A Step Outside
Let's Get Lost
The Unhappy Song
Bad, Bad Feelings
This Loving Thing
Broken Smile
Come Home
Vigilante Man

[2006] Yep Roc Records

This is not John Doe's new album. Originally an EP called For the Rest of Us (1998, Kill Rock Stars), Yep Roc's new version is a full-length, now entitled For the Best of Us. The new, expanded version includes five previously unreleased songs recorded during the same sessions as the EP. "I want to put it out again because we can and because it sounds cool," says Doe. And he's right, it does sound cool. It sounds great. Ever since the landmark discography of the punk rock band X, Doe has been a vital, poetic and important figure in the world's musical landscape. For the Best of Us represents some of his most exciting work and marks the beginning of his fruitful collaboration with producer Dave Way (Macy Gray, Sheryl Crow) that has since yielded four albums, including 2005's Forever Hasn't Happened Yet, which was hailed by a long list of critics as one of the top ten albums of 2005. There's an all star band on For the Best of Us featuring Smokey Hormel (Johnny Cash, Tom Waits, Beck) on guitar, Joey Waronker (REM, Beck) on drums, and Tony Marsico (Matthew Sweet) and Steve McDonald (Redd Kross) sharing duties on bass. And because there was no record company or specific release in mind when recording the album, the sense of adventure and freedom is audible. "We recorded it in '96 and '97, a time when things were still pretty open as far as interpreting rock and roll music," Doe says. "So, we certainly felt that - a sense of adventure - when recording it."


A Step Outside 

it’s shattering & splintering
it’s crumbling
I can’t fix it
it’s cracking & peeling
now it’s flaking
I can’t paint over it
it’s crashing & burning
I can’t follow that
falling to pieces
in your indoors
then you step outside
there’s a whole rainbow
the colors hurt your eyes
they’re so hopeful and weak & pale
it makes you really wish
that the rain would change to snow
I can’t change you though
I still love you so
it’s punctured & collapsing
it’s oozing
I can’t bandage it
it’s stumbling & shivering
now it’s trembling
I can’t handle that
tearing to pieces
inside your mind
then you step outside
there’s a whole rainbow
the colors hurt your eyes
they’re so hopeful and weak & pale
it makes you really wish that the rain would change to snow
I can’t change you though
I still love you so

Let’s Get Lost 

first day out it snowed
though you loved it slowed you down
driving from the cold
glad to be alone
it’s hard though not to smoke
when all you got is the radio
she knows how to be, w/out him
she does very well, w/out him
not sure why she’s driving this distance
not sure how to go & be w/ him
and be with him
second day, she is free
today is Christmas Eve
feels so good not to know
where you are on this road
let’s get lost

The Unhappy Song 

are there tears on the moon
will you still hate me in hell
my head’s about to explode
do you still love me now
how can it be
I fucked things up so totally
I couldn’t have done things worse
if I really tried to hurt
I guess yr never too old
to make so many so unhappy
this valley of doom
has mountains of you & me
but in my cigarette dreams
I suck a beautiful you
how can it be . . . 

Bad, Bad Feeling 

temporary housing
Road Hogs Inc
military spending
drive & drink
Japanese roach motel
paper-thin walls
pay a hundred bucks to get in
& about a thousand to get out
I got a bad, bad feeling
that just won’t go away
I got a bad, bad feeling
we’re all gonna get hurt
sometimes feeling like shit is all you got.
men can be such asshole, you know they say it takes one to know one and I oughta know ‘cause not only am I the president of this company but often times I’m a client, you know what I mean? 

This Loving Thing 

reach in casually
touch me tenderly
pull out my life
it can be damaging
this loving thing
is so confusing
a flaming heart in your hand
clean enough to stand by
I really hope that I can
stand by you
the quiet is deafening
I float inside the space
of your breathing
I’ll wash the stains away
so you can see a face
no dreaming
a flaming heart in your hand
clean enough to stand by
I really hope that I can
stand by you


crawling down
an innocent
sweeping up the hall
creeping like a swee-pea
nightgown like a baby
head in her mother’s hand
dripping into sleep
breathing a familiar smell
filling her full of her sweetheart beat
who are the hostages
never let go
so many prisoners
see it on their backs wherever they go

growing up a criminal
w/ eyes that always fall
living in an age of hate
denying it all
clinking sounds of bottles
rising from the street
hearing a familiar sound
reminding him of his sweetheart’s sweet heart beat
this may never go away
haunting him for life
so sad in iron bars
see it in his eyes wherever he goes
I have been a prisoner in heaven and hell
that may change hourly
but what’s on my back is forever & ever

Broken Smile 

no way sleep, nowhere to drink
no one to love & couldn’t care less
too cold out doors, too hot in here
can’t hear anything but the ringing in your ears
one call she won’t make
one long walk I won’t take
you wore a zippered shirt curled up backstage
gotta ring that says, “please” and a life like highways
she’s gotta smile that could break a thousand hearts
no one hardly ever sees it
she’s gotta smile that could break a thousand hearts
& she’s breaking her own right now
feet in flames
started smoking again
laughter so loud why’s everyone yelling
gave me a smiley ring from a 25cent machine
if she knew me better I could be her sister
we’d kiss each other on the cheek & say, “see ya later”
instead of “goodbye”
she can’t defy gravity but makes thousands believe
she wants to be warm
dreaming on someone’s arm

Come Home 

driving this piece-o’-shit-car
watching the needle bend on H
thinking how plastic sticks to the package
and the meaning of the word ‘gay’
bottle of whisky high on the shelf
Top Ramen rings the dinner bell
it’s so clean
it’s so pure
sweet as sweat
the night that never really got dark
by the time I make it home there might be nothing to come home to

headache five days straight
bloody right side of my brain
fishhook deep in my palm
yanked it out, blood’s everwhere
the bar’s loaded w/ drunkards
I’m driving passed it w/ my knees


speakeasy say one word
breathe deeply drinking fumes
loud music
needle skipping
meat meeting
heart dripping
I believe everything you have ever said to me
we just met
whispering lips
brushing my ear
we just met
easy to speak
burned away
say one word
talking w/ yr hands
we just met
lies may slide from our mouths
clouds of smoke may rain cigarettes
don’t look at the ceiling
tomorrow’s Halloween
what was it you were thinking
did you really have nothing to say
secret lips
we just met
sweetest breath
we just met
we just met

Vigilante Man
by Woody Guthrie w/ interp by JD

have you seen that vigilante man
carrying a shotgun in his hand
I’ve been hearing his name all over the land
rainy days we pass the time away
sleeping in some good warm hay
a man comes along & he kicked us out in the rain
was he the vigilante man
Preacher Casey was just a working man
he said, “Unite all you working, union men”
some men come along & they cut him down in the rain
were they the vigilante men
have you seen that vigilante man
driving by w/ a sawed-off shotgun in his hand
would he shoot his brothers & sisters down
I’ve been hearing his name all over the land
have you seen the vigilante man