Filed under: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot | Tags: 2002, 2008, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal Drummer, Jeff Tweedy, Jeff Tweedy Solo, Kids, Kidz Stage, Laclede's Landing, Lollapalooza, Lollapalooza 2008, She Fell In Love With Another, St. Louis, Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, YHF
If there’s one thing that can really get on my nerves, it’s when people write songs about looking back at the “good ol’ days.” How many modern country songs are there where it’s some guy singing about how much he loved being in high school? Most of the time these songs fall flat on their faces. Sure, when it’s released by someone like Kenny Chesney it could move a few million copies, but that doesn’t necessarily make it good.
Not surprisingly, Wilco was able to make this song work. In their defense, however, this song isn’t looking back too fondly. When you take the time to think about it, “Heavy Metal Drummer” is a bit of a sad song. The narrator is now an adult who is remembering the days he used to spend hanging out in clubs in St. Louis listening to hair metal bands. The line “I sincerely miss those heavy metal bands/We used to go see on The Landing in the summer” is a reference to Laclede’s Landing, a neighborhood in St. Louis that has bars and clubs aplenty. (And a Spaghetti Factory restaurant)
There are a few other references in the song that are easy to pick up once you actually think about them. I mean, I challenge anyone to convince me the “warm liquid, flowing, blowing glass” line isn’t about hitting a bong. After all, he misses “playing Kiss covers/beautiful and stoned.” (During his solo set on the Kidz Stage at Lollapalooza 2008, Jeff changed the line to “beautiful and unknown” to keep from corrupting the younger members of the audience)
The whole story about his girlfriend falling in love with the drummer is just one of those classic stories. Personally, I’m glad they left out the verse they add during live shows. While it’s fun, I think it takes away from the song when you’re listening to it on the album. It’s mainly about the loss of innocence, not the loss of the girlfriend. However, it’s entirely possible that they’re related… (or the same thing)
Heavy Metal Drummer from I Am Trying To Break Your Heart: