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Brain Stew by Green Day

Album: InsomniacReleased: 1995Charted:
  • Lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong wrote this about a time when he was suffering from insomnia (hence the album title). It was just after his wife had one of their first children, and the baby would keep him up. He used to stay up through the night and write songs like this and "Jaded." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Kati - Leeds, England
  • This song makes an appearance in the special features of the DVD for Detroit Rock City. James Debello hums the song and says, "There should be a song like that." Edward Furlong replies, "Dude there already is." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
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Comments: 87

One of the best songs of all time! CxHaley - Indianapolis, In
My eyes feel like they're gonna bleed,
dried up and bulging out my skull.
My mouth is dry,
my face is numb.
He is OBVIOUSLY talking about drugs.
Either he is tweaked out, or on speed.

My sense's dulled, passed the point of delirium.
This is where it clicked. His senses are dulled by whatever the drug may be (I think it would be cocaine ) and he is past the point
of delirium, it is way worse. Note he also says that he is having trouble sleeping, and he is running out of sheep (time)
the clock is laughing in his face. As to say 'haha I am f--king with your mind now.'
Rosyy - New York, Ca
And, I really don't think the riff was stolen from 25 or 6 to 4. Who hasn't heard a song that you thought was gonna be something else--and it wasn't. I've heard much more blatant stuff--and there's no way off a few chords, anyone can say 25 or 6 to 4 ripoff. IMORebecca - Omaha, Ne
It's not about coke--those who say it is, don't know. Kevin from Toledo nailed it first.Rebecca - Omaha, Ne
Let's just say this: I'm hyped on speed now & this song relates perfectly. It's 4:30AM & I can't pass out; my mouth is dry, my face is indeed numb... & the clock is sure laughing in my face. C'mon, we know what he's singing about...Viktorya - Northglenn, Co
This is a song I can relate to every nightCrystal - Warren, Pa
f--k all you guys who are pissed at Green Day for stealing a simple riff. They did the same thing that Kid Rock did with "All Summer Long". The took the riff from "Sweet Home Alabama" not because they wanted to steal it, but because they wanted to bring new attention to a classic song and have fun doing it.Austin - Peshtigo, Wi
I think it sounds like being high on diphenhydramine... not many people have heard of this drug but it's an otc drug for allergys that makes you delirious in high doses. Don't believe me? Look it up or try it out.Gabe - Pittsburg, Ks
Some of you are getting a little too intense with this. "you get cotton mouth from doin coke" Yeah and from smokin weed, but I doubt that's what the song is about. Hell, you can get cotton mouth without drugs being involved. Just because you are a meth speed or coke fiend doesn't mean everyone is. I believe the song meaning listed. Not ruling out that he does/did drugs, just don't think that is what the song is about. I know it would be easier for some of you if he was a raging dope fiend, but that's just not what this is about.Nicci - Huntsville, Al, Al
"No rest for cross-tops in my mind"

As far as I know, cocaine is not typically available in scored tablets. We're talking about amphetamines, people.

