The different versions of Ana’s line, “Ana got a tortilla” at the end were Ana’s idea, and those were recorded just outside of Melbourne, Australia in South Yarra.
- Ana got a couple tortillas in Barcelona, Spain in May of 2010. They were quite large.
A New Adventure
- “You will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
- “The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.” – Samuel Johnson
- “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller
- “To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson
- “The journey not the arrival matters.” – T. S. Eliot
- “Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” – Mark Jenkins
Sit on Your Butt
- This song pays musical homage to Snoop Dogg, Beastie Boys, and Eminem.
Bonne Nuit, Grenouille
- The story in the verses was written by Anastasia Cosette, age 5.
- “Bonne Nuit, Grenouille” is a “four chord song”.
The Flying Spaghetti Monster
- There are many lyrical references to The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson and to Discordianism – though no references to Pastafarianism, as the name would imply.
- The Flying Spaghetti Monster only makes a cameo appearance and is not the main character of the song.
- The Invisible Pink Unicorn also makes a cameo appearance, though it isn’t heard because unicorns are imaginary.
- “The Stars and Stripes Forever” is also known as “The Disaster March”. In the theater and circus, it is only played during an emergency. In “The Flying Spaghetti Monster”, it starts to play when the tiger makes its appearance.
- Other Alex the Seal-related characters are mentioned in the lyrics.
- The official “The Flying Spaghetti Monster” video on YouTube has a special closed caption track that is jam packed with additional trivia and other nonsense.
- A number of names mentioned in the song are members of producer Sam Finocchio’s family.
- The fourth chorus references Roald Dahl, Dr. Seuss, Lewis Carroll, and The Simpsons.
- The fourth chorus also contains a mnemonic to learn the taxonomic classification system.
- The train station described is based on the station in ‘S-Hertogenbosch, where one would have to go up a level from the track to exit the station.
- The pizza party described in this song would be AWESOME!
- The lyrics make various references to music that Alex likes to listen to.
- Alex’s producer, Sam Finocchio, started to build a robot when he was younger. Only the head was completed.
- The lyrics are about loving the things you create whether or not anyone else thinks they have value.
- The lyrics to the rap portion were written while riding water slides in Tunisia.
- The guitar parts were performed by Jim Callahan.
- The song is about Jean Piaget’s theories of object permanence in developmental psychology.
- The guitar tracks were performed and recorded by Jim Callahan at Jupiter Studios, while Sam Finocchio sat in on the session from Grenoble, France via Skype to direct.