The Reluctant Hook (and the day that caught it)

by Tad Dreis

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Produced by Tad Dreis and Jeff Crawford
Recorded at Arbor Ridge Studios
Mixed by Tim Carless at The Mockin' Bird Recording Company
Mastered by Brent Lambert at The Kitchen


released September 11, 2009

Tad Dreis - guitar, vocals, harmonica, keyboard, Wurlitzer, piano, percussion
Charles Cleaver - keyboard, Wurlitzer
Jeff Crawford - piano, accordion
Lindsay Ellerbe - cello
Hugh Swaso - electric guitar
Alex Van Gils - bass
Rob DiMauro - drums



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Tad Dreis Chapel Hill

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Track Name: The Makeup Company
The makeup company called for you
They said they had some gifts
I said, "Your timing's impeccable
Her birthday's on June 5."

They said they already knew that
And your mother's maiden name
I said "You're creeping me out now
And I think she'd feel the same."

"Well, if you don't want us to know these things,"
they said, "why'd you tell us?"
I said "This conversation's over."
They said "You're just jealous."
I said "I want to talk to your supervisor."
They said "Fine, can I have your name?"

The makeup company called me back
The boss was on the line
She said her name was Gladys
I wouldn't tell her mine

She expressed apologies
And said she'd take the blame
For the conduct of her subordinate
Then she called me by my name

"Well, if you don't want us to know these things,"
she said "why'd you tell us?"
I said "I didn't tell you anything!"
She said "Are you jealous
of the power of our omniscience?"
I said "I don't even live here."

The makeup company follows me
Everywhere I go
They tell me things about myself
I don't even know

Still, I don't feel envious
Maybe that's the key
It's like Gladys and her underlings
Are just showing off for me

"Well, if you don't want us to know these things,"
they say "why'd you tell us?"
I say "You've really got low self-esteem."
They say "You're just jealous."
I say "Why don't you try to sell me something?"
They say "The makeup's just a front."

The makeup company called for you
They said they had some gifts
Track Name: Button For You
When I'm away from home a few days
I adapt, I can sleep anywhere
But when I get home, at least for the first night
Sometimes I wake up, it isn't fair

Not when you're asleep, soundly indifferent
In healthy dream cycles, charging your batteries
I'm a flashlight fading on the sunlit trees
Shadows lengthening along the ground

Like they're being stretched
My mind's a fishhook
The day is what I catch
It's suicidal

It throws itself onto the barb
I can't shake free, what a reversal
The reluctant hook and the day that caught it
A passion play with much rehearsal

I know how it goes
I'm so resentful
Of your whistling nose
As you flirt with snoring

I'll put on my clothes
And go downstairs
'Cause the traffic shows
No sign of slowing

Inside my head And I've got so much to do
When all I want
Is to lie back down with you

Not that you'd notice

When I'm away from home a few days
I forget the easy living
So accustomed to the dislocation
And mattresses much less forgiving

Or at least not quite
Yeah, that's the problem
With this fight or flight
It wasn't bad

The hotel last night
Made me think that
All was right
But my alarms say

"Don't wake up
To the radio's bad news
Unless your love is there
To press the snooze
Button for you"
Track Name: My Backstory
My Backstory

I'm here to fill you in on my backstory
I'm thinking most of you don't know
It's been twenty years now since I first fell in love
I think it's time the truth showed

I'm here to fill you in on the new constellation
I spotted when I was seventeen
It was shaped like a manta ray rising up from the mountain
And that's not the weirdest thing I've seen

But oh, oh, how is it possible?
Oh, oh, not to know in this day and age?
Oh, oh, just look in any newspaper
Oh, oh, it's me on every page

Me on every page

No, the weirdest thing has got to be myself caught on camera
Facing the opposite way from what you see in the mirror at night
Or else maybe the weirdest thing I've seen is a bully
Laying into some kid 'cause he feels small when his own parents fight

But back to me and my backstory
You've got to know I was one of those kids
Made me feel so small every time it happened
Tell ya I was one of those, but I won't say which

And do you think you know?
Do you think you know?
You think you do
Oh, but you don't

And how is that possible?
Not to know it all in this day and age?
Oh, oh, just look look on any newsgroup,
It's me on every page

Me on every page

When I was five, I saw a film I wasn't supposed to see 'til twelve
And when I was thirteen, I learned some things about myself
When I turned twenty-one I was so far away from home
Took me through 'til twenty-two to learn you can't make it alone

And back in the garage, I never had an entourage
One picture's not enough, so I made my own collage
Now everywhere I see unauthorized biography
If you want to know your roots, just read my backstory
Track Name: Blues For Werner
How long can you hold out?
When you roll south, don't it make you lonesome?
In the shade, in the brightest light
Oh, the summer night, don't it make you homesick?

