"Gates Of Steel" as written by Gerald V Casale, Sue Schmidt, Mark Allen Mothersbaugh and Debbie Smith....
Twist away the gates of steel
Unlock the secret voice
Give in to ancient noise
Take a chance a brand new dance
Twist away the gates of steel

Twist away, now twist and shout
The earth it moves too slow
But the earth is all we know
We pay to play the human way
Twist away the gates of steel

A man is real not made of steel

But the earth is all we know
We pay to play the human way
Twist away the gates of steel

The beginning was the end of everything now
The ape regards his tail, he's stuck on it
Repeats until' he fails
Half a goon and half a God
A man's not made of steel

Twist away, now twist and shout
The earth it moves too slow
But the earth is all we know
We pay to play the human way
Twist away the gates of steel

A man is real that's how he feels


Lyrics submitted by bouncing soles

"Gates of Steel" as written by G.v. Casale D. Smith

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Gates Of Steel song meanings
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9 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentBeautiful song indeed. One of the best social commentaries of what us humans are.

    "half a goon and half a god" is a perfect description of what us humans are. What are humans if not beings trying to be perfect, but end up acting stupid. We keep repeating and we still fail. That's because we shouldn't try to be perfect. We're real, not made of steel.
    MrSpudon December 01, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe whole DEVO concept was about social commentary. The music was about evolution, religion, the cold war and nuclear annihilation, etc..

    Mark Mothersbaugh, and some of the other members, were students at Kent State University in the early 70s when the Ohio National Guard shot and killed (murdered) several unarmed students on campus after a peaceful Vietnam protest and that forever changed his life and out of that came DEVO.
    KUngSHOOon May 15, 2013   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningJerry Casale answered a question about Gates Of Steel during a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" session:

    Q: "Gates of Steel is a contender for my all-time favorite song. Can you share anything about how the song came about?"

    A: "I was working a horrible job at a Methadone clinic and I needed a release."

    I don't know if the song is about methadone clinics, but, It seems to be the reason the song exists.
    Fuchi900on August 02, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree, this song is beautiful.

    I think the ape regarding his tail, being stuck on it, and being half goon, half god is talking about being a mind trapped in a physical body, being an angel or a computer or whatever that's still pulled on by hairy monkey urges.

    People try to say the physical world is illusion, but a "man is real, that's how he feels." Other people try to say that the man can decide everything logically without emotion, but "a man is real, not made of steel" - the body is more than just a robot, it's got glands that influence the brain.
    Dubious Meriton March 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI have always thought this song is poignant for some reason. Maybe its the chord progression, or the robotic-yet-moody synth tones, or the fact that Devo were pretty much right on about the theory of devolution. Is there some kind of positive call to action in this song? It seems to start and end that way, with a comment on modernist apocalyptic subversion occupying the entire middle, punctuated with the alternate voice blurting "A man is real, not made of steel." (sigh)
    presidentandceoon July 02, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe whole DEVO concept was about social commentary. The music was about evolution, religion, the cold war and nuclear annihilation, etc..

    Mark Mothersbaugh, and some of the other members, were students at Kent State University in the early 70s when the Ohio National Guard shot and killed (murdered) several unarmed students on campus after a peaceful Vietnam protest and that forever changed his life and out of that came DEVO.
    KUngSHOOon May 15, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWith "Come Back Jonee" as a total subversion of classic rocker "Johnny B. Goode", this song establishes that the demolition of classic rock tunes is a Devo M/O. Here we get a namedrop of "Twist and Shout". It is only a namedrop this time however. Thematically, "Gates of Steel" is a different beast, though that namedrop has a purpose. By conjuring that happy song from the past, a song people loved to dance to, it makes you notice how comparatively hopeless things are getting now. The idea of twisting and shouting used to be a good time, but now it sounds like something unpleasant.
    karritevoyageron April 30, 2014   Link
  • -1
    Song MeaningThis song is obviously about psychedelics, enlightenment and opening the doors of consciousness.
    PsychKidon December 18, 2012   Link
  • -3
    General CommentOh Please! This song is clearly about Superman 2 when he gives up his powers and tries to be human.("we pay to play the human way")
    "unlock the secret voice" (when he uses the crystal key in the fortress of solidtude to unlock his dads voice recording.
    And who is better discribed as "half a goon and half a god" than Clark Kent/Superman. Cmon people.
    Sterlgoron February 01, 2013   Link

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