When you grab a hold of me
Tell me that I'll never be set free
But I'm a parasite,
Creep and crawl I step into the night.
Two pints of booze
Tell me are you a badfish too?
Are you a badfish too?
Ain't got no money to spend
I hope the night will never end
Lord knows I'm weak
Won't somebody get me off of this reef

Baby you're a big blue whale
Grab the reef when all duck diving fails
I swim, but wish I'd never learned
The water's too polluted with germs
I dive deep when it's ten feet overhead
Grab the reef underneath my bed (it's underneath my bed)
Ain't got no quarrels with God
Ain't got no time to grow old
Lord knows I'm weak
Won't somebody get me off of this reef

Ain't got no quarrels with God
Ain't got no time to get old
Lord knows I'm weak
Won't somebody get me off of this reef



Lyrics submitted by galaxie

"Badfish" as written by Bradley James Nowell

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind


Badfish song meanings
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106 Comments

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  • +3
    General Comment:this song is really deep and metaphorical. bradley had an old soul...
    PeaceGypsy420on June 14, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:With the utmost respect for Bradley because he was a very inspirational person I would like to do my best to set the record straight on this song. This song is primarily about love and/or being in a relationship. It also has references to surfing, drinking, and smoking. Thank you to all the people who pointed out that because this song was written early in his career it is not about heroine. In saying "when you grab ahold of me you tell me that I'll never be set free" in the first line he is talking about a lover holding him in their embrace. It could also have a double meaning referring primarily to alcoholism. "But I'm a parasite, creep and crawl I step into the night." By being a parasite he is saying that he wants love from his lover but he may not be perfectly faithful in return. He takes love without giving perfect devotion back. He will step into the night meaning at night he is going to go around the town, go to bars and have fun. He will not necessarely be a faithful lover so he is a parasite. "Two pints of booze" and "are you a bad fish too?" means he has two pints and is ready to drink with someone who wants to make love. Fish means someone who drinks. Later on people may have misinterpreted this song as being about heroine so they started using "bad fish" to refer to someone who gets somebody else hooked on heroine. But Bradley invented the term "bad fish" and he was talking about drinking and being a "whore." People often use the term "drink like a fish." He says "bad" fish because of the parasitic nature of his love. "Ain't got no money to spend" means he's broke because of always spending his money on alcohol and cannabis. "I hope the night will never end" refers to how he likes to party and have fun all night. It also refers to making love all night. "Lord knows I'm weak, won't somebody get me off of this reef" means that he believes in God and he knows his lifestyle is destructive. He is praying for divine intervention essentially.

    "Baby you're a big blue whale" is referring to Blue Whales because they are endangered and Bradley was an environmentalist in this song. But he is also talking about his lover, likening them to a beautiful creature of the Ocean. Perhaps his lover might have been a little on the chubby side because he wanted to get with anyone just so he could have satisfcation, but I cannot say for sure that big blue whale definitely refers to fat girls, although it is a possibility. "Grab the reef when all duck diving fails" is a double entrende. The reef is referring to coral reef that one could grab onto underneath a wave. It's almost like Brad wants to grab the choral reef so he can have an anchor point - something to ground him and stop him from being buffetted around by outside forces. He needs that one thing to hold onto so he knows he will be ok. Duck diving as people have pointed out is a technique used in surfing to get out to where the waves break. But reef also means reefer and he is saying whenever surfing isn't working out he has cannabis to ground him and put him at peace. Duck diving in this sense could also refer to his attempts to get laid, and when it doesn't work, he can always grab his reefer and get high instead, and think about his loneliness. The way he uses this double entrende and alludes to the beauty of nature is simply brilliant and unparalleled. "I swim but I wish I never heard, the water's too polluted now with germs" is another double meaning. He's talking about the Ocean and how sad it is that mankind is polluting it. But by "swim" he also refers to his sexual escapades and how he likes to make love to many women but he knows there is a risk of getting an STD, or germs. "I dive deep when it's ten feet overhead" is again a metaphor between surfing and love-making. "Grab the reef underneath my bed" is referring to where he keeps his cannabis and also referencing his bed, where the love-making happens. "AIn't God no quarrels with God" means that he understands the nature of God and he has received enlightenment from where he sees it. "Ain't got no time to get old" means that he wants to lead a wreckless lifestyle. He wants to have fun and doesn't ever want to grow old. Hopefully this will set the record straight so people realize, this song is a ballad he has written to try and seduce a lover into making love with him but is also a metaphor to his other means of escape which is drinking, smoking, and surfing, which keeps him distracted from being a real man or a potential husband, so he can remain forever young yet he knows this lifestyle is leading nowhere so he is crying out to God for divine intervention at the same time.
    lightningdirectoron October 23, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:I sometimes feel like I'm a badfish. Tell me, are you a badfish too?
    LinZWalteron July 08, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:"Ain't got no quarrels with God
    Ain't got no time to get old"

    It's about living for today-- and being at peace.
    schlieffenon May 11, 2003   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaning:The song is about knowing you always do the wrong thing and not having the inner strength to change your ways alone.

    "When you grab a hold of me
    Tell me that I'll never be set free
    But I'm a parasite,
    Creep and crawl I step into the night."

    [committing adultery]

    "Two pints of booze
    Tell me are you a badfish too?
    Are you a badfish too?
    Ain't got no money to spend
    I hope the night will never end"

    [getting drunk and partying despite not really having the money to burn]

    "Lord knows I'm weak
    Won't somebody get me off of this reef"

    [lacking strength to better oneself]

    "Baby you're a big blue whale"

    [feeling swallowed alive]

    "Grab the reef when all duck diving fails"

    [failing to cut through lifes hurdles (the waves), and so using whats available (the reef) to maintain stability]

    "I swim, but wish I'd never learned
    The water's too polluted with germs"

    [carrying on despite despising reality (the ocean)]ff

    "I dive deep when it's ten feet overhead
    Grab the reef underneath my bed (it's underneath my bed)"

    [feeling in over ones head and resorting to drugs]
    tjwoostaon February 28, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:its about drug addiction
    eigthon April 30, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:LBC! YEA! Long Beach, CA rules! R.I.P. Bradley Nowell.
    chrisbcreem2002on May 05, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:Awesome Sublime song to just kick back and chill with...
    Mexicanton May 08, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:yeah, its about his addiction just about. Almost all his songs involve drugs so its already a given. Yeah I agree, it is an awsome song to kik back and chill
    X.kRystLe.Xon May 21, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:i agree this is one of the best sublime songs ever!
    sublime9117on May 30, 2002   Link

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