I don't wanna stay at your party
I don't wanna talk with your friends
I don't wanna vote for your president
I just wanna be your tugboat captain

There's a place I'd like to be
The place I'd like to be
The place I'd like to be
The place I'd be happy
The place I'd like to be
The place I'd like to be
There's a place I'd like to be
The place I'd be happy

I don't wanna stay at your party
I don't wanna talk to your friends
I don't wanna vote for your president
I just wanna be your tugboat captain

There's a place I'd like to be
There's a place I'd like to be
The place I'd like to be
The place I'd be happy
There's place I'd like to be
The place I'd like to see
There's a place I'd like to be
There's a place I'd be happy


Lyrics submitted by tubesocks

Tugboat Lyrics as written by Michael Dean Wareham Damon Krukowski

Lyrics © ROUGH TRADE PUBLISHING

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Tugboat song meanings
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9 Comments

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  • +4
    General Comment

    Presumably written with Velvet Underground guitarist Sterling Morrison is mind - after leaving the VU he become somewhat of an isolationist, pursuing a Ph. D in midevil studies and becoming a tugboat captain. I think the song more generally is about escaping the trivialities of the social world, and reconnecting with life and nature. I think of a tugboat captain as someone who charters the vast, open waters. But then again tugboat captains have a specific destination they are heading to. So a tugboat captain is not entirely a recluse, but maintains just enough of a link to society to know why he no longer wants to be there. This song is then a call to let go of the modern world and return to a more natural, simple way of life.

    tubesockson September 18, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    it so weird, I'd always tought this song said "open your presents"instead of "vote for your president". I thought it was a song about a whimsical and possesive character who desesperately craves attention, now I see it as a much more political song.

    elmedioon December 09, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    A perfect little love song that has inspired at least two generations of indie songwriters since.

    And yes, the "tugboat captain" part is indeed a reference to Sterling Morrison, Dean Wareham's hero and main influence on guitar.

    leamancon April 01, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Wow. This song says so much without having to use a lot of words. It's just enough to give you an idea and lets you fill in the rest.

    hewitcmon April 13, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    i love this song.

    slinkstersarson July 04, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Better lyrics have not been written.

    smallwonderroboton April 11, 2005   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretation

    though I presume this song is largely about Sterling Morrison, I do really enjoy thinking about it as a sort of strange romantic song. When I first listened to it I really identified the lyrics with the feeling of falling in love as a very tired introvert, a sort of self-aware, egotistical and crazed yet beautiful feeling of "why would I do anything else? why would I talk to anyone else? when all I want is to be around you and you alone." (or on this case, to 'be your tugboat captain')

    ivegivenupon September 05, 2019   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    It's about not conforming to societal demands, and to do what makes you happy.

    michaelpwdon September 05, 2020   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I like to look at the image of a tugboat captain as wanting to be someone who paves the way and inspires others. the same way a tugboat guides a huge ship into the dock, i see the tugboat captain as someone who creates a space for new artists to rise to the top. someone who wants to stay underground while still making a big change in the world.

    splorgaon August 19, 2022   Link

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