Thunder Peel
By: Beck Hansen

Written by: Beck Hansen

Versions:
  1. Thunder Peel (1:48)
    Available on Stereopathetic Soulmanure and 1 other release.
    Credits
    Dallas Don Burnet: Drums
    Beck Hansen: Guitar (Electric), Vocals
  2. Thunder Peel (2:41)
    Available on Odelay and 2 other releases.
    Credits
    Beck Hansen: Bass, Guitar, Producer, Vocals
    Joey Waronker: Drums
    Mario Caldato Jr.: Producer
 
Lyrics:
Thunder Peel [Version (a)]:

It's a cold ass fashion when she stole my passion
It's an everlasting, it's a ghettoblasting
On the wonder wheel, I let my thunder peel
I made an effort to get just what I deserve

I got all maxed out, I got faxed some doubt
It was jumping around, she was a-never coming down
In the thick of a trick, I couldn't take my pick
Between a slimy first, it's as clear as the dawn (?!) [see below]
I'll take you hoffy!

Now I'm rolling in sweat with a loaf of cold bread
And a taco in my jeans
On the mantle she glides, she's got such ugly thighs
I got taken by surprise with a plate of flaming noodles, ohh

It's a cold ass fashion when she stole my passion
It's an everlasting, it's a ghetto-blasting
On the wonder wheel, I let my thunder peel
I made an effort to get just what I deserve
Thunder Peel [Version (b)]:

It's a cold-ass fashion when she stole my passion
It's an ever-lastin', it's a ghetto-blastin'
On the wonder wheel, I let my thunder peel
I made an effort to get just what I deserve

I got all maxed out, I got faxed some doubt
She was jumping around, she got another coming down
In the thick of a trick, I couldn't find anything
I lost my ??? and maybe she's insane

Now I'm rolling in sweat with a cold cigarette
And a nickel in my jeans
On the mantle she glides, she's got such ugly thighs
I got taken by surprise with a chicken bone, yea!

It's a cold-ass fashion when she stole my passion
It's an everlastin', it's a ghettoblastin'
On the wonder wheel, I let my thunder peel
I made an effort to get just what I deserve
 
The Song:

"Thunder Peel" is trippy, with a sort of lo-fi swirling guitar leading the song. Interestingly, it is just two musicians: Beck and Don Burnet (on drums). They get quite a full sound for a duo.  I love the way the original version was recorded and sounds, combining a laidback atmosphere with dramatic intensity.

Beck also, for reasons unknown to me, re-recorded "Thunder Peel" in 1995.  It was given to a compilation CD, as well as used a few years later on the "New Pollution" single. Much like the original, the only musician not Beck on the song is the drummer (this time, Joey Waronker). It's a pretty rad track, Beck puts his all into the singing.  It sounds much more like the live versions of 1994, except with more effects and sounds on top of it. It feels just a little more professional to me; and myself, I prefer the rawer Stereopathetic take.

Lyrically, Beck is probably just playing with sounds.  I can't imagine this has a whole lot of personal meaning. Odds are he wrote the song fairly spontaneously, on the fly, filling it with words he likes. The rhyming is a blast to hear and read though, for sure. "It's a cold ass fashion when she stole my passion / It's an everlasting, it's a ghetto-blasting": does it get better than that?

Beck's spontaneous side is always a joy, and "Thunder Peel" may be the best recorded example of that. This could be why it was one of the few Stereopathetic songs that was played regularly through the '90s, and even later on the 2003 tour.
 
Live:

Played live 70 times:
Earliest known live version: August 22, 1994
Latest known live version: June 28, 2006

"Thunder Peel" was a regular on stage during the end 1994, but has been played infrequently since (occasionally on the Odelay tour, even less frequently on Vultures) until it was brought back for a little while in 2003.

1994/1995: ALL MAXED OUT ROCK STAR VERSION

My favorite performance of the song is from the JJJ radio show in Australia on August 22 1994. The guitars were beautifully played, riffing nicely. It's basically the definitive version of the song, in my opinion. The song builds and builds into a wild climax.  They played it similarly to this throughout the fall of 1994. Some attempts feel a little bland, some have more excitement. None are quite as tight as the JJJ take.

One recommended version is the one from November 5 1994, where there is some pretty wicked slide guitar and drums. The excitement is there that night, which unfortunately is not always the case with live "Thunder Peel"s, despite Beck's best efforts. The version in Belgium on December 4 picks up some steam, but was mostly notable for Beck's neat little guitar noodling intro.

The song also opened many of the Lollapalooza shows in the summer of 1995.

1996/1997: ROLLIN' IN SWEAT VERSION

On the Odelay tour, Beck did play some wild versions of "Thunder Peel" on occasion. It feels like a mix of the riffy Rock Star version and the swirly Stereopathetic version to me. The version from September 2 1996 is long and jamming, which is a nice twist to the tune. One fun one is on February 10 1997. One of his bandmates (Justin, I think) harmonizes with him on the chorus, and it was a loose, punky performance. Lots of momentum, and full of energy. A few days later, on February 13, Beck dedicated "Thunder Peel" to "all the Spice People here. Sleepy Spice. Sneezy Spice. Droopy Spice. All the Spices!"

1998: TACO IN MY JEANS VERSION

A wild, almost Midnite Vultures'ed up, version of "Thunder Peel" was played a couple of times on the short May/June 1998 tour. It's highlighted by the Brass Menagerie actually; they don't do a lot, but adding horns to the punk mix is pretty cool.

2003: EVERLASTIN' GHETTOBLASTIN' VERSION

The first "Thunder Peel" in five years that I know of was played in Japan on March 28 2003. Beck was using Smokey, Justin, and Joey in his band again, so a flashback like this was probably inevitable. They did it 2 more times after that as well. I have not heard what this version was like, but I don't imagine a drastic change.

Then with another new band, Beck played "Thunder Peel" at the last ten shows of their US tour in June 2003. The version I have is strong, especially when it hits some headbanging moments. I also like the keyboard sounds. After those final ten shows of the US leg, they dropped the song, not to play it on the second leg in Europe.

2006 WONDER WHEEL VERSION

The song showed up one more time in 2006, at a very tiny, post-concert club visit in Los Angeles. Beck and the band played a bunch of his rock songs mainly and threw "Thunder Peel" in there with them.

It has not been played since.
 
Notes: