"Dance Of The Seven Veils" as written by and Phair....
Johnny, my love, get out of the business
It makes me want to rough you up so badly
Makes me want to roll you up in plastic
Toss you up and pump you full of lead

Johnny, my love, get out of the business
The odds are getting fatter by the minute
That I have got a bright and shiny platter
And I am gonna get your heavy head

I ask because I'm a real cunt in spring
You can rent me by the hour
I know all about the ugly pilgrim thing
Entertainers bring May flowers

So Johnny, my love, we got us a witness
Now all we gotta do is get a preacher
He can probably skip the "until death" part
'Cause Johnny, my love, you're already dead

I ask because I'm a real cunt in spring
You can rent me by the hour
I know all about the ugly pilgrim thing
Entertainers bring May flowers
May flowers
May flowers
To you


Lyrics submitted by ruben

"Dance of the Seven Veils" as written by

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Dance Of The Seven Veils song meanings
Add your thoughts

11 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +2
    General CommentI have a completely "other" take on this, having just watched Phair's self-produced "Guyville redux" documentary about the album and Chicago music/art scene at the time. Johnny is both John the Baptist AND actor John Cusack. The actor is a friend of hers from her teen years, and Phair was/is also friends with a Cusack ex-girlfriend (4+ years) -- a woman who years later is likely referring to Cusack in the documentary. She refers to a "John's" movie career taking off, all while he was living too fast and getting eaten up by the entertainment industry. So Phair's friend says she listened to a certain song on the album and was relieved someone else saw how "John" was a mess, or in danger, or similar. The Bible stuff is poetic license, like maybe Salome is the beautiful "Hollywood life", seducing men only to destroy them. And maybe random drug-addled additions that are neither about Cusack or Salome, but Phair herself. But she has said most of the songs on the record are not biographical, but about others she knew... so I think it's mostly her girlfriend's song for Cusack.
    mnielsen34on May 20, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentDance of the Seven veils was the dance that Princess Salomé danced for King Herod in order to seduce him into beheading John the Baptist. It's a biblical story. At a celebration of Herod's birthday, the young and beautiful Salomé danced for Herod, his lords, commanders, and leading men of the estate, peeling off each of seven veils in turn until she was wearing little or nothing. Herod was so pleased by her dance that he made a solemn oath in front of all his guests to give her whatever she desired. At her mother's prompting, Salomé asked for John the Baptist's head on a plate. Although Herod didn't want to do this, he felt he needed to make good on the oath he had made in front of everyone, so he had John the Baptist beheaded and the head delivered to Salomé. Liz alludes to this in the song here.
    vtowndawgon September 28, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment>>So Johnny my love
    We got us a witness
    Now all we gotta do is get a preacher

    Those lines scream "shotgun wedding" to me. The rest is anyone's guess. A lecture to a boyfriend who's in some form of entertainment would be mine, but I'm far from certain about it...
    Keion June 23, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm totally impressed I never liked this song until you explained it WOW it has a whole new meaning!!!
    rapunzelEEDon January 08, 2005   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningVtowndawg has it exactly right, at least insofar as clearly John the Baptist, Herod, and Salome is the story the lyrics reference. But I don't put Liz Phair at just retelling Bible stories, even with saltier language. I think her spin, which I do not recall being part of the Biblical story (am I wrong here?), is that Salome wanted John the Baptist romantically / sexually, and he rebuffed her, so she took her mother's suggestion to get him, albeit in less than whole and living form. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and all that.

    Or--alternate theory--she is using the Salome story to tell some guy who is leading a life that draws his interest away from her, that she'd just as soon seen him dead (physically or metaphorically)? Did she have a thing for some holy roller guy who told her he'd never date a fuck-and-runner? Or maybe he was just a guy who was too busy with other pursuits to notice her, and she's giving him the finger here?

    Well, I hate to get too far afield on the interpretation, so I'll leave it at I dummo, but am somewhat intrigued.
    NAwlinsContrarianon December 01, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"I know all about the ugly pilgrim thing
    entertainers bring may flowers"

    I am confused about this line. It sounds really cool but I have no idea what it means.
    tea216on June 13, 2010   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationMy take:

    The King Herod story is obviously the setting for the overarching metaphor - hence the title of the song. I think it is a referecne to the Ocsar Wilde portrayal, rather than the biblical account, as the narrator (not sure we can call her Liz, but maybe) is Solome, who willingly uses her charms to destroy John based in large part because of her strong attraction to John. Keep in mind that Solome doesn't seduce John, she seduces King Herod and convinces him to kill John (Johnny). The lyric "odds are getting fatter by the minute/That I have got a bright and shiney platter/and I am gonna get your heavy head" shows us that the narrator is considering using her charms on someone OTHER than Johnny in order to bring him low. An guess what, she already has. The preist who marries them can skip the "until death" not because he's dead, but because she's metaphorically cut of his head (hooked up with someone else).

    The "buisness" to me is obviously a reference to entertainment business, as supported by the lyric "entertainers bring May flowers." This lyric also is a play on "April showers bring May flowers," a term that bascially means you should endure the dolldrums of early April rainstorms because you will reap the benefit of May flowers that sprout up from the rain. She understands that Johnny brings "flowers" (art, satisfaction, etc.) but she's tired of dealing with him being such an asshole all the time.

    The "ugly pilgrim thing" is a reference to the way a lot of Europeans view American sexual "repression." Sex is a lot more free and open in Europe compared to American society and so Americans are "ugly pilgrims" who are afraid to express their sexuality. The use of the word "cunt" in that portion of the lyric is obviously (well, to me obvious) an attack on Johnny being such an asshole. That's HIS word. She rebelling at the way he treats her, calling her a cunt when he's "spring showers" and "renting her by the hour" (treating her like a whore). When she finds this objectionable he puts her down by calling her, in essence, a typical "American" prude.

    The gist is that she loves this guy and wants him but it's a toxic relationship. He's an artist/entertainer of some type and thinks he's the shit. He treats her bad becasue he thinks he can. What she's telling him is that if he doesn't start treating her better she won't put up with his shit forver. She equates him being such a total asshole with him being in the entertainment industry. She pleads with him to get out of the buisness so he'll check his ego and quit being such a dick. The last line is the essence of the plea - she doesn't get anything out of him being an entertainer. All of the "good" of what he does is selfish, and she gets shit on. "Enterainers bring May Flowers / to you."
    Writersbl0ckon February 02, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWith due respect to Writersbl0ck, I really don't understand the "ugly pilgrim thing" line. I know Liz is conflicted about her race/upbringing (see the song "White Babies"). And no one has mentioned the obvious "May flowers"/"Mayflower" pun.
    Add to this the fact that Liz has publicly said that "Exile" is a valentine to Nash Kato... I need some help, guys.
    stormvilleon January 19, 2013   Link
  • -1
    General Commenthmm i thought it was about................no vtowndawg's explantion makes more sense
    sunglasseson February 24, 2006   Link
  • -1
    General Comment"So Johnny my love
    We got us a witness
    Now all we gotta do is get a preacher
    He can probably skip the "until death" part
    'Cause Johnny my love you're already dead"

    liz talks about johnny in a lot of her songs, and i think he may have died from drug overdose, either that or he's dead to her
    omigoshbritton March 26, 2006   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain