Singled Out: Brian Wright's We Don't Live There
"The song is about the Hollywood neighborhood where I lived most of the time I was in Los Angeles. Wilcox and Fountain, lots of action, lots of interesting characters. The house across the street was a group (gaggle? draggle?) of drag queen prostitutes who worked Santa Monica Blvd and would occasionally stop by to borrow a tire iron or ask if I'd seen so and so. Another neighbor was a Catholic priest who worked on his old car in his spare time. I was down the street from the police station and a few blocks from Hollywood Blvd so the noises were varied and constant. I mostly got around on my black bicycle so I was close to the action and knew most of the folks in the shops and on the street pretty well. Looking back its seems weird to have spent so many years there as it never particularly suited my disposition, but I think that's what I enjoyed about it.
I lived there for the better part of 10 years, and have written a ton of songs about the various characters on the block over the years. "We don't live there" was written after I left the neighborhood for the green pastures of the San Fernando valley. I was starting a family, growing up, reminiscing about my time there and the idea came to me. All of the people, places, and situations in the lyrics are real, but I definitely took some artistic license to veil their identities.
Maybe it's a "bumpkin in the big city" cliche, but living in the heart of all that definitely opened my eyes to all the wonderful and sometimes shocking things that can go on within the confines of just a few blocks. I don't regret any of the time I spent there and I even miss the noise since moving to a quieter neighborhood in East Nashville. As a young writer it was a great education in the cultures and creatures I couldn't have imagined in my small town upbringing.
In short, the song is literally about that neighborhood, but metaphorically about the struggles of youth and discovery and hopefully looking back on it without regret. You take something from everything and carry it with you wherever go. I'll never forget that dumpy little house on that dirty little street.