I offer this, a demystification of the current canon of working Imaad Wasif songs, to be culled for the tentative album WOZ IV. May there be no misunderstanding of my intent. I believe that there are those interested in music for reasons beyond. I view myself only as a transmitter of that desire. I don’t claim to know, only to feel. I write what comes naturally, even when I feel completely alien. Most of the time, I think I know what I mean. Most of the time we think we understand the meaning of a song but usually our interpretation is far from the truth. No matter, songs are still the way. Yes, these are questions of existence. No, I am not lost.

Loosely based on a memory of seeing a ghostly Elliott Smith walking out of his house at 7 AM. It was at the end of a tour I did with him in 2001. He had flown home the day after the last show in Seattle and the rest of us drove back to LA in a nineteen hour straight shot, pulling up to his house early the next morning. He came outside to help grab his guitars from the van and all he said was "Hey guys, I stayed up all night too." His face was pale and his eyes were bloodshot, but he had that beautiful haunted smile on. I was convinced that he was going to die on that tour, but he didn't until a couple of years later, when he took his own life. He was the first person I ever remember talking to about the significance of the number three. Musically informed by a raga cycle found on a Vilayat Khan album. Starts with the line, "A film-grain daybreak comes with terror."

Skyward Rose
As in "Skyward rose the souls." Taken from a dream that I had about Patti Smith driving me around in a hearse. I met her in South America in 2006 when I was on tour with the YYYs and she gave me a button with a peace symbol on it. I talked/stalked her about the connection between drugs and the creative impulse...she was amazingly forthcoming about her relationship to Burroughs and his habit, and how she was always trying to get with him, but that he wasn't interested in girls...She told me that it was "Sonic" Smith who convinced her that drugs weren't necessary to achieve transcendent states. To test out the theory he recorded her playing pieces of music when she was high and then the same pieces when she was clear. Invariably, the clear performances were always the ones they thought best. That was an amazing moment for me, when I realized that I was talking to Patti Smith and she was basically telling me the same thing I had been reading in books about mystics in India, who had no use for psychedelics because they were already there. She was there. And I could be there too.

There was a recent moment when I realized that electricity was not silent. This song came after the few weeks I spent amidst the music of the ill-fated cult, the Process Church of the Final Judgment. On a trip down the Oregon coast a few weeks later, I wrote this. "Looking out over cliffs and chasms, origins of a life-long imbalance." Sung at the edge of the highest registers of my voice, for Brian Wilson and some unknown Appalachian folk singer.

A projection of self onto the sepia screens of Satyajit Ray's Jalsaghar (The Music Room). "A corpse nursed on milk, the sound of moths in my ear," was inspired by the character of the zamindar, thinking about the fear that he felt within while looking at the luminous chandelier sway and beholding the omen that signified his downfall. Vocally Karen Dalton/wannabe Carpenter on acid, AM radio feeling at 4 in the morn, lost on the highway, driving through the night with the trees flying by, cocaine memory of the Cure’s Seventeen Seconds.

The Spiral
"I can spiral at speeds that you've never seen, but I can't be a seer 'cos I'm a fiend."

Time (Become Transparent)
Attempting to make my way through Jung's Red Book I wrote "Peel off the layers for our resurrection, Am I from the same brood of pale imitators?" Someone once said to me "Stop hating yourself, stop doubting yourself," which I normally would have dismissed as hackneyed new age postulation, that is, if I didn't have such high regard for the person who said it and think it was such excellent advice. Also perhaps connected to an attempt to allay fears of childbirth and rethink human conception through the ideas from Occult Anatomy. Texturally owing to the symphonic beauty of All Things Must Pass and the Stones' "Moonlight Mile."

Phases of a Cardinal Cross
This song is not about Andy Warhol, but rather, becoming one of his many victims. There is a phenomena called a Cardinal Cross, wherein planets representing the four elements come into a square cross formation and, according to astrology, essentially nullify the ability to achieve any goal set forth during that time. In reading Popism it’s obvious there were many brilliant people who were “fixed” in their inabilities to focus their creative energy (as in the Fixed Grand Cross) and who were drawn to Warhol, later to be exploited by his factory and to witness their ideas taken as his. Talent borrows, genius steals. The idea of the alchemist, turning shit into gold, resonates. In many respects, Andy Warhol was one of the great alchemists of the 20th century. “With his vial of amphetamine, he took your elegance and your clearness with his guillotine.”

