Led by driving guitars and incisive vocals, “No Johns” takes only a minute and thirty seconds to illuminate what it’s like to be working in a baneful environment, enduring toxic relationships, and feeling hopeless in stressful times. One of the lyrics that stuck hard with me on the first listen was “I’ll work until I’m dead.” It’s one of those no-nonsense lines that offers a sobering dose of reality to the many of us who feel consumed by our jobs or careers. According to Fox Wound guitarist and vocalist Joseph McMichen, that was exactly the band’s intent when crafting the track. “The song is all about how unhealthy it can be to be working all the time and having other things in life weighing you down,” he says.
Directed by Zak Washburn, the video uses a grid structure to counterpose footage of the band performing energetically with images of the individual members red-eyed and shedding tears. It’s a little unsettling, but also cathartic. Towards the end of the clip, McMichen is shown lying in bed while he sings, “Deposit my checks / Lay back in bed / But I can’t live like this.” Even though it appears dark from a lyrical standpoint, perhaps it’s that final realization that allows for a positive takeaway. Life has it’s ups and downs, and at some point the downs might seem to never stop diving. In these times it’s easy to forget there are others living through the same scenario, and to allow our pain and fear eat us alive. Maybe the best conclusion then is to accept our limitations, and to approach each day with our best foot forward.
Fox Wound’s debut LP, In Passing, You Too Faded, is available now via Bandcamp.