"T.B.D." as written by Edward Joel Kowalczyk, Chad David Taylor, Patrick Dahlheimer and Chad Alan Gracey....





in the moment I was losing my head

and I was

reachin' forward I was already there

readin' too much and losin' my head

this information caused a cut in the line

now I'm remembering good and thinking so much it's so nice.

the print is smaller than the ants in the grass

I'll have to put it away now

in the morning there are things to be read

words to be said and food to be fed but I

won't be there. I'll be clutchin' on a

megaphone pointed at my head, would you be

there, would you kindly, scream this word for word so loud and clear

I can't remember it all, it needs to be clear, I tell you, if

the feeling drops out of your voice, would you

kindly pick it up

this is how, I'll go out tonight

dressed in blue, by the book tonight

this is how, I'll go out tonight

but I don't need a book.

we're talkin' anchors, talkin' ships, we're

talkin' seas, we're talkin' everything you need

you should be workin' now, not only askin'

how and the whereabouts of where you'll

be. I don't suspect you will be thinking

when the brain is dead and the mind

has taken over, this is a skill, this

is not a game, where have you been,

are you with us? can you hear us? got

the megaphone pointed at you





Lyrics submitted by Caverna[RR]

"T.B.D." as written by Chad David Taylor Chad Alan Gracey

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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T.B.D. song meanings
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12 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentEd has said this is also how he wants to die.
    LiveFanon January 12, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentEd Kowalczyk stated in a live acoustic set, around the release of Throwing Copper, that this was one of the only songs he liked to talk about and that it was inspired by a rumor that when Aldus Huxley was on his death bed he was being fed LSD intravenously while his wife read him the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
    yiinmunon June 08, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentstands for tibetan book of the dead
    belli67on February 10, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTHis does stand for the Tibetian Book of the dead. It is teh story of how a man--I forget who--died. LSD was pumped through his viens as his wife read teh Tibetian Book of the dead as his life slipped away. Listen to the Unplugged recordings and it is explained.
    God BLess
    schuttfaceon April 14, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe man this song is referring to is a British author, Aldous Huxley. Huxley is an incredible writer, and if your into political and social satire, I'd recommend reading "Brave New World" or "Island".
    rtpleaseon April 19, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyet again, live has amazed me
    everything they write is so original
    i can listen to it a thousand times and learn something new with every note
    homesickforspaceon March 15, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAlthough it probably does stand for Tibetan Book of the Dead, the first thing that always pops into my head when I read "t.b.d." is "to be decided."

    I'm not sure why, but I think that it makes for an interesting interpretation, when combined with the Huxley story and the lines "This is how I'll go out tonight / but I don't need a book." The idea being that the speaker rejects the idea of what is almost ritualistic suicide, instead preferring to let God/fate/whatever decide how his life will end.
    CorrDarklighton December 19, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this, like most things Live tries to impact upon the listener, is just another piece of the puzzle between finding ones self; and what the world looks like to someone who has already found themselves. "Got the microphone pointed at you"
    DZiembaon March 02, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOutside of the suicide meaning, I like to think of this song as a way of saying that music is a source of happiness, so he doesn't need to go out (like to a bar). Most people who skip out on bar night are readers who like to sit at home reading books, but he doesn't need a book.... he has his music!

    Just a thought. I don't know if it's right or total crap, but it inspires me regardless.
    steve82con October 22, 2008   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionIn the moment I was losing my head

    ( In the TBD it states that, right before the last breath of the dying, the guru (Or loved one ) is to turn them on their right side hand firmly press on the left and right carotid arteries. If the dying is asleep then they must be awakened then the arteries pressed to ensure that the vital force aka soul/blood is kept there so the energy/soul can transverse the correct path. This is to be held until urination of the dyeing, then released. This could reason why Aldous Huxely requested LSD to keep him conscious. The dying is also to say the different stages of death as they are happing. Also this line is about the Use of LSD on his death bed, and so this small line is a huge layered metaphor)

    And readin' too much and losin' my head and I was

    ( When you rush in reading you don’t reflect and grasp the who meaning, and the TBD is very clear on not just reading or recalling the lessons, but to know them. If this is not the case then the guru is to read the lines to them.)

    reachin' forward, I was already there and readin' too much and losin' my head

    ( The guru is to keep repeating the required verse to help the dying in the First stage of transition (Chikhai Bardo) preparing them for reincarnation. If their Karma is good then they will start the path to Sambhogakāya, ( Body of Delight ) but because of the LSD he is “Already there” in a state of euphoria. "If we could sniff or swallow something that would, for five or six hours each day, abolish our solitude as individuals, atone us with our fellows in a glowing exaltation of affection and make life in all its aspects seem not only worth living, but divinely beautiful and significant, and if this heavenly, world-transfiguring drug were of such a kind that we could wake up next morning with a clear head and an undamaged constitution-then, it seems to me, all our problems (and not merely the one small problem of discovering a novel pleasure) would be wholly solved and earth would become paradise.")

