Tommy Shaw, wrote this song and sang lead. Shaw says he was asked to write one more song for the album, which followed the theme based on the Paradise Theatre in Chicago. Shaw was having trouble writing songs that fit, which is why this song doesn’t follow the theme at all.
Tommy was on a long drive to the recording studio, and on one trip, the bassline popped into his head: “dun-dun dun-dun dun-dun-dun-dun.” When he got to the studio he quickly ran inside grab his guitar and hit record, so he wouldn’t lose what was in his head. The rest of the band started joining in and Tommy found himself calling out chord changes as they played, which laid the groundwork for the track.
the album has a place in music history, being one of the albums which freaked out the religious right and Tipper Gore! Styx was one of the bands explicitly forbidden by the Religious Right because they thought Styx had slipped subliminal backmasking into their albums for the purpose of promoting Satanism or drug use. The fallout from the Senate ruling is the reason we have “Parental Advisory” stickers on album labels today.
The song is about a guy who spends his days at the local bar, blabbing on and on about world events or other people business or whatever else pops into his head. He’s got nothing better to do, and aided by alcohol, he gets a little crazy as he sees his life slipping away.
The video combines studio performance footage of the band with scenes from a bar where the guys engage in goofy antics. The bar scenes were shot at a gay bar called the Mother Lode in West Hollywood, California – the decor was changed for the shoot so it would resemble a local watering hole.
Tommy Shaw got the inspiration from a real bar in, Michigan ” the bar was officially called Mark’s Tavern, but everybody called it Mark’s Bar. It was the local watering hole. The drinks were good, and the drinks were cheap. You could go in there with 20 bucks and be a hero, you know – buying rounds of drinks. And you’d always run into somebody you knew in there. Whenever you’ve got too much time on my hands.
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