Ted, Just Admit It...

Album: Nothing's Shocking (1988)


  • This song is about Ted Bundy, one of the most notorious and prolific murderers in American or indeed world history. The phrase "serial killer" - coined by FBI agent Robert Ressler - was first applied to him.

    Theodore Robert Bundy was born in Vermont in November 1946. Although he had an inauspicious start in life and nearly became a compulsive thief, he grew out of this as he matured, and showed promise when he was awarded a university scholarship. Serial killer John Gacy became a Democratic Party activist; Bundy too showed an interest in politics, working for the Republican cause. Intelligent, handsome and charismatic, he could have carved out a good life for himself, and likewise he could have had any woman he wanted within reason, but instead he became fixated with sadism and murder. It is possible he committed his first murder aged only fourteen, but his first provable homicides happened in 1974. He used a variety of pretexts to lure his victims to their deaths. In November of that year he made his first mistake when posing as a police officer he kidnapped motorist Carol DaRonch. When she realized she was in deep water and possibly only minutes away from being murdered, she fought like a tigress and managed to escape from his car. In August the following year he was arrested during a routine traffic stop; items found in his car led to his being held on suspicion of going equipped for burglary, but the police soon realized they had a far more sinister purpose. Positively identified by Carol DaRonch, he was convicted of her kidnapping and sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment while the authorities built a case against him for even more serious crimes. Incredibly, Bundy was able to escape not once but twice from custody. He went on to murder two young women in a Florida sorority house, leaving two others for dead before murdering probably his youngest victim, twelve year old Kimberly Leach.

    He was arrested for the final time shortly afterwards, and after acting as his own attorney, and obviously reveling in his notoriety, he was sentenced to death for the murders of Margaret Bowman and Lisa Levy. In 1980, he was tried for the murder of Kimberly Leach, and bizarrely married one of his supporters while questioning her on the witness stand. Unbelievably, he was allowed conjugal visits, and sired a daughter by her.

    Although Bundy denied his crimes repeatedly, after he was convicted - on overwhelming evidence - and sentenced to death, he drip fed the police details about many other crimes hoping to delay his execution indefinitely. He is known to have murdered over thirty young women, but is said once to have hinted that he may have reached three figures.

    After years of delay, he was sent to the electric chair on January 24, 1989. Such was the loathing Ted Bundy instilled in the American public that people partied outside the prison when he was executed at seven in the morning.

    There have been countless documentaries and films devoted partially or entirely to Bundy, one of the best is the 2002 film featuring Michael Reilly Burke in the title role, and which includes actual footage of Bundy, including of the judge sentencing him to death in one of his trials. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England
  • The section that begins, "There's gonna be people turning up in canyons," is a recording of Ted Bundy. There is an alternate version on the Natural Born Killers soundtrack which trades Bundy for a refrain from Screaming jay Hawkins' hit "I Put A Spell On You." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    John - Levittown, NY
  • Blondie's Debbie Harry thinks she once got into a car driven by Bundy. She recalled to Q magazine June 2011: "It was in the early '70s in New York and I was trying to catch a cab and there weren't any. This guy in a car was circling and circling and I got in. Silly me. You know when something doesn't feel right? It didn't feel right and it didn't smell right. This guy really needed to take care of his hygiene. The car was a mess and he had sawn the door handles off on the inside. Anyway, I got the window open and opened the door and got out. It was only much later on reading about him in the newspapers where they gave the modus operandi of his killings that the hair on the back of my neck stood up. I believe it was him."
  • The 1994 Bush hit "Everything Zen" repeats the line, "There's no sex in your violence," which is based on the line in this song, "Sex is violent." Bush lead singer Gavin Rossdale told Songfacts: "One band that really inspired me at the time - and always, forever - was Jane's Addiction. I had seen a show of theirs, and they have that line 'sex is violent.' I thought about that line, and it always struck me as a powerful lyric."

