Well, he went down to dinner in his Sunday best
Excitable boy, they all said
And he rubbed the pot roast all over his chest
Excitable boy, they all said
Well, he's just an excitable boy

He took in the four a.m. show at the Clark
Excitable boy, they all said
And he bit the usherette's leg in the dark
Excitable boy, they all said
Well, he's just an excitable boy

He took little Suzie to the Junior Prom
Excitable boy, they all said
And he raped her and killed her, then he took her home
Excitable boy, they all said
Well, he's just an excitable boy
After ten long years they let him out of the home
Excitable boy, they all said
And he dug up her grave and built a cage with her bones
Excitable boy, they all said
Well, he's just an excitable boy


Lyrics submitted by Champmathieu

Excitable Boy Lyrics as written by Warren Zevon Leroy P. Marinell

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Excitable Boy song meanings
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31 Comments

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  • +7
    My Interpretation

    I don't see this as a "boys will be boys" situation, nor someone making excuses for someone else, and definitley not a political position. In order to make excuses, you need to see that there has been wrong-doing. But the people in the story just gloss over the boy's behavior. I think Warren Zevon is making fun of the world and the very human condition of denial-turning a blind eye to things that make you uncomfortable. In particular, denial in the face of increasingly insane behavior. I mean, the boy should have been in for some pretty serious counseling, medication, and maybe even lock-up after he rubbed the pot roast all over his chest at Sunday dinner (definitely after biting the usherette) - LOL! The responsible people just said, "He ain't crazy, he's just high-strung, excitable!" The genious of the song is how he delivers a horror story without offending the listener. He was a master of his tools-irony, words & music.

    I don't think he's taking sides. Denial to a greater or lesser degree is part of all of us. I'm guilty. I would guess that Warren Zevon saw it in the world, as well as in himself. He seemed to be a very humble and aware man. Great songrwiters and comedians can show us show us who we really are, and how ridiculous we can be. Yes, he is laughing at the world, you, me and himself. Somethings are just funny.

    thedurable1on March 17, 2013   Link
  • +5
    General Comment

    Uh, to each his own, man. Zevon was pretty anti-government altogether, but if anything, the man was a lefty himself. Generally accepting of everyone, and open-minded about 2nd chances... I don't think he'd be mocking the "liberal wankers," as you put it.

    Buddha of Suburbiaon April 29, 2005   Link
  • +5
    General Comment

    I really don't think this song is an attack on the left, but more of an attack on the "boys will be boys", even when they rape, attitude.

    I also see it as an attack on the "not my child" mentality of parents.

    macadamon August 31, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    I'm currently nursing a theory that this song has something to do with the rise and fall of rock music as Zevon sees it. The theory hinges on "Little Suzy," which may be a reference to the Everly Brothers' hit. It's a thin thread, but I think I can flesh it out a bit.

    AlmightyTimon September 05, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    My dad gave me an LP of Excitable Boy for xmas. A month later I get around to playing it and it's been the only record on my turntable for a week, Excitable Boy being the anthem I must hear before embarking to the J-O-B. And it's because of the meaning I sense in it and empathize with. Excitable Boy seems more autobiographical than anything. No political stance on coddling the mentally disturbed. It strikes me more as a balance between wish-fulfilment and urge-denial. Zevon ended up in rehab a few times, indulging himself in drugs and drink. He probably wanted to bite that usherette's leg. And reading an article in Rolling Stone about the album we learn:

    In the opening lines of the title song from Warren Zevon's new album, Excitable Boy, the title character smears Sunday pot roast all over his chest. It seemed to me only reasonable to ask why. "Because he likes it so much. Because my wife's such a great cook, of which I'm physical evidence," says the author, poking his thickening middle. "And it happened, it really happened. She made an amazing pot roast and I just opened my shirt and smeared it on my chest."

    Just as he admires the London werewolve's tailor, part of him burns to slip the restraints of civilization and wallow in the ecstatic sensuality that abounded in his own southern California. That's the part of himself that Excitable Boy was written for. Props to AlmightyTim for the Little Suzie insight. That must surely speak to his ideas on music, a subject I have no business commenting on.

    jimmymackon February 01, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    To help flesh it out a bit, Zevon was a session pianist for the Everly Brothers after his early 70s solo career failed and before his success.

    EllisonfromMaconGAon September 23, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I agree with magicman: I am sure there are some other deeper under lying meanings to this song, but it is very typical of Warren Zevon. He is great at taking lyrics which have a dark disturbing message and playing them a up-beat snap your finger kind of tempo. Very tounge in cheek, no? Very Monty-Pythonesque type of Dark Humor. Also, Jimmymack makes a good analysis with excellent writting skills.

    This song is one of those.."Take it for what it is" kind of songs, like "Used to Love Her" by GNR

    mrMojoRisenon May 12, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    anm712, i believe that is very astute. my girlfriend likes to recount a moment from college when her class was reading Kafka and the man was transformed into a giant insect, she burst out laughing in class, and everyone looked at her funny. point is, true comedy is subtle.

    this song always spoke to me because i believe that there are people who should never be parents. it starts with the excuses made by the parents, and then society. when your child is a shit head, discipline him. when an adult man is a shit head, it may be a result of parenting, but it is not an excuse. but that's only the superficial message in the song.

    scumbagstyleon February 04, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I heard this song today, and I was horrified! I did some research on the year it was written & came up with, the Golden State Killer. No politics, he is singing about a rapists/serial killer.

    ANNNNNDon November 04, 2018   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Would it surprise any of y'all to know that at least some of these lyrics are autobiographical?

    Check out "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon" by Crystal Zevon. Considering his life, he was never on any sanctimonious kick judging permissiveness in anything.

    Wildcardion July 16, 2021   Link

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