All of My Heroes Are Villains

by Beth Kinderman

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Beth's debut album, full of folky, geeky, singer-songwritery goodness.


released February 29, 2008

Justin Hartley: drums, percussion, accordion, hand claps
Beth Kinderman: lead & harmony vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, bass, mandolin, percussion, hand claps, interpretive dance
Dave Stagner: acoustic & electric guitars, bass, lap steel, pedal steel, synths/keyboards, percussion, hand claps, thermostat
Nikki Walker: harmony vocals
Eric Zawadzki: harmony vocals

All songs by Beth Kinderman/Beloved Porcupine Music, 2008
Engineered, mixed, & produced by Dave Stagner at Extraterrestrial Highway Studios
Mastered by Greg Reierson at Rare Form Mastering

Front & interior photos & graphic design by Kat Singer (
Back cover photo by Beth Kinderman
Porcupine drawing by Nikki Walker




Beth Kinderman & the Player Characters Minneapolis, Minnesota

If you like epic song cycles based upon multi-thousand-page fantasy novels, thought-provoking lyrics, violin solos, complex vocal harmonies, huge drums, and weird guitar effects, but you also think that more musicians should write songs about surviving the zombie apocalypse and attempting to sleep with video game characters, Beth Kinderman & the Player Characters are the band for you. ... more

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Track Name: Fuse
I said I don't mean to call you Judas
or reveal who you betrayed
but thirty pieces of silver
buys you a damn nice suit these days
you glare at me from across the table
but I think I'm gonna stay
even when "get the hell out of my world"
is all that your eyes have to say

& all the while I'll stay all smiles
& crocodile tears
an aesthetic anesthetic
as elastic as your peers
well maybe someday we'll be more
than the weapons that we choose
but til then I'll sit & smolder at the end of this

you read my words so hatefully
as if you don't understand
that the same green force that drives your pen
is right here in my hand
so keep on trying to cut me down
in any way that you can
cause when it goes to press I'll still be here
& you'll still be no kind of man


but then it hit me & I saw
that despite your vaunted fame
you never laugh, you never smile
like none of this is a game
now I got friends & they got my back
tell me, can you say the same?
so I'd rather be happy little boring me
than a void behind a name

but no longer will I stay all smiles
& crocodile tears
cause that aesthetic anesthetic
has been numbing me for years
now maybe someday you will see
you comprise what you refuse
& on that day all these words will come together &

Track Name: Rogue
Saturday night & I'm sitting in Andy's closet
while he's on the phone with his girlfriend
I'm surrounded by yellowing magazines
& reading back issues of X-Men
it's making me sick & a little bit jealous
to hear them extend their goodbyes
BAM, POW, CRACK, I turn the page
to see Cyclops fry some villain with his laser beam eyes

you know this place is a fire hazard
not so much because of the mess
or the fact that there's a radiator every two feet
it's because of you & me, I guess
& how everyone including you probably notices
the sparks flying as our bodies adjust
so I listen to you talk about the spaceman Sasquatch
but it's me who'll make the tabloids when I spontaneously combust

& you tell me I am a superhero
you tell me I am so smart
you tell me I'm the kind of girl you marry
I had a bad experience, all I need is a new start
but I am not feeling so super today
since I realized I need you so much
& that you'll never know when the gloves come off
all I ever wanted was to be touched

like when it's 5:30 a.m. in the morning
& I can't get you out of my mind
losing sleep as quick as you lost your religion
thinking about what I'll surely think of next time
& the way we wore each other's clothing
& the veil of your hair against my head
& how when I drove off my car windows were steamy
as though we'd spent the night together in there instead


& you tell me I'm gifted as though I am a present
tied up, wrapped up, given away
& you tell me my words will be remembers
though you can't remember what I said to you yesterday
it's okay, I understand I'm some kind of mutant
I gave up being normal long ago
but I wonder would it be easier collecting your fingerprints
if it weren't always so

but it's alright, I'm keeping my distance
more than arm's length away at all times
a few things may have slipped out the other night
that I'd like to go back and revise
like when I said you were a wonderful person
I meant when you're not acting this way
as though I mean to add you to my book of failures
when all I really want is for things to change

Track Name: Hannibal Lecter
once upon a weekend
well me & my best friends
went looking for something to see
& down in the basement
we found a replacement
for prom & for late night TV
with half the room sleeping
& half the room keeping
far away from it all on the stairs
I was sixteen
I was glued to the screen
alone & intrigued by what I saw there

