This section is about the “stories behind the songs” – The various inspirations that led to the writing of the songs of CAROLINE BLUE.


“Slave to the Hourglass”

Lyrics – Jerry Yerman, Mike Merrifeld          Music – Roy Coston, Mike Merrifield, Wayne W. Johnson.

This was originally written and performed in the 1990’s by an old band I was in called Four Large Men. Mike was going thru some rough times during this period and several times, after rehearsal, he would let off stress by telling us all how bad things were going in several areas of his life. While he was doing that, Jerry was off to the side with some paper and a pen and soon he showed us a new song he’d written called “Slave to the Hourglass.”

The solo is inspired by what Roy came up with on the original take but it’s my way of doing it. Everything else is the same as the Four Large Men version, albeit thru my viewpoint.

In CAROLINE BLUE, most of the recordings during this time were done in a studio but this track was done at the producer’s home on an electronic kit. I also recorded the bass lines here for this as well.

“Mine, Mine, Mine”

Lyrics – Jay Hatch          Music – Wayne W. Johnson

This was a song originally written and performed by an old band of mine called Front Row. If memory serves, Jay came up with these lyrics soon after a break-up with a girl. The lyric “If You Come Back Around Here I’ll Put A Bullet In Your Head” received flack from both Front Row and CAROLINE BLUE, but that’s how Jay felt at the time so…

Originally I was singing this the way Jay would live, but after several recordings, it didn’t seem to be clicking. Jay himself  ( as well as the producers in the studio) was the one who told me to “sing it like me, not him” and they was right-which included replacing the final vocal lines (the one where the vocal goes up an octave in the Front Row version) with a guitar solo which, when we recorded in a home studio back in the day, I did one take, on the spot, with no preparation. Me trying to replicate that solo and it’s feel are what’s on the actual recording by CAROLINE BLUE.

“Hard Life”

Lyrics – Jay Hatch          Music – Wayne W. Johnson

This was another song that was originally written and performed by an old band I was in called Front Row. Me and Jay went to our rehearsal space to write some new songs. I already had the music all done and Jay had a set of lyrics that, with slight modifications, fit that music like a glove. It was as quick as that.

The solo was like “Slave to the Hourglass” where I did my own interpretation of what guitarist Randy Gray came up with in the Front Row days. The end solo was all mine. The “going down the drain” effect with that end solo was an idea from one of the producers, Dave Huyck.

“The Queen of Pleasure”

Lyrics & Music – Chris Quinn, Wayne W. Johnson

This is one of the earliest songs I’d ever co-written with anyone-which made it’s debut, performance wise, in a band me and Chris were in called X-Rated back in 1989. We wrote the music, if I remember right, during one of the times we were jamming in his parent’s living room (without his parents being there of course) 🙂 After this was done Chris took the music and wrote the lyrics to “The Queen of Pleasure” to them. At that time, Chris was working at Salt City Books-which was actually a place that sold porno tapes, complete with booths and all sorts of related stuff so I presume he wrote this while being in that environment (hopefully not when he had to clean up those booths-HA!) 🙂 When it came time to do this song with CAROLINE BLUE, I changed some of the lyrics in the second verse so it went from “Bang Bang, and you’re dead – She’ll play the part, as the script read” to “Gangbang, and you’re dead – She’ll play the part, full screen spread.” It flows better in my opinion.

“Too Late”

Lyrics – Jay Hatch          Music – Wayne W. Johnson

This is another song written and performed during the Front Row years, specifically towards the second half of that band’s life cycle.  I wrote the music at home, put it on a tape, and presented it to the band. The others made some arrangement changes and Jay wrote the lyrics based off of that. You’d have to ask Jay for the inspiration for these lyrics.

The beginning drums parts of this song were actually part of drummer Dave Victory’s drum solo in the Front Row days so it was natural to have him do the drum track for this.


“Our Love is Wasted”

Lyrics – Wayne W. Johnson          Music – Wayne W. Johnson, Mike Merrifield

“Love Me or Leave Me”

Lyrics – Wayne W. Johnson          Music – Wayne W. Johnson, Mike Merrifield


Lyrics & Music – Wayne W. Johnson

This was written in two parts. The first was when I first got my Boss DR-660 Dr. Rhythm Drum Machine. I had it on its generic “rock” pattern and decided to bring the BPM down to 110 (from 120). Right after that I came up with the main riff and soon after the rest of the music. Lyrically, this was inspired by a co-worker at a warehouse I worked in for several years; a beautiful, vivacious tall woman who always wore tight jeans which was a direct inspiration for the chorus. She was a CAROLINE BLUE fan which was a plus. Sadly she passed away in 2014 and I never got to tell her about this. I can only imagine her reaction 🙂

During recording, I had drummer Mike Merrifield to the tracks for this and all the other drum parts for the songs on the CD. He played me his demo of this and I mentioned that the drums were too busy. From that point on, Mike hated this track 🙂 I wanted it as simple as the drum machine part but he came up with a track that was between that and what he originally came up with.


