So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish

Album: Eat the Elephant (2018)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • This song references the deaths in 2016 and 2017 of a number of celebrities including David Bowie, Carrie Fisher, Muhammad Ali, Prince and Alan Rickman.

    "I think it was a big curveball for a lot of people to have that concentration of celebrities, people that are iconic, exit," vocalist Maynard James Keenan told Rolling Stone. "I'm sure it's happened in prior generations - all of a sudden, an exodus - but the immediacy of social media made it more impactful with more of a rapid fire to be able to see that list every day of people that you were familiar with over the years passing. And at the age of 53, you start to take it pretty seriously."

    "You only have so much time, do stuff with it," he continued. "When all those people are leaving, I guess it's a good opportunity to remind people of that: Pay attention."
  • The song's title is a reference to the Douglas Adams comedic sci-fi book So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, the fourth installment in his The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. "We all cope with the absurd in our own manner," said Maynard James Keenan regarding the track. "The Italian side of me produces and shares wine with friends in order to feel grounded and connected in the midst of all the madness. But once the wine is gone, the drunk and sarcastic Irish side of me goes straight for the unreasonable jugular."
  • A Perfect Circle guitarist Billy Howerdel wrote the music for this song. He told France's La Grosse Télé it was a little different to most of his instrumentation work:

    "It's not a key I usually write in. I don't usually write in a major key, for whatever reason. I had high hopes for that song and I originally was kind of thinking of that for my other project, for Ashes Divide, but it seemed that when I played it for Maynard, he heard something. He thought he would hear something, so I just kind of kept rolling with it from there. Aesthetically, we just fitted it into the record and I think it worked."

Comments: 2

  • Nicole T. from WisconsinI believe the line is "absent flags" not "apps and flags." Absent flags are for boats not in use, a conspicuous consumption thing - see how rich I am?
  • Doug from FranceI fail to see the connection with Alan Rickman....
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al YankovicFact or Fiction

Did Al play on a Beach Boys record? Did he have beef with George Lucas and Coolio? See if you can spot weird but true stories.

Dick Wagner (Alice Cooper/Lou Reed)

Dick Wagner (Alice Cooper/Lou Reed)Songwriter Interviews

The co-writer/guitarist on many Alice Cooper hits, Dick was also Lou Reed's axeman on the Rock n' Roll Animal album.

Mick Jones of Foreigner

Mick Jones of ForeignerSongwriter Interviews

Foreigner's songwriter/guitarist tells the stories behind the songs "Juke Box Hero," "I Want To Know What Love Is," and many more.

Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & PalmerSongwriter Interviews

Greg talks about writing songs of "universal truth" for King Crimson and ELP, and tells us about his most memorable stage moment (it involves fireworks).

Ian Astbury of The Cult

Ian Astbury of The CultSongwriter Interviews

The Cult frontman tells who the "Fire Woman" is, and talks about performing with the new version of The Doors.

Which Songs are About Drugs?

Which Songs are About Drugs?Fact or Fiction

"25 or 6 to 4" to "Semi-Charmed Life" - see if you can spot the songs that are really about drugs.