Borrowed Time 1979
Given the supposed political makeup of our country which purports that about half of us are liberals and half are conservative, stating a preference about nearly anything involving politics would be idiotic for a performer such as myself. No matter what you say half are with ya and half are agin ya. Too many actors and musicians whom I admire artistically take public policy stands that I strongly disagree with. Does this make me like them less, sure a bit although I try and keep an open mind. I have told my kids several times when they feel the need to relive past experiences by filling me in on details of what crazy things they did when they were younger of which I was unaware I tell them this, "I do not have to know everything about you to be happy". Same goes with performers.
I have believed for some time that the current political climate pitting the left against the right in a theatrical setting actually began with 60 minutes in the 70's with a segment called "Point Counterpoint". Liberal Shana Alexander and conservative James Kirkpatrick would debate whatever topic was presented. I found myself agreeing and diasgrreing with both of them. These two represented the extreme positions of each of their parties. It became so popular that SNL spoofed it many times with Dan Akroyd and Jane Curtain. This allowed the audience the opportunity to choose sides like some sporting event. Hooray for my team boo for yours. The extremes held sway and any of us who might like some from column A and some from column B were left unrepresented as if there were only two paths one could follow. This show begat several others including Crossfire and the MacLaughlin group to name but two. This brings us to today when so much of what we hear demands a loyalty to a strident party line with no road in between. Both the far left and right pretend that the other side has never been right about anything which history consistently disproves. I find it disturbing that this political theater has become so pervasive in our culture(because it's dramatic and sells) that it corrupts any real chance for reasonable discussion. So it is with that in mind that I dissect Borrowed Time and what I was thinking in 1979.
January of 1965 was when I graduated high school, hence the reference in the opening line. It was a time when all things seemed possible. The turbulence of the middle to late sixties had not yet reached my naive front door. I had worked in the band and at a grocery store for threes years and had saved every penny so I could purchase a brand new 1965 Mustang. Total cost $2600 which I made monthly payments on for three years. What a car and that's why it's used in the Desert Moon video although mine was a hardtop and burgundy. The original script called for an MG convertible and I said no way.
" I HAD MY CAR AND I MADE THE SCENE DIDN'T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT NO GASOLINE". It was 30 cents a gallon in "65". WOW. This song was written in 1979 after years of Opec oil manipulations and helicopters burning in an Iranian desert. Hence the "THEY CAN GO TO HELL!" line.
"THE PROMISED LAND WAS OURS WE WERE THE GREAT SOCIETY" The Great Society was President Johnson's name for his administration. The next line is the one pertaining to the beginning of the theatrical political divide we were witnessing," I'M SO CONFUSED BY THE THINGS I READ I NEED THE TRUTH BUT THE TRUTH IS I DON'T KNOW WHO TO BELIEVE THE LEFT SAYS YES AND THE RIGHT SAYS NO AND I'M IN BETWEEN AND THE MORE I LEARN WELL THE LESS THAT I KNOW". Chorus LIVIN HIGH LIVIN FINE LIVIN HIGH ON BORROWED TIME This refers to not only my feelings about the undisputed power of the USA but also the nature of success and fame the band had enjoyed. Was Styx living on Borrowed Time as well. The Yes No bit was an attempt to mock the idiotic political discourse. "FAITH BE WITH ME NOW I"M JUST A DREAMER IN A DREAMLAND" refers to America as well as Styx were we both dreamers living on borrowed time? The tag on the fade is actually the bands addresses at the time. Lake Shore, Drive Redbud Trail etc. I wrote the lyrics to this song and Tommy and I wrote the music together. An underrated Styx song and a true rocker with a tricky rhythmic structure on the chorus, which I came up with. When performing this I always had to concentrate while cursing my trickiness.
To all you younger folks who come to this site I hope this ancient history does not bore you. The next post will be an examination of songs I wrote before the invention of the light bulb.
Interesting post, and as a 'younger folk' its nice to get this backstory since I would never be able to put the lyrics in context.