Lyrics and Stories

Todd Johnson & The Revolvers

Self Explanatory

by Todd Johnson

Released 2014
Released 2014
A raw rock and roll release with a vulnerable outlaw feel, the second solo release from Todd Johnson takes an authentic look at life in Anytown USA.
NOTES
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Todd Johnson
06/15/2010
Todd Johnson

Story

This song was written EXACTLY how it sounds. I had a job working at a restaurant, and at the stop sign at the end of my road, if I took a left, it was a few miles down. If I took a right, about the same distance down was a girl's house that I had started dating. In a beat up truck (that was a perfectly fine truck until my teenage lead foot lead it into a few too many mailboxes and guardrails) on my way to work I had the thought every time I was going to work at the stop sign of how I'd rather turn right than left. I'm sure being a teenage boy with certain things on his mind didn't have anything to do with that thought process.

Lyrics

Pull up to a stop sign from a dead end road
Now I just wonder which way to go
‘cause to my left is my nine to five
And to my right is a girl who makes me smile
 
You know she’s burned into my memory
It hurts so good it’s so hard to believe
But times are tough I’ve got to make it by
The truth hurts, but lord knows that I try
 
And I don’t want to hurt myself
By choosing you over something else
I just need to know the reason why
I turn it left
Or CHOOSE RIGHT
 
Everything I’m feeling someone’s felt before
I’ve just never walked through that unopened door
How will I know my plans fall in line,
Or will I just be back at this same stop sign?
 
So I put my foot on the gas
And I know, there’s no time to turn it back
The whisper of the wind that’s passin by
Says you made the right choice boy, keep it up and drive
 
Pull into a driveway from a gravel road
That was to my right a few minutes ago
Her pretty face and her hair in the wind
I’ll never make the wrong decision again
Sentenza
Sentenza

Story

This song is written about a character in a movie called High Plains Drifter. It's a pretty dark western, and the song is written about Clint Eastwood's character, who is nameless. I wanted to write about it because the only point of his character was to expose the flaws and underbelly of this town that thought very highly of themselves. I wanted the ending of the song to give the same feeling as the ending of the movie: he rides off into the desert heat, disappearing forever.

-Todd

Lyrics

Don't tell your lies to me now baby, I'm just a heartache
Don't tell your lies to me now honey, I've already walked away
There's a hole in my chest where my heart should be, I think that it's best you forget about me
You want me to save you better give me what you got, I'll tell you right now it ain't a lot

I'll paint this town red and welcome you to Hell
Preacher here's got no salvation left to sell
Think you're burning clean by the faith you seem to claim
If anyone asks you why you ran, say THE MAN WITH NO NAME

THE MAN WITH NO NAME

A ghostly man from the desert heat yeah, I bet you can't even see
They say the dead can't rest in unmarked graves, tell me do you think it's me?
I'm a man that people fear, even through that I have to endear
Because people fear what they fear in themselves, even when they cry for help

Shot from the glass, shot from the gun
Shot that can't be beat
I am the ghost of a man done gone
Like the desert heat...I'm gone...I'm gone
Todd Johnson
06/15/2010
Todd Johnson, Rhob Elliott

Story

A very early song of mine, I used to gauge my songs by this one. It changed how I wrote, because it was the first time people went out of their way to say "Hey, I really like that one." It was one of the first collaboration songs I ever worked on as well. I was in a band with a brilliant songwriter named Rhob Elliott, and I brought this one in one day. It was about half finished, and he did a great job of seeing what the song could be. I learned quickly from this song how to say as much as possible by saying the least, and to try different things. I had some blinders on thinking what this song MUST be. He took the blinders off by simply making sure I don't barrel straight to how I felt, but how the person I'm saying these things felt too. That's a great lesson I learned, you're not the only person you write your songs for.

Lyrics

If I leave tomorrow, how long would we wait?
Would we be together, how long would it take?
I must be going now, and I know you do too
So lets take a moment, while it's just me and you
 
Blue skies, white lies
Cascade down on me
You can't, tell me
Just what you believe
We run, we hide
From all that we can't see
Tell me
Is This The End?
 
Would we be like strangers who meet again someday?
Or Will we be old friends who just drifted away?
Would we still be in love is that too much to ask?
Will this moment decide our lives or define our past?
Sentenza
01/23/2013
Sentenza

Story

This one just kind of came from nowhere. I had the lyric idea "Between the Grass and Hay" for awhile, not a boy, not yet a man. Then, just kind of fiddling on the guitar, I came up with a story about a boy who was told not to be like his father, and ended up not only doing the same crimes as his dad, but ended up in the same jail cell with him. Also, little side note, the phrase "Heathens and Villains" is in this song, and was almost the album title. Fans voted between four or five different choices, but self titled "Sentenza" won the vote. One of my favorites from my former band Sentenza.

Lyrics

I met my dad when I was a lad at the prison of New Orleans
He said "Now son, don't do as I've done, dealing with the heathens and villains."
 
But those words are now dated and faded away
That my father had told me so
I find myself now living his wicked ways
BETWEEN WHERE THE GRASS AND HAY GROW
 
The troubles that I find that are creeping up behind, are of my own making
Those words that I fear I won't remember to hear, will be my undoing
 
In a room built for two I heard my father say
I should never be sharing a cell with you
Todd Johnson
06/15/2010
Todd Johnson

Story

Out of all the songs on my first album, I felt it was just right to make this the title track. I've worked on albums before, had a few that crashed and burned. I was starting over with my first solo release, I felt it was a perfect statement of stating "I might be at the bottom rung of the ladder, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to climb."

