"John the Fisherman" as written by Les Claypool, Timothy W. Alexander and Todd Huth....
When he was young you'd not find him doing well in school,
His mind would turn unto the waters.
Always the focus of adolescent ridicule,
He has no time for farmer's daughters.
Alienated from the clique society,
A lonely boy finds peace in fishing.
His mother says John this is not the way life's supposed to be.
Don't you see the life that you are missing?
And he says
When I grow up I want to be,
One of the harvesters of the sea.
I think before my days are done,
I want to be a fisherman.
Now years gone by we find man that rules the sea.
He sets out on a dark May morning .
To bring his catch back to this small community.
He doesn't see the danger dawning.
Four hours up, oh the ocean swelled and swelled,
The fog rolled in it started raining.
The starboard bow. Oh my God we're going down!
They do not hear his frantic mayday.
And he says
When I grow up I want to be,
One of the harvesters of the sea.
I think before my days are done,
I want to be a fisherman.
I'll live and die a fisherman.
Calling John the fisherman.


Lyrics submitted by knate15

"John the Fisherman" as written by Timothy W. Alexander Les Claypool

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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John the Fisherman song meanings
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43 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentThis is a great song, it was the first Primus video I saw. It has loads of really cool cartoons in it,I recommend finding it.
    Razormasticatoron April 18, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think this song is about drugs... nah just kiddin, there just always seems to be some fucker who puts that
    Tommy_the_Caton April 16, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think it could be about how Les Claypool felt when he was younger. He's known to love fishing, after all. This is one of my favorite Primus songs.
    Wurby Tictocon November 22, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's about a young lad who wants to grow up and be a fisherman (could be about a young Les like Wurby said.)
    Petary791on February 14, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYeah, this track has a kind of romantic (but not sentimental mind you) feel to it, which is rare in a Primus song (which are usually much more straight up). It thus (to me) has a kind of Tom Waits' feel about it.
    This definately helps it stand out, and is one of the reasons why it's one my favourite Primus songs - it's subtly distinct.
    I love the final lines,
    " 'I'll live and die a fisherman.'
    Calling John the Fisherman.."
    The Distortedon May 08, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is my all time favorite Primus song. It's about a man who as a child loved fishing, but everyone shunned him for it. When he got older, he became a professional fisherman, but he soon died when his boat sank during a storm. Very simple, but still good. I hate the fact that people always say "I heard this song on Guitar Hero". Let me tell you a few things: 1. This was the song that got me into Primus, 2. I didn't hear it on Guitar Hero, because I never played it, and 3. Guitar Hero is for people who can't play a real guitar. Les Claypool didn't get to be who he is from playing a fake guitar. PRIMUS SUCKS!!
    JTHMBirdGuy777on November 12, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPretty much my favorite Primus song, it's so damn good.
    bugmenoton December 08, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI heard (i forget where, but i read it on the internet) the other day that it was about an actual ship sinking, which i suppose would lead to the lyric:

    "He doesn't see the danger dawning.
    Four hours up, oh the ocean swelled and
    swelled,
    The fog rolled in it started raining.
    "The starboard bow." "Oh my God we're
    going down!"
    The do not hear his frantic mayday."

    I'm not sure if that's true, but it sounds good.
    Damn good song, too.
    pink adamon March 28, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is about anthe actual sinking of a fishing ship/boat.

    Pink Adam is pretty much right, and this is an incredible song. I like "Fish On" more though.
    Gaping Lotuson May 22, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the story is a frankeinstien of stories, a combination of childhood experiences/fanticies, also that probable story of the sinking ship, and I heard something about the stroy having something having to do with Les's father or grandfather.
    GreenAndyon March 24, 2006   Link

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