Lyrics & Music – Wayne W. Johnson

When I was in Front Row, singer Jay Hatch gave me this advice – “Try to write at least one song a day-whether it’s good or sucks. Do that and your songwriting will improve.” So in line with that, I used to carry a micro-cassette recorder in my work smock when I worked for Kmart. When inspiration struck and I didn’t have time to write it down (or came up with a vocal melody line and / or riff), I’d duck into a stock room and record it. “Pain” is about a very painful condition I have called Cluster Headaches. The lyrics were written while I was at work and came out very fast.

I did the music at home with a four-track recorder and a drum machine and by the time I gave the demo of the song to drummer Mike Merrifield to record it for CAROLINE BLUE ‘s “Not For The Innocent” CD, all the parts were pretty much in place. Having said that, the chorus was quite different, delivery-wise, than the final version. Thankfully  I decided to change that before recording 🙂

The beginning part of the solo was me trying to simulate a dentist drill by going up and down, first the G string then the D string, with a light touch while picking fast on the right hand, producing multiple harmonics at different pitches. Basically the same trick that The Edge (U2) did during the verses for the song “New Year’s Day.”


Lyrics & Music – Wayne W. Johnson

-This originally started out as just a one-pass progression I came up with while warming up, eventually developed into a full song. Originally, the song was performed like the “Paid The Electric Bill Mix” and was intended to be recorded like that, but in the studio I made the decision to have all the guitar tones be acoustic – including the solo. Producer Scott Patnode was the one who added the extra FX on the rhythm guitar to make it more full.

The lyrics were inspired by the ending of my marriage where I was at a point where I wanted her to stay, but I also wanted her to go.The first verse was to be lower in volume, approaching whisper territory, to imply one meaning to the lyrics. Then, when repeated after the solo, the vocal delivery is full on so as to imply a different meaning specifically the like “When I see you smile, I’m burning inside.” The first pass is burning with longing for love. The second burning with hate.

The woman in the video for “Paid The Electric Bill Mix” was my girlfriend at the time, Jennifer, and with the house shots, originally it was to be another guy in the house with her-not me. We couldn’t get anyone to play the role so I did. In a way, it was like the “creative / artistic” part of me was outside and the “normal” me was inside with her-signifying that if I’d just been a regular 9 to 5 guy, I’d still be with her. Of course, with me filling in last minute on this, there wasn’t time to expound upon this so unless you read what I just wrote somewhere and / or heard it from me, it’s meaning likely flew over your head. This was also the first music video where I realized you could film a lot of stuff, but when it comes time to editing, there’s such a thing as “too much footage.” 🙂

Fast Forward to 2022. When auditioning keyboardist Ned Greenough, he played the intro for this and it sounded so great with just piano, they replaced all my acoustic guitar parts. That makes at least different mixes of this song going around 🙂

“Out of My Life (I Want You)”

Lyrics – Wayne W. Johnson          Music – Wayne W. Johnson, Mike Merrifield

-This song was about the time in my marriage where it was exploding – badly. She had cheated on me and the emotional trauma that resulted from this was so great that it was one of those times in my life where I considered ending it all just to escape from the pain. Things reached to a point where, after she did certain things, I’d had enough and I just wanted her out of my life-totally and completely.

-The flanger effect on the guitar was something that came up before recording. This was song that had never been played out live prior to recording as many of the others of the “Not For The Innocent” CD – such as “I’ve Seen The Light Tonight,” “Stay” and “Far Away From Home” among others. I wanted to do that one part during each chorus with “cookie monster vocals” but I didn’t have the ability to pull it off so, to compensate me and producer / engineer Scott Patnode came up with adding distortion to my vocals-with me trying to growl as well as I could. It was a cool sound, but the biggest problem with doing it that way was doing it live with volume.

-Also note, the line in the third verse which goes…”You say I love you, I’m just not in love with you” was actual said to me by that ex. I came up with the idea of what to shoot for the music video for this last verse before anything else.

