After writing songs for twenty years, I’ve received my first Explicit warning. The song is called “No One Roxx This Town No More,” and it’s featured on my friend David Mead’s excellent new album, Dudes (out November 15th on iTunes, Amazon and so on).
David and I didn’t set out to write an explicit song. Here’s what happened. Two years ago, after he recorded Almost & Always (a record which I had a hand in writing), we collaborated on a follow-up, a concept album, called 1908 Division. It’s about an apartment building in Nashville where David lived after he and his wife divorced. David’s idea was to make each song about and from the point of view of a particular person who lived in this complex. A college exchange student from Zimbabwe, a hairdresser, a girl who worked at a record store, an exotic dancer, a gay couple. It was really an interesting bunch of people, and from a songwriting perspective, a fun challenge to have the music and lyrics reflect their different personalities. The album may still get recorded and released at some point (I hope it does, as they are some of my favorite songs I’ve ever been involved in), but for now, “No One Roxx” provides a titillating sneak preview. The clever spelling in the title should tip you off that the apartment dweller singing this song is an ‘80s hair metal guy. He’s looking back at a vanished rock (rok?) scene in Nashville, lamenting the glory days of the Scorchers and when he was pounding brews at all-night parties on the roof of 1908. It’s not just one objectionable word that earns us the Explicit warning. It’s pretty much the whole song, which by the way, David knocks out of the park, as usual.
One friend who heard it said she couldn’t believe that I’d co-written it. Of course she only knows me as the soft-spoken, mild-mannered songwriter of Swan Dive. She has no idea I can swear like a fucking champ. I did grow up in New Jersey, after all.
I balled the ladies down on Elliston Place
High heels came off deep in the dawn
They looked so bitchin’ with their tits in your face
Tattoos inside a Lycra thong