We Are 138

Album: Collection II (1982)


  • This song was written by Misfits lead singer Glenn Danzig, who when asked about the song, says that it is about violence. Then he stops talking and waits for the next question. It's likely that the 138 is a reference to THX-1138, which was the first movie by George Lucas. In the film, humans have been given names resembling license plates, and THX-1138 is a character portrayed by Robert Duvall who works in a factory making robot police.
  • Misfits bass player Jerry Only and guitarist Bobby Steele have said that the band had buttons made showing a humanoid robot with the number 138 on its head. The idea was that people were being turned into androids like in the movie. Danzig's response to their statements: "They didn't write it, and they don't know what the f--k it's about."

Comments: 52

  • Sugarbearpunk from Las VegasThe song is about a robot and its 1 minute and 38 seconds long. 138
  • Ribso from Salt Lake Silly Rabbits.... “We Are 138”!!!
  • Emirategang from MianusA million years late, but it's probably a bit of a combination of the THX-1138 reference and the outstanding Goering backstory. Glenn has a weird fascination with the nazis, the name Danzig itself is lifted from the German spelling of Gdansk, which as far as I can tell had a majority nazi Senate right around the start of ww2. I'm not much of a history buff and I dont know why that is evidently significant to him, but it's clearly a link.

    A conflation between violent robot police and nazi officers who lack empathy, just following orders in a drone-like fashion? It isn't really a stretch of the imagination to link the two either. Glenn wrote a bunch of songs about b-grade horror flicks, so THX-1138 is way too relevant to be unrelated, similarly his fascination with German history and nazis would weave very nicely into the song's lyrics and the autistic level of detail on Goering in that theory is exactly the kind of thing Glenn would know about.

    I doubt he'll ever confirm, but I'd put good money on it just being a collision of the two (and maybe more) references in his mind, to form some imagined super violent and ruthless ubermensch mecha collective, metaphorical or literal.
  • Willard Mcbald from BaldworldWhy is Danzig such a tool? I mean, there are billions of more polite ways to say "it's not important" or "I don't want to talk about that", but he remains the pure jerk. My guess it's a secret code for Danzig's first male-to-male rendezvous in some dank alley behind a leather bar. Special sentimental thing for him.
  • Sharkman from UsaIf Danzig himself wont say what the lyrics are, then who cares? Theres alot of kickass Misfits songs that now say pretty much whatever sounds good to you. They're probably better for you than whatever he wrote. So enjoy them!
  • Nomadicrhino from Right HereThe numbers 138 represents Adolph Hitlers initials...

  • Michael from OkcI have been listening to this since ~1988. Among my circles 138 refers to Rev. 13:8; "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." The next few verses (Rev. 13:9-18) are about 666 and the beast. Its like he's saying "we are worshippers of the beast". JMO what do i know.
  • Tommy from TucsonCould be the whole ACH thing. I was thinking they were Hitlers initials, but he had no middle name. So, I am not sure what the C could stand for. Maybe cause he was Czech? I heard 138 was also shorthand text for "I love you".
  • Nihlyle from NjNo matter what any lyrics sheets, even if from some "from the band" book or liner notes... it sounds more like "in the eyes of science" than "tiger". "Science" would make more sense. I mean the tiger line sounds like it is from people knowing the Rocky 2 theme.
  • Tommy from Noweresvill Glenn Danzig never actually said what the song was about... he only said "It's about violence." People have been taking that to mean several things, like 138 is police code for something (it's not), or the movie THX-1138. But I think that the song means something different... It's about the Nazi leader Hermann Goering.

    First off, Glenn has said in the past that he's studied a lot about Nazi Germany, including books like "The Occult Roots of Nazism," which he said that every schoolchild should own. So he must know about Goering, and the Nuremberg trial at which Goering was sentenced to death.

    Gustav Gilbert was a psychologist that was assigned to interview all the defendants at the Nuremberg trial. He gave all of them IQ tests, in which Goering scored 138 (http://www.eskimo.com/~miyaguch/grady/nazi.html). Now, Goering was also the highest ranking Nazi that the allies caught after WWII and was highly unapologetic about the attrocites that were committed under national socialism. This factors in soon... Lets go through the lyrics.