Hannibal Lecter
brilliant & dignified
more real than fiction could be
I was rooting for you from the beginning
what does that say about me?
it's one thing to get at her through the glass
another to get under my skin
but what can I say, I'm fascinated
after lunch then the game can begin

so now turning corners
I see you before us
your voice is the noise in my mind
another obsession
for ruthless repression
horrific but still almost kind
& maybe it's easy
& a lot more pleasing
if we hold you up instead of what's true
cause we look in the mirror
we search for a hero
but all we come up with is you


how far will you go?
what more can you do?
what kind of sin do you need to commit
for me to stop admiring you?

& now some years later
my path gets no straighter
but you dig your way deeper each time
like the other day
I heard the newspaper say
there was a fugitive eluding his crime
pursued through three states
making narrow escapes
& fooling all those who stood in his way
& it took me a minute
before I'd admit it
I was hoping he would get away

Hannibal Lecter
twisted & so polite
better than evil should be
yeah, I cheer for the bad guy from the beginning
what does that say about me?
it's one thing to smile at you on celluloid
another to endorse it for real
but what can I say, it's complicated
I'm afraid of how you make me feel

Track Name: Princess
princess, I will let you down
I know this much is true
you smile so politely
but I'm not the one for you
the only thing expected
is to stay here by your side
but even this concession
is a favor that I can't provide
for in the end these truths remain:
I'll be a pawn in no one's game
skies are blue & leaves are brown
& I will let you down

princess, I apologize
this isn't what I planned
my enemy's on my trail
& so he has forced my hand
there's more at stake in my head
than the mind that sits the throne
I came here seeking comfort
but I must continue on alone
for in the end these truths remain:
I'll be a pawn in no one's game
lips are blue & skin is brown
& I will let you down

princess, I have let you down
just like I always do
you'll stand there sweetly frozen
but I won't stand beside you
as for our daughter, tell her
that I never had a choice
& that my dreams were haunted
by the memory of her tiny voice
for in the end these truths remain:
I'll be a pawn in no one's game
eyes are blue & hair is brown
& I will let you down

princess, I will let you down
you knew this from the start
I hope I've done some good here
that I've safeguarded your heart
for now I lie before her
nowhere left for me to go
her hair so soft & lovely
& more at stake than you'll ever know
for now the way is all too clear
two must go on through far & near
so why is there this nagging fear
that I will let her down?
Track Name: Redeemer
when I wore your faith like a hand-me-down
you expected that it wouldn't fit
if it's a little bit baggy, a little too long
gotta give it time, grow into it
now you act so surprised that the growing never stopped
& I show up in a different set of clothes
you can tear at my garments but I warn you my redemption
runs deeper than the vestments that I chose

so shout it to the heavens
my denial of your savior
when the straw that broke my aching back
was laid down by your behavior
in the circle where I stand now
through myself I'll be forgiven
& when I feel the power in my blood
I know that my redeemer liveth

yeah, I could have been a more careful girl
clenched my fist & bit my bleeding tongue
but now the woman inside says she's tired of being
every fucking thing to everyone
& I'm sorry you're hurt but I'm not sorry I spoke
I'm not sorry that I just called what I saw
cause I've learned when you calculate the price of every sentence
soon you don't open up your mouth at all


I call upon the east
so my voice will ring with truth & wisdom
call upon the south
to ignite passion in my hands
call upon the west
to accept the flow & ebb of water
call upon the north
for solid ground on which to stand
balance in the center reaching inward for the One
who is open to all corners & all sides
She knows that I have hurt you but She also knows that this faith
is something I no longer dare to hide

if you'd stopped me there, showed me I was rude
maybe then this guilt would ring more true
but then you wrote down your name with a final fervent wish
that I'd come round to be just like you
so you'll pray to your god that someday I'll know the fear
of a hateful selfish deity & kneel
but this world is my Goddess & she's in my every breath now
so tell me, what on earth could be more real?

