terminal blvd.
the basics lyrics song notes

Disposable Man (nyswonger)

I won’t lie–Disposable Man was inspired by the sound and feel of the Romantics' What I Like About You. I love that trashy and exuberant vibe–very much like the early Kinks. It’s a timeless sound. Anyway, Disposable Man was an attempt to take that energy and put a little more density into the music–it goes though a couple of modulations as opposed to staying in one key, and there’s an honest-to-God bridge.  The lyric isn’t terribly orignal–it's a “cold hearted woman done me wrong” song, but the vocal part is delivered with a lot of attitude. I did a fairly credible drum machine demo of it, pitched it to the Bears for Car Caught Fire (they passed), but it worked its way into the 'dots repertoire. I like the swingy bass feel against the straight ahead guitar, and the “noise” section in the middle is one of my favorite things we do live-it’s fun to make a bass feed back.


Terminal Blvd. (arduser)

This tune goes back 20 years or so to when the Bears were constantly on the road. Out of necessity, I found a wealth of inspiration from highway signs. I forget what city we were in, but the sound of "TERMINAL BLVD" pleased me. Once we checked into our hotel, I began writing about a place where the inhabitants gather like sheep to do anything but actually confront whatever problems/issues they might be facing. Yes indeed, a culture interested in vacuous celebrities, large irresponsible gas-guzzling vehicles and general avoidance. Our narrator has a nagging feeling that something is out of whack, but his herd mentality is far too overpowering.

The demo was done in 1989 at Kevin Meade’s Toledo-based house of ultra-affordable 8 track recording. It featured myself singing and playing the instruments and, as per usual at the time, Bridget Otto on curiously effective background vocals. All done in under two hours.

The 'dots played the song for quite awhile before sending it away to make room for newer material.  Years later, when we were picking tunes for a new record Rob and Bob convinced me to unearth this early stab at social commentary.


Not A Pretty Face (fetters)

This rant emerged from an experience I had with a bitter man in the midst of an ugly mid-life crisis he dreamed up. The tedium of his self-centered dissatisfaction with life left me so awestruck that I wrote this song in about 20 minutes. I hate whiners.


My Friend The King (fetters)

This old Bears-era composition was inspired by a drug dealer I knew too well in the early ‘80’s. He used people, people used him, and no one got away without paying a price. Sometimes, to escape the madness of his situation, he would come over to my apartment and sleep. It’s interesting to watch people sleep. Saints and sinners all look the same.


You Will Never Be Satisfied (nyswonger)

I wrote this one shortly after moving into a very large and luxurious home in Amberley Village. It took a while to get the chord changes to work right, but once I had it I was really excited about the way it flowed. It was written on piano and I wasn’t really sure it would translate well to a guitar trio, but Rob played around until the chord inversions sounded pretty much the same as the way I wrote it.. 
I think I may have written this tune with my (then) wife in mind, or maybe it just wound up being accidentally prophetic.  


The Problem Song (fetters)

A song from 1989 that describes an awkward farewell to drugs and alcohol, and even more awkward embrace of reality. Pete Townshend is most definitely the ghost in this machine, thank you very much.


Hope It Works Out (arduser)

Originally written as an exercise in catharsis, I never planned to sing this song in public. However, I tried it out on George Cunningham ( my conspirator in The Graveblankets), and he encouraged to perform the song at an upcoming gig. We did a very folky mandolin and acoustic guitar version that sounded good. Eventually I figured “what the hell, no one listens to lyrics anyway” and offered it up to the 'dots. It quickly became the power-pop thrash number it was meant to be. Writing and singing about the slings and arrows of outrageous romance really does make one feel a bit better. One of the few tunes I never demoed.


Instead Of The Bottle (arduser)

How I love country music of yore. Hank Williams, Sr., The Louvin Bros., George Jones, Patsy Cline, etc. I also love Gram Parsons and his particular blend of pop, country and soul, what he called “cosmic American music.”

I suppose that’s what was buzzing around my head when I wrote this piece of melancholy. Rob loaned me his cassette tape porta-studio and I demoed this and many others. We learned it immediately and it seemed to hit a nerve of sorts. Singing about alcoholism to a bar full of drunks always goes over well.


The Great Communicator (nyswonger)

I was never a Reagan fan. In fact, the guy scared the bejeezus out of me – I used to refer to him as our acting president. When I wrote this tune, he had not yet been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and had he been, I probably wouldn’t have written it-maybe I mistook the early signs of the disease (during his presidency) for indifference or lack of intelligence. At any rate, I wish I could clone whatever muse hit me on this one, because it came together very quickly and effortlessly. I’m glad it made the cut on Terminal Boulevard, because I was in the process of singing and overdubbing on an old version we’d done for eventual use on my solo record, and this version is far better.


All material is © 1993-2009 psychodots, unless otherwise noted.