Song Stories

“Those Damn Blue Collar Tweekers”

Primus | 1991

The songs that comprise Primus' 1991 album, Sailing the Seas of Cheese, are loaded with topics that remain uncommon in the rock format -- a warning against "a hammerhead shark, nose hairs and flatus" ("Here Come the Bastards"), a studly feline ("Tommy the Cat") and eating taco-flavored Doritos on a boat ("Fish On"). And "Those Damn Blue Collar Tweekers" can also be filed under this category. "A tweaker is someone who is strung out on methyl amphetamines, otherwise known as crank," Les Claypool told Rolling Stone. "There's a reference in there to a guy who hung Sheetrock, and that's how he got through the day. He'd snort up speed to keep up with the younger guys." When "Tweekers" was performed at Woodstock '94, Claypool inserted in a bit of "The Star Spangled Banner" on his bass, mid-song, as a sideways Hendrix tribute.

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Song Stories


Lou Reed | 1972

Opening Lou Reed's 1972 solo album, the hard-riffing "Vicious" actually traces its origin back to Reed's days with the Velvet Underground. Picking up bits and pieces of songs from the people and places around him, and filing his notes for later use, Reed said it was Andy Warhol who provided fuel for the song. "He said, 'Why don't you write a song called 'Vicious,'" Reed told Rolling Stone in 1989. "And I said, 'What kind of vicious?' 'Oh, you know, vicious like I hit you with a flower.' And I wrote it down literally."

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