I read about a man to whom I may be related
Leatherman
Died a long time ago, in the 1880s
Leatherman, Leatherman

Covered with leather but it wasn't tight
Underneath the moon in the woods at night

Making the rounds, ten miles a day
Once a month they spot him
Here's what they say:

"Here he comes, he's a man of the land
He's Leatherman
Smile on his face
Axe in his pack
He's Leatherman, Leatherman, Leatherman."

Comes out of the caves once a day to be fed
He wasn't known to say much
But, "Thanks for the bread."

So modern day I walk my way, my jacket faded
Just like a man of leather to whom I may be related

Rolled a cigarette for which he asked for a light
Appeared to be an animal, yet so polite

Making the rounds, ten miles a day
Once a month they spot him
Here's what they say:

"Here he comes, he's a man of the land
He's Leatherman
Smile on his face
Axe in his pack
He's Leatherman, Leatherman, Leatherman
He's Leatherman, Leatherman."

Shakes his head, he's Leatherman
Bake some bread, he's Leatherman
Shame he's dead
I saw his bed
It's all that's left of Leatherman
Leatherman
Give me some skin, Leatherman.


Lyrics submitted by Trent

"Leatherman" as written by Eddie Jerome Vedder

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Leatherman song meanings
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10 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentThis song is a true story...have you heard the story of the Leatherman? If not...go here...hudsonvalleyruins.org/yasinsac/briarcliff/…
    Stephen_Flowon October 10, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA clickable link to the Leatherman Story hudsonvalleyruins.org/yasinsac/briarcliff/…
    Stephen_Flowon October 10, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think it's about Vedder's Indian relatives, because he has indian blood in him...
    Realon November 26, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is part of the mamasan trilogy
    PJamfan90on December 29, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti don't think it is part of the trilogy, that's alive, once and footsteps, isn't it?
    vedderloveron May 17, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYes, this song is not a part of the Mamasan Trilogy.

    Mamasan Trilogy:

    Alive, boy looks like his biological father and his mother molests him.

    Once, after being molested, it screws the boy up and he grows up and turns into a serial killer.

    Footsteps, man is on death row.

    I have heard someone mention the "Man Trilogy" (Betterman, leatherman, nothingman) although I don't think there is any sort of connection. Possibly. But I know that betterman was written about his stepfather and mother.
    Topchrison February 04, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentas mentioned, this isnt part of the mamason trilogy at all. that is alive, once, and footsteps. nor does it have anything to do with vedder's indian relatives - the link posted by 'Stephen Flow' explains to story pretty well

    as for the man trilogy, it would be pretty abstract for leatherman to have any link to the other two. perhaps nothingman is the sequel to betterman - the aftermath? betterman isnt just about vedder's mother and stepfather, although that may have been a personal inspiration for writing it. in a more general sense, it was about abusive relationships, and how it can be harder to end them than people think.

    so if betterman is about a woman trying to break free of an abusive relationship, nothingman could be the males perspective of the aftermath.

    She loved him, yeah...
    She don't want to leave this way
    She needs him, yeah
    That's why she'll be back again

    --> about a woman summoning the courage to ditch an abusive boyfriend/husband

    and then, the whole theme of nothingman is one of loss, lamenting how he 'caught a bolt of lightning, cursed the day he let it go'. she is the bolt of lightning, someone so wonderful he couldnt believe it, and he screwed it up.

    later on in nothingman: 'one just escapes, one's left inside the well' - the well is their relationship, she has escaped from it in a literal sense but he is stuck in the past. he knows he doesnt deserve another chance and that he screwed up, but loves her.

    and at the end: 'could've been something; nothingman' - he has lost all he loved

    so yes, i think nothingman is a sequel, of sorts, to betterman. leatherman is unrelated
    Lost Dogon November 13, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentits what stephen flow said its about i know for a fact
    spoonman7on April 23, 2008   Link
  • -1
    General Commentisn't part of the trilogy. why did pj make a yeild b side. its probs the best song from th yeild era in my opinion, but thats my opinion
    reecefon June 04, 2006   Link
  • -1
    General CommentThis is one of about 6 good Pearl Jam songs.
    Supah Dudeon November 11, 2007   Link

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