The Tah-Dahs’ Dallas.
In the mid 2000s, Dallas was home to a pretty unique musical bond. Two of the city’s most popular acts at the time were the pop outfits The Tah-Dahs and The Happy Bullets. The pair, calling themselves the “army of two” spent most of 2005 sharing almost every bill. Eventually, they wound up sharing a few members as well. That same year, The Tah-Dahs and The Happy Bullets even released their respective Le Fun and The Vice and Virtue Ministry albums on the same day. But it’s a track called “Dallas” on the Tah-Dahs’ album that we find so interesting.
The lyrics, for the most part, are written from the perspective of a young twentysomething struggling to find his way in the world. More accurately, they’re redolent of a struggling musician trying to make a name for himself in a big city — all while living out that “starving artist” cliche. Lines like “This is the place where we didn’t get our shit together,” paired with the fact that The Tah-Dahs’ frontman Roy Ivy eventually wound up moving to Chicago and joining the indie-punk choir Blue Ribbon Glee Club, serve as a pretty big indicator that the song is somewhat autobiographical for Ivy.
That doesn’t mean it can’t tell us things about the city of Dallas, though. For instance: Ivy sings that Da-Da-Da-Dallas is the “place where [he] learned how to live broke,” and how to “drink for free” as well.
In 2009, the poverty rate in Dallas was nearly eight percent higher than the state average, and the number of those living more than 50 percent under the poverty line was three percent higher than the state average.
So, even if Ivy hadn’t been a starving musician, the simple fact that he was living in Dallas would have likely necessitated that he learn how to “live broke.”
Another thing one will find in cities the size of Dallas is the widespread practice of restaurants offering half-price meals throughout the week.
Others places, such as Frankie’s Sports Bar, Steel, and Blue Mesa, even offer up free pizza, sushi, and quesadillas, respectively, at certain times during the week.
And, as Ivy mentions, it actually is pretty easy in a place like Dallas to “drink for free.” Seriously. One can drink for free here all the time, depending on how well they’ve learned to “live broke.”
Aside from the drink tickets we’re sure Ivy received from the venues in which his bands were booked, there are several other ways to seek out free booze — the free kegs often offered up at art gallery exhibitions, the occasional free wine tastings offered up at wine bars like The Wine Therapist on Skillman, the free shot of booze the new La Grange snow cone trailer will add to your shaved ice on the house, the free wine and beer served in Dental office Floss’ waiting room, and the complimentary margaritas Hawaiian Nail Bar hands out while your pedicure is being done.
And, depending on how well-versed your cache of trivia knowledge is, you can always rack up free bar tabs at various pub quiz nights all over town.
At another point in the song, Ivy makes reference to the popular George Strait song “All My Ex’s Live in Texas.” That song, written by Sanger D. Shafer, mentions that the reason the singer now resides in Tennessee is because four of his ex-flings lived in Texas. None of the women in that song lived in Dallas, though. (For what it’s worth, though, two years earlier, Shafer and Strait scored a No. 1 country hit with the Metroplex-based “Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind.”)
Though less a bona fide hit than Strait’s famous Texas exes song, Willie Nelson’s 1968 track “Who Put All My Ex’s In Texas?” mentions a girl named Alice down in Dallas right off the bat. If asked, though, Ivy would likely argue that both Straight and Nelson had it easy. At least their exes were scattered throughout the state. As Ivy’s song goes, all of his exes lived right down the street.
It’s no wonder he now hangs his hat in Illinois.