The interesting thing about this song, however, is its uncanny similarity to Chicago's 1970 single "25 or 6 to 4". The lyrics, depending on who you ask, may or may not be a reference to drug-addled insomnia; however, the hook is unmistakable.
Kevin - Toledo, Oh
and cheers on taking 25 or 6 to 4's kickass lick and making it into a completely different songJoe - Long Beach, Ca
Whatever happened to music meaning something to everyone.
Be more tolerant to peoples' opinions and if it means something different to someone then it does to me, more power to 'em.
Music is about what it means to you which doesn't have to be what it means to everyone else so quite arguing like little children and enjoy the music and whatever it means to you.
Joe - Long Beach, Ca
i like to start at A and work back... but as for the chicago thing 25 or 6 to 4 the rhythm is totally different, and why not go back to walk don't run and just add the extra note.... anyways i love them all... it's still rock and roll to me...Rickey - Newnan, Ga
does anyone else notice that the main riff sounds strangely similar to 25 or 6 to 4? its exactly the same!Luke - Sc, Sc
I'm trying to get to sleep right now(or I was), and I'm telling you, this song DOES describe insomnia just as well as drug use. Interpret it however you want. In my mind it's both.Kayla - Ballston Lake, Ny
This song is about cocaine:
mouth is dry face is numb = coke
spun = coke
Rob - Fakeview, Dc
He's spun, as in high off of meth. You can't slee while you're tweakin, you get MAD cotton-mouth, your mind is on over drive because you feel like you have to be doing something and keeping busy. When you don't sleep or eat for days on end your eyes start hurting bad and they feel extremely dry, some people even use eye drops to help it, because it's impossible to sleep on that s--t.And his face is numb because when you're "spun" your whole body tingles, goes numb, and feels hot. Ths isn't about any insomnia or a baby, he is on a mad upper.Ashlyn - 3oh!3, Co
come on. cumming down from speed is nothing like
this song
Christian - Hubbard, Oh
Let me make it abundantly clear.

This song is about coming down from speed.

Its not about coming down from cocaine, a baby named jacob, or doing mushrooms.

Its about coming down from good ol speed.

Class dismissed.
Pol - Torrance, Belize
its about drugs, drugs and DrUgSGabanti - Your Mum, United Kingdom
megan, back when this came out green day was still good. I discovered them when they came out with american idiot, but I liked there older stuff way better. still do. I like them pre-american idiot , but now I hate the album. It's just too commercial. I like green day but they just aren't the same.And as for the meaning debate, I've had insomnia and did cocaine,and I think it's about insomnia as a side-affect from drugs.Matt - Houston, Tx
"Spun out"
"Cross Stops"
"I'm having trouble trying to sleep"
"My mouth is dry, my face is numb,f---ed up and spun out in my room And he also says: Crooked spine, sense is dull, past the point of delerium."

This sounds like everyone's last coke or XTC binge.
Amanda - New York, Ny
it's about drugs come on i've never heard someone who has insomnia say they were spun out. And they're face is numb, and mouth is dry? Since when are these common symptoms of insomnia? Just listen to the girl from cedar rapids, she know's what she's talking about lolDave - Aurora, Co
the only people who think this song is about insomnia are those who have never tried cocaine. Why's his face numb? Why's his mouth dry? Cause he's jacked up.Wendy - Suffolk, Va
I recently did 3.5 grams of some really good shrooms and this song describes how I felt. It was scary as f--k and my body didnt matter. Luckly I was around friends, but a few quote people told me were "I dont have an age, I am ageless." "Lets talk about doughnuts" "HOLY S--t! My shadow is morphing" Then I went to my room when I thought it was all over... Alone on shrooms... Not fun. Especialy when your roommate doesnt know and is in a bad mood.Otis - Williamsburg, Tn
whoever said Green Days song suck.. you're crazy. Green day is a classic band. their songs are awesome. every one of them. you have no idea what you're talking about. and brain stew is not about being on meth. if you've ever had insomnia then you'd know what he meant by it's hard to sleepMegan - Seminary, Ms
Well according to Billie its about insomnia, so I'm gong with that lol.


For Dan, Green Day actually does have a song about being on meth called "Geek Stink Breath". Damn good song I'm sure you'd like to take a look at
Brian - Reno, Nv
Insomnia/boredom probably weed to kill time and write music no crazy drugsBryan - East Hampton, Ny
Now no one can be absolutely be sure, but my friends and I all think it is about cocaine. First of all meth is a poor mans drug, not a rich rock star. You never hear about them being on meth. In addition the lyrics describe a late nite on coke perfectly.Dan - Cleveland, Oh
great song and the first i learned on the g-tarRebecca - Vancouver, Bc
you guys are confused, jaded the song that is usally after brain stew is about speed. brain stew is about insomnia.Whitney - ????
michael from tucson has it dead on. thats what insomnias like. u dont have to be on meth to be messed up like that. green day has a couple other songs about insomnia tooDylan - Kalispell, Mt
This is actually the only Green Day song I like, other than that they pretty much suck. I don't care whether it's about insomnia or being a speed freak, either way I can relate. Plus, it's good song no matter what it's about.Amber - Lugoff, Sc
Who cares? Why do people always assume these songs are about addiction? At any rate, pretty sure it's about insomnia.J.r. - Columbia, Sc
wow greenday congrats on taking 25 or 6 to 4... at least change up the strumming a bitDaniel - Charlotte, Nc
i do have 2 say that this song does sound like its about meth... but hey! that would make there b 2 songs about tweak in this album. i know i know... crosstops... and spun out... but he says I'm having trouble trieng 2 sleep! insomnia isnt the most common effect of methamphitamine. if you ask me, its about billie joes baby. "im having trouble trieng 2 sleep" the baby is obviously keeping him awake. and if it was on meth, there is no point in writing it bcause they already have a song about meth! geek stink breath!Jay - Jackson, Ms
wow people don't half like thinking songs are always about drugs.

There enough songs about drugs as there are, I like songs that have more specific meanings such as insomnia.

If your looking for a song on crystal meth try geek stink breath
Declan - Liverpool
anyone who does coke will know that this song is definetly about yayo.
ive heard this song all geeked up, and just stopped in my tracks to say, damn thats exactly how im feeling right now

no doubt about it, this songs about yay
Ken - Clayton, Nc
People please! This some is about being high on crystal meth. If you ever known anyone who has been on it you would know. First.. "Passed the point of delirium". People can actually see things that are not there when they have been on meth for a while. They will totally freak out. Next.."Mouth is dry" is self explanatory. Then.."eyes are bulging out of my skull"... Meth heads will drop weight like crazy. This includes the area around their face. Their eyes will actually look bulged out. "Mind is set on overdrive", "Clock is laughing in my face", etc, is talking about the restlessness and hyperactivity caused by the drug. The term "spun out" is also slang for being high on meth.Chad - Tupleo, Ms
i love how this song is basically the same thing over and over again but its still goodKevin - Chateauguay, Canada
Michael of AZ....You're wrong-Billie Joe wrote this when his newborn son, Jakob, was keeping him up all night. That is what inspired him to write this song. Get you're P's and Q's straight and PAY ATTENTION!!!Steven - West Carrollton, Oh
