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Lyrics submitted by AbFab, edited by GeoJoe1000, AzRunner

Time Out of Mind song meanings
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  • +8
    General CommentI put this song on repeat today before it finally hit me. Yes, this song is no doubt about smoking heroin. Heroin comes in two forms, the white powder which looks similar to cocaine which is ultra high quality and usually snorted or injected, or the less expensive black tar variety which is more commonly smoked or free based. I think in this song they are talking about the latter.

    "I'm holding a mystical stone, it's direct from Lhasa"
    Black Tar heroin usually comes in a little ball or clump that looks like a pebble, and Lhasa as mentioned previously is in Tibet, which is a region known for the production of the drug.

    "Tonight when I chase the dragon"
    Smoking heroin off of aluminum foil

    "The water may change to cherry wine"
    In order to smoke black tar heroin, you have to dilute it with water and create a paste which can be spread on the aluminum foil, almost the consistency of toothpaste which has a ruby color, similar to cherry wine.

    "The silver may change to gold"
    Once the substance is spread on the foil and heat is applied, the foil turns amber/golden from the burning of the drug, which creates the smoke, which is 'chased' by the user holding a hollow tube (like a straw) and inhaled.

    "Time out of mind"
    Many heroin users describe the feeling of using heroin as a complete escape from reality, almost like an out of body experience, hence the feeling of spending time out of one's own mind.

    "Son you better get ready for love"
    Heroin users almost exclusively express a love for this drug over any other. Most users develop what is called a "love affair with the needle" or whatever manner they choose to ingest it. They are just as tied to the drug as they are the means by which they use it.

    "Keep your eyes on the sky, put a dollar in the kitty, don't the moon look pretty"
    One of the effect of the 'high' of heroin is that the users eyes will roll back in their head (or upwards) as the drug lulls the body into almost a coma like state. Put a dollar in the kitty speaks to the inexpensive nature of the drug. Don't the moon look pretty is pretty much all the user can look at, since their eyes are rolling upwards.

    Just some of my thoughts.
    chuckdieselon March 05, 2011   Link
  • +6
    Song MeaningI have been fascinated with SD lyrics for many years. I started trying to interpret them before I knew that others were doing the same. I happened on a site called "Fever Dreams" which posted interpretations. Not sure that it still exists.

    "Time Out Of Mind" has always drawn my attention because I think it is purposely written for two meanings. I do not put it by SD to be so clever as to write a song that uses one interpretation as a vehicle for another interpretation.

    I'm sort of surprised that no one else has put forward this understanding of the song.

    No doubt that Time Out Of Mind is about drugs. That has been clearly supported. However, I think that the drug angle is presented in an environment of a religious revival. This shouldn't be too far a reach. After all, a believe that it was a Chinese philosopher that stated "religion is the opiate of the people."

    Supporting the religious revival angle:

    On this glory day
    This is your chance to believe
    What I've got to say

    Clearly this is preacher speaking (as they do) to "believe."

    Keep your eyes on the sky
    Put a dollar in the kitty

    Look to the heavens
    Contribute to the church

    The water may change to cherry wine

    Changing water to wine as Jesus did

    Children we have it right here
    It's the light in my eyes
    It's perfection and grace

    Children (children of God)
    "Light" in my eyes
    Perfection and grace of God

    ...and so on.

    Yes...of course, it is all drug related as stated by other posts. However, we cannot avoid the vehicle of "religion."

    Just my 2 cents.


    PLA0242on June 29, 2010   Link
  • +4
    General CommentJust because they wrote the lyrics doesn't mean they were doing it at the time.
    GreyBlueEyeson August 24, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General CommentChasing the dragon is also a term used by heroin junkies that means the first time you try heroin is the best it will ever be. Users who keep injecting heroin never get that great high as they did the first time and they are therefore "chasing the dragon."
    aic22on August 30, 2007   Link
  • +3
    Lyric CorrectionFourth stanza should read I am holding a mystical sphere not stone
    bkabbotton August 21, 2011   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThx for everyone's 2-cents. As a late 30's heavy pot smoker, I've always LOVED this song because of the fast beat and instrumental fusion, and M.Mcdonald singing in the back. I never knew the lyrics were so deep. I just looked the lyrics up, found this site, and got a really interesting lesson in heroin and religion. Of course I heard this song as a young kid, but was never conscious of anything except nekkid ladies. Ha ha. Great discussion!
    bongximaon March 20, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentA song about smoking heroin. Lasa is a city in Tibet, where there's lots of "snow", i.e. heroin.
    hayes6on December 10, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentNo, chasing the dragon is definitely heroin: you heat up the stuff, until it turns into a kind of gel which wriggles about like a dragon. When you are "chasing" this dragon, you are trying to scoop it up in order to ingest it through the mouth.

    Basically it's getting heroin without having to take it intravenously--it's making heroin a "solid."
    WritingIsMyReligionon August 31, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe "silver will turn to gold" line could also refer to what happens to aluminum foil when it is heated with a lighter for the purpose of smoking heroin from it.
    GaslitAbbieon October 07, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYup. This is from the period when Becker/ Fagen were seriously, ah...expanding their minds.
    Chasing the dragon = mainlining heroin.
    theoddballon April 16, 2005   Link

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