This song is about a small town of "Happyfolk" invaded by an army of "Strangefolk" who mine a nearby mountain for riches, awakening a deity that resides in the mountain. Due to the excavation, the mountain erupts as a volcano, possibly destroying the town.
Most of the song is a narration by actor Dennis Hopper.
Suggestion credit: Patrick - Tallapoosa, GA, for above 2
This is the first in a trilogy of songs on Demon Days involving "Don't Get Lost In Heaven" and "Demon Days."
AnonymousI truly believe that the 3 songs on the album were a nod to all the people that lost there lives in the 9/11 twin towers that when down and I can back this up when they played these song live at a festival and near the end of the 3rd song they rolled out an American flag its stuck with me forever and never really knew the true meaning behind it all.but the line where were you when it all came down seals it for me.
Mike from AustraliaI believe this is about the Iraq War George Bush is the monkey.
Chigozie from NigeriaI believe this song is about how America and Europe raped Africa and the horrors that will soon befall them. Happyfolks are the oppressed (mainly black Africans) while the strange folks are the capitalistic monsters (America and co). The happyfolks lived peaceful and happy till the Strangefolks arrived. The strangefolks began to exploit them by mining their land and taken the treasures. Just like all the gold queen Elizabeth and France and co stole from Africa. After eons of rape the happyfolks began to wonder why the mountain monkey(Africa) was bringing darkness into their lives. For the first time they felt fearful cos they new they ancestors was beginning to awake from their deep sleep to avenge. America then gets hit by something so strong that no one was left with the time to scream. Little town in USA are the ignorant innocent Americans who didn't speak against the evils being metted on the poor Africans for many years by her government. Where were you little town when it all came down on me?
Oliver from LondonAm I the only one who thinks this is about Vietnam? The happy folk are the Vietnamese the strange folk are the Americans the mountain is the diamond mines the fire is the voice of the American people I dunno that is what I thought.
Alex from New JerseyI literally made an account on this site to tell you all how ridiculously stupid you sound. You're all blabbering nonsense. Zimbabwe massacres? Buddha and his 500 year old hidden monkey? you guys really need to straighten your s--t out.
Todd from Arlington, VaWhile it is always interesting to relate the song to specific instances, I believe it is a mistake to say that any specific example is what the song is "about". While there is a clear judgement on those who would enter a community and exploit it for its resources, the more nuanced message embedded in the song seems to be about the inability of innocence through ignorance to ensure a good life and prevent disaster. Ignorance is bliss, until something dangerous of which you are unaware destroys your world. I don't think the message is morally judging innocent ignorance, but rather exposing the unfortunate truth of the state of being. It is imperative that we both be aware of what is going on in the world that might affect us, and that we are aware of what our own government and our society at large (including for instance corporations which we patronize) are doing that affects both ourselves and others.
Jill from China Grove, Txchildren children. Your scope is so narrow, can you see past your nose. Gorillaz doesn't seem like the kind of "band" that writes to specific events. The song is allegory for any and all that will take advantage at the expense of people like you. The ignorant. In all their forms. Be it imperialism, dictators, or religion what have you. Look past your short years to find your answers. Everything is a "late show" monologue to you.
David from Pharr, TxI believe that this song is metaphoricaly about the genocide of Zimbabwe. The mountain could be the president of Zimbabwe and the people could be the people of Zimbabwe. The Zimbabweans are well known for being peaceful people. The black people of Zimbabwe thought that they were going to be liberated. The people in camouflage could be ZANU-PF that have been causing all the genocide in Zimbabwe. It tells you what the people in camouflage did in detail basically what is happening in Zims. The dance of the dead may not be an actual dance. It could be the people moving front and backward holding their dead loved ones. The jewels of the mountain can mean alot of things food, water, money and that is what Zims need right now. It could also mean the diamond mines which the president of Zims also has his hands on. By the time the people tried to wake up it was already to late the president was inchrage of everything even their voting rights. The scream could be the cry for help and then silence because now they are fighting with their bare hands or they are ending up dead. The mountain has spoken could be that president has said his final word, "Death to all that oppose him". Little town of USA how many of us believe these is happening outside our country. We are only taught what our government wants us to know. Where were we when all these happened in the year of 79 until right now. I believe the song is about these events because most of the farmers were from English descent.
