Hell and Back

I held on as long as I could possibly—my blind faith pushing me to my knees.
I felt the warmth of a touch and it made me believe, and I knew it well.
I stood at the doorway hoping you might let me in,
My head spinning round, my nerves jumping from my skin,
I felt the stinging, ragged cold of the devil’s hot embrace,
And I knew it well.
And you took me to hell and back, how many times can I walk away from you?
My mind’s like a one way track, and every one is taking me back to you.
And you tell me just one more time and you’re lying like you always do,
And I know it well.
I must have walked a thousand miles or more trying to keep you off my mind,
I’ve knocked on a thousand doors I’m sure, just to see what I might find,
I slept in the arms of a fallen angel crying next to me,
And I knew her well.
And you took me to hell and back. How many times can I walk away from you?
My mind’s like a one way track, and every one is taking me back to you.
And you tell me just one more time and you’re lying like you always do,
And you give me just one more line and there’s nothing that I can do,
If I do it just one more time, then I swear that I’ll be through,
Yeah I know it well.
I wrote this song for the Dallas Buyer’s Club. At the time, I’d only heard a description of the plot and watched a trailer. But the melody and general idea for the song had been stuck in my head since I’d taken a motorcycle trip (on the Lucy, the Harley, not Rhonda the vintage Honda — that would’ve just been dangerous) from Eastern Nebraska to Los Angeles. I’d camped along the way with an old Mexican blanket and a $30 tent from K-Mart strapped to the sissy bar. I would sit there in my helmet humming the nah nah nah’s and painting a picture of a journey involving damsels and devils and angels and tears — it was all very relevant at the time.
I decided to put the song on Dope Machines because I like to think of records as collections of music that is either thematically or temporally similar — that is, music about a set of ideas generally made in the same time period. In a way, this was the first song I wrote for Dope Machines since it was a kind hybrid (never say mash-up, never) of a country swing and something sinister and electro. This aesthetic contrast went on to infect the entire next record. You know: left hand electronic, right hand rock and roll. Or something.
Thematically, the idea of a journey that changes you was laced throughout the record. And, as it turned out, the people from Dallas Buyer’s Club thought it worked for them too and they used it as the single for the entire soundtrack. This song and experience was one of the most surprising and just downright pleasant moments in the entirety of the band’s existence for me.

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