Comments: 9

  • Karl from FinlandAlbum was recorded 87-88 and released in 8/88. Bundy was executed 1/89.
  • Snake Plissken from South Of HeavenCheck out the song Slightly All The Time by Soft Machine. Tell me if they didn't rip that bass line off.
  • Luke from Oshawa, OnThe song Ted Just Admit It is a genius piece of work. As stated above, the song brilliantly moves the listener with everything from the very provocative lyrics, the wandering guitar work that is both relaxed and tense, to the ending of the song that is pure rage. The lyric "Sex is Violent" has to do with the excuse Ted Bundy gave for his actions just before he was executed - that he associated sex with violence as a result of exposure to porn. Now we all know that millions of people connect with porn and associate porn with sex and pleasure. On one level the song is about Ted Bundy. On a greater level the song is about society's exposure to violence. That TV and other media are about violence. There is so much violence in the media that 'Nothing's Shocking'. " And the news is just another show with sex and violence". Perhaps an additional meaning of the song is that we, as a society are appaled by the actions of Ted Bundy; but, we aren't at all phased by the torrent of violence in the media. Finally, ' And sisters not a virgin anymore'. Think about how a victim of such violence may react. With anger. 'Her sex is violent.' The song is a masterpiece.
  • A Nonny Mouse from Long Beach, CaRape changes everything. I imagine it changes as much for the rapist as the raped.

    "Sex is violent"

    I can see it as a commentary on society and/or the media, but I can also see it as one of the raped.

    It took over a decade for me, 11 years and, roughly, 6 months to open myself to the concept of sex as something that isn't violent; sex as an act of love, beauty, and, even craziest of all, pleasure.

    I don't know that Jane's had any real idea of the impact of rape on the victim. I don't know whether this song was intended more as a comment on society and the media than an actual look into the heads of both the rapist and the victim. Nonetheless, from my frighteningly un-unique perspective, it captures the experience of rape perfectly; from the fear, vulnerability, inadequacy, and horror of the victim to the justification, sense of power and strength, and, yes, inadequacy of the rapist.

    When it first came out, when I first hear it, about two years before I was actually raped, I was stunned by the emotional complexity of the lyrics and music. It stirs emotions in the same way of the great masters: Bach, Beethoven, Mozart... It stands on it's own, expressing the same emotion even without lyrics to tell us what we should be feeling. The lyrics are disturbing versions of Whitman, Shelly, Plath, and Eliot. Just plain, simple, raw emotion. No logic. No story.

    I think this song works like a great symphony or poem. It has a profound emotional effect on the listener that is quite specific to the listener.

    It's easy to write a pretty tune and tell your own story. It's art when you write, tell, paint, sculpt, or whatever, to express emotions, when you can leave the facts behind and just expose the raw nerves of emotion for people to do with as they may.

    "Ted" can be interpreted in any number of ways. The meaning that matters most is the meaning we get from it. The artists' specific intent matters far less than their emotional intent.

    And, in this song, we're all either raped, literally or figuratively (by the media, society, religion, etc...), or doing the raping.

    Whatever perspective or interpretation I'm pretty sure the emotional context is captured quite well in this song.
  • Brian from Littleton, CoThe title of the song implies that Ted is lying. Sex is not violent. Porn is not the reason he did what he did. The "sister's not a virgin anymore" in addition to other lines, implies that the media saturation of sex with violence has removed all of our virginities. This confusion of sex and violence is Ted's big lie. Nothing's shocking is the title track of the album, talking about our oversaturated societal state. This leaves us in a condition where we are overstimulated and unable to distinguish the differences even between opposites like sex (creative) and violence (destructive). Great song. Deep lyrics.
  • Ali from Dublin, IrelandThe Ted Bundy quote is from an interview just before he was executed, during the interview he blamed his addiction to pornography for causing him to kill. I presume that is what the song is based on.
  • James from Amarillo, Txi was EXTREMELY in to these guys during my party phase and on one of my many trips with Janes Addiction I figured it out,and I can tell you what the Sex is Violent means.
    It is talking about it in the simplest of terms. It is referring to one partner slamming into the other during the penetrative act of a sexual episode.
    Think about it for a moment and you will get it.
  • Jason from State Of Fitz, Njthe line "sister's not a virgin anymore, her sex is violent" I always wonder if it's about a nun or suppose to be his siter. Is he saying the sister or the nun was raped?
  • Maria from Lake City, FlThe title, as it's written on Nothing's Shocking, is "Ted, Just Admit It...". I did not know that the clip was of Ted Bundy; I thought it was Charles Manson. It makes much more sense now. (not the song, really, but the title does.)
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