Protein Summer [Version (a)]:
Smash your stars, your old fruit jars
The candy-ass guards with their fingers all charred
I'm undercover, the protein summer
You know the number and I'll wait outside
Got an infection, ready for inspection
Low they stoop into the guts that glow
Armor and shields, blaze through the fields
Mighty directions with a devil's peel, peel
Sanitized, rippin' the surf
Right down to the fallow earth
They bathe to the caverns
Lighting their way through the curious patterns
Sucking their breath down their legs
Wishing for a world as fresh cigarettes
Now they bathe a tiresome grave
Sorcerer frequency, punks gettin' shaved
"Protein Summer" was a spontaneous addition to the concert on November 28 1994 in London. Beck, in the middle of his acoustic set, says "This is 'Cyanide Breath Mint
,'" and begins that song. Five seconds later, he stops and says, "No actually... I'm gonna do this other song called 'Protein Summer.' It's about a punk rock convention."
The song is a bit sketchy, and it's not likely he ever played it again. The words are wonderful ("candy-ass guards," "protein summer," "mighty directions," "curious patterns"), though some of the images are vague. Beck maybe senses that a little and trys to explain the song a little more after the song: "That song was about Olympia, Washington. They had a festival there. It's not really a song...It's like a recipe for a song!"
Taking Beck's comments about the song as truth, and it being about punk rockers at a festival is intriguing. He seems to mocking some of their Henry Rollins-esque manliness ("the candy-ass guards with their fingers all charred") while using the metaphor of a battle to describe performing at the festival ("Low they stoop into the guts that glow / Armor and shields, blaze through the fields").