"Garageland" as written by Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Topper Headon....
Back in the garage with my bullshit detector
Carbon monoxide making sure it's effective
People ringing up making offers for my life
I just want to stay in the garage all night

We're a garage band (oh, oh, oh)
We come from garageland (oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh)

Meanwhile things are hotting up in the West End, alright
Contracts in the offices, groups in the night
My bumming slumming friends have all got new boots
And someone just asked me if the group would wear suits

We're a garage band (oh, oh, oh)
We come from garageland (oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh)

I don't want to hear about what the rich are doing
I don't want to go to where, where the rich are going
They think they're so clever, they think they're so right
But the truth is only known by guttersnipes

We're a garage band (oh, oh, oh)
We come from garageland (oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh)

Twenty-two singers, but one microphone
Back in the garage
Five guitar players, but one guitar
Back in the garage
Complaints, complaints, what an old bag
Back in the garage, back in the garage
Back in the garage

Lyrics submitted by aebassist

"Garageland" as written by Mick Jones Joe Strummer

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Garageland song meanings
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  • +3
    General Commentthats a good interpretation. the actual inspiration was some record company guy telling them (when they were unsigned) that they should go back to their garage, lock themselves in and leave a car motor running till they died from monoxide poisoning.
    i think its just them saying look we know we're a amature punk band and we naver tried or will try to rise above that but we still want to be heard.
    joeytheboyon May 04, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIn my humble opinion, it's basically about the garage band not selling out like the other bands out there. Other people trying to mutate the garage band into something more commercial, and the garage band refuses to conform. (God that word 'conform' - it's great!)

    I can't help drawing a parallel between the first paragraph and death. It just gives me the impression that staying a garage band is like suicide (not the carbon monoxide reference). Perhaps the garage band knows that staying the way they are will never make them sucessful, but do they care?


    Just my thoughts.
    Any ideas?
    colabottleon July 06, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentJoey, your almost right, it was an NME journalist who said they should stay in the garage preferrably with the gas left running.
    Violentpacifiston March 18, 2007   Link
  • +1
    Song FactJoe Strummer will always be the best friend I never knew because even after his death, he embodies and manifests the very existence of Rock as an art form hence the writing "Back in the garage with my detector/I just want to stay in the garage for life/Back in the garage!
    rabbitbunnyon January 06, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI don't think they would have ever actually said they wouldn't try to rise above "amature punk" given where they went to, but in terms of not caring about who likes them, it's true. I'm also pretty sure that the guy who said the band should lock themselves in a garage did not sleep very much afterwards for the rest of his life.

    I wanted to say something about the actual sound on the album, which is great: having Jones's guitar on the left playing more subdued staccato lines and solos while Strummer's guitar is on the right playing full heavy rhythm. It's brilliant and this is one of the tracks that really shows it the most.
    Balleron August 07, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAlways gets me riled this song.

    Someone should release this tune to a set of new lyrics about the recent rioting in Paris:-

    After the rioting
    Their only concern
    Restoring the romantic image -
    Of the city

    They think that matters most
    We say: what about the rest?
    When shall we all be: set free?

    We're past angry oh-a-oh
    Shall we ever be: Haaapppppyyy
    And yet that's all I see on TV!

    Lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie
    Lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie

    Lie after Lie
    BoHoon February 08, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI believe it was Charles Shar Murray who wrote that, so Joe wrote this in response. I just love the whole bullshit detector thing.
    cardcheaton May 31, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentawesome, I didn't know that. Haha! Nice one, Joe.
    RettAlexison October 12, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe line "An' someone just asked me if the group would wear suits" is a dig at the jam. who joe thought were riding the punk wave but pussying out of being punks by wearing mod suits
    kdanceon April 17, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBullshit detector = his nose. He can smell the carbon monoxide. It is also Joe's way of saying that he can sniff out anybody without integrity for the punk ethos.
    robsunon June 26, 2010   Link

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