"Hell Broke Luce" as written by and Kathleen Brennan Tom Waits....
I had a good home but I left
I had a good home but I left, right, left
That big fucking bomb made me deaf, deaf
A Humvee mechanic put his Kevlar on wrong
I guarantee you’ll meet up with a suicide bomb
Hell broke luce
Hell broke luce

Big fucking ditches in the middle of the road
You pay a hundred dollars just for fillin’ in the hole
Listen to the general every goddamn word
How many ways can you polish up a turd
Left, right, left, left, right
Left, right
Hell broke luce
Hell broke luce
Hell broke luce

How is it that the only ones responsible for making this mess
Got their sorry asses stapled to a goddamn desk
Hell broke luce
Hell broke luce
Left, right, left

What did you do before the war?
I was a chef, I was a chef
What was your name?
It was Geoff, Geoff
I lost my buddy and I wept, wept
I come down from the meth
So I slept, slept
I had a good home but I left, left
Pantsed at the wind for a joke
I pranced right in with the dope
Glanced at her shin she said nope
Left, right, left

Nimrod Bodfish have you any wool
Get me another body bag the body bag’s full
My face was scorched, scorched
I miss my home I miss my porch, porch
Left, right, left

Can I go home in March? March
My stanch was a chin full of soap
That rancid dinner with the pope
Left, right, left

Kelly Presutto got his thumbs blown off
Sergio’s developing a real bad cough
Sergio’s developing a real bad cough
Hell broke luce
Hell broke luce
Hell broke luce

Boom went his head away
And boom went Valerie
What the hell was it that the president said?
Give him a beautiful parade instead
Left, right, left

When I was over here I never got to vote
I left my arm in my coat
My mom she died and never wrote
We sat by the fire and ate a goat
Just before he died he had a toke
Now I’m home and I’m blind
And I’m broke
What is next


Lyrics submitted by xdvr

Hell Broke Luce song meanings
Add your thoughts

11 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +4
    General CommentIt's about Jeff Lucey, an Iraq vet who hanged himself.
    MarkKozelekon October 29, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe most addictive song on the album so far. Military March/Blues Stomp/Work Song... and that ferocious growl... quite a combination.

    It was said in passing during one of the interviews I read (I think in the NYT article) that Tom claims he took the title from a line of graffiti written on an Alcatraz Prison wall after a riot, but I guess the real question is whether or not "Luce" is the nickname of the character in the song (Something like Geoff Luciano perhaps?). It certainly tells stories of soldiers 'broken' by hellish war experiences so it's plausible.
    SpasticMinnowon October 27, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's so overwhelming, confused, urgent, angry, anxious. Conveys fear - being away from home, your life being in danger and having to rise up and face it, while really just wanting to be home safe. The urgency is so intense. What a song. What a genius.
    green_eyes88on October 28, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commentlove the song and love the pun
    - hell broke loose (phrase for total chaos)
    - hell broke luce (iraq is hell, it broke luce to suicide)
    but the whole combination of the growl, the rhythm, the sound effects, this song haunts you
    mr093242on November 02, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPerhaps "Luce" might also refer to the old Cold Warrior, Henry Luce, the Father of the "American Century:"

    pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/henry-luce/henry-r-luce-and-the-rise-of-the-american-news-media/650/
    plannaxon August 07, 2012   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretation"hell broke luce" comes from "all hell broke loose", meaning, as already said here, total chaos, or something infernal, uncontrolable. In place of loose, tom waits and
    kathleen brennan use "luce", and this means lucifer, the devil itself. I guess that's it.

    rb
    robbuchon January 14, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI think it's pretty clear that the song's about the horrors of war. Talking about a man who became a soldier, then was injured and haunted by his service. He sings about the friends who were killed, and the drug addiction after the war that he developed in order to cope with the pain.

    as for the title, what I always thought is that the main character of the song is named "Luce"(which is a common surname).
    It's a pun on "Hell broke loose", but I think it's saying that the War was hell and it broke him as a person.
    LordXerason February 19, 2013   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningMade an account just for this song, but for those of you wondering about the title and character this song is based on; his name is Jeff Lucey ("What was your name - it was Jeff, Jeff"), a soldier who was haunted and driven to suicide because of the horrors of war.
    JerrBerron April 27, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentJust heard this song and it's blown me away. What a graphic, hard hitting picture of the experience of war, post traumatic stress, and all the pysical and mental scars that veterans are left with afterwards.
    I love the line about how the people "Responsible for making all this mess got their asses stapled to a goddamn desk"
    Cool video too.
    xXRIOXxon May 13, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI particularly like the part "Left, right, left".

    I think is a play on words meaning the military thing, and "I left my home, that's right, I left".
    Bijunoon June 12, 2013   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