The Mother of all Detholz! B-sides – “Time Traveling Peterbilt Semi” + “Who Are The Detholz!?” Complete Lyrics

Welcome to Detholz! Mp3 Blog, Episode XVIII!

This is the last installment in Detholz! History Month, where we’ve been rifling through some of the moldering dustbins of the distant Detholz! past to bring you oddities, rejects, B-sides and other bric-a-brac from our more tender years.

First, to put a cap in the ass of Detholz! History Month, I have posted the complete lyrics for WRTDH!? as a .pdf. (WRTDH!? = “Who Are the Detholz!?” = 1st DH! album, for any newbies) : WHO ARE THE DETHOLZ!? COMPLETE LYRICS

Please don’t read too much into these. I’m almost embarrassed to post them, but… a promise is a promise!

Second, in the spirit of continued indecent exposure, the Mother of All Detholz! B-sides : TIME TRAVELING PETERBILT SEMI

Side note: special thanks to Detholz! Graybeard, DJ Johnson, for carving out precious hours of his workday to forward me a bundle of old, presumed-lost Detholz! material. The hard drive which contained all of DH! history died a fiery death over a year ago, and I thought these songs had died with it. Thanks to DJ, I’ll be posting some more DH! dusties throughout the year. Big ups, brother!


“TT Peterbilt Semi” was written ~2001 or 2002. It was among the first batch of songs we began to work on after the release of WRTDH!? right as we were moving from the first Detholz! house in Logan Square into the now infamous Maplewood House in North Center, Chicago. This song has long occupied the Great Porcelain Throne as the band’s most reviled and mocked song for years now. It continues to be a source of amusement when referenced in rehearsal, and has often been the butt of many inter-band jokes. Simply utter the title and you’ll get a lusty “whoooa-HAHHHHH!” from a random Dethole.

It was only performed once — 2002 at Double Door in Chicago, I think — and the audience response was laughably indifferent. That might have been the show where a redheaded Scotswoman waltzed up to me after we finished our set and cheerfully exclaimed that DH! sounded like “a pile a’ cow shite.”

“Nothing pairsonal, mate,” she said. “But your bahnd is terrible.”

“Not at all, not at all,” said I, right before weeping uncontrollably into my beer. As a result, “TT Peterbilt Semi” became the silent white elephant staring at me from the corner of my home studio. I couldn’t listen to “Semi” without blushing/cringing/hugging myself with embarrassment — even in total solitude. “Whoa, aghhh!” indeed. Before this week, I don’t think I’d listened to it in at least 6 years. But listen I did. And you know what?

I love it!

Sure, the lyrics are dippy and it has that annoying “Nothing Ever Happens on Mars” tritone break (“Bo-ring! Bo-ring! Bo-ring!”), but I had a nostalgic blast via this song, a boisterous paean to moving forward with one’s life despite what’s transpired in the past. It lacks the greasiness and weighty malaise of the fare on Cast Out Devils (DH! second album, 2006) or the upcoming Death to the Traitor (ETA Fall ’08)— it’s just a bouncy, brainless bundle of joy with all of the earmarks of early DH! camp, when the band was younger and more carefree. This song was the culmination of a lot of the brooding and histrionics that go along with being in one’s early 20’s.

Ah, the salad years of Detholz!…. this song really took me back.

Besides, it’s kind of fun, right? Good, clean fun, for once. Eat your heart out, Scotland.

The composition process began with the central guitar riff, which reminded me of an 18-wheeler barreling out of a greasy spoon parking lot at 5 AM. For those of you with trucks, this one was designed for the road! Throw in some dimensional metaphysics for added spice, and voila! WHOA-HAAAAAAH! No Lot Lizards here, baby.

In any case, I’m happy that this much-maligned, oft-neglected piece of DH! frippery now has a home. Enjoy with ham and eggs served up fresh all day, or with a hot shower on the way to Tuscaloosa. A fitting way to end Detholz! History Month: by not looking back.

Also: thanks to all of you for tuning in to this month-long Detholz! Retrospective and for your contributions, suggestions and comments! Many of you have been with us since the beginning– almost 12 years ago! Some of you have had your first kiss, got engaged, got married, etc. — all with particular DH! songs providing the soundtrack. We’ve heard so many great stories over the years, so let it be said here and now: this band would not exist without you! And you! And you!

