"The Regulator" as written by Nathaniel Hale, Warren Griffin, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller....
Oh, I see that lantern trimmed low burning in our home
And though I feel like crying, I swear tonight, I'll cry no more

And how many times have I prayed
That I would get lost along the way?

Dream with the feathers of angels stuffed beneath your head
The regulator's swinging pendulum
Dream with the feathers of angels stuffed beneath your head
The regulator's swinging pendulum

Come with me and walk the longest mile
Come with me and walk the longest mile

Is his wallet leather? Is his wallet fat?
For not a year later it's got you lying on your back
You should have closed your windows and got another dog
You should have chained up all the doors and switched up all the locks

And how many times have I prayed
The angels would speed me away

Dream with the feathers of angels stuffed beneath your head
The regulator's swinging pendulum
Dream with the feathers of angels stuffed beneath your head
The regulator's swinging pendulum

Come with me and walk the longest mile
Come with me and walk the longest mile
Come with me and walk the longest mile
Come with me and walk the longest mile


Lyrics submitted by almostmanda

"The Regulator" as written by Jean-paul Gaster Dan Maines

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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The Regulator song meanings
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  • +4
    General CommentCaptainDogshit, PHLyZik, and Roleki come closest to the real meaning of the song.

    It is about revenge and murder. Details as I see them:

    "I see that lantern trimmed low burning in our home.
    And though I feel like crying, I swear tonight, I'll cry no more."

    >> A man who used to live there is stands outside the window. He's been here before and not carried through with his plan (supported by next verse). There is no indication of why he doesn't live there. Divorce? Presumed dead? We don't know.

    How many times have I prayed
    That I would get lost along the way?

    >>This time, he's going to do it. He can't forget or forgive, and God has not stopped him - though he wishes He had.

    "Dream with the feathers of angels stuffed beneath your head.
    The regulator's swinging pendulum."

    He has waited for them to fall asleep. He will kill them now, and he hopes she will she will not awake during the act, and simply wake up in Heaven. The regulator is a clock, as mentioned, but a 'Regulator'
    is also a lawman of the old West. This is what I think people missed. The man in the song views himself as bringing justice to an unfaithful woman (wife?) and her lover. The general 'western' sound of the song supports this.

    "Come with me and walk the longest mile."

    >>He plans to kill himself tonight too, after the deed. The longest mile will be the trip to Hell, where he figures he's going for the murder, along with the man and possibly the woman as well for her infidelity (though he seems to not want this for her, at least).

    "Is his wallet leather? Is his wallet fat?
    For not a year later it's got you lying on your back."

    >>Here's most of the evidence that she took up with a guy for his money, while she was still married or her husband was missing/away at the war/etc.

    "You should have closed your windows and got another dog."

    As mentioned by PhLyZik, it's this man's dog. The dog won't make a fuss when he enters.

    "You should have chained up all the doors and switched up all the locks."

    >>again, some evidence that the narrator is thought to be dead. If she were cheating, she would have changed the locks. He still has the keys.

    "And how many times have I prayed
    The angels would speed me away."

    >>A last prayer for some Divine intervention preventing him from going forward with his plan.

    "Dream with the feathers of angels stuffed beneath your head.
    The regulator's swinging pendulum."

    >>He's in the room, this is his last wish for her now as he pulls the trigger (or swings the axe, etc.). Sure, that's not in the lyrics, but the structure of the song implies to me that this is what's happening.

    "Come with me and walk the longest mile."

    It's over, and this is his last thought or words as he kills himself.
    TacticalDogmaon October 12, 2009   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningThe song's about time and its relation to death. Time's the longest mile. Some would like to dream that their time in life be sped along. Visions of heaven and angels throughout a eternal afterlife seem a reprieve from life's trials to most. Death well, no amount of chains, switched locks, shut windows, or dogs will keep it from you. In themselves, time and death embody one another. Their principle traits shared. Hence the regulator IS a pendulum. Due a bout of irony they've similar connotations within the song, but regulator in its simplest form's a person or thing that regulates "controls" an object. Regulators maintain order, depended on whether it's its own perspective or another's as to how order's deemed proper. As such, with every swing of the pendulum, a moment in time passes while bringing death nearer. There's no greater regulator than death, it controls time while time maintains its personification.

