Back Streets of Austin (A Musical)
By: Beck Hansen
Written by: Beck Hansen

Version Of: Back Streets of...

This Version:
  • Back Streets of Austin (A Musical)
SHOW #14 (August 22, 2002)

I'm gonna do a little Broadway musical for you. What's it about though? Maybe it'll be about the first time I came to Austin. How about that? You can't plan on a musical. A musical just has to happen, right?

I was 23, just rode into town
That Austin skyline was moving in the breeze
It was a South By Southwest Festival
My chance at the big time, yea!
A young man from the west coming in to make his name
To see his name in lights, oh yea, but something happened
Austin is a cool town, I don't know what else to say about Austin
We took a little canoe ride on Monday down in Austin

Whoa! Time to play the gig!
C'mon get your things, kid... time to play the gig
It's an industry event down at the South By Southwest
A lot of media coverage tonight
But the band was new, we just got together the week before
I didn't even know their names
We didn't actually really know how to play
We got so excited, "We're gonna play the gig!"
Gonna play the gig, oh yea, play the gig
Here's an important chord: gig gig gig
Oh shit, I forgot to learn how to play the songs
So anyway we got up... oh the place was called Emo's

Emo's, yea, that's where the gig was
A lot of high-profile people down there tonight
A lot of people checking it out to see from what I'm built from

Six minutes, six minutes!
Oh my God, it's time to play the show!
I'm so excited! Everything's gonna be different now!
Now that we're playing the show at Emo's!
Here's our big chance to put on wings of lights down at Emo's.

Johnny Cash played before us. The Man In Black.
Here he comes. You've got big hands. Let's take a picture.
Click click. Thank you. He didn't even look at me.
Got to meet The Man In Black. Yea, this is cool.


This fuckin' show's about to go off! Got so much energy tonight!
It's almost like a punk rock band, I wanna...
But we got energy and attitude and!
Everything's come to see some shit really go off.

So we got on the stage and our equipment malfunctioned within about 45 seconds
And it sounded like an absolute train wreck, it was horrible
So I decided to set my guitar on fire and just run around
Scream a bunch and knock everything over
Make it look like it was planned
That's what we were meaning to do
But I just remember people funneling out... just whoosh!
It's like we were on an airplane and somebody opened the door
And it sucked all the passengers out, their hair was like swoosh
And there were four people left and they're very drunk
And they're like "Fuck yea! It's a punk rock revolution!
Fuck those industry motherfuckers, yea!"
I thought since I had a big hit song, I could blow it off and be stupid
And we did, but only four people cared
We didn't cause much effect
Oh wait, this is a musical.

Danger! I got a little too reckless on the stage tonight!
Knocked over my microphone stand, hit a girl on the head, oh shit!
This is a true story! She had a bump on the forehead the size of a tennis ball
She looked like a mutant, looked like a mutant
It was my fault, she was scarred for life
She had a tennis ball on her forehead
It was a punk rock revolution, only four people cared
Everybody else left holding their noses

I think the review said, "There's only two words for Beck: Tommy Two-tone."
Oh yea! And so we were covered in sweat, it was one of those hot nights
One of those disoriented nights, shaken from all the violence

Violence on the stage tonight, violence on the stage tonight, too much violence

So we're coming off the stage and there's a dressing room
With a big bucket of ice in the middle and walked off
I took the bucket of ice and dropped it on my head and it exploded everywhere
And there was steam coming off of me and I opened my eyes
And there was a giant hippy guy with huge beard, huge hair, really tall
"That was the most amazing thing I've ever seen in my entire life.
That was fucking incredible. Here, I've got a coin for you."
He put a coin in my hand and I looked at it was a Free Mason's coin.
"I want you to have it." It was Gibby from the Butthole Surfers.

Gibby in the house, he gave me a five-star review
He gave me the secret society coin and now I was let into the inner circle
Of rock and roll glory, rock and roll story

So it kind of had a happy ending...lalalalalaa
We made it into the inner sanctum of the Austin rock and roll aristocracy
Talkin' about people with clowns
He gave me Satan's taco, basically, the secret ticket
The Song:

Show #14's improv was about fifteen minutes long, and Beck attempted to write a "musical" about the first time he came to Austin. His starting point is Neil Diamond's "Coming To America," and he moves on from there. He actually changed piano riffs with each verse, like a real musical. Kevin Bacon, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Hall & Oates will be starring in the production.

Played live once:
August 22, 2002