The highest compliment a songwriter can receive is for people to interact with his/her music in the day-to-day — to have it enrich or enhance a circumstance or situation. To have provided the soundtrack to so many happy events for so many people is a blessing beyond measure.

So, on that note:

“Stop yawning

‘Cause we’re rolling

Into the future…”

*Makes pulling motion midair at any readers passing by in semi trucks*


Truckin’ is something
In a Time-Traveling Peterbilt Semi
Mouth full of muck
Is keepin’ me up
The past is red in my eye

Wake me up
From the place I come from

Parking lot
Dregs and the drabs
Asleep in the cabs
A lonesome looping routine

“Thanks a lot.”
Glow of the grease
On axles and eats
The waitress, surly and mean

Wake me up
From the place I come from
T.T. Peterbilt Semi!

Stop yawning
‘Cause we’re rolling
Into the future

Space and time
Invisible freeway
Check out the scenery:
Before and Now and Real Soon

Patsy Cline
“Falling to Pieces”
Pipes through the speakers
Hum along to the tune

Waking up
From the place I came from

Read the floating neon sign
“You Are Leaving The Past Behind!”
In a Peterbilt Semi!

Time-Traveling Peterbilt Semi

Stop yawning
‘Cause we’re rolling
Into the future…


12 Responses to “The Mother of all Detholz! B-sides – “Time Traveling Peterbilt Semi” + “Who Are The Detholz!?” Complete Lyrics”

  1. Amy Says:

    Wonderfully cheery! I’d ride in one.

    Glad you like this on re-listen. The lyrics could probably be streamlined, but it’s still a lot of fun, with keen imagery and cool, anthemic chord progressions. reminds me a little of “2-4-6-8-Motorway,” by a punk rocker whose name escapes me at the moment. Tom Robinson, I think?

    Anyway, good shtuff!

  2. dj Says:

    *Honks Horn*

    Thanks Jim for posting this. And thanks for the props. I think Kebab and I have (not-so-quietly) loved this song for the past six years. We most definitely yelled its name out every show where you made the mistake of asking for requests. One time we accidentally said, “Time Traveling Peterbilt Truck!”

    Fortunately, since no one knew what song we were talking about, no one noticed. Now they will.

    The truck/train horn vocal harmonies for the “Parking lot” and “Thanks a lot” lines make the song for me.

    Oh, and what do the Scots know about music anyway?

  3. kebabdylan Says:

    ha. this was the most entertaining read yet. yes, I have yelled this one out before even though, honestly, I can’t remember the last time I’ve heard it. But it is great song to yell out. I never knew it was loathed by the band.

    I love that story about the scot. DJ, i would drink to “what do the Scots know about music” except i listen to A LOT of scottish music.

  4. detholz Says:

    Amy: Yeah, in those days, I just sort of cranked out lyrics without thinking overmuch.

    My prose tends to be “turgid” (as a former philosophy prof said of one of my term papers), which is a tendency I’ve tried to combat in more recent songs. Also, in DH! songs, lyrics are almost always dictated by phonemes — “what phoneme sounds the best over this chord change?” etc. Perhaps a subject for another blog…

    All the same, glad you dig it. Just a dumb, fun little ditty.

    DJ: Ha, yes, I recall hearing the title bandied about somewhere from the backs of clubs over the years. I would cringe every time! Hopefully it didn’t make the audiences nervous.

    Actually, some of the best shows I’ve played have been in Scotland– those people know how to have a good time! I also appreciate their approach to conflict resolution:

    Last year, we stayed with a wonderful couple of Scottish punks in Glasgow, and the fellow recounted a show in Edinburgh where they were having sound problems. According to him, he put down his guitar, made a beeline through the crowd to the soundboard, and simply cuffed the sound man across the jaw.

    Poof! No more sound problems!

    The way he told the story, it sounds like this sort of direct approach to disagreements is common in Scottish clubs. What a country!

    Incidentally, of all of the cities in which we’ve toured, Edinburgh is far and away my favorite! One of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen.

    ‘Bab: Well, I’d say the band is split. Karl always maintained that this song had its moments.

    Speaking of Scots, what do you think of the new Belle and Sebastian? I’m not usually a fan, but I really like what I’ve heard of their new album– sunshiny, well-constructed, super-simple pop music. A definite departure/risk for them, which I appreciate a lot.

