New Drive-By Truckers – “This Fucking Job” (Stereogum Premiere)

As we mentioned a ways back, Patterson Hood told the Irish music blog Swear I’m Not Paul that Drive-By Truckers eighth studio album, the official followup to 2008’s Brighter Than Creation’s Dark, is “very much a rock album. Very melodic and more rocking than anything since disc 2 of Southern Rock Opera.” Confirmed: It offers big rock anthems that feel like they were written to be formed live. Much of it was written on the road — it has that forward momentum. The 13-song collection covers a murder of a preacher by his wife in Tennessee, the death of two loved ones (Jerry Wexler, Jim Dickinson), work/the economy, parenthood, homesickness, binge drinking, the Flying Wallendas, an awkward lap dance, and dying scenes and the clubs that housed them, but in the end it comes back to The Big To-Do itself, which Hood explains in the liner notes:

I never really was all that into the circus as a kid, but I sure was into the Rock Show, which was sort of The Circus for kids of my generation. I went and wanted to join. I’ve been living on the road for much of the last two decades. I get tired and burned out, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The Big To-Do.

Hood’s words add something, for sure. In addition to the liner notes, he wrote song-by-song descriptions. Take a look at his thoughts on “This Fucking Job.” Sure, it’s meaning’s pretty transparent via the title alone, but it involves more than just the present.

I wrote this one in my office shortly before the economic collapse of last 2008. I came out of a several year drought of songwriting and wrote about three albums worth of songs for this project but I always knew that this one would be for The Big To-Do.

I never forget how lucky I am to get to do what I love so much as a job and career. I also never forget that it almost never happened and happened only after a lot of sacrifice and some gut wrenching decisions that at the time seemed very foolish to anyone looking for tangible evidence of our reasons. Cooley and I were in our 30’s when we started this band. We hit the road with a vengeance that went way beyond obsession and at a pace of much younger bands. At the same time, coming home meant working shitty jobs to pay off the debt that touring at that level incurred (plus some of us were married and everyone had to eat). I can still remember a soul-searching decision where we just decided to go for broke and try to make all of this happen. We didn’t really have much chance of making all of this work out to a point of actually making a living at it but decided to do it anyway.

We worked really hard, made some right moves but inevitably we also got lucky and I still go to bed knowing that my shitty old day job is still nipping at my heels and with children in the picture we certainly couldn’t be so cavalier in waging it all on some pipe dream.


Drive-By Truckers – “This Fucking Job” (MP3)

More context:

01 “Daddy Learned to Fly”
02 “The Fourth Night of My Drinking”
03 “Birthday Boy”
04 “Drag The Lake Charlie”
05 “The Wig He Made Her Wear”
06 “You Got Another”
07 “This Fucking Job”
08 “Get Downtown”
09 “After the Scene Dies”
10 “(It’s Gonna Be) I Told You So”
11 “Santa Fe”
12 “The Flying Wallendas”
13 “Eyes Like Glue”

The Big To-Do is out 3/16 via ATO. A coda:

I grew up worshipping Rock and Roll like a religion. I know its shortcomings and strengths but have loved it unconditionally all the same since I was eight-years old. I ran away and joined the circus and honestly, I’m still as obsessed as I was as a boy. I’m not a kid anymore but I still remember how it felt and it doesn’t really feel all that different to me now. I pay the price, but I get to get up there with my best friends and tell dirty and violent stories about desperate people in troubled circumstances. I get to turn it up loud, and sometimes I even get to dance.