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Lake Of Fire by Meat Puppets

Album: Meat Puppets IIReleased: 1983
  • The "Lake Of Fire" is Hell. There is a lot of biblical imagery in the lyrics, and the song can be seen about how the Christian church uses the idea of hell to scare people into following their beliefs (Meat Puppets did a version of a song called "Jesus Don't Want Me For A Sunbeam" which is also very sarcastic).

    The song's writer, lead singer Curt Kirkwood, didn't set out to write religious commentary - his inspiration was far more jocose. He told us: "A lot of times I don't remember writing songs, I can't remember anything about like, how did I come up with that? But 'Lake of Fire,' we were all living together and everybody decided to go to a Halloween party, and they were all getting in costumes. And I thought, 'Man, this is one of the stupidest things - adults getting dressed up like we did when we were little kids.'

    I had actually got pretty wasted on something and told everybody, 'No, I'm not going.' And then once I was alone, I just started messing around. I wrote a couple of songs that night. I wrote 'Magic Toy Missing' and 'Lake of Fire,' maybe one more. But I was just really trying to make fun of my friends for going out to a Halloween party." (Here's our full interview with Curt Kirkwood of Meat Puppets.)
  • Nirvana performed this song on their 1993 MTV Unplugged appearance, which was also released as an album called MTV Unplugged in New York the next year. Along with "Lake Of Fire," Nirvana also played two other Meat Puppets songs: "Plateau" and "Oh, Me." They were joined by Curt and Cris Kirkwood of Meat Puppets for these three songs.

    Kurt Cobain was a huge Meat Puppets fan and would often mention them as an inspiration. "He was always in the moment," Curt Kirkwood told us about Cobain. "He wasn't very conversive, just really, really casual. I was pretty blown away by the whole thing, just on the level of how it was and wasn't, like my concept of it. It was a strange thing to be around, because there was so much attention at any point coming from every direction."
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Comments: 26

Joey, from Stoughton, MA said "the radio must be stuck in hell, almost everything on the unplugged album gets played here."

You're wrong. The Unplugged album is on constant rotation in Nirvana. Dig it?
Anthony - Lewistown, Pa
I enjoyed Nirvana's version helluva lot more!Ashley - Sandy, Or
Up on the Sun is a great Meat Puppets CDNate - Las Cruces, Nm
Wow a lot of christians getting on and defending their religion. No one is trying to attack christianity here, we are just trying to interpret a song.

And to Ryan in Wesson, MS. Think about it like this, everyone has the freedom of religion in the united states. Non Christians are not being hypocritical by asking Christians to not try to change their religion. We get hounded about it by so many Christians, to the point it's harassment. I don't talk about my beliefs unless it's invited, or offended. That's the way it should be.


I think the song is about the struggles of life, how there are good people, bad people, sadness, and dying. General tragedy.
Dustin - Dover, Pa
I don't think we Christians ever scare people by telling them to go to Hell.
Don't be so ignorant.
Joe - Yo Mama's House, Ca
People assume the song is sarcastic because they can scarcely believe that a group like the Meat Puppets would do a Christian song. If it were heavy metal, people would probably consider the lyrics Satanic. The song's meaning is actually far from clear, if you approach it with an open mind.N.i. - Baltimore, Md
"This statement is characteristic of the general hypocrisy of nonChristians."
Um, no comment. Let your words speak for themselves...
Liquid Len - Ottawa, Canada
Iron Maiden has also been known to refer to Hell as "a lake of fire", specifically in their song "Can I Play With Madness".Joshua - La Crosse, Wi
If you read in Revalations, it does in fact depict hell as a 'Lake of Fire.' This is a good song, made even better with the Nirvana cover of it. One of my favorite guitar solos, based completely off of the jazz improv scale is this song. Nirvana really did cover songs quite a bit of justice.Max - Austin, Tx
I agree, Plateau is fantasticDennis - Chicagoland Burrows, Il
there are 14 songs on unplugged. this is a great song but i like plateau moreKieran - Essex, England
The info on this song at the top of the page is wildly inaccurate as far as information that can be gathered from the song itself. No part of this song links it to the Christian ideas of Heaven and Hell. Many religions have concepts of reward and punishment based on character. The song itself does not describe Heaven or Hell as depicted in the Holy Bible. The phrase "The song is about how the Christian church uses the idea of hell to scare people into following their beliefs" at the top of this page is a common misunderstanding. A true Christian church does not use this tactic, nor does a true Christian church believe this tactic will work. This statement is characteristic of the general hypocrisy of nonChristians. I understand a nonChristian does not want to hear preaching, but taking jabs at Christianity to counteract this is more than hypocrisy. Asking a Christian to stop sharing his or her beliefs literally means asking them to stop being a Christian. Thus by asking a Christian to stop trying to change your religion, you're asking them to change their religion. I understand that commercialized Christianity can be ugly and hypocritical, but the offending phrase is an example of a closed mind attempting to stifle Christianity.Ryan - Wesson, Ms
derrrrrr. cris kirkwood loves heroin now.Tango Fistula - Gila Bend, Az
There is a re-recording of this hidden at the end of The Meat Puppets "Too High To Die"David - Pepperell, Ma
nirvan's version is awesome. i love it. i've never heard the meat puppet's version though.Erik - Willow Hill, Pa
i just realized this...five of the six songs on the unplugged mention death. the only one that doesn't is plateau.Matt - Millbrae, Ca
if you have the unplugged Cd kurt thanks the meat puppets for letting them cover the songClay - Bostos, Ma
When Kurt introducing the Meat Puppets at the Unplugged, he called them "The Brothers Meat". This is a very cool song.Matt - Millbrae, Ca
if you look at the original single, you will see this song was written by s. littleford. its a song about revelations and judgement day. it was never paid for, the mormans hyped this song and kept the money. the law was later changed because of this to stop law suits against performers from the original song writer no longer requiring the song writers name on the published material. because of this song, song writers got no more reward at all, not even recognition as authors, proving the rich churches in america are also dishonest. no one knows now ever, by law, who orginally wrote anything. on an original single 45rmp copy of lake of fire, the last song writers name appeared for the final time. no more artists royalties, just performers rights.
because of this this is what you dont know, entertainers, ensa tamers, is just this. no rights or royalties for the art its self. other songs are acredited, but not signed to this original author. troy, 0=2U, down in the sewer, wish you were here, starlight from heaven, jammy bombastic, its my life, a kiss from the rose, the flower of love, all my loving, cant get it out of my head, torn, stepping out, another brick in the wall, the model, do it again and haitian divorse, and perhaps old man, could have all come from the same author.
so after lake of fire, no one got legal credits, but befor, it was the law, the author was named in brackets. this would obviously allow free claiming of songs by the entertainers and all payments whent to the musicians.
there were a lot more from the man who sold the earth.
s. littleford, author of the lake of fire, and a lot more. (Lake of fire being the first song written, and a number one across the globe. it outsold all previous singles in four weeks!
so this song makes history.
its the first of the last containing the real songwriters name.
SOLID AIR!
Simon - Huddersfield, England
Curt Kirkwood wrote the song "Lake of Fire." Cris is his younger brother and the band's bassist. Chris Novoselic formed a band called "Eyes Adrift" with Curt Kirkwood and Bud Gaugh of "Sublime" in 2001 but never played with the Puppets. Curt and Chris Kirkwood actually played guitar for this song and others on MTV Unplugged. Check out www.wohlers.org to here some live Meat Puppets songs.Kyle - Sydney, Australia
The radio must suck in hell, almost everything on the unplugged album gets played here.Joe - Stoughton, Ma
Wow, Madison, what radio stations do you have there, mine would never play Lake of Fire, if I want to hear Lake of Fire I would have to buy the cd, or steal it from my dad's collection(I like the fact that the second choice doesn't include spending money)The Jorge - Hell, Other
"Jesus Don't Want Me for a Sunbeam" is a Vaselines cover, not a Meat Puppets cover. Kurt Cobain listed the Vaselines as one of his great influences.

However, the Vaselines song was actually called "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam," without the "don't," even though the lyrics say "Jesus don't want me for a sunbeam."

I believe that the song was written by the Vaselines, referring to a traditional gospel song of the same name with much different lyrics:

"A sunbeam, a sunbeam!
Jesus wants me for a sunbeam
A sunbeam, a sunbeam!
I'll be a sunbeam for Him"
Jeff - Brooklyn, Ny
Your thinkin of someone else. Kurt Cobain did cover the Meat Puppets Lake of fire in the 1993 Unplugged in New York.Now the majority of Lake of fire you hear on the radio is Nirvana covering the song.Madison - Redondo, Ca
You're thinking of Cris Kirkwood.Tony - Buffalo Grove, Il
Wasn't Chris Novoselic of Nirvana a member of the Meat Puppets or am I thinking of someone elseJim - Pittsburgh, Pa