Music Business Blues Breakdown

by Brian Johannesen

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This is the first single of a new album to be released fall 2019.


We were talking on the phone
I said Mama, just leave it alone
I've been working on these songs
No, I ain't going back to school
I've been working like a dog
Yes, Mama, this is a job
But this business is like the mob
They kick your ass til you pay your dues

She said that don't sound like no career
Driving 'round and drinking beer
Year after year
Got another label on the line
You got an agent and stuff
This can't just be bad luck
You're always begging for a buck
Honey, maybe it's time...

I said let me break it down for you Mama
I netted five hundred dollars
On a three month tour
From Boston to LA
After lodgings and the band
Food and gas for the van
I come home to a pile of bills to pay
And it always seems to happen that way

I was playing for tips
At a place called Abandon Ship
Three hours round trip
Hoping to at least make up the gas
There wasn't a single damn donor
In that sea of broke ass stoners
So I went up to the owner
Hoping maybe he could spare some cash

He said let me break it down for you buddy
There just simply ain't no money
No matter how good
You think that you can play
After rent and sound and lights
Now the bartender says she needs a raise (and she does)
And it always seems to happen that way

I turned on the news today
That's where I heard the President say
He's gonna defund the NEA
So we can pay for this war
Well I couldn't get it through my head
If the cost is that art is dead
Well it's just like Churchill said
What the hell are we fighting for?

Let me break it down for you, Donald
And let's see if you can follow
It costs less than Mar-A-Lago
And those vacations that you take
And that's a mighty small toll
To preserve a little bit of soul
But instead you've got another eighteen holes to play
And it always seems to happen that way
Yes it always seems to happen that way


released March 25, 2019
Written by Brian Johannesen
Produced by Ryan Joseph Anderson
Engineered by Luke Tweedy at Flat Black Studios in Lone Tree, IA

Acoustic Guitar/Vocals - Brian Johannesen
Electric Guitar - Ryan Joseph Anderson
Piano - David Zollo
Drums - Brian Cooper
Bass - Ryan Bernemann


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Brian Johannesen Iowa City, Iowa

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