"The Toys Go Winding Down" as written by Les Claypool, Reid L. Iii Lalonde and Timothy W. Alexander....
An overaged boy of 39 has left the wing today
The first time in his life he's made that step
Be numbed by the society and plagued by insecurity
He's entered in a race that must be won
One of the animals has left its cage today
In search of better things, so it seems to be
But in this land of polyurethane,
things are apt to get a bit hot

As the toys go winding down

C.G. The Mexican is a friend of mine
We used to sit around the house watching Evil Dead
Talking about the way it used to be
Skit dat daddle dee dee
We used to pull the strippers out of San Pablo Bay
Now the delta waters go down So. Cal.
And the strippers start to fade away

It's pudding time!

As the toys go winding down


Lyrics submitted by knate15

"The Toys Go Winding Down" as written by Reid L. Iii Lalonde Les Claypool

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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The Toys Go Winding Down song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentMy personal interpretation of the song is that it's about growing up in a working class factory town and facing(or not facing) the decision to let go of youth and go to work for the "company." The members of Primus hail from a San Pablo Bay town called El Sabronte. San Pablo Bay is primarily known for two things; fishing and oil refineries. Just about every popular fishing spot in the bay is within spitting distance of an oil refinery. You can find many a reference to local fishing in Primus's music, most notably The Fisherman Chronicles, a three part song trilogy that explores commercial fishing (john the Fisherman), sport fishing (Fish On!), and fishing from the perspective of one of the bay's piscine residents (Ol' Diamondback Sturgeon). Many of the people who live in the region are working class folk who work for the refineries. Like in any factory town it can be difficult for youth to break free from the working class cycle. Youth is often spent on fishing, partying, getting stoned and watching a lot of T.V. and perusing the holey grail of rock stardom. At some point many adolescents face the fact that they need to start making money but have no marketable skills. So they bite the bullet and take up a friend or relatives offer to get them a job at the refinery. Some take longer than others.

    I think this song is about grown up slackers holding on to the glory days of youth for as long as possible. The protagonist at the beginning of the song is stepping out from the wing of his parents house at the age of thirty-nine. The fact that he's thirty nine and "plagued by society and insecurity" line makes me wonder if he may have been a moderately successful for a time. Once he may have felt on top of the world but now he faces having to join working class society and be judged by their standards (a rat race that must be won).

    The first verses of the second stanza are rather interesting.

    One of the animals has left its cage today
    in search of better things so it seems to be

    They seem to be a repeat of the first stanza's theme but this time he's referred to as an animal leaving his cage for better things (or so it seems to be). The mother's wing or nest can also be a cage. The animal might be content and not have to hunt for it's food but it's brain turns to mush as it never receives new stimuli.

    The next two lines of the stanza refer to the dangers of refinery work.

    But in this land of polyurethane,
    Things are apt to get a bit hot

    One of the reasons people with little skill can make good pay doing refinery work is because it can be dangerous. Every one of the refineries in the bay area has had some kind of toxic leak or big fire.

    The chorus "As the Toys Go Winding Down" refers to the toys of youth losing their great luster. At some point you either need to put them away or they will simply wind down and cease to give you satisfaction anymore.

    Which is exactly what the last two stanzas are about. Sitting around talking about the halcyon days with an old friend, reminiscing about the same things again and again. I'm sure everyone here has had a friend who never talks about anything but the good 'ol days. On a side not, C.G. the Mexican is a real life friend of the lead singer Les Claypool. You'll often times see references to real life friends in their music.

    We used to pull the stripers out of Sand Pablo bay
    Now the delta waters go down So. Cal.
    And the stripers start to fade away.

    This alludes to a realization that even the last great bastion of youth, fishing, is winding down. The rivers that feed the bay are being pumped down to southern California, and killing off the fish population in the bay.

    It's pudding time!
    It's pudding time!

