Not Where I Came From


I don’t know what it is
that brings me down
when you’re not in town

you’re turning me around
I’m giving up and I’m giving in
to you

I hold on, I hold on to the past
I hold on ’cause I want to make it last

I don’t what it is
I don’t know you
I don’t know anything at all

here we go
let’s start the show
let’s give ’em something to remember

I hold on, I hold on too tight
but I’ll hold on
if you hold on tonight
and forever…


hold on, hold onto me
I’ll hold on, if you hold onto me

Lyrics by Paul Friemel


First Place Hits (Remastered Version) –
The Best & Mostly Worst of 2nd Best 1999-2003


Written by:Paul Friemel
Lead Vocal:Paul Friemel
Guitar:Shane Sikkema
Bass:Paul Friemel
Drums:TJ Mapes
Recorded at:BIFI Studios – 5/4/2003
Appears on:First Place Hits
The Best and Mostly Worst of 2nd Best 1998-2003

Song Notes

Not Where I Came From was the first new 2nd Best song that was written by Paul after the Put Your Heart Where Your Mouth Is release. It was meant for a future album that never materialized. It was, however, played enough by the band prior to Shane’s departure that they were able to sneak it into the final three-piece recording session at BIFI Studios.

– During the summer of 2002 while the band was touring, they were listening to a lot of contemporary pop-punk and emo music from the likes of larger nationally recognized bands. A growing trend Paul was getting influenced by were less 4-chord standard chugga-chugga song structures and he tried to apply some of that influence to new music. Not Where I Came From incorporates chords that hadn’t been used previously in any of his songs and also some stop-start rhythmic tricks. It is technically more complicated than say, Iguana, but speaking of lot lizards…

– The song is written in the same drop-d tuning and key as Iguana, and according to Paul this song could be considered, musically, the sequel to Iguana. Upon many years reflection, it’s pretty clear that Paul’s song-writing tended to default to a sweet spot of chord progressions and style-family that this song is most certainly a member of. The lyrical content is completely unrelated to Iguana though, according to the sage himself.

– The title of the song doesn’t really have any particular significance, but one could surmise it vaguely embodies the idea of being out of your comfort zone and feeling unsteady. Hence, you’re either physically or emotionally at an unfamiliar place unsettled, versus being in a place of ease and comfort – not where you came from; not somewhere you’ve been before.

– If you’ve ever wondered what this song is about, well prepare to be let down! At the time of its writing, Paul had recently parted ways with the lovable Corvetta, and found himself in a whirlwind of new love interests at school. One particular female suitor caught his attention and a short sordid affair was had, but Paul being the serial monogamist he eventually realized he was was unfamiliar with the flippancy of dating. So what’s a weirdo to do? Write a song to work out your feelings. The pleas for ‘holding on’ represent his confusion about being close to someone for such a short amount of time. Why wouldn’t you want to hold on, and hold on forever if something is going well? Welcome to the real world, buddy. It ain’t all fast cars, Iguanas, and cupcakes… or is it? It’s just another fuckin’ song about a fuckin’ girl. Shocker.

– The line referring to ‘starting the show’ signified one of the only things that could get Paul out of his lover’s tryst thoughts and delusions: playing in the band and turning gears to put his all into performances and pushing the group to succeed. Little did he know that soon even the band was about to get much more tumultuous. Nothing gold can stay!

Not Where I Came From features the first instance of Paul’s ever-present yet unbeknownst favorite rhyme pattern of “down” and “town.” This same lyrical snippet would find its way into future songs like Corvetta, Ciao Bella, and <REDACTED>. This was not intentional, but it’s something noticeable years later while binging 2nd Best songs.

– The band had to record this song quickly and the performance that is put to tape is essentially a live recording without overdubs or punches. The vocal track was recorded separately from the instruments. The song, as written, was meant to include a variety of overdubs and additional polish, including a lightning-fast picking guitar riff that only exists in some of the acoustic demos. The omission of the final extended guitar riff was due to Shane “not wanting to learn such a complicated part.” Considering the tempo with which the band typically played this song at live shows, Shane’s decision was probably the right call because the riff may have just sounded like a sloppy mess for how technical it was. If a proper studio recording of this song had ever existed, it would’ve likely included this tasty lick.

Not Where I Came From was never intended to be a ‘hit’ so to speak, but more of a staple song the band could return to over time. After Shane left the band, it did become a fallback song that was added into most live sets through 2003-2004.



Final live performance of Not Where I Came From. Iowa State University VEISHEA Battle of the Bands 4/16/2004
A pretty solid performance of this decently new song for the crowd at The Pigpen in Clinton, IA opening to Allister & Fallout Boy 6/7/2003.

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