(chorus 2x)
Track Name: Every Angel
tree of life & tree of knowledge
for a moment looked the same
but when I'm naked & I'm ignorant
am I really the one to blame?
but still you stand at the entrance to my garden
holding high your flaming sword
saying that you think it's best for all of us
that I don't live there anymore

(chorus 2x)
you've come here with one duty
your voice now calling to me
so terrible in your beauty
like every angel should be

now my birthright's a straightjacket
& my good deeds are as ash
the feathered wings my faith has given me
weigh so heavily on my back
I prayed so long for a token of his favor
that he'd claim me as his own
but the only sign that ever came to me
said that my sin was mine alone

(chorus 2x)

now I worship you in silence
but sometimes the secret slips
like when the sweet annunciation falls
unexpectedly from your lips
so I will search for a sign of his forgiveness
in the form of a raven or a dove
knowing that I'd sooner drown beneath the flood
that I would step outside this love

(chorus 2x)

tree of life & tree of knowledge
for a moment looked the same
but when I'm naked & I'm ignorant
am I really the one to blame?
but still you stand at the entrance to my garden
holding high your flaming sword
saying that you think it's best for all of us
that I don't live there anymore
Track Name: Clear Water
sister got a job tending the bar out at Red Lobster
said you asked about me, wondered when I would drop by
so I ordered up a pint as she called back into the kitchen
& out you walked in your red apron & your tongue ring & your tie
well introductions all around, I'd like you all to meet my friend
he's a writer, he's a liar who I've known since I was ten
he wrote a poem about me & I loved him for his mind
but didn't see this fairy tale was not the ever after kind
you faced down your stepmother as I languished in my tower
waiting for the day when we'd both come into our power
you were not the warrior prince & I was not the royal daughter
but we waded into these shallows anyway
in clear water

you came & went like meteors, made a home where you could find it
drawn back into my orbit like an errant comet knight
you fought me like a sister & I loved you like a brother
because the point was arguing, not knowing we were right
remember how we used to blow off class to go play Magic
trade comic books & videos & revel in the tragic
til you fed me stolen candy, told me it would be okay
it's just a couple months before this town's behind us anyway
then you wrapped your arms around her, you were right, it didn't matter
soon we'd all be free & famous & get gone but never scatter
unaware of what it meant we both looked forward to the slaughter
to the drop we knew we'd hit, we'd sink or swim
in clear water

now you say Orth moved up to Somerset, he's living with his father
so you don't really see all that much of him these days
way back when the two of you were just like Jay & Silent Bob
& he was the star of every song that I played
well, Josh & Angie broke up but he's still just chasing Amy
my ex is getting married to some girl he met at gaming
the Army threw out Mikey, that's the last of him you've seen
& Damian still bags groceries between nightly games of D&D
but no one's talked to Rhinehart since he moved to California...
& that's when you looked up & said, "I didn't mean to bore you"
I said no, it's good to hear, and that I never have forgot her
while I thought these are just other lives washed away
by clear water

we stared back at each other & you nodded & I smiled
& I realized my mistake as you sank down into your yearning
I was trying to apologize & you said it was great to talk
but you gotta get away because the steaks are burning
& I thought about Wyoming as I watched you walk away
they sent a rescue party but just broke down halfway
so no one ever saw you sitting in the wreckage of your car
cradling the body of the one who got you that far
now you turn to wave goodbye & I know I shall know you no more
I am fresh and you are salt now, crashing on some distant shore
since the day a deeper current tumbled in & blithely caught her
like the rapids that swept me out into a sea
of clear water
Track Name: Drive
the sunrise on the highway
lights up another motel bed
wherein I lie denying
morning & the last words that we said
gotta get up get on the road again
the shower's cold & the coffee's bad
just another day shaping up to be
among the worst I ever had
nothing to keep me here, I could leave at any time
but I'm giving you a few more miles before I leave it all behind

cause sometimes there's a change in me
it happens when my back is turned
& I remember how it used to be
just you & me against the world
what do you say we just get a move on
& not stand still while we're still alive
I'll fill the tank, you pick the music
& I won't even ask you why if we can just

a hundred towns behind us
we've got a hundred more to go
what did you hope to find here?
there are days I wonder if you know
but I know you're keeping your secrets close
although you didn't exactly lie
& you're saying that I'm in anguish, well
I know you are, but what am I?
no reason to go on no matter what you say
but it's not like I've got somewhere else to be at this moment anyway


we travel through the night now
beat down & battered by the wind
the headlights do so little
tape cues up that same damn song again
I have lost more than you can fathom, friend
& you're hurt deeper than I can know
but now I am my brother's keeper so
get used to never letting go
& you're about to say I'm not who you expect
but I want you to shut up a minute & let's just see what happens next


