Singer Jason Lytle said he tried to model “Bison” after the sound of “Drive,” one of his favorite songs by The Cars, but couldn’t get the sonics right, blaming his “pretentious” home studio set-up. He gave up on the song, but after a divorce and “purge” of his equipment, he found he had the proper headspace to finish the song the right way.
Jason Lytle from Grandaddy writes about the inspiration of this song on his website: "It sounds as if the words are about the melodramatic lengths I go to… and methods I employ… to frame an image in a song. Almost jokingly. But respectfully." http://www.grandaddymusic.com/
Jason Lytle talks about making this song here: "Setting out with the intent of replicating the “feel and vibe” of the song “Drive” which is one of my favorite Cars songs … I got a little of the way into “Bison On The Plains” (“BOTP”) and realized I had failed." : https://www.spin.com/2018/11/grandaddy-bison-on-the-plains/