Oh, the trees are different everywhere The oceans, too, when you get there
I hope they fill you up, so you can share it all

And the speed I know so well
How can you tell if you shoot past me?
And on a two-lane road, it seems so slow
But keep your seatbelt fastened

Oh the birds are lined up in the sky
You follow them 'til it makes you cry
'Cause birds they never migrate alone

You don't have to settle down, but as you make the rounds
I wish that you'd come through here
And where you are, I hope it's hot, 'cause if it's not You're in the wrong hemisphere

Oh, the land can roll and then lie flat And the wind can steal your cowboy hat
If you find mine, won't you bring it back to me?
Track Name: The Rug That Swore
Round and round the living room floor
We ran gliding, sock feet sliding
On the rug that burned, that carpet it swore
Oaths our parents heard, embarassing words

For a nine-year, and a six-year-old vocabulary
When we were confronted, then the blame was shunted, swept
Swept under the rug
The rug that swore

Ten years on, it came to me
In my college dorm room, sent from home to warm
My barest feet, and those that visited me
All my friends expressed their admiration,

Yes, that means a lot to a single kid, that rug was comfort
When I'd get the blues, I'd take off both my shoes and sit
Sit on the rug
The rug that swore

Popular though, that carpet it was
For not disclosing any song composing
It absorbed the sound, but also the dust
If you detected secrets it collected

You would have to swear
With your feet so bare that you would keep it
A promise also kept by the thing we stepped
Over so many times - fidelity
From the rug that swore

Now, of course, there's only the wood
I don't stay in places carpeted these days It's easier to clean and baby, I should
Change the filter on the AC's built to take

Only so much - remember that we live and breathe
Soft as carpets feel, contagion there is real underneath
Wash out your mouth
For the rug that swore
Track Name: Three Forms Of Media
Three forms of media delivered a booty call
First, he pressed reply to her message from the mall
She was at a kiosk, trying out a new PC
She didn't mean to buy one, but they let you surf for free

Too-rah loo-rah, loo-rah, oh

She received his email just as Lauren came into sight
Her dress that day was scandalous, much to all the boys' delight
She tended her admirers with backup from her friends
As did our protagonist and she and he IM'd

He said he could be there in about a half an hour
She looked at the boys, so stupid under Lauren's power
She typed in her number, said to call when he was there
Her friends demanded details and she promised them she'd share

Too-rah loo-rah, loo-rah, oh

They rode the escalator up and down 'til two
Then they went outside to see what their best friend would do
Warnings and discussion, laughter running through their train
All of it cut off when, with a bling, her cell phone rang

"Hello?" she said and looked around, she said, "Oh, there you are"
She walked out to the curb and she got into his car
Her friends all held their breath until she got back out again
She'd said she'd be one minute, but they'd swear that she took ten

Too-rah loo-rah, loo-rah, oh

Back inside, they went upstairs, found Lauren and her crew
Our protagonist walked up and said "I've got something for you"
She held out a piece of paper, which Lauren did unfold
And when she'd read the note, she smiled and said she had to go

Lauren rode the escalator down and out of sight
It fell to our protagonist to try and shed some light
The phone call, the paper note, the emails were from Paul
It took three forms of media to make this booty call

"But why would you deliver this?" they said, "You like him, too."
Our protagonist replied, "This booty call's untrue
Lauren's getting picked up by her brother as we speak
I wish that I could see it, 'cause I think she's going to freak"

Too-rah loo-rah, loo-rah, oh

Three forms of media delivered a booty call
First, he pressed reply to her message from the mall
Track Name: Bound For Glory
Well, I camped out with the Boy Scouts in the 1990s
And I hitchhiked in Ireland, and also in Hawaii
And you know I met some weirdos, but nothing really bad
I've been lucky on the road, and I'm glad

'Cause you hear the urban legends, and also firsthand stories
It's not hard to find horror in the public lavatories
Or those guys you see begging but never talk to,
Except to say "Sorry, I've got nothing for you"

