Empty Parking Lots

Dustin Welch, Super Rooster Music (SESAC); Kevin Welch, Monkey Head Songs (SESAC); Jeremy Nail, Lazy Pendejo Music (BMI)

“Who is the man in the hat?” she asked me, “In the black trench coat”
I wheel around but he’s gone in a flash, as soon as she had spoke
I tell her, “It’s only your imagination,” even though I knew I’d seen him before
“Sewer rats, alley cats, and junkyard dogs are always hanging around of my back door.”

And the rain falls down like it ain’t ever gonna stop
Pawn shops, liquor stores, empty parking lots

Now a certain urgency in the way that she moves, and I know it’s still on her mind
“We’re not alone anymore,” she says as I take her hand in mine
I feel the reassuring weight of my loaded automatic, strapped tight to my side
“Ain’t nobody gonna fuck with us, baby,” I casually replied

Repeat CHO

“Well now nothing can make them pearly gates open up wide for you,
Heaven’s gotta wait just as long as it takes for the devil to finally get his due.”
She pulls me close puts her head on my shoulder, and slowly starts to relax
“Quit your big talking, daddy, let’s go,” she says, and this time she don’t look back

Repeat CHO (2x)

Dustin Welch: acoustic guitar, vocals; Jeremy Nail: vocals; Suzanna Choffel: vocals; Drew Smith: acoustic guitar, vocals; Kyle Ellison: electric guitar; Trisha Keefer: violin; Joe Beckham: electric bass; Joe Humel: drums; Dan Dyer: vocals

This is a weird one. I had an old song called ‘The Rock Hard Bottom,’ which I was never satisfied with. The first summer I lived in Austin, it rained for weeks on end. Hard to believe now as I’m writing this because we’re in the worst drought in a century. My good friend Jeremy Nail was living around the corner from me, and we spent many nights sitting up on his porch writing and singing songs for one another. I wanted to compose a Dashiell Hammett style narrative, whose novelettes read like fantasy for mystery fans, full of characters who are all attitude, the women are “dames,” the cars are called machines, or coupe’s, or roadsters, or better, heap’s. One night, me and Jeremy took the ‘Rock Hard Bottom’ and tore it up and rearranged it, keeping all the good stuff, and started writing this little scene taking place between two people as they’re walking down a dark, damp street in Hammett’s 1920’s San Francisco. The scene probably takes place in less than a minute, and the conversation is an exchange which only contains about six or seven brief sentences. I had the weird idea to deliver it with three people, one as the woman, one as the man, and one as the narrator, almost as rock ‘n’ roll musical theater. We asked our friend, Suzanna Choffel, to come by the house and all gathered around one mic, dancing and ducking around each other to deliver our lines. So Suzanna starts it off and goes “Who is the man in the hat” then I go “she asks me” the she goes “in the black trench coat.” then I go “I wheel around but he’s gone in a flash, as soon as she had spoke. I tell her…” then Jeremy goes “it’s only your imagination,” then I go “even though I knew I’d seen him before.” then Jeremy goes “Sewer rats, alley cats and junkyard dogs are always hanging around of my back door.” And so on… So, back to the rain. The original song ‘The Rock Hard Bottom’ had a verse that went:

The sewer rats, alley cats and junkyard dogs,
Are getting fat off the tax from the black market boulevard
All of them pawn shops, liquor stores and empty parking lots,
And the rain is coming down like it ain’t ever gonna stop.

I wanted to use as much of that as possible, so took the last two lines, switched them around and used it for the chorus which served as a good way to back the camera up away from the scene and the couple we’re following and give the listener a feel of the setting.