Taylor from Dublin, IrelandYou know, I bet you are all wrong really its what ever bs thing that remotely sounds like it could be this song.
Alex from Providence, Rithis also could reference George Orwell's book 1984 in which the people talk in "newspeak" and the police "thoughtpolice" the language involves combining such words just like the song references
Awareofvacuity from Manchester, United Kingdomin my opinion this song has to be referencing the stone monkey from the 70's tv show monkey magic and the book entitled 'monkey' by wu chen en based on ancient chinese mythology. monkey gets trapped under a mountain for 500 years by buddha to control him after he runs a riot in heaven. this character has featured in the forbidden kingdom and is also referenced in dragonball z. the story in the song is like a spin off and mixed with many of the other things mentioned above.
Mike from Minneapolis, Mn"dance of the dead" = Sioux "ghost dance" the mountains the black hills the strange folk = white people the jewels = gold
But the volcano, hmmm.....smallpox?
Brian from San Lorenzo, Cahappy folk do not have the "Truth" of the eyes... THink about the name of the band and what they portray... a monkey is the same as an ignorant man. the only difference is that of the physical attributes... a monkey does not know right from wrong... but a human has the choice to decide what "he" believes is right or wrong.. if you actually read the lyrics its quite scary what the message is portraying do some research outside of your own understanding!
Brian from San Lorenzo, CaEveryone here has got the interpretation of the song incorrect this song is playing in part of 3 songs all interconnected based on events within the bible... it is no more then a message to the people to confuse and interpret it in your own way, what it is that you can reason or understand... the mountain that it speaks of is that of Mount Zion. And in that the happy folk are the people of the world, that not of god... and the strange folk enter into the higher reaches of the mountain conveting the jewels of all things... which in this mountain i believe the ark of the covenant is placed, but the where abouts of this mountain is unknown... after that god sends a fire unto the mountain appearing to engulf the people but really they are the 144000 ascending into heaven... after that there was nothing... You can find this information in the book of micah chapter 4.... and so and and also in revelations... (take note that in the beginning of the album the end of the intro states(you are now entering the demonic/or harmonic world) it is designed like that on purpose to bring amongst confusion to those who listen... alot of their songs, if you just listen to them and try to come up with the lyrics, it is hard, and usually if you read the lyrics it is different from what you think... but regardless if you understand or not... that message is passed on...
Fire comming out of a monkeys head is the first stage of the 3 songs... Dont get lost in heaven and Demon days... which are about the end times...
Thor from Kitchener, Onok i can't beleive no one thought of mount Krakatau, i mean you know how it said 'there were no screams, there was no sound, the mountain called maonkey had spoken, there was only fire, and then nothing. thats exactly the same story of krakatau, the mountain erupted and blew up, and scientists said the sound was so loud it 'could herd far away in space' and after it erupted the mountain and island were completly swallowed in flame and gone. So i think it's about that mountain, but it can also contribute to society.
Jasper from Malin, BelgiumThis song is much broader in its symbolism, I think, than people have been giving it credit for, and it certainly enforces the themes of the rest of the album. Listen to Hopper's inflection when he's describing the happyfolk/town. They're "innocent of the litany of excess and violence growing in the world below" only because they are so oblivious. They are blind to the insidious strangefolk that are slowly killing them and robbing their land (all of them I say: The whole military industrial complex; the ones that are "turning us into monsters" [kids with guns]). What may been beautiful and pure-souled in their home becomes so utterly corrupted that it brings about their own destruction. - Michael, Northfield, MN
I agree with you completely. This is a reflection of how the world is doing and how the leaders fail at the task given to them. They still enrich themselfs at the costs of others. This is like many fairytales a moral story.
