Thursday Inspiration #156 Too Much Time On My Hands

Respond to this challenge, by either by using the prompt word time, or going with the above picture, or by means of the song ‘Too Much Time On My Hands’, or by going with another song by Styx, or anything else that you think fits.  This song charted #9 in the US and it was on the tenth Styx album Paradise Theater, which was their most commercial successful and released in 1981.  Guitarist Tommy Shaw wrote this song and he sings lead vocals.  Jimmy Fallon said, “It’s the best song I’ve ever heard in my entire life.”  Tommy Shaw said that the inspiration for this song came to him while he was on the way to a rehearsal after he was asked to write one more song for the album.  Tommy was living in Michigan, about 60 miles away from where they were rehearsing in Gary, Indiana.  One day, on the way to the studio, the bassline popped into his head, and he heard the whole first verse.  It was like the whole song was playing in his head, but because he was driving, he didn’t have anything to record it on.  When he finally reached the parking lot and got inside, he had the band record what was in his head so he wouldn’t lose it.  He said that the song unfolded, like it came in a package, and they took it out and assembled it, and that was it.

Shaw said that he based the lyrics on a place that was near where he lived in Niles, Michigan, a little tavern that was right next door to the Catholic church.  The local watering hole was called Mark’s Tavern, but everybody called it Mark’s Bar.  The drinks were good in this establishment, and they were cheap, which allowed you to buy drinks for others and be looked at like some type of a hero for doing this.  If you went in there, you would always run into somebody you knew, and maybe it was something like the real-life Boston bar that inspired the TV series Cheers, where everyone knows your name.

The US was in a 16-month recession from July 1981 – November 1982 and the unemployment rate rose to almost 10 percent at that time, so there were a lot of people around that had too much time on their hands when this song became a hit.  In this song a guy is tired of watching afternoon soap operas and when he goes out cruising around, he realizes that there is no place to go.  Time passes by better for him when he is with his friends, and as long as he is the one buying the drinks, there is no end to the number of friends that he can have, and the fun will never end.  He refers to himself as a jet fueled genius, but it is more likely that he is just some guy that is wasted on alcohol, and he is never going to solve any of the world’s problems.

I’ve got too much time on my hands
It’s hard to believe such a calamity
I’ve got too much time on my hands
And it’s ticking away, ticking away from me
Too much time on my hands

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