Primitive, that’s how I live. Give me the Troggs, Sabbath and the Wipers and I'll give you a song. The first demo if this I did was so fast that it nearly burned my arm off when I was tracking it. When I sent it to the band they kept telling me it was so fast that they couldn’t hear the notes. It’s about a man who is in love with someone from a past life. The song is written as a plea on his deathbed. “My heartbeat, incomplete, I can feel you in me.” Ending with the refrain, “We live on.” There is the mention of the Ondine, a mythological water spirit. They are said to be able to gain a soul by marrying a man and bearing a child. This image also reminds me of Millais’ Ophelia, a painting that has captivated me for many years.

The snake eating its own tail, symbolizing the eternal return. I believe in the cycle that I have lived and will live. There is always the rebirth to look forward to. "Ouroborus, replace me, destiny has the lost the allure.”

Rain Down
Through further readings of the Ancient Egyptian and the Coptic, I found that my banjo carried a song detailing the rites of a ceremony that took place in 30th century BC, re-enacted by the overactive imagination of a lonely child. The ending lyrics, which I’ll leave out, read like an incantation. I really want to give this song to Tom Waits.

John Ashbery had a great influence on the language of this. Musically it’s really just a nod to T-Rex. The insect and its practice of sexual cannibalism, has always incited an image against Muslim fanaticism in my mind. I picture a man in a distant minaret, praying. As it goes with Islamic culture, and I can say this because I witnessed this first-hand growing up, women are universally oppressed by the males of the religion, Therefore it is only a matter of time before the female of the species will rise to revolt. "In every Mantis there's a man, eaten by the promise of peril."

She Don’t Burn Out
Generally speaking, written for Bob Dylan. He has only gotten weirder the older he gets. He looks like Dali and he sounds fucked up but his songs still shine with a mastery that I can't fathom, and his voice haunts me more than any other living songwriter. This song may have no point other than that, somewhere in my brain Dylan is ruining me and in that place I also have difficulty distinguishing him from the most beautiful woman I love. So I suppose I wrote this song to him or my wife or some mutation of both. “Incandescent, She is the empress of the comets and the heavens.”

Constellation Kingdoms
The character is meant to be John Lennon singing for CAN. This is what happens when I let the Wet Dream guide my thought process. The rhythm is unique to my songs, I don’t think I’ve ever explored this one before, though I also don’t think I’ve ever been so explicit lyrically. The chorus has a mutant DEVO-esque swagger, (and who better to guide me than the pioneers of abstract songs about freaks and fucking.) “Feigning the transference, I still long for you.” No longing ever leaves. The ending of this song is speed-fueled riffage and bombast and makes me really happy to play. The image of a constellation kingdom is beautiful, perhaps the only kingdom we can reign over is the one in our minds. I still remember the feeling of wandering in the desert when I was a child and gazing up at the limitless sky and the infinite possibility of the stars. “Elusive realities, constellation kingdoms manifest in me.”

Hidden Visage
I wrote this after seeing the film version of Joan Didion's "Play It As It Lays," which affected me more than the book. I find it very difficult to watch insanity as depicted in film, for reasons that are not as obvious as it would seem. I have had a handful of very significant intense relationships with people who are bi-polar. This song somehow captured them all without trying. As a testament to the power of song, when I played a handful of these new ones for a family member suffering from the disorder, this was the one they responded to saying, “Oh what a beautiful song!” That really caught me off guard, but it gave me faith that the song could reach who it was meant to reach. “Hidden visage/Out of frame/Some say you’re crazy but I know you are insane.”

See “Kept it Dark.”

To be taken as more of a spoken piece with fragments of my dreams piecing together the world as I really see it. One day after breakfast, I was walking up a hill and I saw a hawk in the middle of the street pinning a pigeon down and tearing at its flesh and feathers. “When it flew away, I picked up the chain of bones and built you a palace.” There is a place where I go to get the images, there is a muse or whatever, there is a daydream, a reverie that is like a black hole. The B minor cycle that repeats is meant to create a trance inducing state. I read that certain black holes have been found to emit a tone in B-flat. I wanted to write the song from inside one.

A song about metamorphosis and the changes that love needs if its gonna grow. “She’s a believer, growing fins.” Not sure if this one will see the light of day on the record.

The Idiot
Euphoria and The Who influencing. Offering the exegesis for much of my recent interest in the “otherworldly.” I’ve met a few witches in the last few years and I have come under some spells. This song reasons with the traditional notion of the curse and refutes the idea of the talisman as a form of protection. I’ve carried them but they have proved powerless. “If lightning struck you down, ain’t no talisman could’ve kept you around.” Our willingness to be controlled is what allows outside influences to take hold.

This song is a slight, a gut reaction to Neil Young’s newest album. Actually, it's been a long time coming. I haven’t felt so consistently let down by someone’s new work as I do with his. But his earlier albums are so unbelievably amazing that nothing can tarnish my love for him. His doom trilogy (Zuma, Time Fades Away, On the Beach) set the tone for much of my formative songwriting. I still listen to these albums all the time and they continually inspire me. On his new album there’s a song called “The Hitchhiker” that's been floating around for a while now, but hearing it released finally triggered a desire in me to deal with my NY issues. I knew that I had to become the hitchhiker to ditch my attachment to him. “The coffin of one is the cradle of the other.” I may regret what I’m about to tell you, but I’ll do it anyway cos it’s a funny anecdote. I wrote a story for NY once, then transferred it in longhand calligraphy and bound it in a small handmade book with the idea of presenting it to him. I worked on it for a month leading up to one of his performances at the Berkeley Community Theater. The night of the show he played a two hour acoustic set that blew my mind. Afterwards, I waited around backstage. The moment came. I saw him walking up and I tried to get his attention through the barrier of his entourage and the other fans but he slipped onto his bus without so much as even a sidelong glance. I was convinced that If we were just able to make eye contact that he would have sensed our kinship and invited me into his inner world! HA! Anyway, I was so upset I started yelling at the driver to open the door. For some reason the guy did and I said, “I made this for Neil, you have to give it to him!” He said ok and took it from me. Then I saw him toss it on the dashboard where it probably sat for the rest of the tour until it was thrown out with the candyfloss wrappers, maps and other trash. Needless to say, I was fucking heartbroken. I can laugh at this now. I can’t be sure but I think that was the day I truly understood what “Kill Yr Idols” meant.

In My Moonlit Attic
This was written for a woman I never met, Eloise De Breteuil. I was contacted by one of her friends when I was in Geneva, Switzerland. I was told that Eloise was a long-time fan of my music and that she had committed suicide in 2010 and asked if I’d dedicate a song from my set to her. I did that, but I was troubled by her death throughout my last European tour. Between readings of Robert Walser’s “Speaking to the Rose” and a copy of Nietzsche’s “Thus Spake Zarathustra” that would hide from me when it didn’t want to be read, this song came. Not that a song can offer a resolution, but it can offer solace. A first requiem.

I Am The Dreamer
Big Star and Howlin’ Wolf’s "Smokestack Lightnin’"were on my mind. Specifically, Alex Chilton’s death. This is a dirge written upon returning from a doozy of a downer of a visit with my folks, after which I came to the distorted conclusion that in their eyes I was not born to be free, but born as a scapegoat and as the mere continuation of my father’s legacy. On bad days, I can easily convince myself that all children are born from a self-gratifying desire by their progenitors to counteract the eventual decline of power (be it mental or physical) that comes with aging, an attempt to falsely preserve youth and to revel and reflect in the living mirror image. As I can see, so much of our patterned negative thoughts come from not taking control of our minds and letting them spiral out of control. No one can actually defeat you, only you can defeat yourself. In realizing that the blame is placed falsely on others instead of taking responsibility for our own feelings, I have surmounted one of the most toxic aspects of my depressive tendencies. Though there are certain people who will try to confuse you and poison you with guilt. These people are called your parents. Keep them at a safe emotional distance. “I’ve cried tonight like I cried the night before, I’ve spun webs in our heads, I could have been your father, but I was not prepared for death.”

Caste Blues
In homage to Motörhead, I was trying to write a song like "Jailbait," but out came the first known Sikh-edelic punk song dealing with the alienation of the Indian. With the outro refrain “I am untouchable,” I am single-handedly bringing down centuries of caste system bullshit. HA! Pretty much every Indian I meet, be they Brahmin or Harijan, immediately wants to know my origins so that they can sum up whether or not I am worthy of their graces. I know that most Indians encounter the same discrimination on a daily basis. Considering India’s espousal of higher philosophies towards enlightenment, the glaring contradiction between action and words and the accompanying prejudice has always made me feel like I am part of a great hypocrisy, not by choice but out of association. Fuck that. This is the first song I’ve ever written with socio-political overtones, it’s no "Blowin’ In The Wind," but let this one ring through every ashram and down every lorry lane from here to eternity.