    This information caused a cut in the line now I'm remembering God and readin' too much on certain nights.
    (Adous was agnostic but this ritual unites him with “Great Creator/Universe/God” so he reunites with this part and accepts this as he remembers his Samsaric cycles. To put it bluntly he remembers his place in the universe and it all seems so simple now, but in life he “Read too much” into it (Over thinking it )

    The print is smaller than the ants in the grass I'll have to put it away for now

    (His eye sight is failing him and he is experiencing a second stage of death. He accepts this and understands he will see again in his next life and he is starting to accept his death.)

    In the morning there are things to be read, words to be said, and food to be fed, but I won't be there.
    ( In this he accepts his death completely ( But I won’t be there and reaches the second stage of transition (Chönyid Bardo ) and he knows the Samsaric cycles will continue for all life on earth ( Food to be fed ) This is supported by the teachings of the Dharma stating that all life is suffering, and hunger is listed as one of the main ones. So he releases his metaphorical grip on life, and moves to start preparing for his next life. (but I won’t be there ). TBD also has a 14 day ritual of verses that the guru is to speak in to the ear of the dead ( Words to be read ).

    I'll be clutchin' on a megaphone pointed at my head, would you be there, would you kindly,
    ( If this 14 day ritual is done it hastens his arrival to Sambhogakāya. This is done to help him release his “Grip” on worldly possessions and reality. )

    Screen this word for word so loud and clear, I can't remember it all, it needs to be clear, I tell you,
    ( If it is not done with accuracy then it will have no effect, also this is a protection from taking a wrong turn so to speak. Because he can not remember it any more he is depending on his guru to say these verses to him. The words are to be spoken in the ear of the dead for this reason I believe he is saying screen not scream. Because with out accuracy then its all for not. So saying it clear will help him in his Bardo )

    If the feeling drops out of your voice, would you kindly pick it up
    ( The words must be felt and known buy the guru just reading them with out understanding them is the same as not reading them at all. They must be spoken with both knowledge and emotion.)

    This is how, I'll go out tonight ( This is how he is going to transcend to the higher Plaines )
    Dressed in blue, by the book tonight ( The TBD )
    This is how, I'll go out tonight
    But I don't need a book. ( If the dying has a deep understanding of the TBD then they won’t require as much help to move on. So he is saying that he completely grasps his understanding of this cycle. )

    ( This part is the Band Speaking to us)
    We're talkin' anchors, talkin' ships, we're talkin' seas, we're talkin' everything you need, you should be workin' now,

    ( In Buddhist teachings one should not covet possessions, because it cause a negative type of mind set. In place of this one should strive for understanding because no one can lose that. But to be depended on items when they are gone/threatened it will give strength to violent/oppressive ideals/actions. To put it plainly “The things you own, own you” (Fight Club) So this his warning that we are focusing on the wrong things for the wrong reasons. This is handled in “Brave New World” and is a showing of consumer focused ideology’s’ path of destruction. The title “Brave New World” was taken from Shakespeare’s Tempest hints the focus on the Naval theme. This is him saying he sees our civilization as the drunken sailors in the tempest/savages John in brave new world. They both show the destruction of the soul this type of civilization supports.)

    Not only askin' how, and the whereabouts of where you'll be. I don't suspect you will be thinking
    ( In Buddhist understanding if one is of evil Karma then they will be reincarnated as a life form without the ability to have higher reasoning/think. The same can be said of a civilization, the more corrupt it gets the less it grows and can even stager and cause it to devolve along with its people. “Every Civilization carries with it the seeds to its own destruction.”( Frank Herbert ) So he is saying that we should not think of where are we going to go when we die, buy how did we accumulate this evil Karma. Because in the next life, we wont be able to think about it, we will have to suffer more. Because we will come back as animals without the ability to reason.

    When the brain is dead, and the mind has taken over, this is a skill, this is not a game,
    ( When our life is over chances our we wont have this reflective capabilities but will just be reacting on cause and effect reflex type actions. Due to our inability to take complete responsibility for the cultivation and development of our souls and morals we damned ourselves. The Dharma teaches that all life all things are connected, because of this we need to work and help each other. Not only be responsible for our actions but the actions of all of those around us, help them to walk their path to Sambhogakāya. There are no innocent people when one sins we all share in that sin, because of the events that transpired leading up to said sin. Even though others are not to blame they still have to take responsibility for their part of sin. The same as if you shot someone while hunting, you did not mean to but you still have to own up to it.

    Where have you been, are you with us? can you hear us? got the megaphone pointed at you ( This is him saying do you not see it that they are trying to help. They want us all to break this cycle of oppression and work towards the paradise this world could become. But as it stands this world is our hell, until we all work together and understand we are all in this together.

    At the end the last word he screams if you listen close he is say “Sambhogakāya” saying that we/Aldous can/has reached the state of Sambhogakāya.
    Phathomson May 11, 2013   Link

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