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The WASP (Texas Radio and The Big Beat) by The Doors

Album: LA WomanReleased: 1970
  • "Texas Radio" refers to high power Mexican radio stations that blasted into Texas in the 1950s. Not restricted by American regulations these stations, whose call letters started with X, could have up to 150,000 watts. Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek both heard Wolfman Jack on one.
  • This is a spoken word piece of Jim Morrison's poetry accompanied by John Densmore's drums. Morrison wrote the lyrics years before this was recorded, and used to perform it as a poem.
  • The verse, "Comes out of the Virginia swamps cool and slow with plenty of precision with a back beat narrow and hard to master" is most likely a reference to Morrison's first real experience with the music scene. From 1958 to 1960 Morrison lived in Alexandria, Virginia and frequented the Juke Joints (blues clubs) on Route 1 just north of Fort Belvoir where Black Blues musicians would play on Friday and Saturday nights. That area where the Juke Joints used to be is right on the eastern edge of a swamp. (thanks, Steve - Alexandria, VA)
  • In 1968, the lyrics were published in a Doors souvenir book.
  • Morrison's vocal was double-tracked to make it stand out.
  • The phrase "Stoned Immaculate" came from a lyric in this song: "Out here we is stoned immaculate." That phrase became the title for a 2000 Doors tribute album featuring the surviving members as well as Aerosmith, The Cult, Chrissie Hynde, and others.
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Comments: 23

Since Texas Radio refers to high powered Mexican radio stations broadcasting across the border to the U.S., perhaps the lyric "Comes out of the Virginia swamps cool and slow with plenty of precision with a back beat narrow and hard to master" is a reference to Wolfman Jack who began his career in Newport News, VA and then continued to a Mexican station across the Rio Grande from Del Rio, Texas where, according to Wikipedia, Jim Morrison heard him for the first time, inspiring this song.Cholula - Austin, Tx
Shane - no, probably not. WASP as an ethnic/social designation tends to refer more to white mainline Protestants (e.g. Episcopalians and Methodists), with additional possible connotations of the entrenched Northeastern upper class and its institutions (like the Ivy League). It doesn't include charismatics like Pentecostals, or "born-again" type evangelical congegregations (though individual members may themselves be WASP by heritage).James - Los Angeles, Ca
"No eternal reward..." I love this part too, especially where Robbie charges into his solo at "wasting the dawn".

"Out here on the perimeter there are no stars" sounds like an allusion to Asimov's Foundation trilogy. It's mentioned in the books that the Foundation planet was at the very remote edge of the galaxy, and the sky was virtually starless. Is it possible? I never heard that Jim Morrison read any sci-fi.
James - Los Angeles, Ca
I always thought the WASP was as in 'We Are So Perverted'...Amanda - Curtiba, Brazil
@ larry newton,
one of the facts about this song actually states that the vocal was double taped, so of course it sounds loud and clear. LMAO
@ shane,
agreed about the use of WASP. makes me wonder what "the big beat" was?
Gaz - Bristol, Uk, United Kingdom
texas radio refers to a metaphysical jail which inundates a victim with hyper watts of energy or elf or other metaphysics...but regarding radio waves...it overloads a persons energy field and causes them to become all z'd out and vibrating, but unable to convert the actual built up energy into lambda enrgy, i.e. useable energy...force..so they SPIN...the conversion of a personal energy field consists of converting mass or fuel into energy by burning it with 'c' or light or as jim morrison calls it GOD...TEXAS RADIO STIFFLES THIS ABILITY AND MAKES THE PERSON 'GODLESS' a spiritual neuter...f--ked...in the matrix of THE NEW WORLD ORDERKaila - Milwaukee, Wi
It is about Mexican radio stations broadcasting across the border in the '50s and '60s. ZZ Top's "Heard It On the 'X'" deals with the same theme.Mac - Evanston, Il
This is the land where the pharaoh died!
Amazing lines within the entire song/poem
I also love the line:
We have constructed pyramids in honor of our escaping !!
Real Cool Jim M.
Summer - Jacksonville, Fl
ahahaha I always say "prety good, pretty neat" now! ever sice I saw the movie (which i belive is incorrect in nearly every way, the music is the only good thing about it) cute little saying, I like it:)Nady - Adelaide, Australia
It references some stuff, but isn't it just nonsense?Walker - Clackamas, Or
"no eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn"

single most awsome quote by jim morrison i can think of. i say this to people all the time,,especialy when im arguing with christians
Bellow - Jacksonville, American Samoa
The verse "Comes out of the Virginia swamps
Cool and slow with plenty of precision, with a back beat narrow and hard to master..." is most likely a reference to Jim Morrison's first exposure to Blues Music in Virginia right around 1959 to 1960. Morrison lived in Alexandria VA at the time and used to frequent the Juke Joints (night clubs) just north of Ft. Belvoir on Route 1, where black blues musicians always played. The area where I grew up in Virginia is about 1 mile west as the crow flies from that exact area on route 1 and is separated by several hundred acres of swampland with Route 1 being right on the eastern edge of it.
Steve - Alexandria, Va
JIms early work was phenomenal, but his later work surely surpasses his early work, the band seems to have found the sound that works best for them, a brilliant mix of rock and blues. The beat of this song cant be beat. The poetry and powerful voice of this songs makes it one of my favorite songs for my favorite band.Tristan - Philadelphia, Pa
I second that, Jonathan of Florida- this is my second favorite Doors tune... no matter HOW drugged out he was, he STILL will be the undisputed American Poet. R.I.P., Jim Douglas Morrison.Steven - West Carrollton, Oh
This is such a cool song, it's just unlike anything that had been recorded at the time. If anyone disagrees, I challenge them to find something that's anything like this.Jonathon - Clermont, Fl
Pretty good, pretty neat..........Douglas - Melbourne, Fl
if the WASP is a radio station, it would have to be East of the Mississippi River, because that is how radio stations are named. East= "W" prefix, West= "K" prefix.Keith - Thebes, Il
I think there's a minor mistake in the lyrics. I think the line should read "...wrought iron soul", not 'raw'.
I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure it's a reference to the medieval torture device.
Todd - Middletown, Ny
could the radio station name "WASP" also be refering to the word WASP, used as an abbriviation for "White Anglo-Saxon Protestant"? fairly prominant in the south there......from what ive read jim wasnt exactly happy with those types as the govt and even his father was that style of person.....Shane - San Francisco, Ca
This song always reminds me that Jim Morrison easily could have been a radio announcer if he hadn't been a singer. Such clarity and volume from an amazing voice. Morrison's voice was far superior to most of the singers of that period and today, too.
Long live Jim Morrison!
Larry - Newton, Nc
"No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn". Another fantastic line!Oskar - Bilbao, Spain
Out here on the perimeter there are no stars- what an awesome line.Brian - Mayfield Heights, Oh
Refers to an FSU radio station. Jim went there for two yearsChad - Orlando, Fl