    Ignoring the "We are 138" that's repeated over and over, the lyrics are

    "In the eyes of tigers" Goering was the official gameskeeper (jagermiester) of the third Reich, and kept lots of exotic animals, including, I believe, tigers. Also, Tiger 1 was a type of tank used by the Nazis.

    "Do you think we're robot clean?" This could mean a couple of things. Robots only do what they're told, so they have no control over their actions. This adequately describes the defense of most of the Nazis on trial ("We were just following orders"). Or it could be a reference to Goering having kicked his morphine habit before the trial, and was fully mentally functional to stand trial.

    "Does this face look almost mean?" Everyone who described Goering said that he had a disturbing, mean face and a cruel mouth.

    "Is it time to be an android, not a man" His unapologetic nature, and his defense of an evil system, showed his sociopathic disregard for the atrocities. Almost like an android, cold, calculating, and intimidatingly cruel.

    "The pleasantries are gone" He didn't have to be the bon vivant, showboating, cherubic face of national socialism anymore, and his public face didn't have to be magnanimous. He could be the political and military leader he always was in private.

    "We're stripped of all we were" The highest ranking officials of national socialism, accustomed to the finest things in Europe, were now common criminals. Goering included.

    Not to mention that a German Uboat designation was U-138, but that's just extra information for you all. ;-)
  • Mackenzie from Medina NyGuy from Hampton, dude your response is just dumb.
  • Bob from SeattleFigured I would give this a shot for the fun of it and I was actually surprised I came up with this on my first try considering I was just watching YouTube videos about bankers and stuff. If you compare 1/3/8 to their corresponding letters in the alphabet you get A/C/H. ACH (Automated Clearing House) is part of the financial system and regulated by the Federal Reserve which is one of the modes Americans are being enslaved by. Pretty interesting how you can make weird connections with words and numbers, etc.
  • That Guy from Boise, IdPsalms 138 ( the Bible) ..."Before the gods will I sing praise unto thee." OR, it's about violence like Glenn said. LOLz!
  • Whitey from Nashville, TnJust look at the other lyrics to the song. "Our pleasantries are gone, we're stripped of all we were. It's time to be an android, not a man. we are 138." etc...
  • Danila from Moscow, Russia FederationDoes this somehow connected with Armin van Buuren's track "Who's afraid of 138!?" If it is, it obviously proves to me, that Armin is a part of New World Order propaganda
  • Grumpy Steve from Kent, United KingdomI heard it was something to do with the 138th frame in the footage of JFK being assassinated. The THX-1138 theory sounds spot on, apart from i don't get why he'd only pick the "138" out of it... unless it's purely because it fitted in lyrically than using any other part.
  • Dave Wex from Mchenry, IlDon't know if anyone has noticed, but the song length is 1:38
  • Chazz from Phoenix, AzI think it's worth mentioning that nowhere in the song is one person singled out. No gods, no leaders, no names, no ME; WE are 138.
  • Bob from Yeah Uh Huh, Msalright, how can you hate Jerry Only? that guy is one of the coolest guys I've met, he has been through a lot of s--t... Danzig is an egotistical asshole and left the band for bulls--t reasons and said that he won't reveal what 138 means... so why even worry? just enjoy The Misfits, new and old.
  • Monster from Who Cares, Waive heard several stories from a robot #138 in an old sci-fi flick to a battallion that fought to the last man standing in wwII. bottom line, does it matter? misfits are a way of life. and f*** the haters after glenn bytched out. ( and learn to spell it right) Jerry Only has kept the band goin strong. you dont like it, theres always culture club for you. STFU
  • Joe from San Diego, CaOn a side note, f--k jerry only. That dumb piece of s--t ruined the misfits. f--k the "new" misfits
  • Joe from San Diego, Cayou guys are all f--king idiots! glenn danzig himself is quoted as saying not even his own band members know the meaning of 138 is. The TRUE ORIGIN OF "WE ARE 138" is quite simple, straight from Glenn Danzig's mouth; '138' was just something he and his friends thought up as kids. It was a code or something, meaning the ability to kill without thinking twice about it.
  • Godhater666 from Sioux City, IaNobody except for the great Glenn Danzig knows what the song is about....sorry fellow fiends. There have been several roumrs. Mr Danzig if you read this crap please write a comment about it so can all know the true meaning, but if its part of your mysique and you dont feel we are ready to understand its whatever man.
  • Stefan from Landshut, GermanyI really wonder, why you Guys talk about the THX 1138, when the song is named as "we are 138". It is in my eyes a bit retarded to discuss about this song, when you have not the slightest clue about. Herny Rollins told once, that the "we are 138" is an other meaning for beeing retarted.
  • Troy from Jacksonville, FlBack in the 80s when I was a teen, you could get a big, cheap home gym called a "Weider 138" at any discount store. It was a free weight set with a bench and attachments. When I heard Henry Rollins and Glen Danzig doing this song together, I figured it was a combination of fantasizing about making yourself hard steel, wanting to break out of the robotic mindset of the 80s, and loving your first weight bench enough sing to it.
  • Tender Bits from Ny, Nyyoure right aj. guy from hampton is a knucklehead. hes got his timeline all messed up. that famous monsters album was clearly many years later and it SUCKED bad. no danzig....doesnt even sound like the same band.
  • Daniel from Atlanta, GaI just registered to tell the two guys below me that was awesome!
  • Dilemma from Adelaide, AustraliaI just registered to tell the dude below me that I like his reason for registering.
  • Aj from Clinton Corners, Nyi made this account just to tell guy here under me that he is a complete retard. yeah the song was #138 on the billboard in 1999 wow.. well how can that be what the song means if the goddamn song was released in 1982. danzig was a psychic and knew the cover of his song that would be released 17 years later would hit #138 on the 1999 billboard top 200.... WE HAVE A WINNER.
  • Guy from Hampton, Vau r all wrong

