Song: “Bad Scientist”

The road to jail is paved with bad inventions. Poor Jeff Hammond dreamed of being a superhero, and he became one, if you consider high-school science teachers heroes (and I do). But he wanted to help fight the never-ending war on crime in a more tangible way, so he used his big ol’ science brain to invent gadgets for the heroes to use. But staying an anonymous donor backfired once the technology itself backfired — with disastrous results. And now that he’s the target of a manhunt, he just wants the officials combing the city to know that they’ve got this all wrong…

I don’t remember exactly where the idea for this came from, but it became an excuse to indulge my black sense of humor. I really liked the sympathetic character, trying to do good but just not having the skills necessarily to pull it off. The idea of a gadget-maker who wound up being seen as a serial bomber — or serial killer — stuck with me. In the earliest concept he killed all the heroes he tried to help, which made him a huge target for other heroes, but as I wrote the lyrics, I realized it was better with a lower death toll. Most of his screw-ups have been injuries, but…alas, poor Epitome, I knew her well.

I am very happy that I was able to collaborate with Jude Kelley, my bandmate in Palette-Swap Ninja, for the solo on this track. I’ve been enjoying at least trying to play all the instruments myself, but when I pitched the idea of an organ solo to Jude, he almost immediately sent back the scorching B3 run you hear in this track. I immediately felt it elevated what I had, so I said “Great, that’s it” and added a few more keys to the mix so it wouldn’t come out of nowhere. Jude makes everything better.

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