“I’ve Seen The Light Tonight”

Lyrics & Music – Wayne W. Johnson

“Won’t Be Home Tonight”

Lyrics & Music by Wayne W. Johnson

This was an interesting song for the fact that I wrote about a situation and then, years later, it basically happened to me in my former marriage. The first two verses are almost identical to how things went down. It’s kind of freaky how things works out like that sometimes…

I never had a guitar solo in mind for this song. From what I recall, I always had in mind to do a melodic bass solo – just something a little different. Plus it just seemed to me like the song called for it instead of a guitar solo. There is a short guitar line towards the end so there’s that…The vocal, and song in general, was a nod towards Type O Negative and showcasing the lower end of my vocal range-although in hindsight I should’ve gone with the 7-string guitar / 5-string bass approach as well as lower pitch a la “Inside (Deeper Mix)”” or “My Fingers” but that work set up wasn’t in my mind at the time. Perhaps a “Deeper Mix” of this song is needed…The very last part was developed in the studio and there was a woman there (who was close to me at the time) who suggested I sing the last word the way it is on the recording. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have done this cause it didn’t work and I should’ve kept to my original idea. You live and you learn…

“Far Away From Home”

Lyrics & Music by Wayne W. Johnson

The origins of this song started in my first band X-Rated back in the late 80s. I had this simple arpeggio-type progression and that band did attempt an initial try at incorporating it into the makings of a song. Lyrically, this version was about a girl who hung around this huge practice rooms in Syracuse for multiple bands at the time called Albinos (it burned down in February 1990). I’m still in touch with that girl actually… I think it was played once, unfinished, in rehearsal before I was out of that band. Traditionally, I don’t like throwing stuff away so I took my progression and the subject of a lost runaway girl and jettisoned the rest in the process of developing this song.

This was one of the songs that was played live before it was recorded and, for whatever reason, I used to sing it like an octave higher than what was recorded (and at one point of the song even higher than that). I don’t recall why I sang it like that but I do remember that the producers of the first CAROLINE BLUE CD at Eastwind Studios strongly suggested I sing this (and a few others) in a lower key where I had more control. They were right of course and I much prefer it as it was recorded.

In the studio this was another song where I came up with an addition while it was being recorded. In this case it was an almost keyboard-chord like sound at the beginning of each line of the verses. That was actually me hitting a chord on the acoustic guitar and letting it ring out. I believe some added chorus was added to that as well.

“Dead or Alive”

Lyrics & Music by Wayne W. Johnson


Lyrics & Music by Wayne W. Johnson

“Nothing Will Satisfy You”

Lyrics – Wayne W. Johnson          Music – Wayne W. Johnson, Roy Coston, Mike Merrifield

This one originally started in the Four Large Men days during a rehearsal. We would jam together and get the start to a few songs and this was one of those songs. No lyrics were ever written to what music was done at this time and it was basically abandoned, but I decided to resurrect it by finishing the music (originally it got as far as the first chorus) and wrote brand new lyrics for it. The lyrics are about various people in my life who, no matter what I do, nothing is ever good enough for them-a song of pure frustration if you will. The second half of the first verse was inspired by the collapse of a relationship I was in. It just seem to fit and felt needed so I did it.

While recording this, I came up for the idea-in my head-for all those feedback / noise effects to happen while the song started to fade away. We tried it out and it worked.



Lyrics & Music by Wayne W. Johnson

This was a song originally conceived to be song for singer Jane Evil, who never knew (till now-HA!) that I intended for her to sing this. It was inspired by how she wrote to her fans back in the My Space days with “Bloody Kisses” and “My Darlings” and such. I also kept in mind to write it so that the song could be song by either a man or a woman-specifically the third line in the second verse “…but the high between my thighs is all that’s keeping you awake.” I liked it so much that I decided to record the song myself (although I still would love to hear Jane do a version of this). It’s basically about a smug person thinking they see their “prey” at the nightly meat market (AKA a bar) and thinking they have that person in the palm of their hand, only to realize at the last minute that the tables are turned-and always have been.

This was the first time I’d used a seven string guitar in the studio. I did the bass track as well, but had to borrow a five string bass from my friend bassist Azriel Mordecai to record it. The dual lead was an idea I had in my head and producer Scott Patnode was the one who laid down the harmony to it, but I wasn’t a fan of the final result but I couldn’t do anything about it at the time. The drop a half step part during the last chorus was an arrangement idea that came from my then girlfriend at the time Jennifer.

“My Fingers”

Lyrics & Music by Wayne W. Johnson

This song initially came to me in the form of a dream back in 2012 in memory serves. When I woke up, I tried as hard as I could to write down / record what I remembered and then worked to finish it off afterwards. It was inspired by my script writing for the indie film “Romeo 3000” which I had written / re-written a huge chunk of.  The lyrics were written with the masquerade scene in mind and the two main people in the song were basically Romeo and Juliet.