    The Misfits' followup album, FAMOUS MONSTERS, was released in 1999 on Roadrunner Records and went on to become one of the biggest selling titles ever for Roadrunner Japan, debuting at #138 on Billboard's Top 200.
  • Lateralus138 from Decatur, IlTo - savage, la pine, OR: That movie is not a classic now (well not really) and especially not at the time he wrote the movie. The movies that the Misfits liked were mianly from the 50's and early 60's and THX was released in 1971. You have made me feel old, lol. Misfits and Glenn Danzig rocks!
  • Rachel from Cincinnati, Ohoh yeah for the second to first comment at the bottom its DANZIG NOT DANZING.
  • Rachel from Cincinnati, Ohwe are all ruthless violent disorderly fiends... thats all there is to it.
  • Damien from Chicago, IlThis song makes several allusions to THX1138. This doesn't necessarily mean it's what the song is about. Other than that, there are too many rumors going around to fish out much valuable information. Three words rock pretty hard.
  • Savage from La Pine, OrI'm sure glenn danzig wrote this song after the movie thx1138 cause danzig has mentiond of being a huge classic movie fan and the lyrics make total sense to the movie but no one is supossed 2 know the meaning 2 the song or we would already knpw!!
  • Carson from Federal Way, Wait is about thx 1138. the lyrics state it is. for example, Do you think we're robot clean
    Does this face look almost mean
    Is it time to be an android not a man. this is the second verse of the song. and the whole movie is about humans being these robot like creaturew controlled by a drug. this song is also about violence, becuase in the movie there is this android like robot police that beat the living s--t out of people. so it is probably aboput this. however, this is just my opinion. also, i was in a misfits cover band and there are many ideas what the number stands for i.e. fan members in early days/police code/and a weird one, a type of pagan number? but i dont know
  • Nikki from Wadsworth, OhThe lyrics are inspired by George Lucas' first film entitled THX 1138. Some say that 138 is the Police code for "Drunk and Disorderly conduct". It's about sex (69 x 2 = 138).
  • Lonnie from Weymouth, Mawhy don't you go to onethirtyeight.com?
  • Kyle from Toronto, CanadaIn the words of Glenn Daznig, the writer of the song, in referance to all the other claims about this song's meaning; "They didn't write it and they don't know what its about. It's about violence."
  • Ryan from Wilmington, NcI could see both the number of original fiend club members and the theory about the police code. They're both plausible. But, I think it's more about a loss of individuality and sense of self, as evidenced by the repeated chorus of "We are 138", the "We" as in collective consciousness instead of "I" of singular consciousness, and becoming more machine like and mindlessy violent. Take it from the lips of the man who wrote it. my opinion, probably bullsh*t. thanks.
  • Dylan from Olmsted Falls, United StatesWho cares what the song means, honestly. We are 138888888888!!
  • Jeffy from Jellico, Tnwhat is the real meaning to the song?
    i highly doubt it's about the fiend club members...(but IDK)...from listening to the meanings of there other songs i would think it's about the movie, and it might be about the police code (IDK)...and was it only that wrote or danzig(aka anzalone)?
  • Jake from Westminster, MdFirst off, I think It's funny how you guys act like you know so much about them. But you cant Even spell their Names right. The Misfits Never Made it to any charts. And how Would Police bullsh*t go into there Style? And If anyones really seed the movie, Its about the future, and Haveing a number instead of a name. And Do you honestly think they always had 138 members in there fan club?
  • Joe from Hampton, NhI heard that it actually is the police code for multiple rape counts..so??
  • David from Chicago, Ili dont care what the songs about its a awsome song played by one of the best bands ever
  • Kc from Albany, Nythe misfits wrote this song because 138 was the highest they had ever gotten on the charts
  • Robbie from Libertyville,, IlIf in the case of police codes, it can be 1-38, meaning "acknowledge this call - simple assault," which is likely, but it could also be 138, meaning "prowler." Therefore one can infer that "in the eye of tiger" refers to the police.

