My Top 1000 Songs #490: Herded Into Pools

[I've been writing up my Top 1000 songs on a daily basis--you can see them all in descending order by hitting the All My Favorite Songs tag.]

Serious music fan that you are, presumably you've had this happen to you as well? You go out one night to see a band you like, but whose discography you don't necessarily know inside and out. You wake the next morning, groggy and hungover, and there's some song you simply can NOT get out of your head, something you heard the night before, dim memories of the gig but this one song playing over and over something you simply cannot forget.

So, yeah, that's me and "Herded Into Pools," a not-exactly-universally-well-known track from Firehose's fifth and final LP, 1993's Mr. Machinery Operator. Saw them in San Francisco summer of '93 (double bill, forget who else was playing). Always liked the band, which rose from the ashes of the Minutemen, but hadn't kept up with their most recent releases. And the next morning, this chorus from some song I heard the night before just kept going round and round in my skull; but in those pre-internet days, I had no ready way of figuring out what it was. So I picked up the most recent album the next chance I got, played it through, and there it was, third track. "Herded Into Pools." Kind of an offbeat number, a peppy, slappin' rhythm with verses spoken-sung by bassist Mike Watt. But then frontman Ed Crawford jumps in for this massive anthem of a chorus (a call-and-response with Watt interjecting the song title in his hefty baritone):

"Where are we going? Where are we now? Where have we been? Is that it then?"

Crazy song. No idea what it means. Been living in my head ever since.

Live in 1992 (at 33:33 into the set):


  1. I have the first two albums and I like them pretty well, the first more than the second. Then I kind of lost the thread. For me, the fIREHOSE song I cannot get out of my head is Brave Captain from the debut


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