[ G | Introduction | Song Index | Updates ]

Get Me Out

Jackal pack:
Jackals are scavengers, i.e. they feed on dead animals.

A small Californian town, where a man shot people at random in a McDonalds restaurant.
- Source: Justin Sullivan in NMAFC Newsletter 5 -

This shooting was done by a 41-year-old recently unemployed security guard on 18th July 1984. 21 people were killed.
- Read more: Wikipedia -

At the Hoodle Street massacre in Melbourne, one evening a lone gunman shot people at random for half an hour around a suburban neighborhood.
- Source: Justin Sullivan in NMAFC Newsletter 5 -

The shooting was done on 9th August 1987 by a 19-year-old former military cadet. 7 people were killed and 19 severely injured.
- Read more: Wikipedia -

Wash my hands:
This motif occurs twice in Shakespeare's Macbeth. Persuaded by his wife, Macbeth kills Scottish king Duncan to climb the throne himself. She tells him to wash the blood off his hands, but Macbeth, regretting his deed already, says: "Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood / Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather / The multitudinous seas incarnadine, / Making the green one red" (Act II, scene 2). However, the first murder causes new crimes, and Macbeth becomes more and more entangled in guilt. In the end, even Lady Macbeth, who has less scruples, becomes mad with guilt. One of her gentlewomen and a doctor watch her sleepwalking:

DOCTOR. What is it she does now? Look how she rubs her hands.
GENTLEWOMAN. It is an accustomed action with her, to seem thus washing her hands. I have known her continue in this a quarter of an hour.
LADY MACBETH. Yet here's a spot.
DOCTOR. Hark, she speaks! I will set down what comes from her, to satisfy my remembrance the more strongly.
LADY MACBETH. Out, damned spot! Out, I say! One- two -why then 'tis time to do't. Hell is murky. Fie, my lord, fie! A soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account? Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?
DOCTOR. Do you mark that?
LADY MACBETH. The Thane of Fife had a wife; where is she now? What, will these hands ne'er be clean? No more o' that, my lord, no more o' that. You mar all with this starting.
DOCTOR. Go to, go to; you have known what you should not.
GENTLEWOMAN. She has spoke what she should not, I am sure of that. Heaven knows what she has known.
LADY MACBETH. Here's the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, oh, oh! (Act V, scene 1)
- Source: Shakespeare, William, Macbeth. Act II, scene 2 and Act V, scene 1 - Read more: Project Gutenberg -

Justin and Robert explain that they use this as general image about the disappearance of innocence; you get yourself into something and can't get rid of it anymore.
- Source: NMA in an interview with German magazine Zillo 10/90; my translation -

One world:
The idea to divide the countries on earth into three "worlds" originally referred to the Cold War divide between the "First World" (the USA and their allies), the "Second World" (Soviet Union, China and their allies) and the "Third World" (neutral countries). Today this division refers to the economical status of countries, the "First World" (presumably the one with the head buried in the sand) being the highly industrialised countries of the West, the "Second World" (the one rising) the emerging countries like China and India and the "Third World" (the one dying) the poor countries like many African countries. There is no official classification and the status of countries changes all the time.
- Read more: Wikipedia -

Buried in the sand:
Ostriches bury their head in the sand (do they really?). This is used as a metaphor for refusing to face unpleasant realities.

[ Back to Get Me Out ]

Ghost of Your Father

The song:
It "was written about somebody else and his relationship with his father as I understood it. And everybody has interpreted it in their own way, according to their relationship with their own father. Which is always interesting."
- Source: Justin Sullivan interview with Allan MacInnis -

Portsmouth lies at the south coast of England, about 70 miles (112 km) away from London. There is a direct road between the two places. In my experience, the British are very hitchhiker-friendly. I don't know why it took the person in the song fourteen hours to hitch from London to Portsmouth. There is also a Portsmouth in Yorkshire, halfway between Bradford and Manchester, 230 miles or 370 km away from London. But that is such a tiny place that I cannot imagine it is meant here. Joolz Denby, who did all the artwork for New Model Army, used to live in the Portsmouth that has seagulls.
- Source: Twitter -

[ Back to Ghost of Your Father ]

Ghost Train

Raise the dead:
In the bible, Jesus sends out his disciples and tells them: "And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give."
- Source: The Bible. Matthew, 10.7-8 - Read more: King James Bible -

[ Back to Ghost Train ]


The song:
"'Ghost' is very much written about Robert [Heaton, NMA's drummer for 16 years]"
- Source: Justin Sullivan in The Quietus -

Fall upon your sword:
"To resign from a job or other position of responsibility, especially when pressured to do so." Or: "To voluntarily take the blame for a situation."
- Source: Wiktionary -

[ Back to Ghosts ]

The Gift

Protect and survive:
A slogan that originated from "a public information series on civil defence produced by the British government during the late 1970s and early 1980s. It is intended to inform British citizens on how to protect themselves during a nuclear attack [. . . .] Following the government's abandonment of its nuclear civil defence policy in the 1990s [. . .], it was tacitly acknowledged that Protect and Survive had little real value".
- Source: Wikipedia -

Revenge is not sweet:
'Revenge is sweet' is a proverb.

[ Back to The Gift ]

Gigabyte Wars

She's all red in tooth and claw:
Nature, according to Alfred Tennyson's long poem "In Memoriam A.H.H." (1849):

Who trusted God was love indeed
And love Creation's final law?
Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw
With ravine, shriek'd against his creed?

- Read more: Poet's Corner - Wikipedia -

The basic unit of information in computer storage and processing is byte. Because a byte contains so little information, the processing and storage capacities of computer hardware are usually given in kilobytes (1,024 bytes) or megabytes (1,048,576 bytes). Still  larger capacities are expressed in gigabytes (about one billion bytes).

Stupid Questions:
Seemingly a reference to their 1989 song of that title.

[ Back to Gigabyte Wars ]

Gimme Shelter

The song:
This song is the opening track on the Rolling Stone's album "Let it Bleed" that came out in December 1969. The well-known cover version by the Sisters of Mercy was the b-side of their "Temple of Love" single (October 1983). British organization Putting Our House in Order asked different artists to record the song. All profits went to homeless charities.

The actual song was suggested . . . we were approached by the charity and the song was suggested anyway. This charity was called 'Shelter' or 'Putting Our House In Order' and it was basically about rehousing the homeless so the song was already suggested. The idea at the time was that you would collaborate with someone else and our secretary at the time came up with the idea of Tom Jones. We thought 'no way', it wasn't like we weren't going to do it, we thought 'no way, its not going to happen'. A lot of people judge Tom Jones as playing in front of middle aged women throwing knickers at him. We recorded the track separately and Tom Jones sang on it in L.A. and then it was brought back to England and mixed and all that stuff and the first time I heard it I thought 'oh yeah, this sounds like us, NMA, with all the rough edges and when Tom Jones started singing there was a mixture of laughing because it was like 'bloody hell that's Tom Jones!' But it was an incredible vocal, just an amazing singer.
We got together and did a video outside the BBC studios in Shepherds Bush in London. I think it was a bit strange for him, he's thinking 'everyone has a manager and everyone is choosing their career moves' and he's probably asking questions like 'who is this New Model Army'? Because we still remain like an underground band. He was a really nice guy, very funny, very sharp but generally a very warm character and like I said, an excellent singer.
- Source: Robert Heaton in an interview with Chris Benn in May 1997 -

[ Back to Gimme Shelter ]

God Save Me

Screaming blue murder:
Make an extravagant and noisy protest [. . . .]
- Source: The New Oxford Dictionary of English -

[ Back to God Save Me ]

Grandmother's Footsteps

Grandmother's steps or footsteps is a children's game where one child (the "grandmother") stands facing a wall and turns round quickly every so often trying to catch the movement of the rest of the children who are trying to creep up and touch grandmother on the shoulder. A child caught moving has to go back to the start, while the child who succeeds then becomes the grandmother.

Lambs go to the slaughterhouse:
An image frequently used in the bible. In several passages it applies to Jesus Christ, who gently and willingly sacrifices himself for all human sins: "He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth".
- Source: The Bible. Isaiah, 53.7 -

30 silver coins:
The price Judas is payed for betraying Jesus Christ to the Jewish priests who want to have him executed. When Jesus eats the passover with his disciples he predicts that Judas will betray him. Later they all go the garden Gethsemane, where Jesus prays. Judas comes with a group of armed people and kisses Jesus so the priests know whom to arrest.
- Source: The Bible. Matthew, 26.14-56 - Read more: King James Bible -

[ Back to Grandmother's Footsteps | Back to Courage | Back to Fate  | Back to Long Goodbye | Back to Masters of War ]

Great Expectations

Great Expectations:
There's a novel of that title (1860) by English Victorian writer Charles Dickens. It's about poor orphan Pip who learns that a mysterious gentleman is going to pay for his education and leave him a fortune. This wakes great expectations in the boy about a life in luxury and a happy match with adored Estella. Of course everything turns out differently, and Pip experiences great disillusionment before eventually . . . . This has probably nothing to do with the song, but I just love to talk about literature.
- Read more: Wikipedia -

England team:
The English national football team. In some live versions Justin sings "Watford team" instead; Watford is a district in the county of Herfordshire, on the northwest periphery of London, with a football club playing in the English Premier Division.

