At Home He's A Tourist

Album: Entertainment! (1979)
Charted: 58
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This is a single from English post punk band Gang of Four's debut album, Entertainment!.
  • Thirty years after the release of Entertainment!, Gang Of Four singer Jon King recalled this hard rock number about domestic alienation and the unconscious oppression of consumer fun and culture to Clash Magazine: "Sometimes, you get lucky and a line comes that makes everything easy. Suddenly getting the answer to a question when you turn off and think about something else. Thrown-ness - if that's a word at all – was something we puzzled over. Why, if everything like it is, do so many things seem ersatz, phoney. But it's not phoney if you know it's phoney, as Truman Capote said of Holly Golightly "she's not a phoney because she's a real phoney." So, with this present from nowhere, (guitarist Andy) Gill was inspired and created the perfect existential squawl, different every time it's played, but on Entertainment!. This is what happened that afternoon in a single take. No assemblage, pro-tools confection, just the strings being hit and screaming in pain as they're bashed and cajoled into a beautiful anti-solo that is all about the now and no about the maybe. We thought this song was a mutant disco thing, at a time when it was not done to like dance music, when funk and rock had to be kept in separate rooms for fear of miscegenation. But the genie was out of the box! Ain't no stopping us now! We even used a delay on the vocals!"
  • This reached #58 in the UK singles chart, the highest position of any Gang of Four song. The band were invited onto the BBC show Top of the Pops to perform this number. However when the show's producers heard the line "And the rubbers you hide/ In your top pocket" they asked the foursome to substitute the word "rubbish" for "rubbers" to cater for their family audience. Aware that this rendered the line nonsensical, the Gang of Four refused and they were never invited back.
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Comments: 2

  • Steve from Ottawa"Entertainment" is a fantastic album and this song a great one. A throbbing bass beat with slashes of sometimes atonal guitar in the background. The lyrics of all the songs on the album deal with materialism and our disturbed values. This is amongst the best post-punk around. Listen to this song and you'll hear the origins of bands like REM, The Police, Nirvana and U2.
  • Zabadak from London, EnglandThe band were an influence on the nascent REM.
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