the sunrise on the highway
lights up another motel bed
Track Name: Distraction
come a little closer, haven't I seen your body before?
if I squint I can mistake you for somebody I adore
he's right here, standing beside me, he goes with me everywhere
I'd take him not for granted but he doesn't seem to care
cause every time I say I'll save him from her he'll just smile & refuse
I'm beginning to think he likes it to be this broken & abused

so who's that hanging on my hand today
it's the least of my romances
I'd keep on trying but I've come too far
to believe in second chances
so I'm giving up absolutely everything
to this pitiful attraction
but ask me to explain it & I'll gladly say
hey, look, it's a distraction

once I was a rebel, in on it all & out until dawn
I walked around the city with my independence on
now I'm thirsty but I'm sober, not by choice, I've been denied
but second best is better than to stay alone inside
cause he's a joker & a loser waiting to be rescued from himself
he is everything I wanted but he belongs to someone else


I'm not in love with you
but I'm not in love with anything
I don't even love myself sometimes
so the story goes
I'm not ashamed of this
but I'm not ashamed of many things
& I think this time it'll turn out fine
just so long as you never know
I'm not afraid of being lonely
I'm not afraid of being bored
just don't let me be forgotten
you can do what you want but just don't let me be ignored

you've got me where you want me, I raise my hands & claim defeat
get lost in your caresses & the words that you repeat
& when you lead me to your bedroom you know I will not resist
cause I'll live any lie to tear myself away from this
maybe someday he'll cut me down from here, he left me just enough rope
but until then I will just dangle, choking on this fraying hope

(chorus 2x)
Track Name: Underneath the Mask
losing my lucidity I hang beneath Cloud City
til I learn from my mistakes
left behind my master just to move a little faster
well it seems that's all it takes
you throw me out the window & I realize what I'm into
there's no ground to catch my fall
seems the best-laid plans can be severed like a hand
should I have come here after all?
you say, "join me & I'll tell you all the things that you denied
& when it comes down to it you'll be ruling at my side"

now here's to all the rebels & the ones who never settled
they were with me all along
they wandered undercover as I hungered for a lover
& I wondered what went wrong
now would I be wrong to pull your helmet off, to crack your brittle armor
to see what makes you tick cause that is what you asked
& who knows, maybe this Darth Vader is just some skinny white boy
underneath the mask

tell General Calrissian I'm endangering the mission
so I'm turning myself in
I come here not to kill you, not to save you, not to heal you
cause I can't do that again
if this were a movie all this fear would rush right through me
right now I'd take any role
the dialogue is cheesy but forgiveness is so easy
& I'm always in control
I say, "I saw the good in you, the good you tried to hide
but joining you is madness that I never could abide"


no anger, no fear
no peace, know I'm here
I'll find what I seek
what you never had - serenity
but I'm strong in the Force, now I see through your lies
cause never once did you look upon me with your own eyes

dying faceless on the floor you don't scare me anymore
I was right, I've always known
no Obi-Wan Kenobi ever warned me, ever told me
so I did this on my own
now I lay you on the pyre & I touch you with my fire
on the darkened forest moon
unsure what I've discovered but I know now that it's over
& a change is coming soon
I was the last survivor, now I'm the first of the new
& these will be the last words that I ever waste on you

Track Name: Valley
down in the valley, valley so low
hang your head over, hear the wind blow
hear the wind blow, dear, hear the wind blow
hang your head over, hear the wind blow

chained to the world once more
I'm assailed sunk & boarded
chose you time & again
this is how I'm rewarded
eyes to the stars but I'm aimlessly drifting
in a sky that is black cold & trackless
but doubtless
but for the way it ends
be it known you were flawless

you said
"you take the wheel
just like I showed you dear
carry on you are blameless
you will live on
you were always too strong for me"
doesn't mean it was painless
I bit the apple without fear of consequence
but held you too close to my chest
I've danced this dance before, hit what I'm aiming for
so back to the valley I guess

roses love sunshine, violets love dew
angels in heaven know I love you
know I love you, dear, know I love you
angels in heaven know I love you

as a leaf on the wind
what is left but to fight it?
always the warrior
can't they see I'm so frightened
wasn't just you that I lost in that moment
cause I won't meet that child now regardless
so once more
into that valley's arms
& I'll stay now inside it

you take the wheel...