Gay Bar

Album: Fire (2003)
Charted: 5
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Songfacts®:

  • "Gay Bar" is a song about taking a girl to a gay bar, nuclear war, and becoming a superstar. It was written by Electric Six frontman Tyler Spencer, who performs as "Dick Valentine." He says it's not one to be over-analyzed. "I thought it was funny, a straight guy wanting to take a girl to a gay bar," he said on the Bleed To The Artist podcast. "It's stupid but ultimately inoffensive. It's just some words loosely adding up to something yet remaining nothing at the same time."
  • This song had its origin in a bar, but it wasn't a gay bar. It came about when Tyler Spencer was in one of his favorite bars (not a gay bar): Gusoline Alley in Royal Oak, Michigan. It was late, and the Devo song "Girl U Want" came on the jukebox. He misheard the lyric "she just a girl... girl you want" as "she just a girl... gay bar."

    Spencer decided to use his misheard lyric about taking a girl to a gay bar, pairing it with a track he had already written.
  • "Gay Bar" dates to 1996, when Tyler Spencer recorded it with his band The Wildbunch, who released it that year as the B-side of their first single, "I Lost Control (Of My Rock & Roll)." In 2002, The Wildbunch became the Electric Six when they signed to XL Recordings, and they released a new version the song as their second single, following "Danger! High Voltage." Both singles were hits in the UK but little heard in their home country of America.
  • The original version is under two minutes long, so when the Electric Six re-recorded it for their 2003 release, they added a verse so it ran a more radio-friendly 2:20:

    Now tell me do ya a do ya have any money?
    I wanna spend all your money
    At the gay bar gay bar gay bar
  • The outlandish video was directed by Tom Kuntz and Mike Maguire, the same team that did the equally absurd video for "Danger! High Voltage." It's set in the Oval Office in 1983, with Tyler Spencer playing the role of a very gay Abraham Lincoln.

    "They had read a rumor that Lincoln may have been gay or bisexual," Dick Valentine told Songfacts. "hey were extrapolating gayness from Abraham Lincoln based on something they read."

    Q and Kerrang both named it the video of the year.
  • The line, "Let's start a war, start a nuclear war" was edited out of the radio edit (replaced with whip sound effects) to appease the BBC, which had concerns because the Iraq War had recently begun. This edit is what was used in the video.
  • Joel Veitch made a popular animated video for the song that was posted on rathergood.com in the days before YouTube.
  • The first word in this song is "girl," not "you." Says Spencer, "It's not funny if it's 'you.'"

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