Guitarist Peter Buck explained to Q magazine in 1992: "That song is actually about all these winos who used to live down the street from us. They used to live in cars. We call them The Motor Club. These old guys would sleep in the cars and drink all the time. I think there was a guy called Pee Wee as well. Michael (Stipe) knew them because he used to live right next door to them. Every once in a while you'd give them five bucks or drop off a bottle."
Death Cab For Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard's first band in high school was called Oddfellows Local, after this song.
The rock band Local H got their name by combining part of this song title with that of another R.E.M. song, "Swan Swan H."
David Bowie's "Space Oddity" tells the story of an astronaut who cuts off communication and floats into space. The BBC used it extensively in their coverage of the 1969 moon landing - an odd choice considering the lyrics.