  5. dj Says:

    Wow. That didn’t take long. As soon as I wrote the line, “What do the Scots know about Music anyway” I figured Kebab would remind me what they know about music. I also listen to much of it as well — most courtesy of Kebab. But it sounded like something good to say at the time.

  6. kebabdylan Says:

    do you mean the album from a year or so ago or do they have a brand new one out? I am a big fan of “if you’re feeling sinister”. the combination of simple sing songy melodies with really provacative and dark lyrics really apealled to me.

    the last couple albums have had some really great moments, but I also find myself always skipping over many songs. there is line they sometimes cross for me when it becomes just too simple and way too corny. if they don’t cross it, I eat it up. And the singer is a fascinating person. He still sings in his church choir at home. Have you heard mogwai?

  7. Amy Says:

    Nothing wrong with turgid prose!

    Incidentally, you might be pleased to know that “Robot Insurrection Hymn” has become my personal anthem as I sit in my cubicle at my day job. Eventually during the course of the day, the song comes up on “shuffle” and I sit there at my drafting board, surrounded by eight million ridiculous tasks to perform, and I smile.

    Even more perfect? I overheard a co-worker singing, “La, la, la, la, la laaaaaaaa” to herself the other day. Mission accomplished!

  8. andrew Says:

    Thanks for posting the full first album lyrics. Even after listening to that album regularly for years, I had some of the lyrics wrong from my favorite song (and oft-shouted request at C-Haus shows), “Last Train to Mars.” I always thought it was “Don’t take it so hard / Loosen up on Mars.” Which also makes sense, like hey man, come on over to Mars and relax!

  9. Perch Says:

    Dear Detholz:

    Do your songs tell the truth?


  10. detholz Says:

    DJ: As an Australian once told me, “just make sure if you find yourself in a Donny Brooks that you’re handy in a biffo.”

    ‘Bab: Ha, well, shows you how “with it” I am. I assume it must be from a year ago.

    I met Mogwai while touring in the UK, but I’ve never heard them. I think that was in the throes of my music boycott. I listened exclusively to Joe Frank at that time.

    Amy: Excellent work! The Robot Revolution must be won one soul at a time…

    I’m glad you like that song. I hadn’t listened to WRTDH!? in years, but sat through the whole thing last week. That song is probably one of my least favorite DH! tunes from the past, but if it makes your workday smoother, “mission accomplished,” indeed!

    Andrew: Judging from recent scientific reports that may soon be a possibility!

    My biggest related mixup was on Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.”

    The line is “Keep on with the Force, Don’t stop.” I always thought he was saying “Keep on ’til your voice stops now,” which, in retrospect, makes more sense.

    Perch: There is no such thing as “truth” in art or music– at least the way I’m guessing you think about truth based on the wording of the question. If you’re trying to find truth in DH! songs, you’re looking in the wrong place.

    The following is from filmmaker Werner Herzog’s “Minnesota Declaration” against the denizens of so-called “Cinema Verite” and pretty much sums up my feelings on this subject:

    “There are deeper strata of truth in cinema [music, art, etc.], and there is such a thing as poetic, ecstatic truth. It is mysterious and elusive, and can be reached only through fabrication and imagination and stylization.”

    Fabrication, imagination and stylization. If a songwriter is on his game, this is what he does. If he seeks to write “the truth” in his songs, then he is a either a propagandist for a political cause or in the Christian music industry.

  11. Jim Says:

    Whoa, aghhh! Just a tad clunky, really. Probably easy to blame a bad show on. I mean, it was entertaining and everything. Something from it reminds me of Dead from the Pixie’s Doolittle. And you can’t go wrong there. Maybe it’s the drums. The vocal/horn effect was cool and probably fun for you guys to play around with. I even love the subject of the lyrics. Being a trucker on the road (let alone a time traveling one) seems like it would be a whimsical voyage. It’d be cool to try for like a year or so anyway. I’d still go ape-caca if I ever heard this one live (I know. I won’t get my hopes up). So maybe like, half a “Whoa, aghhh!” More like a “Wagh.” and with a period.

  12. detholz Says:

    Jim: A haiku for you:

    Time Travelin’ truck song
    Sublime or just retarded?
    Have another egg

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