Micah Schnabel

Today we are thrilled to bring you the premiere of the new album by Micah Schnabel! The album is called The Clown Watches The Clock and features 10 new tracks. It was mixed and mastered by Frank Turner. The album is a companion piece to Micah’s book of the same name. We caught up with Micah to hear the stories behind each of the songs. The Clown Watches The Clock will be out everywhere on May 15. Micah Schnabel and Vanessa Jean Speckman will be touring the US with Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls starting later this month. Listen to the album and read the track-by-track breakdown below!

The Clown Watches The Clock Track-by-Track Breakdown ”4 Vignettes From An American Strip Mall”

This song started as a van joke about starting to see Pizza Huts being repurposed in America. No matter what you do to the signage it’s still a Pizza Hut. The second verse came from a night off on tour at The Corner Pocket Bar and Grill in Tallahassee, Florida. We walked into the bar and it was full of people, but quiet. A flyer on the wall explained that a bartender had recently died and that the dart and billiard league for the night had been canceled and instead there would be a memorial banquet. People were still throwing darts, but quietly. 

”Get Rich Quick”

I had to get a root canal and a crown on one of my teeth. I couldn’t afford it so I put it on a credit card. I was sitting in the dentist chair when the thought hit me that I would most likely be dead before the fixed tooth was paid off and that the sooner I died the cheaper that tooth would be. Vanessa wrote her spoken word part in the song while I was recording the vocal. She laid it down right then and there. I’m really proud of her for that. 

”Christian Band”

I was working a job for a music promoter loading bands in and out and acting as “security” during the show. About halfway through the headliner’s set I realized they were a Christian band playing for a Christian audience and that their songs were all just songs from popular secular radio bands that they had repurposed and written new, vaguely Christian lyrics. The line about the lady having  a bible and crying while the band played a Stone Temple Pilots song is true.

”Real Estate”

During the pandemic I was filling out job applications for fast food joints and I couldn’t believe some of the questions that were being asked. I literally just wanted to wash dishes. Similar to the song “Christian Band”, this is me coming to terms with the fact that you’re either born into money or you’re not. End of story. If you grew up with an ice maker in the door of your refrigerator you’re probably doing ok now. It’s a funny line, but I think there’s a real heartbeat truth to it. 

”#33 Dryer”

Vanessa Jean Speckman and I had a night off on tour in Jacksonville, Florida so we went to a laundromat to do our laundry. It was getting late and there were little kids running around helping to get the family laundry done. It was beautiful in a way, heartbreaking in another. I still think, “No one wants to be dirty, we just want to be seen. We can’t be rich so we settle for clean” is a good couplet. 

”Land Of Impending Doom”

I wrote this song when the republican governor of Florida announced his presidential run. I was thinking about all of the people I love down in Florida and the beach towns where so many people scrape their living. Airbrushed t-shirt slingers, magicians, and tight rope walkers of various heights. The assistant manager line still makes me laugh and “Baby, I like the bikers and the bikers, they like me” might be my favorite lyric from the record. 

”Happy Birthday, Baby!”

Vanessa’s birthday was coming up and the tension of the world was digging into me. I really liked the idea of writing a new birthday song. Some long, drawn out thing that people would have to suffer through at little kid’s parties at chain restaurants. I could hear the waitstaff getting lost in a verse while parents forced smiles trying to hold it all together. I loved the tension of the scene. I’ve never been great at love songs but I think this one has a real beauty to it. 


We had a next door neighbor that was a drug dealer. He always kept his blinds open, so I would see him walking around naked in his apartment every morning. We would watch his customers come and go throughout the day and see how free and easy he lived. I was jealous of his carefree nature. There I was rounding up ziploc bags of coins to take to the grocery store to dump into the CoinStar machine all because I didn’t have the good sense or nerve for taking chances. We still see him in the neighborhood. He seems to be doing just fine. 

”White Roses”

I wrote this song in the heat of the pandemic. No one knew what was going on and there were fistfights happening at the grocery store over the smallest misunderstandings. It broke my heart to see how quick we all were to either dismiss or destroy one another over the smallest things. When it really came down to it, we would not come together as a community. We would rather destroy one another than be inconvenienced. Also, V and I have another neighbor who has told us on multiple occasions that the constitution is not a legally binding document. He shows up in a lot of my (and Shane Sweeney from Two Cow Garage’s) songs. 

”Fingers Like A Gun”

I stumbled on this guitar hook late one night and it felt like a Neil Young song from the record On The Beach. I had gotten an ice cream cone tattooed on my face a week before and was thinking about why I was so attracted to that idea and imagery. I wrote the chorus with Frank Turner’s voice in my head. I don’t think I’ve ever written anything hearing someone else’s voice like that before but that’s how the chorus came about. I’d also been in love with Tom Petty’s album Wildfowers and that’s how we got to Jason Winner’s quiet and quick drums. As musicians, we tend to play either fast and loud or slow and quiet. I’d recently fallen in love with quiet and quick songs and wanted one of my own to sing.