    A truly chilling, yet poetic verse that happens to be a favorite song of my own.
    ceron August 17, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt seems to me that this song is about lost youth or lost idealism. The questions about the wallet and the life after that makes me think that. Other lyrics also seem to point along that way. I really like this song and it's my favorite one by Clutch. For being considered stoner rock, this stuff is heavy. Do people high on weed have the ability to mosh? I wonder sometimes.
    OpinionHeadon February 17, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentRandom thought: I was visiting my in-laws this past weekend and I saw this clock on their living room wall with an octagonal face and swinging pendulum. On the glass, where the brass pendulum swings onward forever, was the word "Regulator". Could this be a coincidence or I did I find the actual inspiration for this song?
    OpinionHeadon October 03, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI see that lantern trimmed low burning (mood lights?) in our home. (probably referring to a home he belonged to with a lover who gave him the boot, reinforced in a later passage)
    And though I feel like crying, I swear tonight, I'll cry no more. (possibly because he has revenge in mind)

    Is his wallet leather? Is his wallet fat?
    For not a year later it's got you lying on your back. (the lover who owns the house he once belonged to left him for a wealthier man, so much that she is now on her back giving birth to his child *not a year later* than he was dumped, signifying she was having an affair with this man, or possibly just giving it up for this guy)
    You should have closed your windows and got another dog.
    You should have chained up all the doors and switched up all the locks. (possibly because the narrator is going to murder these people out of revenge)
    CapnDogshiton July 22, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentPure and simple, this song is about the protagonist reaching the end of a long road to revenge against someone he still loves. He's obviously conflicted by the prospect of carrying out his plan (though he feels like crying, he swears tonight he'll cry no more/how many times has he prayed that he'd get lost along the way, etc) but he sees the house in one verse, and in the next verse he's in the room where she's sleeping, silently admonishing her for how easy it was for him to get into the house, to put him into position where he has to psyche himself up to continue to the next step. The longest mile would be the actual execution of his plan.

    This is a deceptively powerful song, I always get a bit of a chill when I hear "You should have closed your windows and got another dog.
    You should have chained up all the doors and switched up all the locks."

    Makes me wonder - what happened to her other dog?
    rolekion March 26, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentyeah, neil did admit to ripping this song off. he takes old blues songs and modernizes them pretty often.

    this song is obviously about a guy who was left by his wife for a wealthier man. he is planning on breaking in and killing her.

    "you should have got another dog" is about how it used to be HIS dog and so the dog knows him and probably wont bark at him when he is breaking in.

    the reference to the "regulator" (yes, a clock) is about how he is just waiting on the time to come when its dark enough for his to break in and kill her.

    and @HolyDiver you are really misinterpreting the song, Jenn has got the idea
    PhLyZiKon July 02, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis one's got nothing to do with love. Sorry folks, that's you speaking, not the song.

    In terms of musical style, it starts off with an acoustic, western inspired guitar. You couldn't musically better convey dusty railroads, horses tied up outside bars, and collarless shirts without penning it by Ennio Morricone. So there's your historical setting.

    Some of the comments are correct: the regulator refers to an archaic clock where timing is regulated by a pendulum. Not an electronic clock, a pendulum driven clock. The longest mile also refers to the walk to a place of execution - in the historical context set by the song, a gallows.

    The narrator is partly blaming himself for his own crimes {"And though I feel like crying / I swear tonight I'll cry no more / How many times have I prayed / that I would get lost along the way").

    The narrator moves on to blame the victim of his crimes for his opulence ("Is his wallet leather? Is his wallet fat?") and foolishness ("You should have closed your windows and got another dog / You should have chained up all the doors and switched up all the locks").

    Interspersed with this is the narrator's current position, the night before his execution, inviting the listener to join him on his trip to the gallows the next day ("Dream with the feathers of angels stuffed beneath your head / Come with me and walk the longest mile").

    So there you have it. Guy in wild west robs someone, gets caught, sentenced to death, and whines about it (gotta say, nicely done musically and artistically though). It's a metal song. Metal songs tend to do death and regret. Metal songs tend not to do the love thing. Pope, Catholic, bear, woods, etc.
    Argos74on February 14, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm under the opinion that this is either about a child or adult running away, or somone getting kicked out of their home and family, as notarized by the first two lines. The questions about praying indicate either the wanting to leave before the person did, or that he wishes to forget his past now that he has been removed from this family/home setting. Walking the longest mile perhaps refers to the journey that he is on, and it's length because of the constant thought of being removed from this setting. The fifth stanza is fuzzy for this explanation, but perhaps it points to the vengance of this indiviudal. I also believe the chorus refers to dreaming with thoughts past, and The Regulator governing the dream, or perhaps some supernatural being.
    This is definately a really deep, thoughtful song, one of my favourites by Clutch.
    cnfedynaon May 17, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOpnionHead: Regulator is a brand name of Pendulum clocks which is exactly what you saw. You can find alot of them in antique stores and such.

    Anyway I think this song is about someone preparing for his inivitible death.

    "
    Is his wallet leather? Is his wallet fat?
    For not a year later it's got you lying on your back.
    You should have closed your windows and got another dog.
    You should have chained up all the doors and switched up all the locks."

    I think this pretty much says whether you were rich or not will not ultimately matter. Nothing you can do can stop your death. Changing all your locks and getting better protection still won't save you from fate. The chorus just reinforces that in my opinion.
    ed.bk84on December 04, 2005   Link

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