I Don’t Wanna Work

Posted: August 30, 2011 in Lyric Analysis, Techniques

Lately, one of the more frequent songs I’ve been using is Todd Rundgren’s anthem “Bang on the Drum All Day.”  Which is a little strange, because it’s kind of a mixed message to be sending.  There’s the chorus:

I don’t wanna work, I just wanna bang on the drum all day
I don’t wanna play, I just wanna bang on the drum all day

Who hasn’t felt like that, right?  Mostly I’m just using the song as a drum playing activity, but I always end up thinking about the lyrics, particularly when I get to the verses:

Every since I was a tiny boy
Don’t want no candy, don’t need no toy
I took a stick and an old coffee can
And I bang on that thing till I got blisters on my hands because
I don’t wanna work…

That verse isn’t so bad, and neither is this one:

When I get older, they think I’m a fool
The teacher told me I should stay after school
She caught me bangin’ on the desk with my hands
But my licks were so hot, they made the teacher wanna dance and that’s why
I don’t wanna work…

If you know drummers at all, you know they’re constantly banging on stuff.  So that’s not such a strange verse, it’s just encouraging a little bit of rebellion in school.  But, after a nice bass break, we come back with the third verse:

Every day when I get home from work
I feel frustrated, the boss is a jerk
I take my sticks and I go out to the shed
And I pound on that drum just like it was the boss’ head because
I don’t wanna work…

It’s a popular sentiment among the working class, but not necessarily something I want to reinforce in my clients.  I usually drop the third verse and do the chorus again (after encouraging a drum solo).  I also thought about modifying the third verse:

Every day when I get home from my job
I want to do nothin, wanna feel like a slob
All I wanna do is bang on my drums
Bang on it with sticks or with my fingers and my thumbs because
I don’t wanna work…

OK, so I’m not the world’s greatest lyricist.  But none of the lyrics in this song are particularly profound.  It’s just a fun song.  I enjoy playing it, and my clients enjoy hearing it and playing along.  Thanks for reading!

-Jesse

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