Seriously, this song isn't about drugs. I mean, I see your point and all, but have you ever had insomnia before? It gives you ever feature listed in Brain Stew. This song is about Billie Joe Armstrong not being able to sleep because he's realized that he's on his own, and that no one is taking care of him anymore.Michael - Tucson, Az
i think its about when greenday sold out by makin film clips and stuff and the californian fans turned their back on greenday saying they were a sell out hence the lyrics ''on my own here we go'' and that thought had kept him awake all night every nightAndrew - Adelaide, Australia
This song is not about a baby! listen this is part of that song..."My mind is set on overdrive. The clock is laughing in my face. A crooked spine. My sense is dulled. Passed the point of delirium". Now does THAT sound like a song about a baby?Shana - Gastonia, Nc
This song is about critty (meth). If you've tried this drug then you'll understand the lyrics immediately.Brandon - Yuma, Az
I've always thought that this song was about cocaine. When you're on coke you dont sleep, you're numb, your eyes feel weird and big, your mouth goes dry..I dont know.. maybe its just meTaylor - Birmingham, Al
Maybe its about drugs and imsomnia? Or whatever was going through Billie Joe's mind at the time? When you write songs, they're not always about one thing or situation or feeling in particular, can be loads. Just thought I'd point that out. And just for the record, it sounds alot like being high to me, but relate to it however u want obviously =)Tanya - London, United States
Its about weed... ive done weed and ive suffered from insomnia and your mouth dont go dry and your eyes dont bulge our your skull when you cant sleep... but they do when you've done a lil weedBen - Portsmouth, England
this is a great song and this song and jaded (aka brain stew/jaded) go perfect togetherJoe - Chicago, Ar
of course its not about drugs, its just the way he sang the first verse of the song it SOUNDED like he was drunk, just to my ears i guess, i dunno 'bout other ppl. this song will be one of my faves. rock on green day!!!Eileen - San Diego, Ca
"Billie wrote this song way back in 1995 or so when his son, Joey, was a baby. Joey was up crying all night, so Billie didn't get any sleep. He wrote this song about how he felt. "Brain Stew" is also the nickname of James Washburn, a longtime friend of the band." this was found on Green Day authority. It's not about drugs, sorry.Chuck - Slidell, La
I think this song is about insomnia! i mean it abviously is, theres no question about itMicky - Berkeley, Ca
thsi song rocks!!! but in the beginning of the song when BJ says " i'm having trouble trying to sleep, i'm countin' sheep but runnin' out, as time ticks by, but still i try, no reds for crosstops in my mind, On my own here we go..." that part, it kinda sounds like Billie Joe is drunk when he sings it. i dunno, thats what i think. i know.. i'm weird....Eileen - San Diego, Ca
It's all about being high. But he wrote it when he was up with his kidTanya - London, United States
i used to think the song was about after you crashed when you were high "my mouth is dry, my face is numb" i thought it was about just being paranoid kinda like basket case. aparently i was wrong lolZach - Oklahoma City, Ok
I think it gets better as it goes onTanya - London, England
I enjoy listening to this song until it gets about halfway through.Alex - Loveland, Co
In regard to the lyrics: "No rest for crosstops in my mind"