Tyler from Petaluma, CaI know this might be a bit of a stretch, but the line "where were you, when it all came down on me" reminds me of 9/11. I think this song is about a pre-9/11 world right before 9/11 happened, "innocent of the inncesant violence growing in the world below"
Also, there's no page for Demon Days, but I believe the line "You can't even trust the air you breath" is about anthrax, and the entire song is about living your life even though there are these terrifying things out there, that's what I think the whole album is really about. Truely a great one too, the 21st century version of Dark Side of the Moon, in my honest opinion
Michael from Northfield, MnThis song is much broader in its symbolism, I think, than people have been giving it credit for, and it certainly enforces the themes of the rest of the album. Listen to Hopper's inflection when he's describing the happyfolk/town. They're "innocent of the litany of excess and violence growing in the world below" only because they are so oblivious. They are blind to the insidious strangefolk that are slowly killing them and robbing their land (all of them I say: The whole military industrial complex; the ones that are "turning us into monsters" [kids with guns]). What may been beautiful and pure-souled in their home becomes so utterly corrupted that it brings about their own destruction.
Patrick from Bremen, GaI think the song pertains more to when the European settlers arrived to the North and South American continents. The first explorers, the Spanish Conquistadors, came in search of treasure. The Jamestown settlers came in search of treasure. In some places they found treasure, but in doing so they destroyed the small villages of the natives who lived on these continents. The native tribes often worshipped deities who supposedly resided in various land formations, such as mountains, volcanos, cliffs, lakes, etc. The natives feared the wrath of the deities for not stopping the intruders. The "fire coming out of the monkey's head" could easily symbolize the mountain erupting into a volcano, or the explorers (Strangefolk) blasting the sides of the mountain, to get better access to the treasures stored within the mountain's many caves.
Qwerty from Goodell, IaI think that that too many people look to far into things, and that, sure, some songs may have hidden meanings, but this isn't one. they were just being weird.
Lucas from Hortonville, Wi"The song is called "Fire Coming Out Of The Monkey's Head" because at the end of the story "Fire erupted at the top of the volcano." Volcano=Monkey Top=Head. Therefore, fire coming out of the monkey's head. - Blake, Hamilton, OH"
REALLY! Your insight amazes me, Blake. I'd like to think that everyone knows this song is about more than an imaginary eruption from an imaginary volcano, but then again, there is not IQ test for the internet.
Don Juan from Chicago, IlI agree about the symbolism to the war in Iraq, and possibly the "fire coming out of a monkey's head" refers to George Bush, how he looks like a monkey, and he spits lies and filth from his mouth slowly deteriorating our world...
Seb from Atmore, Ali think the "Oh little town in USA the time is come to see" part is where damon got mad at us(united states) for the stupid people here that messed up the gorillaz movie plan...god they make us look stupid...
Seb from Atmore, AlI think it is about people invading privacy..and just normal people ruining other people's happines...with war..lies..death..drugs..everything...so now..nobody is really happy..even if they say they are...
Nate from Pittsburgh, PaI think this song is the song that the rest of the album relates to. Dirty Harry, Don't get lost in Heaven, Demon days and a few other songs all seem to relate to this song. A lot of the lyrics from the other songs sound like they tell the whole storry of the "stangefolk" and the "happypeople". Strangely the way this album is writen remindes it reminds me of a pink floyd album.
Blake from Hamilton, OhThe song is called "Fire Coming Out Of The Monkey's Head" because at the end of the story "Fire erupted at the top of the volcano." Volcano=Monkey Top=Head. Therefore, fire coming out of the monkey's head.
Rawle from Naptown, Mdthis song is indirectly about the war in Iraq. The "strangefolk" who arrive in "camoflauge and dark glasses" are the U.S. soldiers. The "riches" that get "mined" by the strangefolk refers to the oil. the line "and the strangefolk mined the mountain, the riches fueling the chaos of their own world" suggests this.