Lyrics

There's no console for the broken hearted
but to pick up and go on
For those who mourn the dearly departed
you're never really anlone
To the families who fight to eat
We suffer to appreciate
You won't always feel like your dead on your feet
The hands of fate will fill your plate
 
There's nowhere to go but up
When your dreams have fallen to the ground
I can say, I'll find a way
to turn it all around
There's nowhere to go but up
When you're lost and can't be found
I can say, I'll find a way
To reach higher ground
 
To the musicians with just a dollar to their names
They'll always be someone who listens
To the noble minority who stand for their claims
You shall never be beaten
To those who want to put down the bottle
Salvation isn't far away
You want to feel like your losing the battle
it won't always be this way
Todd Johnson
06/15/2010
Todd Johnson

Story

A fun, three chord tune that I always had a fun time playing. I had someone point out the odd similarities to a vampire in this song, which I never noticed. The whole thing does tend to lend itself to it I guess. Act like I didn't tell you that part, listen to it like a normal song, then listen again with that thought in your head looking over the lyrics. Weird stuff...it freaked me out, and I wrote it!

Lyrics

Never seeming to fill the hole
On and on my hunger grows
I wait alone for the light from you
The dawn ‘til dusk that you help me through
 
Well if the sun, refused to shine in the sky
And my dreams have passed me by
If I wanted my, dreams to stay alive
I’d find the girl with sunshine,
Find the girl with sunshine in her eyes
 
The sun had set on my dying plain
No grass to grow ‘cause there’s no rain
The night has died since you’ve came by
You’ve taught me how to spread my winds and fly
Sentenza
Sentenza

Story

This was a song that I had actually written about eight years ago. When Sentenza started working on our debut album, I went back through old recordings for this one, because I kept getting the chorus stuck in my head. The chorus was exactly what I wanted: The rest of the song just sucked really bad. There was no real meat to the song, it was just lame.  At the same time, I was reading a lot of Wild West history, and came across the story of the hanging of James Averell and "Cattle Kate" Watson, two ranchers killed by a man who ran a large, neighboring ranch. Though he was charged with murder, witnesses died or disappeared, and he got off clean. So I combined the two ideas into Blind Eyes of the Law.

Lyrics

Ooh Ooh Ooh tell me know, what do I see?
I see two innocent people hanging from a tree
Killed by a man who was full of greed
A man who didn't give them a sentence to plead
You say you stand in the name of the law
You don't have any law at all
 
How can you live with yourself?
Which sides of the scales are you on?
How can you justify yourself?
When lying and murder are wrong, in the Blind Eyes of the Law
 
Ooh Ooh Ooh tell me know, what do I hear?
A kangaroo court is about to endear
A key witness is now called to the stand
But they can't appear they were killed by your hand
 
I guess lying and killing are the same kind of curse
You've got to do another just to cover up the first
 
How many have to die for you to earn your claim?
How many have to die for you to save your name?
How many have to die for you to hide your shame?
How many have to die? How many have to die?
Todd Johnson
12/22/2013
Todd Johnson

Story

This was an example of me trying to break away to do something different from what I had done before, and really put myself in the producer and artist role at the same time. I really forced myself to write musically with new instrumentation that I hadn't used before, and I got this open space/western thing that I enjoyed. It made me think of what it sounds like walking in a perfectly lit moonlight night.

Todd Johnson
09/01/2014
Todd Johnson

Lyrics

The street lights flash on and the bars are lined up in a row
The cover is low and the band is playing songs you already know
Speakers might be busted and the notes might be flat,
but the girls still move to the sound
There's no need to be down, drinking in a small town

From the freeways and alleyways they spill out as they end the day
Lawmen and villains dragging their feet through the clay
I step in line for another time as the congregation frowns
But I'm with the jokers and clowns, drinking in a small town

I journey down the length of the bar to pay my due
To forget that I forgotten to love what I once held onto
Everyone here seems to know all that
But the boys bring the song back around
My memories drown, drinking in a small town

And the drinkers are knighted as they stumble like pigs to the tavern
They meet with Dick and Jane and the bootleggers out on 4th st.
We go out to the dark corners of the caverns, while the cops walk their beat
Yeah we stroll on down, drinking in a small town

Laura's working hard but she smiles as she tends to the flock
Johnny and June are lighting up the saloon as the past plays on the jukebox
Freddie and ziggy who would win between John and Clint
Doug and Lori talk about all the money they've spent
And the mourners spend their last cent

As I stand and sing
About my dreams
This stage is my home
The stage is my home

Baby you don't know me and I don't know you
But we both know what to do
We're caught in a trap there's no looking back
From a tall glance, and it worh takin' a chance?
The people here they take it, they own it
They may not be the best, but they're lost in the quest
We could get lost in the crowd, we could sing out loud

Drinking in a small town
There's no reason to feel down
We all know we should go on home
But we'd rather not be alone
So to your friends and lovers,
Lets have another round
When I'm lost I'll be found in a small town