    Such a great line (it's also used in another song of the same name) but people often wonder what the heck it means. Claypool once explained that it alludes to having to work through all the nasty vegetables so that you can get your pudding. This lyric is thrown out in a resigned guttural spit.
    I see it as meaning, "I've wasted my youth and young adulthood and now I'm going to have to eat the worst garbage (work in the refinery) in order to enjoy my deserts."



    This is the only decent free audio stream of the song I could find. It's not made by Primus but in an interesting way it plays into some of the themes of the song. Instead of a refinery life the boy goes into military service. But judging by the pictures of him holding a baby it seems he's found one of the great rewards of adulthood.
    Todd
    goddtoddon March 25, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentit's like a guy that was in some sort of rehab or mental health center... aka "the wing" and he leaves with this huge smile on his face and is all excited to be entering normal life but he is instantly trampled by society... we are all animals trapped in a cage... and we can escape if we want to but the currents would be a bit too fast... and at the end hes back at the clinic for "pudding time"... the scheduled feeding of easy-to-digest gloop...it's a really depressing song. at least thats the way i interpret it.
    nocolorworldon December 14, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWe were High! The whole thing was written high. Don't read so much into it. I used to sell hydro that my uncle grew and we would snap bong loads every morning and fall back asleep then get up and out around 6 or 7PM and head over to SF and get into clubs for free. Get back home around 2:30 in the morning and snap more bowls and eat Ben and Jerry's from the 7-11 around the corner and watch vids from my extensive library (yes we only had VHS back then). Les would be scribbling lyrics all the while.
    I did lights on tour off and on for nine years and my brother Link did the album covers.
    Les and I are still friends and I worked on the Electric Apricot film doing post production.
    C. G. the Mexican
    Curtis Gomez
    firespurton December 02, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentdrugs.
    ''Talking about the way it used to be...
    We used to pull the stripers out of Sand
    Pablo bay
    Now the delta waters go down So. Cal.
    And the stripers start to fade away

    It's pudding time!
    It's pudding time! ''_an obvious reference to coke







    pO!z0ndOuGhb0y43on June 20, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the only one who knows what 1/2 the primus songs are is Les (after all, he wrote them). Some are obvious. As for the
    ''Talking about the way it used to be...
    We used to pull the stripers out of Sand
    Pablo bay
    Now the delta waters go down So. Cal.
    And the stripers start to fade away

    It's pudding time!
    It's pudding time! '' part, I have no idea where you got drugs from (possibly "It's pudding time", I still am unsure what that means). Les LOVES fishing if you couldn't tell. So... well... I have no idea. It all makes 0 sence to me except the C.G. the mexican part. All I know is that is one of Les's pals. AAA! But it is a good song
    cacophony_alexon July 06, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentC.G. and Les used to sit around getting high and watching spaghetti westerns........or so I have heard!
    eclipseownzuon May 25, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit's like a guy that was in some sort of rehab or mental health center... aka "the wing" and he leaves with this huge smile on his face and is all excited to be entering normal life but he is instantly trampled by society... we are all animals trapped in a cage... and we can escape if we want to but the currents would be a bit too fast... and at the end hes back at the clinic for "pudding time"... the scheduled feeding of easy-to-digest gloop...it's a really depressing song. at least thats the way i interpret it.
    nocolorworldon December 14, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentClicking "Add" more than once makes it go faster!

    Yeah, it seems kind of depressing, the song is kind of dark too, but it is incredibly fun to play. I love the transition (or lack of one) from the intro to the verse, it's so abrupt and fast.
    I don't have much to say about the meaning, I agree with whatsisname, nocolour.
    dayve57on March 27, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo me it simply seems to be a song about getting old and things changing. On Frizzle Fry, "pudding time" was being addressed to children. I this case, I'm picturing an old person gumming it down.
    WarmPBRon May 11, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with WarmPBR, its as if Les feels a little sad about getting older, whilst not elderly he's not youthful and times have changed negatively since his youth - specifically in terms of fishing.

    The start of the song could therefore be either youth or happier nostalgia.
    Baudson September 11, 2006   Link

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