FADING FAST 02 - Behind the Lyrics
Some words about the words. Plus, a lyric video!
It’s “Fading Fast” release day! My new single is available wherever you get your digital jams.
Normally, I like to let the lyrics speak for themselves, but in this case I thought it would be fun to share some bits of backstory.
Pulling out of Omaha
First line and you know what you’re in for—a road song. This one draws on my memories from the mid 90s.
Riding on the bookmobile
The bookmobile was the nickname Tom Petty’s crew gave my funky tour bus. It was a forty foot Silver Eagle. The bookmobile was old and nowhere near as fancy as the forty-five foot Prevosts the headliners traveled in, but I loved it. I’d done enough time in a 15 passenger Ford Econoline van to really appreciate all the luxuries a tour bus provided.
Fingers on an old guitar
Trying to find a feel
I cherish memories of jamming with my band The Sinners while barreling down the interstates. Check out my previous post with a bus jam of the unreleased song “One Hit at a Time” here.
Lord I just can’t sleep tonight
Not when we’re moving this fast
I had a hard time sleeping on the bus. My best hope for getting any shut-eye while driving was to pass out. Hence the ungodly amounts of alcohol I consumed in those days. I’m happy to report that I have not had a drop since late 1995 when that touring cycle wrapped.
Trying to occupy my mind
Watching the corn fields pass
Boy, they’ve got plenty of corn fields in the Midwest! I remember one long drive where we took turns naming all the uses for corn. Corn on the cob, corn chips, corn nuts, corn starch just to name a few. This kept us occupied for many miles. Pretty glamorous, huh?
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Though it’s plain to see
What’s in front of me
Though I know it’s real
I’m never gonna feel it all the way
It’s always time to go
Another town another show
Waiting down this dark empty road
Out where nothing lasts
Everything is fading fast
I’ll let that chorus speak for itself.
I stole that last line hook from myself. The exact melody and words appeared in a song called “The Devil I Know.” I chose to use the line here and reworked the other tune.
Spent the night in Chi town
Drinkin’ with Intemperate Sons
Every time my glass was down
They said, “Bring him another one!”
Somebody wanted my autograph
As I stumbled from the hotel bar
Man, all I could do was laugh
And wonder how’d I get this far
The Intemperate Sons makes reference to Phil Cody’s band The Sons of Intemperance who I took out as my opening act in 1996. I think Shuba’s, in Chicago, might have been our first stop on the tour. Don’t quote me.
I was sober when I toured with Phil so the drinking and stumbling I sing about actually would have taken place at an earlier time. Poetic license.
Standing at the truck stop
Shivering at the payphone wall
My manager says that my single’s been dropped
And my sales are beginning to stall
There are two clues in those lines which indicate that this is a period piece. The first is glaring: payphone. That’ll date a song all right. Then there’s the phrase about my single being ‘dropped.’ These days dropped means it’s been released. It didn’t mean that back in 1995. Back then it meant your song had been dropped from a radio station playlist. It was bad news.
They want me to do more interviews
I say please, my voice is shot
I’m trying to save it for the show tonight
‘Cause that’s the only thrill I got
The label worked me like a dog in 1995. I only remember saying “no” once; other than that, I showed up. A beach-themed clam bake in Modesto with Eddie Money? I’ll be there. An in-store performance hours out of the way in the snow on my only day off? With bells on. The opening of a fast food chicken restaurant in Switzerland? Actually I never agreed to that one at all. Long story. Read all about it in my previous post here.
Peace & Love Songs,
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FADING FAST 02 - Behind the Lyrics