[ Back to Great Expectations | Back to I Need More Time ]


The colour green has many different symbolic meanings, including hope, bad luck and inexperience. It is also the colour of the uniform of the U.S. American and some regiments of the British Army.
- Read more: Wikipdia -

Cedar trees:
Trees native to the mountains of the western Himalaya and the Mediterranean region.
- Read more: Wikipedia -

[ Back to Green ]

Green and Grey

The song:
[The song was originally an instrumental, but we thought it would be a shame to leave it without lyrics. So Justin wrote some of his best lyrics ever. Almost every band writes about how they had to leave their town in order to get ahead. In such a situation you consider everybody else as opponent you have to fight. Our song describes the situation of the one who stays behind.] It's very sad but it's a very good song. I think it's based on true - it represents any town, and everybody who's been in that situation will know what the song's about exactly. It's when someone leaves your town, and then they come back to you a year later and say, "Oh you're still here, you're still doing the same thing. We're somewhere else doing great". It makes you feel down.
- Source: Robert Heaton in an interview with German radio station Radio Bremen 4 in February 1989  (the part in [ ] is my translation, as I couldn't always hear Robert because of the German voice over) -

Valleys of green and grey:
This might echo a Scottish song by Hector MacNeill (1746-1818), "The Lammie" or "My Boy Tammy". Though in a very different context, it shares the motif of leaving home with "Green and Grey":

"Whare hae ye been a' day,
    My boy, Tammy?
Whare hae ye been a' day,
    My boy, Tammy?"
"I 've been by burn and flow'ry brae,
Meadow green, and mountain gray,
Courting o' this young thing,
    Just come frae her mammy."

"And whare got ye that young thing,
    My boy, Tammy?"
"I gat her down in yonder howe,
Smiling on a broomy knowe,
Herding a wee lamb and ewe
    For her poor mammy."

"What said ye to the bonnie bairn,
    My boy, Tammy?"
"I praised her een, sae bonny blue,
Her dimpled cheek, and cherry mou';
I pree'd it aft, as ye may true;--
    She said she 'd tell her mammy.

"I held her to my beating heart,
    My young, my smiling lammie!
'I hae a house, it cost me dear;
I 've wealth o' plenishin' and gear;--
Ye 'se get it a', were 't ten times mair,
    Gin ye will leave your mammy.'

"The smile gaed aff her bonnie face--
    'I maunna leave my mammy;
She 's gi'en me meat, she 's gi'en me claise,
She 's been my comfort a' my days;
My father's death brought mony waes--
    I canna leave my mammy.'"

"We 'll tak her hame, and mak her fain,
    My ain kind-hearted lammie;
We 'll gi'e her meat, we 'll gi'e her claise,
We 'll be her comfort a' her days."
The wee thing gi'es her hand and says--
    "There! gang and ask my mammy."

"Has she been to kirk wi' thee,
    My boy, Tammy?"
"She has been to kirk wi' me,
And the tear was in her e'e;
But, oh! she 's but a young thing,
    Just come frae her mammy."
- Source: All Poetry -

"I'll let you into a secret: there was never a bus ride. It was actually a train ride".
- Source: Justin Sullivan live in Hebden Bridge on 25/10/14 -

Billy Boy:
There is an English traditional song named "My Boy Billy" that is almost identical in content with "My Boy Tammy" above. I'm not sure if this is a massive coincidence or if Justin had those two old songs at the back of his mind.

"Where have you been all this day,
My boy Billy?
Where have you been all this day,
Pretty Billy, tell me."
"I have been all this day,
Courting with a lady gay,
But she is too young to be taken from her mammy,
But she is too young to be taken from her mammy."

"Can she bake or can she brew?
My boy Billy,
Can she bake or can she brew?
Pretty Billy, tell me."
"She can brew and she can bake, S
he can make a wedding cake,
But she is too young to be taken from her mammy."

"Can she make a feather bed?
My boy Billy,
Can she make a feather bed?
Pretty Billy tell me."
"She can make a feather bed,
Fit for any lady's head,
But she is too young to be taken from her mammy."

How old might she be?
My boy Billy,
How old might she be?
Pretty Billy tell me."
"She's one, she's two, twice eleven are twenty two,
But she is too young to be taken from her mammy,
But she is too young to be taken from her mammy."
- Source: Folkinfo -

Never never land:
In James Matthew Barrie's play and novel Peter Pan (1904), a dream world to which only children have access.

[ Back to Green and Grey ]


The song:
"That track was written in just 10 minutes - something that just happened, you can't always do that. It's more guitar lead and its an angry track".
- Source: Justin Sullivan in an interview with Chimeo -

The devil that they know:
"Better the devil that you know than the devil that you don't know" is a proverb meaning "if you have to choose between a familiar but unpleasant situation and an unfamiliar situation, choose the familiar one because the unfamiliar situation may turn out to be worse".
- Source:
The Free Dictionary -

[ Back to Guessing ]

[ G | Introduction | Song Index | Updates ]

16/11/14; last update 17/06/17