Rock N Roll Nerd

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Rock N Roll Nerd is a Tim Minchin song first published as track 5 on the album Darkside released in 2005. The song was also included on the live albums, Tim Minchin and The Heritage Orchestra (my favorite recording) and So Fucking Rock. It's an autobiographical song about how Tim Minchin wishes he was a rock star, but his nerdy life has conspired against him. In addition to being brought up in a stable middle class family, he doesn't have any troubles with the law or drugs, has a stable girlfriend, and likes pop music. The lyrics have been slightly modified over the years for better rhythm, more global appeal, and to better fit with Minchin's age.

Personal

I heard this song shortly after discovered Tim Minchin. I too sometimes fantasize about being a rock star, but I too am far too nerdy to become one (not to mention musically talentless), so the song really resonates with me.

Lyrics

These lyrics are from the Heritage Orchestra version.

Doesn't have a problem with drugs,
He just doesn't get them.
He's fine that his mates have tattoos,
But he thinks they'll regret them.
He likes going to pubs,
But he hates when the music's too loud.
He tends not to go to rock concerts,
Cuz he can't stand the crowds.
But all he's ever wanted to be,
Is a rock star on MTV.
But he knows that it's not fucking likely,
He's in his mid-thirties...

He knows that he will always be,
A rock 'n' roll nerd.
He'll keep writing songs the world will never hear,
And though they won't be heard,
He'll just keep writing.
Oh yeah.

But you see the problem is,
He always dreamt of being a star,
But he learned piano instead of guitar,
Which in the nineties didn't get you very far.
So while all the other kids were learning Stairway,
He was the piano to their forte.
But he was convinced one day,
He'd rock their fucking asses,
And be an icon for the disenfranchised masses,
And grow his hair long,
And rebel against the state,
But just for now that'd have to wait,
Cuz he's running late for his morning classes.

And he will always be,
A rock 'n' roll nerd.
He'll keep playing gigs that no one knows about,
And though it sounds absurd,
He'll just keep playing.
Oh yeah.

But you see the problem is,
There's not much depth in what he's singing.
He's a victim of his happy middle class upbringing.
So he can't write about the hood,
Or bling-bling.
So he sits and imagines his girlfriend is dead,
To try and invoke some angst in his middle class head,
But the bitch is always fine at half past nine,
When they go to bed.
And he's not spent a single night in prison,
He has no issues with nutrition.
He has no drinking problem,
And no drug addiction.
Unless you count the drugs they put in chicken.
And marijuana always tends to make him cough,
He doesn't look good with his t-shirt off,
And when he tries to act tough, you can tell he's trickin'.

While his mates all go out late,
Popping pills and having fun,
He goes home and showers,
And gets a good eight hours,
He gets his thrills from his morning run.
While his mates all go on dates
Taking speed and drinking cans of Jim Beam,
He stays home and cooks,
Curls up with a book,
With the girl he's had since he was seventeen.

Cuz he's never really been part of the scene,
Give him Guns 'n' Roses, he'll take Queen.
He's more into Beatles than The Stones.
He's more Stevie Wonder than Ramones.
And he's never owned a transient van.
He never shot a Pantera fan.
He doesn't know the difference between metal and thrash.
He couldn't tell you nothing about Axel and Slash.
He likes Ben Folds and the Jackson Five.
He knows all the words to Staying Alive.
And though he wants to be all grungy and cool,
He spent eleven years at a mother-fuckin' private school.

So it don't matter how he tries,
He cannot hide behind his rock 'n' roll lies.
Cuz you've either got it or you don't.
Yeah, you'll either rock it or you won't.
Yeah, you've either got it or you don't.
Yeah, you'll either rock it or you won't.
Yeah, you've either got it or you don't.
Yeah, you'll either rock it or you won't.
Yeah, you've either got it or you don't.
Yeah, you'll either rock it or you won't.
Yeah, you've either got it or you don't.

He knows that his music lacks depth,
But it just can't be helped.
He has nothing interesting to say,
So he writes about himself.
But he doesn't want to seem self-obsessed,
So he writes in third person.
In an attempt to seem more rock 'n' roll,
But he suspects it's not workin'.
And deep in his heart he knows he,
Will never be Bono or Bowie.
And even if he was quite pretty,
With small pants like Kylie...

He knows that he,
Will always be,
A rock 'n' roll nerd!
He'll keep writing songs the world will never hear,
And though they won't be, though they won't be heard,
He'll just keep writing.
Oh yeah.
You might not like him,
But he don't care.
Cuz he wants to rock,
And he will never be deterred.
But he'll always be a fucked up, little, try-hard, wannabe rock 'n' roll nerd.

Videos

O2 version.
Performed on 'The Sideshow'.

Links

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