“Hostage” was supposed to be the song about standing up to assholes and not giving in to their bullshit. It was supposed to be an anthem to keep your authenticity and stick to your vision. It was really about my bass player being a control freak and ruining our band. “Hostage” was a break up song celebrating that we got rid of the bass player from Hell. Bands can feel like a warring family after the worst Thanksgiving dinner argument. Like family, you are stuck with each other once you’ve spent money on recording.
We had a new bass player and lead guitar player. I was so excited to play ‘Hostage’ live. This was gonna be vindicating. She had complained that the original chorus was ‘meh’, but now it was about her and it was badass! I could pump my fist during the chorus and scream “We fought it/holding us hostage”. ‘It’ being her ruining the band and “hostage” her being our band manager—I admit we were dumb to agree to that. No one said musicians were smart.
As you can see in the video, we were pretty loose in the song, especially in the verse, but I was feeling that chorus. I saw many people in the crowd smiling when I pumped my fist. There were even a few laughs. I didn’t get why they were laughing but at least they were enjoying themselves.
After the show, I had some musician friends say, “Dude, that farting song. That was a badass. I was cracking up.”
Another said, “Hardcore fart song, bro. I liked it.”
I smiled politely but I didn’t understand and said, “Um, thanks.”
One of our fans came up and said, “Yo man, that song about Dutch-Ovening was pretty catchy. You guys are crazy. Dutch-Oven Grunge. Good stuff.”
I was so pissed.
I realized ‘fought it’ sounded like ‘farted’ the way I sung it. Everyone at our show thought I was talking about gang-farting and holding people hostage to the fart.
My biggest worry before playing the song was that people might think we ripped off the Pixies or Nirvana, because of the verse rift, not that we were pro-fart or Dutch Oven. This was supposed to be my ‘fuck you’ song to our bass player, but it became our fart anthem.
I felt angry about it. Not as angry or resentful as I felt toward the ex-bass player, but just pissed off that I didn’t write the quintessential band break up song like I thought I had. It would have felt less shitty if she had farted all the time during practice, but she was not a farter. Instead it just made us look like a joke, which she had always said we were. It was almost like the song proved her right.
A lot of people said it was their favorite song.
Not wanting to be known as a Fart Grunge band, I ended up changing the lyrics of the chorus. But each time, it wasn’t as much fun to sing. It sounded cleaner and there were no mentions of farts. The new lyrics were not meaningful to me.
I see now it was always meant to be a fart song. Many bands break up, many bands hate each other in the end, but not many bands rip off Nirvana and sing an anthem to the Dutch Oven. If my musical legacy is unintentionally writing the best grunge song about farts, I will not feel like a hostage to that. I will feel like a hero.
Christoph Paul is an award-winning humor author. He writes non-fiction, YA, Bizarro, horror, and poetry including: The Passion of the Christoph, Great White House Volume 1 and Volume 2, Slasher Camp for Nerd Dorks, and Horror Film Poems. He is an editor for CLASH Media and CLASH Books and edited the anthologies Walk Hand in Hand Into Extinction: Stories Inspired by True Detective and This Book Ain’t Nuttin to Fuck With: A Wu-Tang Tribute Anthology. Under the pen name Mandy De Sandra, he writes Bizarro Erotica that has been covered in VICE, Huffington Post, Jezebel, and AV Club. He is represented by Veronica Park at Corvisiero Literary Agency.