Autobio (Part One)

by Val Emmich

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"One of Emmich's most personal and reflective recordings to date."
--Jim Testa, The Jersey Journal

Donations will go toward the making of PART TWO.

Watch the 10-minute documentary
about the making of AUTOBIO (PART ONE):


released November 11, 2014

Written by Val Emmich
Recorded & Mixed by Jason Cupp at Seaside Lounge in Brooklyn, NY.
Additional recording & mixing in Jersey City, NJ.
Mastered by Tom Ruff at Asbury Media.

Music by:
Val Emmich - vocals, acoustic
David Bassiri - guitar, banjo, lap steel
Jeremy Gelade - upright bass
Mickey Riad - keys, melodica
Jason Taylor - drums, percussion

Additional percussion by Jason Cupp



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Val Emmich Jersey City, New Jersey

Singer-Songwriter / Actor / Writer

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Track Name: Punched In The Eye At A Neighborhood Party
freshman year ‘93
a neighborhood party
suddenly an older guy
punched me dead in the eye

i just sat there
in my lawn chair
as my eye turned red
i imagined what I should have said
but you can’t freeze time
in the summer time
first you’re laughing
then it hits you that these are not your friends

before the blood had run dry
he apologized
don’t know why I shook his hand
too in shock to understand

said someone dared him
just to do me in
they didn’t like my face
had to put me in my place
now I freeze time
how my cheek it shined
first I'm laughing
then it hits me these are not my friends

I just sat there
while everybody stared
the faces all blend
been twenty years and they are not my friends

black and blues never fade
you just tuck them away
black and blues never go
follow where you roam
black and blue as a kid
all the damage it did
Track Name: Around The Country In My Mother's Car
we packed my mom’s car and we got on the road
we had a trip-tick told us where to go
out west to Pittsburgh and Chicago
up to Wisconsin to my uncle’s home

we blew our cigarettes
out our open windows
raised the volume till we were deaf

we said,
we are going somewhere
but we’re not there yet

we crossed Wyoming to Yellowstone
swam in a river on the side of a road
we slept the three of us in a tiny tent
we made a fire, got totally bent

we made it to the coast
and we stripped off all our clothing
got high and made a toast

we said,
we are going somewhere
but we’re not there yet

back east through Utah we started to crack
we said some dark things we couldn’t take back
atop the canyon we felt too small
all our momentum had slowed to a crawl

we missed our own clean beds
but no one would admit it
no, we pounded on our chests

we said,
we are going somewhere
but we’re not there yet

then finally reaching home
we didn’t feel we were ready
had so much left to go

we said,
we are going somewhere
but we’re not there yet
Track Name: This Boy's In Love
just now I met a girl with a shaved fuzzy head
she is playing the piano, she is sitting on the bench
and I later find out we’re in the same writing class
has a hyphenated last name and she snorts when she laughs
and then back in my room, she’s got nothing underneath
and her eyes they look like water, I think I’m lost at sea

I am falling down
I got both feet off the ground
I can’t get enough
this boy’s in love

and she folds up her notes done in charcoal and pen
stages nude photographs and she’s tight with all my friends
puts her hand on my lap while she’s steering the car
and she eases up her skirt, can't remember where we are
and I’m writing her songs and she’s singing along
and I still can’t figure out why it feels like something’s wrong

I am falling down
don’t know when I’ll touch the ground
I’m too high above
this boy’s in love

and I finally learn why her fingers all have scars
she gets rid of all her food in the bathrooms of bars
and her sex gets so rough, says she needs to feel pain
tells me when she was a child her stepfather was to blame
when she steps on the ledge it takes two of us to save her
I know I can’t leave yet but I know that it’s over

I am falling down
can you hear that awful sound?
screaming from above
this boy’s in love

I am falling down
so very quick I got turned around
someone help me up
this boy’s in love

get me off this drug
this boy’s in love
Track Name: My First Girl
my first girl wore her socks up to her knees
had my teenage heart just beating right out of me
i was into her just as much as she was into me
my first girl she still means everything

my first girl had a thick short black mane
was obsessed with Romeo & Juliet with Claire Danes
she looked more like Winona Ryder from Reality Bites
my first girl I dream of her some nights

alone in her house after school in a back room
she wore boys underwear I had nothing to compare it to
my hands were clammy cold on her skin but she didn’t mind
my first girl is with me all the time

we went to the same university
she wrote a heartfelt note to me
but I couldn’t lie, i was not ready
to go back to what we were
still we made out on her bed
it felt just like I remembered it
and I thought I would return again
but that was the last time our lips met
my first girl i still have regrets

my first girl stays in touch with my family
she’s got kids of her own that I have never seen
i chose to leave her behind to see what was out there
my first girl I wonder if she still cares
my first girl I see her everywhere
my first girl is somewhere out there
Track Name: What Doesn't Kill You Makes You You
my father took a kitchen knife and shoved it in his side
all the while me and my little brother looked him in the eyes
and it was not the first time I saw more than I should see

months before broke thru the door to shake him out of sleep
the ambulance arrived in time but real help never came
I still have the note he left from the time he planned to shoot a nail through his brain

you never know what’s normal till you see how others live
my father gave me everything he had the means to give
I’m old enough to know just how easy you can bruise

and the shape you’re in is clear and solid proof
that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you you

the nurse she dug the catheter deep into my vein
watched the medicine drip down the tube three times everyday
but what no one knew I still got high during football games

another time was driving drunk the cops pulled us aside
they searched the car clean up and down but somehow didn’t find
the plastic bag just lying there it would’ve surely changed my life

now I don’t feel so lucky but I know that I am
I live and I breathe, have ten fingers on my hands
looking back I see that I barely made it through

and the shape I’m in as clear as it can be
that whatever doesn’t kill me makes me me

my mother went to meetings learned to deal with dad’s disease
and later she got diagnosed, had chemotherapy
and now my oldest sister has adopted mother’s genes

and my other sister lives with her own amount of pain
and my little brother doesn’t sleep has too much in his brain
and here I am, I’m thinking how we’re different but the same
even though we’ve come so far, seems like somethings never change
when we feel too vulnerable we’re pretty quick to blame
all the wars the family fought have made us all insane

my parents sold the house and my sisters moved away
now we only reunite on certain holidays
and every time we do it gets messy but it’s love

and all the vivid memories, they’re mixing inside us
they bubble to the surface they can be so dangerous
cuz the shape we’re in it’s pretty obvious
that whatever doesn’t kill us makes us us