    In other words, the police force is a tiger, who looks for crimes to arrest or otherwise punish people for, though at the same time the police are claiming the accused are the prowlers. If this is correct, the song could be a protest against the police's overinterperation of mild violence.
  • Natasakryd from Hellview, NjOnly said it was about THX-1138. But then when a fan asked Glenn something like "What does 138 stand for, I've heard Only's take on it" Danzig replied "He didn't write it and he doesn't know what the f*ck it's about! It's about violence!"
    Ok, if you then check out police codes (the ones they use in their radios) you may find this:
    1 - Acknowledge this call
    38 - Simple assault.
    That makes sense, especially if you think about how he says it 1 - 38 and not 138.
  • Matthew from Tampa, FlI heard on a documentary about George Lucas that THX-1138 did inspire this song. I've also heard DJs say it when introducing this song on the radio. Its pretty well accepted.
  • Linda from Whitehorse, CanadaI've heard that it refers to the highest they had gotten on the charts at that time (which chart I don't know).
  • Amber from Red Deer, Canadawell, its not about there fan club i can tell you that much. it is about violence and if you dont belive it you can ask danzing. jerry only, glan danzing and Bobby Steele has a different view but danzing was the writter of the song. and he claims its about violence. i also believe the theorie of it being based upon THX-1138 because that makes alot of sence. thank you, amber - alberta, canada
  • Nessie from Sapporo, JapanSorry, Steve. It refers to the number of fans in the Misfits fanclub, in their early years.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Have Mercy! It's Wolfman JackSong Writing

The story of the legendary lupine DJ through the songs he inspired.

Charlie Benante of AnthraxSongwriter Interviews

The drummer for Anthrax is also a key songwriter. He explains how the group puts their songs together and tells the stories behind some of their classics.

Barry Dean ("Pontoon," "Diamond Rings And Old Barstools")Songwriter Interviews

A top country songwriter, Barry talks about writing hits for Little Big Town, Tim McGraw and Jason Aldean.

Jon Foreman of SwitchfootSongwriter Interviews

Switchfoot's frontman and main songwriter on what inspires the songs and how he got the freedom to say exactly what he means.

Incongruent Opening ActsSong Writing

Here's what happens when an opening act is really out of place with the headliner, like when Beastie Boys opened for Madonna.

Howard JonesSongwriter Interviews

Howard explains his positive songwriting method and how uplifting songs can carry a deeper message.