Drug Definition for "Cross Tops"

DRUG CLASS: Amphetamine, Stimulants and Stimulant Variants

STREET NAMES: Speed, Meth, Crank, Crystal, Tweak, Ice, Glass, Crosstops
Jess - San Jose, Ca
I can only hear 'hey' matt. Its more of a random shout than 'hey' though. Like evry1 goin mental with the fire n thatTanya - London, England
I've never noticed anything else but I'll have a listen tonightTanya - London, England
Toward the end of the song (with Dirnt leading the chant with his bass) ... maybe it is just "hey," but it sounded like more.Matt - Oklahoma City, Ok
On the live "Bullet in the Bible" CD/DVD, what is the crowd shouting on "Brain Stew"? Seems like an organized effort. Sorry if this is a stupid question.Matt - Oklahoma City, Ok
Which one paul? Brain stew or jesus of suburbia? You can see Brain Stew if you get Green Day International Supervideos dvd or you can probably download it off www.greendayauthority.com but not sure about that, or www.greendayvideos.com, which is down til 22nd november i think. Jesus of Suburbia is on www.greendayauthority.com definitly. I know that site was havin some technical probs too but i think they're sorted now. Great site thatTanya - London, England
Dear Tanya, Since you seam to be the "expert" on the subject, were do I go if I want to see this video. Also I think the song is probably about speed, I mean Billie didnt get the nickname "2 dollar bill" for nothing.Paul - Castalia, Nc
The Video kinda scares me too, Takashi.Yuya - Kyoto, Japan
The song is definately relating to drugs in some ways. For example, when he says:
My mouth is dry, my face is numb,f---ed up and spun out in my room
And he also says:
Crooked spine, sense is dull, past the point of delerium.
Aby - Queens, Ny
the begining of the song, except now that i listen to chicago, it's different, i mean 25 or 6 to 4. it's the same notes, but different rythem, sorta, very similar thoughKika - Nyc, Ny
As much as i love this song, the name is soo annoying. And it sounds a lot like chicago..., the main line that isKika - Nyc, Ny
this is a good song, but i feel like i've heard that line before, and if you've been an insomniac or done meth, you can really relate.Kika - Nyc, Ny
The song is great, the band are great, and us silly fools can argue till the cows come home the true meaning behind the lyrics, at the end of the day the only person who truly knows the meaning of these lyrics is the person who wrote them! and that is nobody on these pages.
Billie joe is unique long live greenday!
Dorrie from Rawtenstall, England
Dorrie - Manchester, England
Oh, its so about meth-nobody says they're SPUN OUT because their baby keeps them up. Trust me-I've been there enough to know.Jenn - Cedar Rapids, Ia
Elliot, i thought the old woman, along with the rest of the video too, was billie joe hallucinating (passed the point of delirium) But i could be wrong. This song rocks liveTanya - London, England
the video really freaks me out (and so does the song itself). and Eliot from St. Louis- are you talking about the woman during the final "My mouth is dry" part? She's lipsynching the song cuz if you look pretty closley... the inside of her mouth looks (dry)Takashi - Tokyo, Japan
I am almost certain that "blister in the sun" came out after "Brainstew". Could be wrong though.
Jon - Miami, Tx
Ummm... the chord sequence is Ab-Gb-F-E-Eb, not B-A-Ab-G-Gb. If you were "Depending on Key," then that would mean every song with a I-IV-V chord sequence (or something to that effect) would be the same. And they're not. Sorry, I am obsessed with my guitar right now...Mister Penguin - San Francisco-ish, Ca
Ok, I don't care what anyone tries to tell you, This song is about SPEED. Ok? So don't believe all that "Oh, His son was just born..." crap. Its all about methamphetamine. Notice he says "Spun out in my room..." If you're so naive as to believe that this song is as innocent as they try to make you think, then I'm sorry to hear that.Angie - Huntington Beach, Ca
this song is very good, i liked it the 1st time i heard it. btw .. Greenday are refering to a different 'jesus of suburbia'..Jesus - Suburbia, Australia
This has a pretty good music video (Green Day is riding a couch being pulled by a truck-thing in a garbage dump), but there is one part of the video i don't understand. During the third verse, an old woman is lip-synching to the song. Who is she and why is she in the video? Please answer me, someone! I was at these guys American Idiot tour at the St. Louis concert, and seeing them play this song reminded me of this question, which I have wondered since like, 2000 (it is 2005 now).Elliot - St. Louis, Mo
why the lead line of this song is b, a, ab, g, gb, is because thats the only cords Billie Joe knows how to play.
Its a great song that a lot of people think its about drugs. But its not.
Kara - Azle, Tx
i think they took the chords from another song. if they did, i cant remember off the top of my head.Billy Ross - Hagerstown, Md
Sounds to me like he is twacked out.. Meaning crystal meth/speed. When your on meth you don't sleep. "My mouth is dry, My face is numb, f--ked up and spun out in my room" Spun is a reference to meth.. not to mention he says he is f--t up. "My mind is set on overdrive, The clock is laughing in my face" Mind set on overdrive.. speed IMO. and the laughing clock caused by the sleep seprivation of being up for days/weeks at a time. Also he talks about doing meth in another song on this album.Kyle - Everett, Wa
yea dude...thats what i thought. i thought he was tweekingKatie - Loganville, Ga
The lead line descending sequence was used by Chicago for their song "25 Or 6 To 4".Gavin - Chicago, Il
This is my 3rd fave song EVER (after In The End-Linkin Park, and Good Ridance-Greenday) I'm learning to play gitaur (Never could spell!!!) and this is the first song I want to play... well the intro anyway!!!Josef - Bury, England
The guitar and lead line descending sequence (B, A, Ab, G, Gb - depending on key) was one Green Day obviously liked. They sped it up and used it again on 'Hitching A Ride'. I wonder if they had already heard it in the verses of 'Blister In The Sun' by the Violent Femmes first, though?Martin - Sydney, Australia
A remix of this song was done for the Godzilla soundtrack. It had the monster roaring in between certian beats throughout the song.Matt - Taberg, Ny
i always thought it was about being a speed freak or being addicted to speed it certaintly could be interperted that wayJason - Wylie, Tx
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