Yeah, we've all got our cross to bear Me, I'm no exception
I'm desperate when I can't get good wireless reception
So I can follow up on some gig that's gonna pay
Before they kick me out of this cafe

And if I get sleepy, I'll stop and take a nap
And if I feel shaky, I'll make a turkey wrap
And if every hand's against me and times are truly hard
I might default on my credit card

But yes, I'm traveling far from home today
And yes, I'm lonely, my love so far away
And even we troubadours who eat with golden spoons
Appreciate you listening to our tunes

'Cause sometimes I sleep in a hotel with a spa,
And sometimes I sleep in a vacant parking lot
And sometimes my greatest burden is that I get to choose
Where and when and how to pay my dues

'Cause I camped out with the Boy Scouts in the 1990s
And I hitchhiked in Ireland, and also in Hawai'i
On scholarship both times, or did I mention that?

Please be generous when I pass the hat
Track Name: Armchair Warrior
The fridge is running low
And the car tires pressed up on the curb
The television's on

The armchair warrior is alone
His feet propped up on the side
Of a secondhand futon

And the bills beat him home again
He jumped the steps, but they always win
So he walks real slow and he drives too fast
And he wants you to sign his cast

"Only avarice," quoth he,
Regarding time on his hands
And saved up on his face

The armchair warrior
Has a pension plan where he keeps his nights
He saves 'em just in case

He doesn't really think he'll get 'em back
It's just the principle, since he's in the black
It's borrowed time, that's what he's learned
You can't even keep the interest you've earned

The neighbors echo in from the hall
His eyes reflect in the mirror
His aftershave is stinging

The jumper cables
In the back seat, like alligators
The birds don't call it singing

They're just kind of OCD
Armchair warriors in a tree
With their puffed-out chests and bad comb-overs
He hides from them under the covers
Track Name: Advice For Ladies
Ladies, value your humorous gay friends
I mean the guys for whom there really is no issue
They can be sincere with physical affection
And have no fear, they're not going to try and kiss you

Unless they really are confused
Unless the gay thing's just a ruse
Maybe they'll make an exception just for you
Or maybe they're bi, and they thought you knew

Ladies, otherwise, these guys have got your back
And you can benefit from their perspective
They know the whims of their own appetites
and with you they can be quite objective

As much as anyone can be,
but they get mixed up though, just like me
Gay guys aren't perfect, you see
Just practically

Ladies, realize that straight men get the joke
We can never be as close as you are
to each other and to gay men who befriend you
We wear pleats and wonder why you won't go too far

But I can learn to dress more gay
And I can read up on feng shui
If you'll just let me have my way,
I'll be OK

So ladies, value your humorous gay friends
I mean the guys for whom there really is no issue
They can be sincere with physical affection
And have no fear, they're not gonna try and kiss you

Kiss you
Kiss you
Track Name: Telephone
When you call me and I'm awkward on the phone,
Sometimes I stand there afterward and listen for the tone
When we've hung up, but that's not how cell phones work
Still I stand there anyway, until my screen goes dark

It was a meditation, it kind of make me sick
To listen to the dial tone until I'd hear a click
Then a female voice recording would come on
And I'd have to hang up quick, so they wouldn't call my mom

And in the morning, you can't expect too much
But as the day wears on, if you're still out of touch,
You can call me, it's my Achilles heel
I keep my phone on vibrate, keep it where I can feel

And when she called me, I just talked about myself
As if that were natural, as if there were no one else
She wanted to talk to, or about
I just answered her questions and I got out

Now I don't hang up, I press a button marked "End"
And when I call you, it's something I "Send"
And in my real life, I listen very well
But when the phone rings, I hope they won't tell
Track Name: I'll Be There
I'll be there
Just behind the first real chill in the air
When you pull
The sheets up to your chin and the moon is full

I'll be there

Then I'll rise
And kiss you like a fog on both your eyes
Your last waking dream
Will be of dewdrops turning into steam

Then I'll rise
Track Name: Pear Blossoms
I fell down in the pear blossoms
Scented of oil and of cold oceans
And the furry trundling bee had nothing
Nothing on me

Only the sun, gold glaze on a blue, smooth pot
Felt like a kiln wherever the shade was not
And the blossoms drifted down
Lazy like a lacy crown

Pear blossoms

I cut designs right into the atmosphere
But the fine arabesque lines gradually disappeared
And I lost my sense of sight
Covered up in blossoms white

Pear blossoms